An affair gone wrong, corruption in the police force, an alcoholic cop, and a chauffeur turned hitman. The Duel TV series from France, where it is known as Duel in Ville, is packed full of stuff that makes for an entertaining thriller. And, while it’s not based on a particularly original idea, interesting characters, strong performances, and a jazzy soundtrack make this series well worth watching, even if it doesn’t belong at the very top of your foreign TV shows list.
Philippe Dellas (Patrick Chesnais) is the mayor of an unnamed city in France. In the first few minutes, his mistress accidentally dies; a coverup begins right away. The new cop in town, Alexandre Konygnski (Xavier Beauvois) who has a questionable past, is put on the team. The death is ruled a suicide, and everyone – except Konygnski – is ready to close the case. The duel begins.
It helps that Dellas is fairly likable guy and a popular mayor. His opponent for reelection is an extremist who stirs up media controversy. (As with some other series, the politics are relevant in 2017.) Can Dellas and his inner circle keep the truth quiet or will the media and everyone else soon know?
Dellas’s family figures prominently in Duel. His devoted wife – is she protecting him or their status? – is played by Isabelle Renauld. Their only child, an adult daughter, is played by Chesnais’s real-life daughter, Emilie.
Konygnski cuts a sad figure. He is obsessed with the case, mostly to keep him from thinking about his past and to keep from drinking again. This wouldn’t be a French series if there weren’t some sparks between Kogygnski and his female partner on the force, Valentine (Samira Lachhab).
The Duel TV series was written by Gerard Carré and directed by Pascal Chaumiel. It has four 50-minute episodes, making for an efficient, compact series. Duel first aired in January, 2009, on France 3 TV station. It is available for instant viewing on Walter Presents.
Duel TV series trailer
It’s in French, with no subtitles, but you’ll get a feel for the series.