The trailer for this television series caught my attention with its interesting premise, that a prominent French politician is found lying dead in the middle of a service tunnel that is a part of the Chunnel. She’s positioned exactly on top of the England/France border which makes it a case for both country’s police. Since England and France are historically famous for getting along really well, expect even more drama to ensue in this whodunit.
What I didn’t realize going in is that this premise wasn’t new when production began on the English/French series that is subtitled for the French speaking parts. It had already been done in the show Bron/Broen, with a body being found on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, two other famously cozy countries. It was made yet again for American audiences, set on the border between the US and their close friend Mexico. I suppose there are a lot of places in the world this story could exist. I wonder what the outer space version would look like?
I was quickly struck by how good the acting is in the series. Clemence Poesy (Harry Potter) is Elise Wassermann, a brilliant French police detective who is on the autism scale. This makes her a little difficult to work with if you’re looking for easy camaraderie and personal warmth, and it does take a while for the British detective Karl Roebuck, played by Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones) to begin to figure her out, all the while searching frantically for an international serial killer who is dubbed The Truth Teller in the press. Not only does Karl begin to really get Elise, but the actors have a killer chemistry that is a joy to watch.
Here’s the thing. There is not one hint of shipping the two characters. They remain colleagues and eventually friends all the way through the series. How often does that happen? It doesn’t, that’s what, so I found this on top of an autistic lead to be two good reasons to love this outstanding series. Did I mention that the acting is superb all the way through all the characters, including 91 year old Liz Smith in her last filmed performance. Don’t worry, you’ll recognize her face and voice if not her name.
I’ve only watched season one of the Anglo version of the story, but I’ve got a summer full of binging ahead as I catch the other two seasons of this version, as well as the three seasons each of the other two versions. I’ve read that this is the best one, so have a care picking which one you want to see. I also found a Norwegian thriller with the same title that had to go on my queue because I’ve yet to see a bad movie from that country. Looks like it’s based on a Korean film, and I’ll have to see that, too, and for the same reason. Good thing I’m not busy this summer.
Beyond the great acting there are other strong assets in The Tunnel. Because it’s European, there isn’t a lot of gratuitous gore and screaming car chases. The small amount of gore is believably done and really necessary. Because the acting is so good you will become very invested in all the characters’ stories, and this will lead to some harrowing moments in this thriller that is nicely put together for being spread out over ten episodes. No one is untouched emotionally or physically in this show, so be prepared for some pillow clutching.
If you don’t mind the occasionally very bloody drama, and if you can stomach extreme heartache and some really decent cliffhanging, then I highly recommend watching this series. At the very least, the acting is so good you won’t be disappointed.
Update: See SPOILERS below.
- The Tunnel – IMDB
- The Tunnel – PBS
- The bleak, grimy brilliance of the Kent coast: why The Tunnel was TV gold – The Guardian
The Tunnel (2013) – Official Trailer
CFR: In Addition: I was surprised to see Mildred review a TV show. However, I immediately added it to my Amazon Prime list. 🙂
ALSO!! Check out this video as the “villain’s” voice sounds like Opal from Artemis Fowl.
The Tunnel – Official Trailer
I made the unfortunate mistake of running across a spoiler comment on amazon for The Tunnel season 3, the series finale. If queer baiting pisses you off as much as it does me, or even worse, the Bury Your Gays trope (aka Bring Out Your Gay Dead, Dead Lesbian Syndrome), you might want to reconsider watching this series to the end.
Why does it piss me off? When 94% of characters on tv and in the movies are heterosexual, and of the remaining 6% or so 95% of those characters are either fake or die, why wouldn’t it piss me off? This includes films that are considered “gay”, which is enough to make me scream sometimes.
CFR: In Addition: ARGH! I won’t be watching the third season either. *raspberry*