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If it’s a grey, dreary day where you are like it is here — perfect! That is, the perfect atmosphere for bingeing the dark, chilling French crime thriller The Crimson Rivers.

The Crimson Rivers
The Crimson Rivers: (left) Erika Sainte as Camille Delaunay & Olivier Marchal as Pierre Niémans — Photo © Global Series Network, courtesy of Walter Present / PBS Distribution

Based on the hit 2000 film of the same name starring Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel, The Crimson Rivers TV series stars Olivier Marchal (Elite Squad, Police District) and Erika Sainte (Baron noir, Victor Hugo) as Pierre Niémans (Reno’s role in the film) and Camille Delauney — French detectives who get called to locations across France to investigate complex cases that involve brutality beyond the investigative capacity of local police departments.

The series’ first season consists of four two-part stories, the first of which is “The Last Hunt.” It opens during a hunt (presumably of fox) in the Dambach Forest by the Franco-German border. Two French huntsmen get separated from the pack, and soon discover the decapitated and disemboweled body of a man — the male heir to the vast fortune of an aristocratic family.

The victim was German, but Niémans and Delauney get called to the crime scene as it’s on the French side of the border, where hunting with hounds is allowed. But the French authorities in Strasbourg who started the investigation are pissed off at the detective duo, so they didn’t passed on the information they’d gathered. The local German cop, Chief Inspector Nikolas Kleinert (Ken Duken, Parfum), isn’t all that helpful, either, what with that large “I’m the big dog here” chip on his shoulder getting in the way.

Depending on the murderer’s motive, the victim’s sister, Laura von Geyersberg (Nora von Waldstätten, Murder by the Lake), might be another target. What is certain is she isn’t the next victim; it is, however, another member of the von Geyersberg clan — also found butchered in the forest.

The other stories in Season 1 feature the detectives investigating the death of a fresco restorer during harvest season in a wine-growing area of Alsace; the seemingly unrelated cases of a severed child’s hand and a serial killer’s crimes; and the deaths of a monk and a young girl as well as the mysterious disappearances of virginal women.

All eight episodes of the first season of The Crimson Rivers are now available for streaming in the US on the PBS Masterpiece Channel on Amazon and Walter Presents.

(Viewers in the UK can catch the series on Walter Presents via All 4.)


PBS Masterpiece Channel on Amazon

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Euro TV to Watch: US Premiere of French Crime Thriller ‘The Crimson Rivers’