The Deep TV series from France is among the most unique and interesting shows currently available on Netflix. It’s a police drama with ruthless dealers, human smugglers and a maverick cop with a wayward daughter. If the plot sounds like many other police thrillers, the style and technique of the production that make Deep (En Immersion) a standout and one of several excellent French TV shows on Netflix.
Michel Serrero (Patrick Ridremont) is a cop newly diagnosed with a terminal illness. (This happens in the first few minutes – not a spoiler.) With nothing to lose, he throws himself deeper into his work, despite lessening control over his physical body and mental state. At home, he is a single dad to an unhappy teenaged daughter whose circle of friends overlap with the scope of Serrero’s undercover work.
Though Deep has a strong late ‘50s, early ‘60s feel much of the time, it is set in the present era, with designer drugs, cell phones, human smuggling and immigration as significant story elements. The cops are like others in French TV series, casual, rugged and profane, at times not much different from those they are investigating.
Deep is heavily influenced by French New Wave films with nods to Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch. It is highly stylized, veering from a hallucinogenic film noir to a stark, staged police procedural. Despite being shot in black and white, it visually rich, with detailed, saturated closeups and scenes of stark contrast, shadows, reflections and glare.
It would seem the stylized technique might create an emotional distance from the story, but the reverse occurs. The imagery, dreamlike sequences and dramatic soundtrack serve to draw the viewer deeper into the emotional intensity of the story. Though there are a few moments of over wrought existential angst, these are intriguing characters, and there are enough twists and turns in the plot to make Deep intellectually, as well as artistically, interesting.
Deep was created by Philippe Haim, who was previously a writer and director for Braquo, another French police thriller. He also composed the score for Deep. There are three, 50 minute episodes; the series can be viewed in one sitting as a two-and-a-half-hour movie. If you like Lynch, Kubrick and film noir crime shows, you will probably enjoy Deep. Add it to your Netflix TV shows list.
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