The new season of The Bureau, the multiple Best Series award winner, premiered in the US yesterday, and it’s as taut and riveting as ever.

The Bureau: Season 3
The Bureau: Season 3: Mathieu Kassovitz as Guillaume Debailly, codename Malotru — Photo © Jessica Forde, courtesy of Sundance Now

The Season 3 storyline continues the narrative arcs from the first two seasons of The Bureau (Le Bureau des Légendes), so what follows are some spoilers for folks who haven’t already watched them.

As a reminder, Euro TV fans in the US can (binge) watch the series’ first 20 episodes for free, but you have to hurry. This no-cost, no-strings-attached, and no-log-in-required offer from Sundance Now is only valid for another week, then vanishes at the stroke of midnight on the 1st of July.

Now for a recap of Seasons One and Two.

Guillaume Debailly (Mathieu Kassovitz, Amélie, War & Peace) returns to Paris after having spent six years gathering intelligence in Damascus, Syria, for France’s DGSE, the general directorate of external security. His colleagues and bosses know him better by his codename: Malotru. Nadia El Mansour (Zineb Triki, De toutes mes forces, The Frozen Dead), his Syrian lover in Damascus, knows him only as Paul LeFebvre — Debailly’s legend or false identity.

Readjusting to his pre-Malotru life gets complicated when Debailly learns Nadia is in Paris, too, and the two begin their affair anew, with him as LeFebvre — a situation that is interdit for an agent due to the dangers involved. Meanwhile, the agent codenamed Cyclone (Mehdi Nebbou, Witnesses) has gone missing in Algeria, and Marina Loiseau (Sara Giraudeau, Divorce French Style, Rosalie Blum), codename Phénomène, is in the final stages of her training before going undercover to infiltrate the nuclear industry in Iran.

After suspecting that Nadia has been lying about why she’s in Paris, Malotru learns of her involvement in secret negotiations, spurring the DGSE to go into recruitment mode. And Marina’s skills as an agent, under her legend as a member of the IPGP (Institute of Earth Physics of Paris), are soon tested — both by her target and the French intelligence agency DGSI.

The plot thickens when the rescue operation of Cyclone gets underway, both Nadia and Marina are taken captive, and Malotru becomes a double agent for the CIA.

Four months later Malotru, now the Deputy Director of the DGSE’s bureau des legendes, continues to give info to the CIA in exchange for their help to free Nadia from her captors. He also displaces Marie-Jeanne (Florence Loiret Caille, Spiral) as the supervisor of Marina’s mission in Iran, where her target is the son of an Iranian dignitary and government energy advisor. Meanwhile, DGSE Director Duflot (Jean-Pierre Darroussin, La loi de…) must deal with two crises: a French jihadist and ISIS officer called Chevalier, and a mole within DGSE.

In Iran the Pasdaran, the ISIS army, are suspicious of Marina because of her target. This situation intensifies and Marina is arrested as a result. Meanwhile, the bureau des légendes’s Raymond Sisteron (Jonathan Zaccaï, Robin Hood) is working undercover in Turkey on the Chevalier mission. Malotru, who is leading this operation, re-inhabits his identity of Paul LeFebvre near the Turkish-Syrian border as part of the plan to neutralize Chevalier.

But the plan goes awry and LeFebvre is taken hostage by ISIS.

Which brings us to Season 3

Malotru is in a living hell. (The scene that closes Episode 1 is distressing on so many levels.) The CIA is loath to render any assistance in securing his release, so the DGSE turns to Nadia, who will help only if they get her what she wants (and what she wants concerns the European Commission). And the person the DGSE wants Nadia to get help from has an even steeper price.

Sisteron is in Syria on a mission to rescue Malotru with help from the Kurds. A sandstorm provides cover for the rescue operation; however, the three-person team encounters not one but two unexpected obstacles on the road to where Malotru is being held.

Marina, still under her IPGP legend, is in Vienna as part of her mission to get intel on the Bulgakov Institute, a Russian company. While chatting with two Bulgakov employees, she recognizes a member of the FSB, the Russia Federal Security Service, which triggers in her an increasingly severe symptom of the PTSD she developed from having been held captive.

The Bureau: Season 3, a Sundance Now Original series, premiered in the US with Episode 1 yesterday on Sundance Now. New episodes of the ten-part season will be added every Thursday.

If you don’t already have access to Sundance Now, you can sign up for the $6.99/month subscription on their website or, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, on the Sundance Now channel on Amazon. Either way, you get a free 7-day trial period before the subscription fee kicks in.

But wait, there’s more! For a limited time, you can get a month of Sundance Now for free, courtesy of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services division. Simply use promo code EMBASSY during the payment process. Note that this offer is for new subscribers only and is valid when signing up on the Sundance Now website.

Lastly, César Awards winner Eric Rochant (Love without Pity, Mafiosa), the creator, writer, and director of The Bureau, is currently scripting Season 4 of the series. Chouette!

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Euro TV to Watch: Season 3 of Award-Winning French Spy Thriller The Bureau
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