So 'Salamander' came to a dramatic end this weekend, with Gerardi face to face with the man behind the business that has kept all those Belgian luminaries in such a lather for the past six weeks.
In one of those scenes that always seems to happen on TV dramas, the villain's ego meant he couldn't rest easy until he'd explained his motivation and method to the, typically, trussed up detective.
Which meant, fortunately for us, we got to hear the whole thing, how Wolfs had been quietly nursing his post-war resentments until some stranger had told him the truth of Salamander's origins, how Dewulf had been duped horribly and fatally by Jonkhere Senior and thus the wheels for revenge set in motion.
Gerardi finally discovers the whys and the hows of Salamander, and its antagonist Wolfs
This might have all worked in a book, but it made for a very crowded final episode, with some time-jumping around hither and thither, culminating in a Jackal-style shoot out with cool-eyed assassin Klaus on a brand new mission, to get rid of Gerardi and his former paymaster, and Gerardi pulling faces as though he'd much rather be quaffing on a big glass of red. As he told us helpfully during one fairly unacrobatic roll across the lawn, "Merde."
A couple of things didn't quite add up. Frankly, Wolfs' daughter Patricia didn't seem that bothered by the idea that Daddy had busted the identity of her new suitor, nor that he'd possibly dealt with him rather harshly while his daughter sat playing with hers. And Gerardi did seem to get over the loss of his wife - you know, the one whose loss had fuelled his entire campaign - with rather unseemly haste, and the aid of a big wet hairbrush for courting purposes.
The many faces and skills of Klaus couldn't save him
The devilry of Gerardi's police colleague was also a bit belatedly established, and we could have done with Adams' reappearance to set him right. And a bit more monastic machinations in the final reel, as well as a more satisfying end for Gerardi's beleaguered boss. These characters all seemed to appear and then disappear from view rather abruptly.
And let's just gloss over the music that accompanied much of this…
But soundtrack and unevenness of pace aside, 'Salamander' proved a satisfyingly rich tale, with Paul Gerardi a charismatic, accidental witness to one man's lifelong pursuit to prove himself, and then discover it was based on a lie. Which makes you wonder what our friend is going to do for a follow-up series… But never mind. We've got used to him now, and it will be nice to see this distinctive chap again. Fear not, Series 2 is being written as we speak, so it shouldn't be too long before we hear once more someone curling their lips around 'Ger-ard-i' in a particularly menacing fashion.
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