If you seek gripping crime mystery with a melancholy atmosphere, then travel to the mountains of southern France to binge-watch “The Frozen Dead.” Featuring careful detective work and gruesome crimes, the French miniseries tells a riveting tale.
Title: "The Frozen Dead"
Year it began: 2017
Where it can be seen: Netflix.
Who’s in it: Charles Berling, Julia Piaton, Pascal Greggory, Nina Meurisse, Lubna Azabal and Robert Plagnol.
Typical episode length: 50 minutes
Number of episodes: 6
Brief plot description: When the corpse of a rich man’s prize horse is found ritually displayed in a small town in the French Pyrenees, Toulouse police captain Martin Servaz investigates with local captain Irène Ziegler. Events become entangled with Julian Hirtmann, a notorious inmate at the town’s psychiatric asylum for the criminally insane.
Why it’s worth watching: “The Frozen Dead” (“Glacé” in French) is an absorbing crime mystery that combines careful pacing with sublimely gloomy scenery. The show generates a consistently unsettling mood through its eerie score and gorgeous images of snowy landscapes and lonesome mountain roads. While its plotlines of a fragile detective haunted by the serial killer he caught and a young psychiatrist interviewing a refined madman in his asylum cell owe much to “Manhunter” and “Silence of the Lambs,” “The Frozen Dead” builds its own world by setting interesting characters in a complex story that unearths a quiet town’s dark and violent secrets.
Berling is outstanding as the wonderfully atypical police officer, Servaz. Traumatized by his past investigations, prone to sleeping and suffering bloody noses while he shivers from cold, the anxious Servaz proves to be as vulnerable as he is a first-class detective. Piaton is excellent as Ziegler, a talented but reserved police officer who comes to respect the sometimes off-putting Servaz as their investigation leads into uncomfortable terrain. Greggory is superb as the deeply unsettling Hirtmann, who projects uncanny insight and emotion from his cell, while seeming eerily interested in friendship and sympathy from precisely those who understand his monstrosity. Other fine performances include Le Ny’s turn as the grizzled and fiercely competent prosecutor Cathy d’Humières, and Meurisse’s role as Diane Berg, a determined young psychiatrist who has come to France to exorcise past demons. Director Laurent Herbiet has put together a fascinating and disturbing mystery that is well worth your time.