The Bureau (TV Series 2015– ) Poster

(2015– )

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6/10
If you have friends, then destroy them.
searchanddestroy-13 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
What a terrific, astounding French series about the cold, ruthless and fierce world - or may I say underworld - of the French intelligence services (the D.G.S.E), the equivalent of American C.I.A, Israeli Mossad or British M.I.6. You deal here with a deep dive into this obscure and so lethal jungle where predators of all kinds, cheaters and cold blooded killers, men and women, are on constant rampage to destroy you. The painting is so accurate, sharp as a knife, describing all the details, at least many of them - it' a secret world, after all - many tricks used by this shadow warriors to accomplish their duty and, most of all, survive. The true face of those men and women who fight for their country all over the world, in most cases totally undercover. Those men and women who lose their own identities because they have so many of them. Those men and women who are ready to cheat, kill, torture OUT OF ANY LAW in order to achieve their mission. Those men and women ready to accomplish the impossible to be the best among the best. You have already seen SECRET DEFENSE directed by Philip Haim, back in 2008, and AGENTS SECRETS that Frederic Schoenderffer gave us in 2004. Both were accurate portraits of what secret agents truly are. But this TV series is the most brilliant expose of what the "Swimming Pool" atmosphere is. Swimming Pool is the nick name given by the agents of the French Intelligence (DGSE) headquarters in Paris.
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6/10
Could have been better...Far far better
searchanddestroy-117 November 2018
I already wrote something about this series a couple of years ago. I was at first astonished by the accuracy and sharpness of this awesome series, among the best in the espionage domain. I first thought as a kind of equivalent of Jean-Pierre Melville's ARMY OF SHADOWS, because it has the potential to. Human beings used as ordinary objects,purely expendables. But after four seasons, I am so so deceived. No, this series could have been far far more gloomy, violent, depressing, inhuman, bloody, brutal than this piece of work for the "whole family", for the squeamish. We don't see here people facing their doom, their ineluctable fate. I admit that I have not finished the fourth season yet. But I am not too much optimistic, unlike the story. Such a shame, because, I repeat, that's a good series, but with a wasted potential. Wasted.
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9/10
Season 4 - Spot On
westsideschl2 November 2019
Yes, the French are masters of spy movies/series. Of all in this genre this is the most enlightening/intelligent insight into espionage/cyber warfare that I've seen. Whether it's hacking, or on the ground ops, this script was spot on accurate.

