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stop looney tunes giphy downsized

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


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.


The big business of prejudice

Turns out there are some pricey consequences for the wild night from last week’s episode as plot lines converge and accelerate for our heroes and villains alike. Commissioner Lépine seems to know that as he fruitlessly searches around the house for his missing wife. Ah there she is, and its mug shot time with the Paris Police. Lucky, or unlucky for Madame Lépine, she’s recognized by the professor as his staff is booking the bedraggled wife of the commissioner. Once alone with his wife Lépine easily sniffs out that she’s injected and he implores her to not do anything unwise while he’s gone. He’s mad, but also worried. A conversation I’m sure they’ve had before.

The rumor mill at the station has churned rather swiftly despite any pleas for discretion from Lépine and Fiersi is sulking in the corner looking particularly guilty. Pouring salt in the wound is Puybaraud who calls Fiersi into his office to find out what in God’s name went wrong with the whole photo shoot thing. Thankfully for Fiersi, Lépine barges in to remind Fiersi that he’s been assigned to Cochefert’s team. Fiersi is squarely in the line of fire between these two and everyone knows it.

But this is a police station so police work must get done. Cochefert is on task as usual, but senses Fiersi’s moodiness – says he’s seen happier murderers. He asks Fiersi for his thoughts on Emile Terrail. Fiersi’s opinion notably mirror Cochefert’s conviction that Emile is not the murderer, pitting them both against Puyburaud’s neat and tidy narrative. A second pupil for Cochefert perhaps? I’m not going to get my hopes up yet and neither is Antoine who is not happy about the new addition to the team. They get in each other’s faces again. SETTLE DOWN YOU TWO! Cochefert doesn’t say that exactly, but he may as well have.

PP1900 S1E4 Antoine and Fiersi
Paris Police 1900, S1 E4

Cochefert is back chasing leads with the mysterious chimney sweep at the top of the list. Antoine mentions another neighbor they could question, a salesman of medical equipment. Ah yes, I believe we saw that creep a couple of episodes ago with a stethoscope against the wall listening in on Antoine’s first visit to Joséphine’s apartment. Antoine and Fiersi are briefly an odd couple detective duo who go looking for this guy. They end up dragging Eugenie, her client with his pants down, and her husband in for questioning. The creepy neighbor, Gustave Pertaud, apparently left the day after Antoine visited the first time, but Antoine and Fiersi insist on getting a portrait made. It’s a bit funny to see the John go from pulling his pants up to getting dragged into this investigation. He probably wants his money back.

We saw earlier in the episode Meg nursing a serious hangover as she asks her maid to send a message to her husband who is staying at her mother’s house. Don’t come home is the message. Shit is getting real and she wants her family far away before she faces the consequences of “saving” Madame Lépine from a worse fate. And there are consequences. An unhappy Puybaraud meets with Meg and spins a tale of the countess and Fiersi committing a crime with the whole rape scheme. He then presents Meg with a report to sign implicating her “accomplices”. It seems Puybaraud is covering his bases by turning on everyone – or at least having some in writing blackmail material. Meg tries to resist but Puybaraud lies about what the others involved may say about Meg. If only Puybaraud can put this bad cop routine to work for actual police investigations. Meg questions why he needs her as an informant, but Puybaraud is impatient for compliance and pushes her head onto the table in response. Mentions that her daughter and husband are no safer at her mother’s place as the final check mate. Meg is trapped and I resent how good Puybaraud is at being a villain.

Back at the station, things are still awkward with Lépine who is putting the professor and his staff through some performative paces for the crime of booking his wife. The tension is blissfully broken with a bit of humor as Antoine answers a call from Jeanne’s office and immediately whisper confesses how he can’t stop thinking about her…except its actually her boss Weidmann on the other end instead. LOLOL. If only caller ID was one of Lépine’s modernization ideas. Weidmann implores Antoine to not say anything about the Rothschild check being in their possession and the camera pans around Weidmann’s office to see a nervous Jeanne with the anarchists as rioters are yelling outside. The Antisemite paper’s accusation that the Rothschilds are bankrolling anarchy has fanned the flames of bigotry.

Once this very long day ends with only spotty cleanup happening from the night before, Cochefert attempts to appeal to Fiersi’s conscience by bidding him to “sleep well”. Any movement of Fiersi’s moral compass though is immediately trampled on by Puybaraud who does not want any goodnight sleeps to happen while they’re in Lépine’s sites. Dirty work must happen and Puybaruad needs his neat and tidy suitcase murder narrative.

Before Lépine calls it a day, he asks his assistant to book a meeting with Weidmann the next morning. His assistant politely warms him that the police won’t be keen on protecting Jews from rioters. Lépine really needs an ally here – he’s sinking fast.

