In spy series you have to be careful who you put your heart on – the density of traitors is higher than elsewhere, and even a loyal soul who only wants the best for us will often do things along the way for which there are few sympathy points gives. Such roles need to be cast wisely. At Gabriel Delage in liaison At first you don’t really know what he’s actually doing and for whom: is he a double agent, a mercenary, on his own behalf? He has to do with terrorism, but is he now for it or against it? Vincent Cassel is a godsend for the role, because whatever he does you want to watch him and you’re always ready to believe that the next twist in the story will reveal what drives him. Vincent Cassel can transform himself into any conceivable character – but cold or even cold-hearted is not in his repertoire.
Apple releases the six episodes of the first season of liaison every Friday, directed by Stephen Hopkins, who started the agent series 24 directed and written by French crime writer Virginie Brac, who also wrote the series Engrenages – In the Crosshairs of Justice come. It’s the streaming service’s first European project, and if the series has a French focus, it’s perhaps because the EU’s quota for domestic productions is actually being enforced in France.
Gabriel is Alison’s connection man, her liaison, also in the literal sense
liaison is a political thriller in the shadow of Brexit. It all starts with cyberattacks in the UK causing a flood, another attack targeting a train’s control system. Alison Rowdy (Eva Green) works for a minister, an agreement with Brussels that could help has not come about, Brexit is Brexit. But Alison has an old companion who might be able to help because he has ties to the French government: Gabriel Delage, played by Cassel. The two have a dark and a romantic past together. He’s her liaison, her liaison in every sense of the word. Gabriel has contact with two hackers – young Syrians who got caught up in something that scared them badly.
The plot of liaison is exciting, current, sometimes terrifying and at times really moving. But the series could be a little more approachable. Neither Alison nor Gabriel really know exactly what their job description actually says. But that is in the service of the story being told here: Great Britain, France, Europe, individual ministers – they have all entered into partnerships and commitments that are not really compatible with their own security interests. Almost like in real life. For friends of the original sound will liaison in any case prove to be a challenge – it goes back and forth quite wildly between English, French and Arabic, and the English part is then also a mishmash of various accents. The average European doesn’t have as much sense of Babylonism as is assumed here, at most Vincent Cassel – but he’s not an average guy either.
Liaison, six episodes, every Friday from February 24th on Apple +.
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