SPOILER ALERT!
Reading this article reveals key points of this program! How about watching it first?

SPOILER ALERT! Reading this article reveals key points of this program! How about watching it first?

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Paris Police 1900 has a rich plot full of political machinations and complex characters. To keep track of it all (and for fun) we are recapping each episode as they premiere.


PARIS POLICE 1900 RECAP – SEASON 1, EPISODE 3

The ladies take some control

It is the third and I think pivotal episode of the series. Everyone seems to be softening up a bit and revealing that there’s more dimension to their character. Even Fiersi! We deserved this.

We start with Antoine tracking down what happened to Joséphine Berger. He meets her son Matthias in what I assume to be an orphanage. Antoine is noticeably warmer and gentle – despite the sad circumstances I’m glad to see some lightness in Antoine.

The mystery of Joséphine’s whereabouts is then swiftly uncovered. Literally. While exploring the crime scene of Mimile’s death by chimney smoke Fiersi finds the missing pieces to the body in the suitcase. Seems a bit too neat and tidy. Puybaraud, who likes neat and tidy, again wants an easy narrative – Mimile knew and killed Joséphine and then committed suicide out of guilt. I highly doubt Cochefert can be swayed to this thinking. Especially when there’s more loose ends to track down. Cochefert coaches Antoine about finding Matthias’ father in the trial records from Joséphine’s time in prison and translating her found letters from German to French. It’s unfortunate that Antoine is the only pupil in Cochefert’s masterclass in 19th century detective work.

We switch to Lépine, who was last seen carrying his high wife off to bed, out in the woods on a duck hunt with more informants. The trade of informing is in high demand in 1899 Paris. He is getting briefed on the Antisemitic League and the army’s plans to come into Paris to restore order during the trial of Dreyfus. Lépine is miffed that the Army would intrude on his turf.

Speaking of his turf, Puybaraud is getting a bit personal with Lépine’s wife. Claiming to be charged with protecting Lépine, Puybaraud is as smug as a bug as he shares his awareness of her “habits” which she claims to be medicinal. No one is fooled.

We are back to Antoine who seems to have walked into a lion’s den. Where is he? A menacing trio of men stare down Antoine – one of them is to be recognized as Sebastien Faure, the anarchist who started a brawl at the last Guérin theater production of bigotry. No punches thrown here as I’m thrilled to find out that we’re actually in Jeanne Chauvin’s office. Yay!!! Antoine is there to apologize (mmhmmm ok Antoine). He also needs her help. She’s pretty reluctant before the senior lawyer urges her to assist the police.

Meanwhile, Meg is downloading Puybaraud on the gossip she successfully sold to Guérin’s family. Fiersi is lurking about the room as usual (does he ever sit?) when Meg’s daughter bursts in asking to be read a story. Much to Meg’s surprise (and mine too), Fiersi takes her sweetly by the hand to lead her out of the room. I like the softer Fiersi. After the police leave, Monsieur Steinheil has the audacity to wonder aloud who Meg is sleeping with as Meg is literally laying out the cash in his hands. She then mocks his financial contributions by asking how many paintings he’s sold lately. She works hard for the money, and you better treat her right monsieur.

Everyone then has a rather hectic evening. We flip back and forth between a fancy ball-like gathering and a night out with Antoine and Jeanne down at the pub. At the candle-lit ball there’s opera singers, fancy tuxedos, and towers of champagne. Impeccable style points all around. We find out volumes of information here, including the 19th century version of doing coke in the bathroom, which apparently is fooling around with some masked gigalos. Our familiar drug addict countess partakes of course – what does this countess NOT indulge in?

Paris Police 1900, S1 E3

Throughout the night Meg is involved with three revealing conversations. In a champagne laden chat with Guérin and his band of bigots is also a Deputy Berry who was a subject of gossip Meg had earlier sold to Guérin. Poor Berry looks out of his league and Meg tries to signal to him to not blow her cover. More champagne is needed for sure as Meg downs a glass with Guérin’s séance-loving mother. Meg’s getting a bit drunk and her façade seems to be cracking as she questions why they even bother hating Jews so much. Guérin’s mother admits that she doesn’t actually hate Jews – it’s mostly good for business and she reminds Meg that they’re both there to provide for their children. A pretty rotten olive branch. Meg has had enough pretending for one night (and probably enough champagne). On her way out she spots someone she knows and ends up in a carriage with him. He seems a bit shady and clearly has a long history with Meg. He’s in the Army’s intelligence division as Colonel Gabriel Sabran de Pontevès. I almost forgot about the plot introduction to the pending Army deployment in Paris. I assume we’ll see this guy again.

While all this high-stakes glamour is happening we also get glimpses into the wild night Antoine and Jeanne end up having (no not that kind of wild…yet). They’re at a pub and Antoine is getting Jeanne to translate Joséphine’s letters. I realize this is important for the plot and case, but it all seems like a ruse for Antoine to spend quality time with Jeanne. He’s more relaxed in her presence, but good god he could use a wing man. After stumbling into some accidental insults, he recovers himself just enough to ask if he can walk her back to the office.

The walk back is unfortunately not the moonlit romantic kind (Antoine really can’t catch a break). It’s raining cats and dogs and they hear glass breaking in the office. Antoine investigates but is outnumbered by intruders breaking into the safe. He’s quickly overwhelmed and is getting the crap beat out of him again. One of the masked robbers tumbles out the door. But who is there with a pistol that she’s not afraid to use? Jeanne of course. BANG. She. Shoots. Him.