Very current in it's presentation, e.g. Russian recruiting of Trump associates; secret pacts w/Bashar el-Assad; ISIS leadership; French jihadists; even a Putin quote, "Whoever leads in artificial intelligence will rule the world."; the involvement of female Kurdish fighters in Syria. Note: The Kurds are the most democratic, religiously tolerant ethnic group in the Turkey, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian region thus the object of repression by those authoritarian governments.
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9/10
Could Have Used More Clarity - Season 5
westsideschl5 February 2021
Filming locations: Morocco, Ukraine, Cambodia, France, Egypt, maybe Russia (but I doubt the autocrats in power would allow anything critical being filmed there - probably not safe for film crew). Well researched with the intelligence agencies & hacking being an education worth watching on to itself. Of all the series out there that utilize those two attributes this series is the model. Main problem is the use of aliases & pseudonyms & not clear as to who's who & what's what is going on made it difficult/confusing to watch for most of the early episodes.
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10/10
The best of all spy series?
robert-temple-130 July 2017
This French spy series is entitled in the original LE BUREAU DES LÉGENDES (THE BUREAU OF LEGENDS), a 'legend' being a carefully invented fictitious background and identity for a secret agent. In Britain and America the series is known by an English title as THE BUREAU. This is a review of all three seasons. I cannot think of any spy film or spy series which has approached this one in quality. It is simply the best. As everyone seems to know by now, American spy films and spy series are often funded by secret slush funds of the CIA, as PR efforts to make their spies look glamorous and patriotic, rather than sleazy and dubious. Who could fail to admire and love all CIA agents after being dazzled by the cute charm of the delightful Piper Perabo in the series COVERT AFFAIRS (2010-2014)? If they are all like that, as we are meant to believe, well then how do we get her phone number? She is irresistible. And when do we join up so that we can have the chance of being 'operatives' beside her? Although this French series appears to have had assistance from the French CIA known as DGSE (pronounced 'daygaysuh'), if only in being told how IMSI devices work, and other such intriguing technicalities, this series is certainly no propaganda fantasy to make people want to join. It has more than just a down side, it has a deeply tragic side. This series attempts to get to the bottom of just how great a cost betrayal, manipulation, and deceit have for its daily practitioners. They may be saving the world from ISIS, but they are not saving themselves or their loved ones. Nor are their own characters going uncorrupted. The acting is spectacularly good. This series is as good about spies as SPIRAL (aka ENGRENAGES, 2005-2016, see my review under 'E' for its French title) was about the Paris police. (And by the way, a surprise sixth season is belatedly appearing later this year for SPIRAL.) I have rarely seen any TV series with such impeccably perfect casting as this one. And all the roles are played with genuine depth. There are no cardboard characters in this series, they are all so well-rounded that we feel embarrassed sometimes at the intimacy with which we come to know them. The boldest, and one might say most outrageous, bit of casting for this series is Sara Giraudeau as the character Marian Loiseau. It could have failed disastrously, but in fact it works brilliantly. She is an apparently shy, lisping, wimpish, and babyish girl with a little girl's tentative voice who seems not only harmless but hopeless. But in fact she is a ruthless 'warrior' for DGSE (to use Henri Duflot's word for her). As courageous as she is, however, she does eventually suffer from terrible panic attacks while on missions. She is one of the most unexpected and spellbinding creatures in this amazing zoo of spies. Another bit of unexpectedly successful casting is the plump black agent of very few words, Irina Muluile, who plays the character known as 'the Mule' (strange coincidence with her real surname). She conveys more by saying nothing than many actors do by talking too much. The lead actor of the series is Mathieu Kassovitz, as the agent 'Malotru' (aka Paul Lefebvre and Guillaume Debailly). He delivers a magnificent performance, of enormous range. He has to play a character who is in so many wildly varying situations, including being an ISIS hostage, that he has to be ten people, not only one. This kind of challenging lead role is any actor's dream, and Kassovitz fulfils that dream admirably. The other lead actor is Jean-Pierre Darrousin, who plays Henri Duflot, the head of the operations section. He is an older man, nearing retirement, who is calm, quiet, concerned, conscientious, and thoroughly competent. He is like a father to his team. One of the lead actresses is Florence Loiret Caille ('quail'), who is subtle and superb as the deputy head. She says bitterly near the end: 'I never cry. My parents called me "the stone".' Whether she ends up finally crying or not I leave to the viewer's suspense. Zineb Triki (of whom there is almost no information on IMDb) is another female lead, playing the character Nadia El Mansour. She is astonishingly dignified and with a commanding presence, huge soft eyes, and limitless sadness in her gaze. She plays a Syrian, but the actress herself is of Moroccan origin, having left that country in 1995 at the age of 15, studied in France and Canada, obtained a degree in political science, became a journalist, and is now an actress. One could go on and on listing all these people who did so well, but that would involve naming the entire extensive cast of 30 episodes. All of this is the product of the 'creator', Eric Rochant. He originated the series and wrote the scripts, and he then produced and directed them all. (Clearly, he never sleeps but works 48 hours day.) It is all nothing short of a work of genius. Previously he wrote and directed the film MÖBIUS (2013). It is clear, then, that Eric Rochant is not merely a paragon but a marvel. It would be impossible to give even a cursory description of the many intense and parallel adventures of the characters in this series, as the plots are so complex and interweaving, and the stories so dramatic and powerful that they sweep one away. It is all profound, with both expressed and suppressed emotions, and thoughtful reflection amidst all the non-stop and heart-stopping action. The suspense and intensity never let up for one second for the entire series, and by the time it is over, one has worn out all the edges of all the seats, and one is a frazzled emotional wreck. Hold on tight, everyone.
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8/10
Another versatile French political thriller
BeneCumb12 August 2017
/refers to Seasons 1 and 2/ In the era of heavy domination of English-speaking films and series, it is pleasant to enter the world of other language, other habits and comprehensions. An as I have good experiences with e.g. Braquo and Engrenages, then Le Bureau des Légendes was my another logical choice.

