EDITOR’S NOTE: We happily discovered Dr. Pearl Brandwein while reviewing MHz Choice subscriber feedback on our programs and, after reading a half dozen or so of Dr. Brandwein’s insightful reviews, all of us here at MHz Choice had the same thought: We need to get the good doctor to write for us! Enjoy! -MHz Choice

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“THEY SAY THIS CAT SHAFT IS A BAD MOTHER…SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” Capitaine Kader Cherif, like his idol – John Shaft – whose poster is featured prominently on the office wall, is his inspiration as an outsider and a badass. Cherif is never a pushover but tough as nails when necessary.

Shaft (1971; theme composed by Isaac Hayes) was the first fictional (Ernest Tidyman) and cinematic (Gordon Parks) ‘black action hero’ and private detective portrayed by Richard Roundtree. Like Shaft who must prove himself to the Harlem mob, Cherif (Abdelhafid Metalsi) must prove himself as a cop to both his boss and his colleagues because he is an Arab. To add further complexity, he has a Jewish ex-wife, Deborah Atlan, a lawyer, with whom he shares joint custody of their teenage daughter, Sarah. Sarah’s relationship with her overprotective father is, at times, contentious. Cherif is glib, fast-talking and cocky; whereas, his new partner in crime, Capitaine Adeline Briard (Carole Bianic) from Paris, is a pensive, scrupulously thorough, hard-working, multi-talented team player with a genetic disposition towards police work. Her father is the Chief of Police in Paris.

Cherif’s unconventional approach to his job enables him to elicit information more easily from a family member or a motive from a potential suspect in his non-threatening, non-official office – his apartment across the street from the police station where his traditional partner tries keeping him on track in the official office when he is present.

Lionel Olenga, Laurent Scalese and Stephane Drouet co-created, -produced and -wrote this cop show as an homage to their favorite American TV/Film cops including “Columbo,” “Kojak,” “Starsky and Hutch” in addition to Cherif’s other hero, Steve McQueen in “Wanted: Dead or Alive” and “Bullitt.” The show’s photogenic ‘odd couple’ with their dramatically-different styles and personalities blend well together in this contemporary French policier. French . It is worth mentioning that in most European programs in the MHz catalogue, English-language music is frequently used. However, the opening song of episode three — “Non, je ne regrette rien” — pays tribute to France’s national treasure – Edith Piaf – adored worldwide.

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Carole Bianic and Abdelhafid Metalsi in Cherif

The lovely city of Lyon serves as the show’s backdrop. With over two million people, it is France’s third largest city located at the nexus of the Rhone and Saone Rivers. Its famous architectural and historical landmarks are often seen in each episode. The city is also recognized for its gastronomy since Capitaine Briard is a foodie who frequently dines out.

For those who love tough action heroes and intriguing murder plots, CHERIF is for you. He’s a bad Mother. . . .

About the author:
A lover of Romance languages and cultures, Dr. Pearl Brandwein has a Certificate in French Culture and Civilization from the Sorbonne. She then earned both her Masters’ degree in French Language/Literature and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University. Dr. Brandwein’s areas of academic expertise include the Renaissance and the Faust Figure in European Literature in addition to 19th and 20th Century Drama. Her other interests include writing about Holocaust Literature.

Dr. Brandwein began her teaching career at Princeton University followed by faculty positions at other academic institutions. In addition to French, she has also taught German, Latin, English Composition and ESL to corporate executives. After academia, she held numerous positions in the public and private sectors working as an Editor/Instructor/Administrator and as a PR professional and business communications executive directing editorial and marketing initiatives for EU clients.

She is a cineaste and a lover of Film Noir, Westerns and foreign films as well as a theatre and opera buff; she also attends concerts, lectures, ballet performances, museum and gallery exhibitions. In her rare spare time, she reads voraciously.


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