For Euro TV and British TV fans in the US who’ve been waiting to get into The Tunnel, your wait is nearly over, as the bilingual English/French crime thriller is set to make its debut.
Regular readers of this blog know that I’m not big on remakes. But when it comes to The Tunnel, I unabashedly say watch it, as it is fabulous.
Adapted from the Swedish/Danish crime thriller The Bridge (Bron/Broen), The Tunnel stars Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones, Secret State, John Adams) and Clémence Poésy (The Hollow Crown, In Bruges, Harry Potter). He plays DCI Karl Roebuck of the (fictional) Northbourne Police, and she plays Capitaine Elise Wassermann of the DCPJ (French National Police).
The British and French detectives begin their uneasy partnership after they are sent to investigate the discovery of a dead body at the midpoint of the Channel Tunnel, which links the island nation and the continent. Upon recognizing the deceased as a prominent French politician, the all-too-serious Elise declares it a case for her team, which is fine by the laid-back Karl… until they discover that the dead body is actually the upper and lower halves of two different women, the latter later determined to belong to a British prostitute.
Clearly this crime was premeditated, and claiming responsibility is someone dubbed “the Truth Terrorist” — a one-person crusade against social injustices. To get his message heard, he posts viral videos and uses tabloid journalist Danny Hillier (Tom Bateman, Jekyll & Hyde, Da Vinci’s Demons) as his mouthpiece.
In other goings-on, social worker Stephen Beaumont (Joseph Mawle, Game of Thrones, Ripper Street) is helping an asylum seeker and her young son, while Beaumont’s care-worker sister, Suze (Keeley Hawes, Line of Duty, Upstairs Downstairs), is feeding her habit by stealing drugs. Troubled teenager Sophie Campbell (Mia Goth, Wallander) runs away from her abusive mother and is taken in by an odd stranger. And Karl’s self-absorbed son, Adam (Jack Lowden, War & Peace, The Passing Bells), is being a layabout and frustrating Karl’s wife, Laura (Angel Coulby, Dancing on the Edge, Merlin).
Meanwhile, Karl and Elise continue their joint investigation as the killings continue in both England and France. Each instance, including of the two butchered women, is related to one of the Truth Terrorist’s five truths about society, and leaves numerous innocents the victims of the psychopath’s mission.
After a near-fatal incident, Elise comes to suspect something about the identity of the Truth Terrorist, and Karl takes an action that no cop is ever supposed to take… and it has consequences. And as events unfold, the identity of the Truth Terrorist is revealed, as is the real truth behind his heinous crimes.
While the storyline and many of the details are identical to The Bridge — Karl’s vasectomy, family life, and past misdeeds, and Elise’s Porsche, random sex pick-ups, and Asperger-like behavior — The Tunnel incorporates certain changes to the original and stands well on its own as a gritty, gripping crime thriller.
Dillane gives a tremendous performance as Roebuck (which won him the 2014 International Emmy® Best Actor Award), as does Poésy as Wassermann. Their portrayals of the Anglo and French versions of Saga Norén and Martin Rohde are similar to, yet quite distinct from, those of Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia in the Swedish/Danish original, and their characters’ relationship develops on a different level.
A co-production of Sky Atlantic and Canal+, produced by Kudos Film and Television (River, Broadchurch), the ten-part series also features Tobi Bakare (Death in Paradise), Thibault de Montalembert (Commissaire Laviolette), James Frain (The Tudors), Caroline Proust (Spiral), and Cédric Vieira (Keeper).
A must-watch for fans of Euro TV and British TV alike, shown in English and French with English subtitles, The Tunnel: Series 1 premieres in the US on Sunday, 19 June 2016, at 10:30 PM ET on PBS.