True, its mood and approach is less violent and with less action, but with more suspicion and dubiety - so is the world of reconnoissance and espionage. In my opinion, the creators and actors have almost got the maximum out of it, thus the viewers are able to follow intertwined events on various levels, in various countries, with personal lives nicely complementing the story, not providing just "filling-in" as in some series, for the sake of duration. The characters are realistic, the performances elaborated, and as most of actors-actresses were rather unknown to me, I could fix my mind upon the script and cast in the whole, rather than on certain leading actors, sometimes disturbing to follow the integral course of events. Still, Sara Giraudeau as Marina Loiseau seemed the most interesting and versatile.

Well, the story includes some questionable moments and apparent "wrong" moral dilemmas, but they do not deplete the opportunity to follow the course of events with tension and excitement. As the Series 2 ended up in an intriguing manner, I look forward to Season 3, soon to be ready.
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6/10
Overrated
TdSmth510 July 2017
SPOILER: A review of season 1

A guy is being debriefed over Skype. It's "Malotru" the main character of this series. He's a French spy in Syria who is called back home. He tells his handler that he's seeing someone, but she (the handler) doesn't make much of it. But all along we are led to believe that it's a no-no for him to get romantically involved with a local who may or may not have been someone significant for his work. He lies to the girl and breaks it off.

In France Malotru is treated like some hero. He's put in charge of some new recruit even though he doesn't really train her. Rather it's his handler who's put in charge of training the new girl. His easy-going boss has some reservations about his ability to keep his undercover gig separate from his real life so he has some agents trail him, but they are no match for Malotru's wits. And the boss hires an outsider psychologist to do some therapy with Malotru. Her role at the spy office will increase over time in the season.

When there's some revolt in Damascus Molotru worries about his girl Nadia (played by the beautiful Zineb Triki). Now he really does something he shouldn't do. He keeps his alternate ID, buys a burner phone and contacts her. She's OK. Some time later she lets him know she's in Paris, too. And they start seeing each other again.

Early on a drunk guy is grabbed by police in Algiers. The drunk guys is actually a French spy code-named Cyclone. This is supposed to be the main story, or should be. Here we get to see some interesting deals and discussions, some old fashion spycraft. When another agent goes to the police station and doesn't find Cyclone the French know that something is up. Things get complicated because the Algerians may know that he's a spy or not. The French spy agency has to come up with some interesting ways to talk to the Algerians without revealing anything while trying to find out what they know.

Another story is the one of the new recruit and some of the interesting stuff she has to go through. But she, too, is smarter than she should be and graduates easily. Her first job is to end up in Iran to sabotage their supposed nuclear program. She has to insert herself into some earthquake institute in France and get the main guy there to invite her to work in Iran. Again we see some interesting spy techniques.

Unfortunately, none of this matters much to the producers as does Molotru's unlikely and annoying relationship with the fine Nadia, who's way out of his league. It turns out by coincidence that she's part of a Syrian team that is secretly negotiation with the rebels under the auspices of Russia in France, without the knowledge of the French. Head of the Syrian delegation is a cousin of Bashar al-Assad no less. So when Nadia spends her nights in some hotel with Malotru, that immediately catches the attention of her handler, who quickly catches on to who Malotru is. All of this gets Nadia in serious trouble, which Maoltru tries to avert with his skills. But the Syrians aren't dummies and have an offer of their own.

The Bureau offers a lot of intriguing stories then, that are loosely inspired by real life. We learn how negotiations and deals are made among governments/spy agencies. The historical connection France has to Arab/Muslim countries also gives this some interesting relevance. But again, the series prefers to lose itself in the Malotru/Nadia story, which at least later on becomes about something more.

For all the seriousness of the topics this series injects a terrible element of goofiness. This spy agency is a strange mix of expertise and amateurishness that is very distracting. The 50+ minute episodes are unnecessarily long. Granted, this is a European series and I can appreciate the soberness, but the lack of urgency or desire to make things thrilling was overwhelming. I didn't really feel like following the series after watching the 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd episode. In a a way, a lot more could have been done with the concept.

That said, much better than the material is the production itself. It's is first-rate and makes the series look and feel much better than it really is. No goofiness there. And I think that's what accounts for the glowing reviews.

Things tend to get a bit complicated because often new stories are "introduced" without much of an introduction, such as some operation the Americans are running at a clinic somewhere in the Middle East and because of the incompetence of the French it will end up being cancelled, but this resolution comes up several episodes later when you have all but forgotten about that story.

