Capitani: A dead girl in the woods; a gruff, unfriendly detective comes to a small town from the city; a town plagued by secrets; an eager small-town rookie cop. You’ve seen it before. You just haven’t seen it in Luxembourg. Another thing that makes the Netflix series Capitani unique is that its episodes are only 25-30 minutes long, which makes for a swift pace. Inspector Luc Capitani (Luc Schiltz) is on his day off when he is summoned to a small town to help the local police solve a murder. And boy do they need help. These cops are GREEN. A local teen (Jil Devresse) is found dead in the woods, and her twin sister is missing. Capitani swans in, arrogant and dismissive, and declares that this case “is an easy one.” He is met by the incompetent cop Joe Mores (Joe Dennenwald), and the eager Brigadier Elsa Ley (the warm and vulnerable Sophie Mousel), who give him the lay of the land. And, as expected, with the amount of secrets this tiny town carries, the case isn’t easy at all.
Capitani, the man
Luc is truly rude, much like DI Hardy (David Tennant) in Broadchurch. There is a weird disconnect though, because his looks are boyish, but his temperament is that of a jaded, middle aged cop. Although Elsa and Capitani never grow into the relationship Hardy and Miller have in Broadchurch, Capitani does clearly grow to respect Elsa, who is the most likable character on the show. Meanwhile, Luc has a secret of his own. He has been tracking the owner of the local inn (Brigitte Urhausen) for years, and now that he’s in town on a case, he confronts her. Turns out she is a long-ago ex, who has been in hiding from the drug gang she ran afoul of 15 years ago. Although she jumps back into bed with Luc, she doesn’t seem happy to see him.
Like all TV small towns, the citizenry is carrying juicy secrets. The twins’ mom, Nadine (Claude De Demo) is religious, “when it suits her,” (says the Priest!), yet she implores the twins’ dad, Mick (Jules Werner) to find the killer and make them pay. Mick, who is divorced from Nadine, is a local miller, and “can’t keep his (ahem) in his pants.” (and that’s from the Mayor!) The local baker’s daughter Manon (Julie Kieffer) is kinda trashy, and may be involved in some drug dealing. Elsa is hiding her pregnancy by her boyfriend Steve (Konstantin Rommelfangen), who is a Sergeant in the local military installation. The actual town is very picturesque, nestled in the hilly, forested Ardennes region. And it’s worth mentioning that the language, Luxembourgish, is interesting. It’s kind of a mix of German and French, but yet not Belgian.
Capitani is a decent, if standard, procedural. Although, you will find yourself asking questions such as, “Why does it take 5 days to get autopsy results?” and “Isn’t it coincidental that Luc gets put on a case in the exact town where he is tracking an ex?” and more, but I don’t want to spoil anything here. And there is almost no humor in the show. Whereas Rocco Schiavone is an amusing grump, Luc is just a jerk, for no apparent reason. It sounds like I didn’t enjoy it, but I did. I watched the whole series, mainly because I liked Elsa so much. That, and the show was set up perfectly for bingeing, with swift episodes, each ending on a cliffhanger. The real mystery is why the creators decided to make Luc so unlikable.
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