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Intriguing Episode Focusing on Exploitation of Guest Workers
As the series unfolds, it's noticeable that the episodes are running longer and longer, giving more time for director Alberto Sironi to focus on character-development. The earlier episodes ran only ninety minutes; this one runs 110 minutes, and contains a deliberately false ending, so as to keep the viewers interested.
The basic plot involves the mysterious death of a young woman who eventually turns out to be one of a group of four Russians working for a supposedly charitable organization. They have been forced into crime and/or prostitution on account of poverty; and hence are readily available for exploitation. This episode shows Montalbano (Luca Zingaretti) trying his best to discover the truth, but being frustrated at every tick and turn by an obdurate director of the charity (Maurizio Donadoni), as well as his own police chief. Doggedly he carries on, and manages to discover some uncomfortable truths that he gladly passes on to Inspector Graceffa (Giuseppe Caponnetto), who continues the investigation.
Perhaps more interesting is the way in which director Sironi focuses on Montalbano's turbulent relationship with girlfriend Livia. He is shown on his own talking on the telephone, trying to arrange a reconciliation, but being frustrated in his efforts by pressure of work. It seems that the course of true love will never run smooth. We learn something more about his character during a long dinner sequence with Ingrid Sjöström (Isabell Sollman); although she never falls in love with him, she is a sufficiently close friend to try and tell him how women think differently to men. Despite his proficiency as a police officer, his understanding of members of the opposite is rudimentary, to say the least.
The episode contains a fair share of knockabout fun involving Catarella (Angelo Russo) experiencing continual difficulties trying to open Montalbano's office door. Yet this is thematically insignificant: what matters more is for us to understand how the Inspector will manage - or not manage - to resurrect his personal life.
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