Another serious and near fatal problem is the casting of Kassovitz as the legendary Malotru. He is just terrible and the most unlikely master spy ever. I ended up disliking him and his character so much I was hoping for the Syrians to discover and torture him or make him vanish to put an end to the ridiculous love affair once and for all. And that's not how you want your audience to feel about your main star.

Early on there are some voice-overs by Malotru and that will turn out to be a nasty trick played by the production on the audience because it changes things significantly once there's something of a revelation near the final episodes. One big plus though is that Season 1 at least didn't go for the easy happy ending.

At around episode 6 or 7 I started connecting more with The Bureau. There is indeed something to like here but Season 1 never really overcame its ample shortcomings.
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9/10
Taunt, believable, intelligent and contemporary spy drama
robertemerald23 April 2019
This hasn't got the riveting excitement and hysteria of Homeland, and lacks the cinematography of Berlin Station. It is definitely in the same league however and sparkles with intellect and charisma. Lovers of the genre have been truly spoilt this year!
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4/10
Slow paced French Series
qui_j11 April 2020
This is a slow paced French series that is a struggle to watch. The episodes consist of scenes sometimes randomly stuck together that leads to a lack of continuity for viewers. You really have to work at filling in the gaps to understand what is happening. It's as if one is dropped into the middle of an ongoing story with no explanation of who the characters are or what their role may be. Choppy editing does not help. This just leads to a lack of interest to the point of boredom. The good thing is that it really is not for binge watching and one can watch it intermittently when there is nothing else in one's streaming queue. The lead character just tries to be too clever and smug most of the time for one to feel any connection with him.
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7/10
On season 1.
punishmentpark14 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This first season (at least one more is in the making at this point) is a pretty good bit of television. There are about three main cases, some of which intertwine, but all of them of course deal with the French secret service.

The stories develop mostly slowly, rather focusing on a believable portrayal of things, instead of letting the action, suspense or drama get too much in the way. At times it does feel a bit dry because of that, but in the end it does help the effectiveness of the series. One choice I do find quite unbelievable, though. When Malotru boldly goes to visit Nadia at the airport in the ninth episode, he can only add to the danger she is already in. I understand why and how he defends his choice, but still, he should have understood by then that her mind was made up. And perhaps the ending with 'Cyclone' has a few too many happy clichés in there, but what the hey.

The acting and cinematography are quite good, if not terrific. The tone of things is rather subdued and human - on some level, since most of these people doing this sort of work are required to act quite inhuman a lot of the time. It takes a while before the whole story becomes clear to the viewer, which makes it all the more fun (read: suspenseful) and there is still plenty to work with in season two.

So, even if I didn't always sympathize or even empathize with all the characters, this is still a pretty good show. It does not, and will never beat a classic like 'Tinker tailor soldier spy' (the 1979 version, of course!), but I didn't really expect that to happen anyway.

A big 7 out of 10.
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4/10
Series 1
crumpytv21 November 2020
Maybe it was the French subtitles and being in a different language, but part way into episode 3 I just gave up. I had no idea what was going on, who the characters were, and there were too many ... and where my loyalties were supposed to lie.
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8/10
To enjoy it more, just ignore the flaws.
ikanboy11 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A very good, entertaining, French series. Like "The Americans" it is better to pay attention to the characters, action, and plot and skim past the unlikely spy scenarios. The character Marina, while endearing, is just too naive and gullible to play the tough nut. And the episodes in Azerbaijan are ludicrous, making the Mossad out to be morons. Their trying to infiltrate Iran's nuclear energy system and they use Marina?? The psychologist is straight out of "Shrink" stereotype land. Brilliant insights in nano seconds. The boss Duflot goes wandering off in IS land without knowing Arabic, because he knew the target spoke French??? Still it's gripping stuff, even if it views the Yanks as barely palatable allies. I really like the frequent use of foreign scenarios (even if they're all Morocco) and the French certainly have a lot of Arabic actors to choose from.
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10/10
Will hook you. French Homeland
boydpeters26 September 2018
Exceptional series. Cannot be faulted. Simple as that
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7/10
great series, but one actor ruins it
zathan-3284824 November 2018
I really love this series. its exciting and great entertainment. The only thing that bothers me is Sara Giraudeau . she is a horrible actor. Every scene with her is horrible and you just want the scene to finish. I hope her caracter dies
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10/10
Excellent, taut, well-written thriller
Laight8 September 2020
Le Bureau is one of the best spy shows to make it to TV in a long time. Almost everything about it is flawlessly executed -- the acting is amazing, the writing wonderful, even the scenes of Paris and the Middle East are beautifully shot. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, not just by plotting but by developing characters about whom you really care. And the leads -- Guillaume and Marina -- are such complicated creatures you can't get enough of them. The only real flaw is when the Americans come in the series -- they're all fat, ugly, and speak with ridiculous accents, and none of them, despite being high ranking members of the CIA, seem to know any foreign languages. And then when the French speak to them, their accents are so thick it's impossible to understand them (and their grammar is terrible). A good agent can effortlessly slide into almost any language he/she needs to. These people have the worst language skills ever. But that's a quibble to an excellent show.
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9/10
Shook
fraser-simons12 September 2021
Every season of this got better and better. While it requires more patience than most spy fiction, this occupies more of a BBC slow burn drama series. Very realistic.

