Season one of BLACK SPOT, a French murder/mystery/horror series that I watched with English subtitles, has so many plot elements to it it's difficult to imagine how anyone would fail to find something in it that appeals to them. Add to that that every technical aspect is exceptionally well done (acting, cinematography, locations, music, etc.) and what you have is a very watchable series.
A merely partial list of its plot features would include: romance, illicit affairs, corporate skulduggery, clandestine homosexuality, murder, molestation, suicide, supernatural phenomena, and the list just goes on and on. About the only thing NOT in BLACK SPOT that I can think of are space aliens and, well, there's always season two.
The setting for the series is the French town of Villefranche, located in the middle of nowhere and in the middle of a mysterious forest. The storyline picks up at an arbitrary point in time in what is already a long history of strange events in Villefranche with an anomalously high local death rate (by other than natural causes) which runs at about six times the national average. The primary characters are Laurène Weiss, the local (female) sheriff, who has the burdensome task of trying to sort out all the crap that goes on with a very small police force, and Franck Siriani, a newly arrived prosecutor who has come to see what accounts for the unusually high mortality rate.
Structurally, the series exhibits the successful combination of an overarching mystery and a collection of smaller mysteries/murders that happen on an episodic basis. In this way we have little moments of satisfaction as some smaller mystery gets wrapped up while hanging on for the long term to resolve the overarching whodunit.
It is an important characteristic about the series that virtually every character in the show has an angle they're working or something bad to hide or both. It is from this characteristic that the episodic mysteries/murders spring and will, over time, probably account for the resolution of the overarching mystery that was left hanging at the end of the first season.
Rather unusually, and extremely important to note, is the fact that both the mysterious forest and the Celtic deity or deities that inhabit it are active characters and active participants in what happens. Many reviewers have missed this point and if you do, as a viewer, the series can be quite confusing. This point is only subtly expressed within the series and you have to be paying close attention to pick it up.
Firstly, some of the characters specifically mention the fact that their old-timer relatives, who are assumed to have a few loose screws, have talked about the notion that the forest has Celtic deities in it, and that the forest has a penchant for "doing what it wants", which actively irritates some characters.
Secondly, an image from the Gundestrup Cauldron, depicting the Celtic horned god Cernunnos, actually appears in the series. We also see very vague, ethereal and out-of-focus appearances of Cernunnos occasionally throughout the series.
Thirdly, there are examples of the forest's direct participation in events. In one scene, two characters are being marched through the forest at gunpoint after having been caught peeking at some of the local toughs nefarious activities. The forest apparently takes a dim view of this as the fellow holding the gun suddenly screams and is rapidly dragged away through the forest lickety-split by something we cannot see. We later encounter what's left of the gun toting bad guy hanging up in the trees in some sort of Celtic construct.
In another scene, at the end of the first season, we see the forest, working directly with Cernunnos, literally resurrect the series primary character from the dead.
So be very clear that the supernatural element of the series is a very active, concrete participant in the show because many of the weird sounds and sights won't make any sense otherwise. The series jumps incessantly around to the different characters to see what they're up to at any given point, and creepy sounds and sights are just the forest and its deities getting their screen time in.
So, all in all, a very entertaining and engrossing series with something for everybody. Part murder mystery, part supernatural horror, part soap opera. 8/10.