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

Season 4 Recap

So, a bunch of leftist types want to open borders and supposedly make life better for immigrants and detainees. Sounds pretty good, until their leader, Riffaut, turns out to be a radical revolutionary who mostly wants to blow up… everything. He starts by accidentally blowing up one of his own friends, which gets the attention of Laure and her squad, wrapping them up in a – guess what? – spiral. RIffaut buys his weapons from Turks who illegally bring in immigrants who are detained in the center where Joséphine has come to defend a client who is locked up with a Turk who commits suicide leading to the discovery of their weapons which they then sell yadda yadda yadda. It’s so much more complicated than that, so let’s talk about the important stuff. First…

Here comes the judge.
Brought to his knees by the outcomes of his zealous pursuit of the Villedieu case – near-fatal hits to his reputation; his brother’s betrayal; and, worse, the suicide of his disgraced intern – Judge Roban seemed, at the end of Season 3, a broken man. I say seemed, because… well. Can you imagine a world where anyone is fool enough to believe that Monsieur le Juge is truly down?! Those who count him out do so at their own peril! Does it matter that he has just been through an experience that would have caused any other fanatic rule-follower to, perhaps, learn to bend a little? Not at all. With Marianne loyally by his side, and Pierre and Laure lending support when he needs it, the Judge fights his way through yet another political quagmire, accusing a colleague of imprisoning an innocent man. Recent history even cruelly repeats itself when a victim in the case commits suicide, but Roban cannot and will not allow justice to be perverted. Still, his attempt to return to his rightful and righteous place goes anything but smoothly (Freemasons get involved?), which is pretty much a Season 4 trend for all our favorite Parisians, most especially…

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Philippe Duclos (Juge Roban)

The invaluable Tintin has always been there to serve as Laure’s voice of reason when she needs it, which is always. When Gilou’s source tips the team to a gang of Turkish jewel thieves and a bullet grazes his head during a raid, he’s shaken to his foundations. Not wanting to face the truth, or ask for help, he keeps returning to the field, endangering himself and everyone else with his anxiety-induced bungling. With two kids and two more on the way, and his livelihood now in peril, it’s no wonder his decision-making process is on the fritz. Still, receiving smug shade from Laure and Gilou, whose bad choices he has often had to cover, is surely as rich as it gets. Good grief, things are stressful enough with…

When the wonderfully understated Commissaire Aubert retires, Laure must contend with the new boss, Herville, who is trying to make a name for himself as a big dog in an already overcrowded field. While they’re both out to bust the Ozbeck crime family and their bomb-buying dissident customers before Hell breaks loose in Paris, Herville and Laure are driven by entirely different forces. He can say all he wants that what he cares about is results, but his lack of personal foundation spells disaster for at least one very important member of the team when he disregards the safety of the squad while trying to grab professional glory. Basically, Herville’s a jerk among jerks, seemingly born to mess with Laure, even going so far as to get under her skin by praising Gilou as some sort of undersung leader, which would be funny, except…

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Caroline Proust (Laure Berthaud), Fred Bianconi (Fromentin)

Role reversal.
With Tintin coming apart and Laure sabotaging her hard-won loving relationship with Vincent, Gilou finds himself in the foreign position of having to play the Dad. It’s a weird look on him, though of course his deep tenderness for his teammates is impossible to deny. He even extends this fatherly routine to the rookie, Amina, though not before enrolling her in his most recent tangle after one of his informants puts him in dutch with yet another crime family. Instead of immediately informing Laure of the situation, he makes it worse, supplying the goons with a gun which they then use to blackmail him. With Amina’s help he gets up to his old tricks. Well, he may now be the shoulder upon which the whole team leans, but we wouldn’t want Gilou to change completely, would we? I feel the same about…

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Thierry Godard (Gilou)

Fatal attractions.
Also ever turning in a spiral are poor Joséphine and Pierre. Where to begin with these two? Joséphine, finally free from Szabo, is making a go of it on the legitimate side of the street when she gets caught up in Riffaut’s orbit and is then entrapped by Special Branch into informing on him. The thing is, there’s nothing she hates more than cops (and now we know why), so instead of doing what she should to protect herself, she pulls something of a double-cross. When this causes problems for Pierre, though, she doesn’t hesitate to flip again. Because? They’re in love. And, call me crazy, I love them together. God help me, I can’t hate Joséphine. Audrey Fleurot, as she did in A French Village, has worked her magic to reveal the many hidden facets of a flawed character. She breaks my heart. I know, I know – maybe their love affair is ill-fated, but it isn’t remotely as doomed as Laure and Samy. Yes, he’s back, and back in Laure’s heart despite her current living arrangements. This bomb is only slightly bigger than the one Riffaut’s crew plants in police HQ. Will the house of cards that holds up Laure’s life survive the blast or finally fall apart? It doesn’t look good. Let’s find out in Season 5.

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Grégory Fitoussi (Pierre Clément), Audrey Fleurot (Joséphine Karlsson)

Need to catch up on gripping and gritty French police drama Spiral?
Dig in to our season recaps below!


 * Due to distribution limitations, this program is only available to stream within the U.S.

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About the author:
Allison Lowe Huff is a freelance writer and editor with an overly concentrated interest in mystery stories from anywhere and everywhere. Follow her on Twitter @lowehuff.