The second season of Elite Squad, the winner of the Best Television Series award at the 2012 Globes de Cristal Awards, is now streaming in the States. Binge-watching is recommended.

Elite Squad Season 2
Elite Squad: Season 2: (L-R) Yann Sundberg as Constantine and Frédéric Diefenthal as Yach — Image courtesy of Walter Presents

First, a look back at Season 1 of Elite Squad (Flics)

“Bienvenue à la police!”

The Police Judiciaire de Paris, better known as 36, quai des Orfèvres in Parisian vernacular, is the headquarters for serious crimes investigations in the City of Light. It’s also where darkness infiltrated two of its squads five years ago, when two cops and best friends became fierce and bitter enemies and rivals in one horrific, bullet-ridden moment.

One of them is Commander Victor “Yach” Yachvili (Frédéric Diefenthal, David Nolande, Les virtuosos) of the Anti-Gang Squad, a cross between Al Pacino’s Serpico and actor Armand Assante in looks and Spiral’s Gilou and Braquo’s Braquo characters in attitude and actions. The divorced father of a young daughter, Yach is a caring, street-smart, bleep-you kind of guy with a healthy disrespect for authority.

The other is Crime Squad Commander Boris Constantine (Yann Sundberg, Deep, Crossing Lines), who reminds me of actor Nicolaj Lie Kaas and his Carl Mørck character in the “Department Q” films. Unlike his colleague and nemesis, widower Constantine is a contemplative, more or less by-the-book kind of cop, and an emotional wreck; has been since his wife died.

Each does his level best to outdo the other, such as on the investigation concerning a car bomb that killed the driver for Commissioner Léa Legrand (Catherine Marchal, Section zero, 36 Quai des Orfèvres), the director of the Police Judiciaire de Paris. Before her promotion, she was on the team during that fateful shoot-out a half-decade ago, and has a bullet lodged near her spine to show for it. Since then, she’s had the backs of Yach and Constantine, but is losing patience with both of them. And now it appears she’s on a criminal’s hit list.

Everything points to that criminal being the infamous Oriou (Marc Barbé, Crossing Lines) — from his trademark use of explosives, to his open admission that he has it in for Legrand (ever since the shoot-out that left her with “three legs”). However, there is more to the car bombing than even Oriou is aware of.

And there’s more to police work for Yach and Constantine than staking out criminal haunts, getting info from snitches, and going back and forth in their one-upmanship thing. Well, at least until the interns under their care — including Marie Van Sant (Alice Vial, Plus belle la vie) and Anne Rossi (Annabelle Hettmann, Les petits meurtres d’Agatha Christie) — become full-fledged flics. (Assuming they do.)

With the two sworn enemies having some common ground, Yach and Constantine work separately and then (gasp!) together to bring Oriou and his cadre of criminals to justice. Only it’s one of our (anti)heroes who lands in prison.

Fast forward two years. Legrand has recovered from a dangerous operation, Constantine is now head of the Anti-Gang squad, and Yach has been granted parole in the Season 2 opener. Clearly, life took a turn for the worse for the now-badge-less Yach following the events in the Season 1 finale.

But interestingly enough, things got better for Breunière (Guy Lecluyse, Commisariat Central), who was demoted and reassigned from the Police Judiciaire de Paris to a post in the suburbs. He’s playing host to Yach until the latter can get on his feet, and concurrently playing with fire: Breunière is on two payrolls — one from the local police and the other from Dominique Battaglia (series creator Olivier Marchal, Braquo, Les Innocents), a ruthless criminal that Constantine tries to bring down with help from Yach (yes, Yach), who begins playing a long game with Battaglia.

To say that things get messy and ugly is an understatement. Worse yet: There’s a mole in Legrand’s organization. With the threat of Yach’s cover being blown and Constantine being under the scrutiny of Internal Affairs, both men must do what needs must in order to get Battaglia and to stay alive, both figuratively and literally.

Featuring Jérôme Kircher (The Returned)and Elizabeth Bourgine (Death in Paradise), Elite Squad is now streaming in the US, exclusively on Walter Presents US.

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Walter Presents on Amazon Video

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Elite Squad: Season 2 of Gritty French Cop Drama Premieres in the US