This time, examining magistrate Elisabeth Massot must determine whether high school student Jean-Michel, the main suspect, has actually murdered his parents or not. The case gets all the ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Le juge d'instruction Élisabeth Massot
Jean-Claude Dauphin ...
Nicolas, le greffier
Didier Haudepin ...
Guillaume Massot - le fils d' Élisabeth
François Perrot ...
Le substitut de la première section
Benoît Ferreux ...
Jean-Michel Draouette dit Minou - un lycéen, le suspect prinicipal
Michel Vitold ...
Maître Deroche - un avocat, l'ami d' Élisabeth
Mario David ...
L'avocat incompétent de Minou
Rachel Warren ...
Jeanne - la femme de ménage et confidente d' Élisabeth
Gilette Barbier ...
La vieille dame
Henri Bon ...
L'agent de police
Jean Cherlian ...
Le chauffeur de taxi
Mireille Dalest ...
Jean-Claude de Goros ...
Alphonse Potiron - le concierge, un témoin du crime
Gilbert Servien ...
L'officier de police
Jean Toscan ...
Le père au zoo


This time, examining magistrate Elisabeth Massot must determine whether high school student Jean-Michel, the main suspect, has actually murdered his parents or not. The case gets all the more complicated as reasons of personal nature prevent the judge from working as serenely as she should. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Crime | Drama



Release Date:

8 April 1978 (France)  »

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Novelization published by Editions Arthème Payard (Paris). See more »


Changez tout
Lyrics by Pierre Grosz
Music by Michel Jonasz
Performed by Michel Jonasz
From album "Changez tout" (1975)
Published by Warner-Chappell Music France 1975
See more »

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User Reviews

Atypical TV series episode about atypical examining magistrate
22 July 2010 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

In the French TV series 'Madame le Juge', Simone Signoret stars as an atypical examining magistrate. Now a widow, Elisabeth Massot had a life before becoming a magistrate and her approach to the cases she is assigned to is a bit different from her colleagues'. She does not only want to know everything about the CIRCUMSTANCES of a murder, she tries to know everything about the PERSON under examination. Hence her questions which have apparently nothing to do with the case (for instance about the childhood memories or the culinary tastes of the accused). For her, the inner self of the person charged with murder will tell her if he or she committed the crime or not).

In Claude Chabrol's episode '2+2=4', she uses this method but it does not really help this time. First of all because she does something very unprofessional in letting herself being invaded by reasons of personal nature. Jean-Michel Draouette, the suspect, is a high-school student in his final year, slim , intelligent and rather handsome, always dressed in white like an angel, he has the exterior appearance of the son she would like to have had. Of course, she does have a son, but for the time being, Elisabeth and Guillaume are more or less drifting apart. So she has decided in advance that the young man JUST CAN'T have murdered his parents. Also, the fact that her superior, the deputy public prosecutor, a conformist man she dislikes, is persuaded the accused is guilty, all but strengthens her opinion. But will she do a good job just by being the surrogate mother of the accused and by challenging her superior? Certainly not. On the other hand, she has not said farewell to her usual professional integrity, so inner conflict is bound to affect her

And as a matter of fact Elisabeth is so perturbed by this case that she tends to lose grip on her job. Dreams in which she finds herself in the company of Jean-Michel assail her and upset her until her investigation at long last comes to an end.

Here is an atypical installment in the 'Madame le Juge' series, which proves as disturbing for the viewer as for the magistrate of the title. Indeed, while Elisabeth Massot is supposed to be a positive character she does the wrong thing letting subjectivity interfere with her task, which is rather disconcerting. Moreover, by giving no real indication as to whether a scene is part of a dream or of reality, Chabrol (who also wrote the script with Odile Barski) willingly confuses them. Fortunately this confusion is meant to be thought-provoking, not just arty mannerism, forcing the viewer not to rely on comfortable stereotypes.

All in all, "2+2=4" is an intelligent and imaginative tale, a rare example of crime being associated with dream and the subconscious (Hitchcock's "Spellbound (45), "Vertigo" (58) and "Marnie"(64) are among the best-known exceptions), which makes this TV movie really worth seeing, although it does not compare in quality with the three Hitchcok films mentioned above. Well interpreted, particularly by Simone Signoret (who does all she can not to make her character larger than life), Benoît Ferreux (as expressionless as is character is blank) and Mario David (hilarious as Jean-Michel's useless attorney), "2+2=4" is, in spite of all its qualities, more interesting than convincing. Very well written, the film is a little disappointing when it comes to its direction. The budget is tight, which is not a defect in itself, but it shows too much on the screen. Moreover the pace is too slack and it leaves you time to think over. You should be absorbed, fascinated, haunted by a story that makes you plunge into the troubled mind of a character but Chabrol proves unable to mesmerize you because of his routine direction.

Whatever the case may be, with a script that goes far beyond the stereotypes of standard crime investigation films, with a reliable cast and with an atmospheric music by Pierre Jansen you will surely find seeing"2+2=4" something of a satisfying experience.

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Great series. Should absolutely be released on DVD ! richais
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