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He smokes weed, hurls f-bombs left and right, and has criminals as his closest friends. He is the titular Italian police inspector in the mystery-crime drama series Rocco Schiavone.

Rocco Schiavone
Marco Giallini as Rocco Schiavone — Image courtesy of Starz

Based on Antonio Manzini‘s international best-selling novels, Rocco Schiavone stars Marco Giallini (Forgive Us Our Debts, Romanzo Criminale, La nuova squadra) as the charismatic cop with the weathered good looks, short fuse, and keen crime-solving instinct.

Inspector Schiavone, a man haunted by his past and given to certain types of flights of fancy, has been in the mountain resort area of Aosta for nine months. His transfer from Rome is punishment for his having taken the law into his own hands and pissing off the wrong person. Rocco hates it in Aosta — the cold, the snow, the mountains, the long distance from Rome, the ugly snow boots people wear here, everything. To keep his loathing at bay, he rolls and smokes his own joints. In his office. At Aosta police headquarters.

In the series opener, Schiavone and his young partner, Detective Italo Pierron (Ernesto D’Argenio, Anti-Mafia Squad, Thou Shalt Not Kill), are called out to the village of Champoluc, where the body of a man was discovered after a snowplow driver inadvertently ran over it. With the corpse being a bit of a mess, identifying the victim is going to take something. A break in the case comes when a woman reports her husband as missing and the forensic pathologist determines the man’s pre-snowmobile death was a homicide. But there’s still the question why someone wanted him dead.

Meanwhile, Rocco’s friend Sebastiano (Francesco Acquaroli, Mafia Undercover, Suburra: Blood on Rome) calls from Rome to let him know a truck with a hidden stash of pot will be crossing the border into Italy near Aosta. Only the tip-off is intended for reasons other than law enforcement, and the truck is loaded with more than marijuana.

Outside of his work and other crime-related ventures, Rocco’s relationship with his lover Nora (Francesca Cavallin, Good and Evil, Don Matteo) hits the skids, so he hooks up with her artist friend — all while pulling a River in daily conversations with his wife Marina (Isabella Ragonese, Detective Montalbano, Ten Winters).

Despite pair after pair of his Italian loafers getting ruined, Schiavone plugs away at curious cases with Italo and Assistant Inspector Caterina Rispoli (Claudia Vismara, The Ladies’ Paradise, A Case of Conscience). When needs must, he calls on the assistance of D’Intino (Christian Ginepro, Il candidato) and Deruta (Don Matteo) — a couple of police staffers at the questura that make Montalbano‘s Catarella look like a member of Mensa.

Amongst the team’s investigations are the hanging death of a woman, the death of a businessman while mountaineering, the vehicular deaths of two men transporting stolen goods, the kidnapping of a young woman, and the killing of Sebastiano’s wife Adele (Anti-Drug Squad) — that last crime driving Rocco, Sebastiano, and their two closest friends to avenge now two murders.

Rocco Schiavone is a bad boy cop, to be sure, and his personal life seems like a lonely one filled by a series of selfishly-motivated entanglements. Yet the man has honor. And his brutish exterior belies a heartbroken soul who lives with his past firmly affixed in the present and who demonstrates his tender and compassionate nature sparingly. Schiavone is an extremely likable character, and Marco Giallini positively oozes magnetism in his nuanced portrayal of Rocco — moving fluidly from brash, scowling detective to sensitive, loving friend and points in between.

Shot on location in Aosta in the Italian Alps, the series’ setting and scenery are big and beautiful. The red-herringed plots are intricate and keep you guessing, and even when you think you’ve connected all the dots, you might still be surprised at the end of the stories.

The twelve-episode first season costars Massimo Reale (Il commissario Rex), Filippo Dini (The Young Montalbano), Massimo Olcese (7 vite), Marina Cappellini (Don Matteo), Fabio La Fata (Romanzo Siciliano), and Gino Nardella (All the Money in the World), and features Mirko Frezza (Roma criminale), Tullio Sorrentino (Anti-Mafia Squad), and Roberto Zibetti (La squadra).

Rocco Schiavone: Season 1 is currently available in the US on Starz and the Starz channel on Amazon.

Season 2 is expected to launch in Italy in 2018. Stay tuned for updates about when Starz will premiere it in the US.


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Euro TV to Watch: Riveting Italian Mystery Series “Rocco Schiavone”
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