In his third outing as Georges Simenon’s popular detective, Rowan Atkinson was faced with the murder of a diamond dealer, whose body was discovered in the garage of a mysterious Dane - a man who resisted police enquiries and whose strange habit of locking his sister in her bedroom “protecting her from it all” raised more than just Jules Maigret’s very mobile eyebrow.
It was an Easter Sunday evening delight. 5 reasons why...
1. The title role
Although it remains near impossible to watch Rowan Atkinson in any kind of church scene without immediately thinking of his scene-stealer in ‘Four Weddings’, the comedic legend continues to impress with this very understated turn - all unhurried, forensic examination of the human condition, furnished with compassion and a pipe - even as it drew him into direct conflict with his colleague, the snarling Inspector Grandjean (Kevin McNally).
2. The style
The faded Farrow and Ball grandeur of French mansions, the smoke-filled police stations and the beautiful cars right down to the Simca Aronde, all part of a faultlessly evocative 1950s continental setting.
3. The red herring
In the frame for the murder, the dodgy Dane, played by an almost unrecognisable Tom Wlaschiha, far less handsome but strangely more appealing with his ocular defect than in his ‘Game of Thrones’ turn as Jaqen H’ghar, but equally charismatic.
4. The hats
All the splendid headwear, worn by men and women both, with special mention for Maigret’s timeless Homburg.
5. The twist
After nearly two hours of Maigret sniffing his way through all the evidence pointing to the dodgy Dane, he finally chanced upon the truth of a criminal cover-up leading all the way to that very same colleague Inspector Grandjean, something Maigret took in his laconic stride.
Catch up with ‘Maigret’ on ITV Player.