Excellent writing. Great acting. It's not flashy or artificially paced with cinematography. It goes it's own speed and builds character the old fashioned way.

It does stumble from time to time but the small missteps don't add up to much. The season 5 finale was incredible. The way each season builds onto the next is masterful. If it ends here, it is absolutely perfect. Poignant. Inevitable. Surprising. The last twenty minutes left me shook.
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10/10
I must give 10 to this series
suripat20 March 2021
Find a way and watch it. It is a story tellinf series about 'spies' but with a slight different angle, a more personal view inside the type of missions and situations a government tasked employee would go through. It is tense, well filmed, well directed, great cinematography, different from what you are used to watch, which is delightful. Many many different languages are spoken and many different cities and countries are shown. This one was responsible for me starting to learn French (seriously) , I am in the middle of the second semester of classes so, I'm glad I came across this. Think of a French 'Homeland', but much, much better! I hope there is a season 6, have no idea, have to research. Thanks, CANAL+!
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9/10
Excellent show
palacerevolution200015 April 2020
Very well written, acted; so realistic. I have to say the leading guy looks like Johnny Thunders, LOL.
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9/10
French brilliance...
hamlet-165 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This a hard series to watch at times even though there is relatively little violence shown the dialogue bristles with threat and the lack of human warmth is chilling.

The actual plots, because there are many concurrent stories in play are almost not important. Agents face death or worse in the field while their handlers in the main office plot tactics like a game of chess.

Loyalties are tested ..strained to breaking point ... is the enemy ISIS or Iran or is it the Russians Israelis and Americans? The UK barely gets mentioned by the way.

(For us in the South Pacific the DGSE is known for one thing .... the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior on the direct command of Pres. Mitterand. An act that cut deeply into the friendship between France and nations of the pacific.)

However this a brilliant tv series on a par with the BBC's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or ITV's Callan from the early 70s. No wonder it is a hit in France.

There is a sadness and hollowness to the lives of the characters. And they know it.

It is brilliantly realised, gripping and not to be missed.
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10/10
The Bureau Deserves 11 Stars (and 5 more Seasons)
HaveWisdomWillTravel19 January 2021
For reference My top SCI-FI = Blade Runner, Battlestar (remake), The Expanse, and my favorite CRIME/ POLITICAL/ SPY dramas = The Killing (U.S.), Bodyguard, Berlin Station, Dexter, Black Mirror Season 1, Bron/Broen. I also love well-crafted stylized shows like The Boys, Killing Eve and Money Heist.

I'm not European nor American, not a Francophile, no film/TV genre connoisseur nor a purist. But I'm super picky. I would dump a high production value show with my favorite actors in it, if the writing/ premise/ narrative flow fail my standards.

To me, Le Bureau des Légendes is in a class of its own, the "why didn't anyone tell me about this show the last few years?" outlier. The amount of heart AND discipline that went into this show, speechless. I don't only "like" the people who created this show, I respect them, because they respect their audience. The sincerity, the passion to communicate nuanced hard truths, the depth of intelligence, the layers of human emotion versus reason... The Bureau's narrators make "serious spy shows" like Homeland look insultingly dumbed down, and technically meticulous The Americans feel fake and contrived. Even a 3 minute hackers' department scene has been researched and presented with zero compromise AND great economy, yet without the writers/ directors making a fuss about "look we're so diligent".