Paris Police 1900, S1 E3

Jeanne you are the real deal and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, she only wounds the intruder and then her gun jams. She’s spared nothing worse than a slap in the face. Thank goodness. Antoine immediately wants to call the police, but Jeanne and her wounded boss plead with him to not bother since it’s the Jewish quarter. He presses them about what was in the safe that the robbers could be after also connecting his sighting of anarchist Sebastien Faure from earlier in the day. He’s suspiciously dismissed by the pair of them.

The wounded man is Guérin’s shady brother Louis who is being tended to back at the glamourous ball. Turns out that the event was a planned alibi for Louis and it seemed to be worth it. Guérin’s mother pulls out the stolen goods which is a check signed by a Rothschild and declares it to be Christmas morning.

The plot continues to thicken around the murder of Joséphine Berger. Cochefert is in Lépine’s office and apoplectic at the new revelation that the police archives for Joséphine as an informant have disappeared. He pulls no punches about his suspicions of Puybaraud when the man himself enters the office. Puybaraud seems nonplussed at the accusation as he openly quips whether Cochefert ever closes cases. As if Cochefert isn’t irate enough, he lays out his rather convincing line of thinking for why the Joséphine case is decidedly not closed. Why would a butcher – expert in cutting things – hide a body in his house. Emile (Mimile) must have been axed by an expert assassin who then planted Joséphine’s body. Cochefert goes further in directly confronting Puybaraud about Joséphine being an informant of his whose files have disappeared. Puybaraud just looks smug as a bug again as Lépine seems amused by this entertaining game of accusatory ping pong.

As a contrast to Cochefert who would be pleased to put Puybaraud in handcuffs ASAP, Lépine is taking a softer more leadership from behind approach with cleansing the police department. He calls Fiersi into his office to casually discuss plans for a bike patrol unit within the police. So modern. And in the same casual manor he informs Fiersi that his new assignment will be on Cochefert’s team. Puybaraud has of course anticipated this development and you know some dirty work is coming. But this time rather than wordless nods of accepting his dirty tasks, Fiersi is reluctant and angry. He wants to be the man to find Joséphine’s killer, who he knows isn’t Mimile. Whether its actual police work Fiersi wants, or some sort of revenge is out there to be interpreted. But first there’s the dirty work.

Enter Meg who has been enlisted to sell Madame Lépine on hiring her husband to do a portrait of the commissioner while also enticing her to get high, which seems like the much easier sell. Meg is loath to get high with her mark, but that is the only way. They each confess a drug-induced disappointment with their husbands –Madame Lépine complains about her husband’s love affair with the French republic while she herself has had actual love affairs. Intriguing.

We leave the medicated ladies for a moment to go on a tour de France with Antoine and Jeanne. Jeanne barely breaks a sweat on her bike while Antoine struggles to keep up before eventually falling spectacularly in the middle of the street. Oh Antoine!

Paris Police 1900, S1 E3

Sad Antoine is dragging his bike up the stairs back to his apartment when we see Jeanne waiting for him on the stairs. She has the translated letters, and he presses her again about what was in the safe. At this point I want to scream at Antoine to stop with the policing for one moment and just flirt back with Jeanne. Take a hint man! To my surprise, and perhaps Antoine’s too, Jeanne confesses that the stolen item was a large donation from the Rothschilds to help fund the People’s Journal, an anarchist paper. Antoine suddenly seems on Guérin’s side, and I want to yell at him again. Antoine realizes he’s terrible at flirting (yeah, buddy we all see that) and awkwardly asks Jeanne to come inside. Lucky for Antoine – yes, very lucky considering Antoine is a walking mood-killer and we know Jeanne owns a gun – Jeanne takes control of the situation, including Antoine’s body.

Interspersed with Antoine’s terrible flirting we see the high coming down back at the drug den. Meg entices Madame Lépine to stay for one more hit. This time with some stronger stuff provided earlier by the naughty countess. The effects of this new heroin are immediate and intense. Meg comes out of her haze but Madame Lépine, who was given the stronger dose, is unconscious. But wait, they’re not alone. Some creepy dude is wanking off while Fiersi is setting up a camera. It’s as gross as it sounds. Meg sees what what’s about to transpire and is determined to stop it. Maybe it’s the drugs, or Meg’s own doubt about what she’s a part of now – the aiding and abetting of a rape was decidedly not on her informant bingo card. Meg stands up to Fiersi and cuts right into his ego asking what in his life could possibly make him do something so debauched. How could he be so small of a man to be an instrument of this violation. Good questions Meg! The ladies this episode are taking some much needed control and reminding the men that they not only have the privilege of agency, but also the power to use it. Fiersi’s threats in return aren’t nearly as cutting as he acquiesces and instructs the creepy dude to drop Madame Lépine off somewhere near the police station. Disaster somewhat averted, but this is a big mess that someone is going to have to explain to Puybaraud.

As if this isn’t a big enough mess to contend with, we end with Guérin on stage again (The butchers are always lined up behind him looking like misplaced show girls). He’s proselytizing about the Rothschilds funding anarchy, and I have a feeling that’s exactly what we’re going to get next episode.

Paris Police 1900, S1 E3


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