Balthazar (2018)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on September 18, 2023 @

If you're looking for an intelligent, entertaining series on television, I have one for you.

Balthazar, created by Clelia Constantine and Clothilde Jamin, was on television in France for five seasons (2018-2023) and 34 episodes. It can be seen on Acorn TV now.

It's a riveting, human, memorable series. You have to accept subtitles and strong language, but that shouldn't be a problem. Quality transcends any potential liabilities.

The plots are diverse and creative. On rare occasions it goes off the rails, but it always returns to being credible. Credibility is one of its strengths.

The dialogue can be crude. It sets a record for "merde." It's also effective.

The acting is first-rate. Tomer Sislet portrays the title character with aplomb and charm. Ladies, he takes off his shirt frequently.

Raphael Balthazar is a brilliant forensic pathologist. But he's also eccentric, unpredictable, and vain. He is haunted by the gruesome murder of his wife Lise (Pauline Cheviler), whose murder was never solved. Because of the loss of Lise, he takes risks - at times dangerous, reckless ones.

He converses with Lise, who appears before him in 35 of the 38 episodes. He also converses with the dead victims who appear before him.

Four of the characters appear in all 38 episodes: Balthazar, his associates, Eddy (Come Levin) and Fatim (Philypa Phoenix), and Inspector Delgado (Yannig Sanmat). Eddy and Fatim are something of a mismatched couple, which adds to the uniqueness.

The familiarity is an asset. But the program also is effective in replacing crucial characters. Chief Inspector Helene Bach (Helene de Fougerolles) has a palpable chemistry with Balthazar, but she is replaced in season four by Captain Camille Costas (Constance Labba), who develops a different chemistry.

Balthazar takes us on a careening journey.

Merci, Balthazar.

© 2000-2023 Tony Macklin