This Italian series is a murder/mystery series with a difference; each of the four stories stows our eponymous detective solving crimes in very different circumstances due to the changing situation in Italy at the time. In the first he must solve a case in pre-war Fascist Italy where it is clear that certain people can't be found guilty. Then in the second story the war approaching its conclusion but he is still in an area controlled by the Fascists and is thought of as a hero because he once saved Mussolini. By the third instalment everybody connected to the old regime is on the run and the fact that De Luca saved Mussolini makes him a villain rather than a hero and some of the partisans he is forced to help would kill him if they knew just who he was. Finally in the fourth episode the war is over and Italy is preparing for elections.
The varying situations add to the interest without detracting from each week's murder investigation. These follow the standard patterns of the genre; we learn of various suspects and motives along with some red herrings to keep us from guessing to soon. Anybody expecting a wartime 'Inspector Montalbano' will be a little disappointed as De Luca is a very different character and this series doesn't go looking for laughs although it isn't entirely laugh-free. Alessandro Preziosi does a fine job as De Luca; he is an interesting protagonist one certainly doesn't expect to see the hero of a series giving fascist salutes! The cases are interesting and the time period portrayed increases the feeling of danger. Overall this was an enjoyable series that fans of the genre should enjoy; it is just a pity there weren't more episodes.
These comments are based on watching the series in Italian with English subtitles.
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