Everything film gurus b*tched about French art films, all James Bond BS, all Bourne Identity excesses, turned upside down by The Bureau product, cast, and superb crew. Everything good about classic spy dramas, everything that truly matters in our world's ongoing geopolitical struggles, AND super demanding realistic technical details in the Middle East sets or Moscow spa or posh Baku Hilton or unglamorous crowded French intelligence offices or hacker scribble board, are delivered with seamless dexterity and conviction. No clunky exposition annoyance, no narrative hands-of-god wanking, no ADHD editing nor convoluted time jumping, no camera stunts, no needless pandering to baser instincts, no "make muh-country great again" preaching, yet one is made to care more about Tyranny vs Democracy and Humanity and War and Love and The State We Are In, more than ever.

Even at the seemingly least humane moments, this show is conveying human decency, the most wanted world commodity this last few years.

That, is why I can't call it a spy drama, the same way Blade Runner is not mere science fiction, but classical drama. Le Bureau des Légendes is a classical piece of work, without even trying to be one.

I'm in the 4th season, and praying that this journey won't end.

As a few other reviewers have said: this is the best TV series ever written.
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3/10
Overrated & boring.
prashant-6367726 April 2021
Highly overrated tv series. It was boring & aimless. 2 to 3 different storylines running simultaneously made it even more distracting & was not really possible to get into the groove of the story. All in all a dull & drab show that i couldn't bearto sit through. Just like a million other below par wannabe spy thrillers.
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10/10
Absolutely Masterful Spy Thriller
mlynch518715 July 2020
This show about the French secret service is as good as any show I've ever watched, and that includes shows like Breaking Bad, The Wire, and The Sopranos. The writing, acting, and everything else about it is absolutely perfect. The perfection runs through all five seasons, an achievement very few shows accomplish. I couldn't stop watching this and can't wait to recommend it to everyone I know!
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9/10
One of the best spy thrillers
dzeilstra1 November 2021
I don't know how close to reality the story is, but true or not this is a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable series to watch. It had me hooked from beginning to end. The actors are great and it is sad that some disappear after a few seasons, like the Henri Duflot and cute Celine characters, but others are introduced and no less enjoyable like the brilliant Karlov.

What made it extra interesting is the development of more than storyline, where they sometimes intertwine in an ingenuous way. If you like spies, don't miss this.
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2/10
Season 5, the French spy soap opera
gsboy100000020 April 2021
So far boring, flaws after flaws, that demonstrates the series ran to its finish line. Spies asking a 1000 questions, childish behaviors, kissing hello, kissing good buy, common frenchies it's all but a recipe to get waked, also, are you gonna kiss kiss the spy before killing him?

I enjoyed the previous seasons a great deal, with a lot of action, good gripping scripts, and smart plots, this time the show is overdone, du for retirement unless you guys go back to the drawing board to inject some vitamin C here, you know you don't bring "talks" to a gun fight...I'm falling asleep just talking about it...
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10/10
Incredible show, brilliant acting and writing
yooniverse9 September 2020
This is one of the best espionage dramas ever produced. There are no cliches, no contrived plots or unnecessary melodrama, in my opinion. Geopolitical issues are deftly handled, without the heavy-handedness that you would expect to see. The closest comparison would be perhaps Spooks (aka MI-5). This is not Mission Impossible or Jason Bourne.

While it's still a TV show and likely very simplistic versus real life intelligence work, the drama is gripping and feels realistic, dealing with the balance between personal and professional lives of intelligence agents, loyalty and morality, about doing things right vs. doing the right thing. There are no over-the-top "evil" antagonists here, and even the protagonists are deeply flawed--these are just people serving the interests of their respective countries that have different notions of right and wrong, human rights, and their place in the world (though, obviously, the show is from the French perspective).

The story makes the most of France's unique place in world politics--a western nation with diplomatic as well as cultural ties to Syria, Turkey, Iran and other nations in the Muslim world, that allows for stories that involve gathering intelligence, not just about SEAL teams or special forces dropping in and shooting/blowing up things.

I truly appreciate shows like this that do not treat its audience like simpletons, boiling down everything to good vs. evil, right and wrong, black and white. This is a show worth investing your time into.
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