When a presidential candidate is shockingly gunned down during a radio interview, Simon Kapita, head of media relations for President Alain Marjorie, is put back to work at the Élysée as he has to deal with a pregnancy scandal, the crumbling of the president’s marriage, a conspiracy involving the Minister of Justice as well as betrayals within Marjorie’s cabinet and his journalist ex-wife Appoline getting imprisoned by Islamic extremists.
While I’ve never believed Spin to exactly be the most exciting series ever, I can’t deny that it’s always been consistent and this third outing improves upon its predecessors and delivers an engaging, intelligent series that effectively mirrors real life events and explores identifiable issues such as terrorism, radicalisation and the terrifying rise of far right politics. Spin does tend to get a little soap opera-y at times but there’s always something going on and there are enough intense, dramatic scenes such as the totally unexpected radio station shooting within the first five minutes (it definitely caught me off guard) and its tense, action packed finale that ends it all with a bang.
A great many characters are brought back from previous series and they all get to develop in this series; Kapita has to deal with the aftermath of the radio interview shooting, suffering PTSD (but still looking cool and suave as he saunters through the Élysée!), Marjorie settles into his presidential role whilst dealing with some serious relationship problems and Appoline once again finds herself in over her head as she courts danger by looking into a scandal in the Middle East.
Kapita’s former protege, now rival, Ludovic is still around, although he’s been reduced to cameo status, not appearing as much as he should be, and a new central antagonist is brought in: far right leader Anne-Marie Carrere, an apparent fictional substitute for a certain other French female far right leader we may know. She’s a little over the top but her wickedness and malice gives the series a jolt of tension and introduces a real sense of danger, one that scarily exists in real life politics.
But it is Carole Bouquet who truly shines as she gets so much more to do in this series as First Lady Elizabeth Marjorie; the first episode has her taking it upon herself to rescue a political prisoner from the middle east and later finding herself as a newfound inspirational figure to certain French people. She also has to deal with her husband’s affair, doing so with drama and confidence. Her friendship with Kapita is also particularly endearing and at the end, in her final scene, she gets to leave the show in an formidable blaze of glory, smiling as she essentially rides off into the sunset with her head held high.
Even at the end of series one, I predicted that she’d be a boon to the series and indeed she has been. She’ll be missed.
Elsewhere, it was a bit disappointing that series two’s Gabrielle didn’t come back for this instalment, she was a great character, so instead we get Minister of Justice Clemence Parodi who initially has an important role since she is at the centre of a conspiracy that Appoline is investigating but she is quickly relegated to “mistress status”, essentially existing to give the series a pregnancy scandal and to just be the “other woman”, following in the footsteps of S1’s Valentine and S2’s Rose in the underwritten female character role.
So while Spin may not exactly set the world on fire, this series has noticeably improved on its predecessors and continues to be a consistent, intelligent political drama. Much like House of Cards, there will seemingly always be unbelievable, shocking real world events to inspire it (especially given France’s recent newsworthy election) and I’m glad that the series looks set to continue its great work, going from strength to strength.
A consistent, intelligent series with fine characters that improves on its predecessors and effectively mirrors real world events.
★ ★ ★ ★