Antoine heads to Jeanne’s office after hours, but not before stopping at the archives to discover the name of Matthias’ father (Joséphine’s son) who we find out to be Colonel Gabriel Sabran de Pontevès – you’ll remember him as the shady guy Meg ran into at the fancy ball. Once Jeanne and Antoine reunite its all business and Jeanne is nervous that Antoine may be indiscrete about the Rothschild check. That doesn’t stop her though, from spilling all she knows about the Sabrans, who you can guess are not exactly pillars of morality. After Dreyfus was wrongly convicted as a spy, the Sabrans saw an opportunity in antisemitism. They worked with the Guérin family to try and frame Jewish traders for selling sick animals to the army. The traders were acquitted in the eyes of the law, but not in the court of public opinion, which the whole cast of bigots helped fan the flames of. The Sabrans then became the French army’s main meat supplier and the Guérin’s started the Antisemite newspaper – everyone got rich with this scheme including the butchers who work to supply the army. It’s all a lucrative cycle driven by antisemitism.

So lucrative in fact, the Guérin’s are next seen celebrating the success of their Antisemite paper being the #1 paper in France. Meg is there fending off everyone’s very handsy advances while drowning her sorrows. Colonel Gabriel Sabran de Pontevès is also there of course as we knew he would be.

It is finally the next day and Lépine is staging a bit of a comeback. He addresses the press alongside his wife whom he declares was poking around the gritty streets of Paris on his orders. They are both shocked of course at the state of things, thus the need for more reform in the Paris police department. I’ll give him points for ingenuity here and a valiant effort to help his wife, who he clearly loves. But even if the press buys what he’s selling its hard to believe the police will.

PP1900 S1E4 Lepine arrest
Paris Police 1900, S1 E4

Once again, it’s dirty work time. Puybaruad needs his neat and tidy suitcase murder narrative and Eugenie’s husband (Joséphine’s neighbor) is the poor sucker Fiersi must make confess. Fiersi threatens to prove that this poor guy slept with Joséphine and hooboy does he follow through. Pants are down…tweezers are out…songs are sung? Yes, the professor is leading a chorus of policemen in a song about crabs. It is possible this song is well known, but I am not familiar and cringe as the professor plucks a damning piece of evidence out of this guy’s nether regions.

Ok, everyone’s pants are back on and we start the most interesting scene of the episode so of course Jeanne is heavily featured. The best lady lawyer in town comes with her boss Weidmann to visit Lépine. Lépine wants there to be no Rothschild check, Weidmann wants to cooperate, but Jeanne is playing a more aggressive game of chess than everyone else. She is determined to stick it to the Guérins and threaten to sue with Antoine testifying against them. She argues that everything is out in public anyway and that the Guérin family doesn’t need to know that they’re bluffing. Lépine doesn’t look like he’s betraying emotion, but I detect a sly smile as he asks Jeanne which one of the intruders she shot.

At first, I thought Lépine was showing how much he respected Jeanne’s bravery with the question about shooting one of the intruders (because it was awesome), but he had another reason. Cool as a cucumber he strolls into the Antisemitic League headquarters. Lépine ignores the jeers and threats as he waltzes into Jules Guérin’s office, surrounded by the whole bigot clan. He starts the conversation by calling Guérin’s mother a haggard old cow (Oh I’m going to like this scene). He confidently asks for the Rothschild check. They all laugh but he means business and looks a bit psychotic. He knocks over some glasses before he plunges his cane into the shoulder of Louis – knowing that’s precisely where his bullet wound is. While Louis writhes in pain Lépine uses Jeanne’s exact threat to press charges with a police witness. The haggard old cow relents and tells Jules to hand over the check, which Lépine promptly lights on fire right there in the office. He has the audacity to also ask for a correction to run in tomorrow’s Antisemite paper. That. Was. Badass. Lépine’s comeback tour gets a rave review from me.

PP1900 S1E4 Lepine threatens Guerins
Paris Police 1900, S1 E4

We transition to a more genteel scene with Meg at some kid puppet show with shady man aka Pontevès. He warns her that Puybaraud is using her and questions why she’s still participating in a losing game. Does she want revenge against the kind of man that uses her? Does she like danger? He’s striking a nerve as she retorts that the last time she slept with a man it literally killed him. That doesn’t seem to turn Pontevès off. What a weirdo.

Well, Cochefert and Antoine are on the case for exactly how much of a weirdo Pontevès is. Antoine guesses that the key they have from Mimile (and Joséphine) is for Pontevès’ bachelor’s pad, which they can search the mortgage records for within the radius Cochefert has already mapped out from the suitcase experiment. Not only that, but Antoine also confirms that the shirt found on Joséphine is one that the French army issues. A colonel’s shirt perhaps? Cochefert is practically glowing with pride for Antoine. But it can’t all be this smooth for Antoine who exits Cochefert’s office only to be slapped by Jeanne for spilling the beans about the Rothschild check. Sorry Antoine, but you totally deserved that.

I’m going to be brief here with Fiersi’s continued efforts to get a confession out of Eugenie’s husband. There’s threats and escalating violence ending with Fiersi dragging him to the morgue to see Joséphine’s body. Who wouldn’t confess to murder to make it all stop? Puybaraud then appears out of nowhere to congratulate Fiersi on getting his confession. He’s even clapping as Fiersi is brought to tears.

PP1900 S1E4 Fiersi confession
Paris Police 1900, S1 E4

Meanwhile we know this confession to be meaningless since we saw Colonel Pontevès and Meg enter an address Antoine finds in the mortgage archives. As they hop in the sack the camera zooms in on an army shirt with awfully similar markings to the one found in the suitcase with Joséphine’s body.

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