Tonight at 9:10 p.m., France 2 airs the first two episodes of the miniseries written by Antoine Lacomblez (“Laetitia”), in which a mother, worn down by years of bullying, is accused of having caused her death violent husband.
What is it about ?
Her ex-husband has just died after falling into his garden from the top of a temporary scaffolding. Pauline was there. It was her who called the emergency services, but just a little too late and so clumsy … Everything accuses her. And every time she tries to justify herself, she sinks a little deeper … Even her eight-year-old son is convinced she’s guilty.
The legal machinery is set up, social services are getting involved. She faces hypocrisy and then her in-laws rage and ruthlessness, she has no words to defend herself, she is fragile, unpredictable. She is a woman broken by many years of contempt and small daily humiliations. The investigating judge – almost as fragile as she is within the institution – quickly sees a motive there. She will not give up.
What Pauline is not telling you – 4 x 52 minutes
Wednesdays 9 and 16 March 2022 in France 2
Who is it with?
In this four-episode legal drama, Ophelia Kolb (The Man In Condemned) takes on the title role, as Pauline, a mother at the end of her reins, who all blames the death of her husband, whom she intended to leave. His in-laws, played by Pierre Arditi (Les Choses Humaines) and Hélène Alexandridis (Possessions), are also reluctant to show him sympathy, unlike his brother-in-law played by Guillaume Marquet (influence game).
In court, a young investigating judge, played by Grace Seri (H24), will try to prove his guilt, supported by a cunning gendarmerie major played by Sylvie Testud (Fugueuse), while a witness in the camp of Kévin Azaïs (Frères weapon) appears. to bring unexpected support to Pauline.
To compose this legal drama, Antoine Lacomblez (who along with Kévin Azaïs and Guillaume Marquet finds two of the actors in the ingenious miniseries Laetitia, which was co-written in 2019 with Jean-Xavier de Lestrade) and Julien Capron (SHAME France) focuses on a woman whom we understand from the first minutes that she is embroiled in a violent relationship with a narcissistic pervert who has degraded and degraded her mentally for years.
Based on this observation, the series tries to make us doubt his innocence after the discovery of the latter’s lifeless body: erratic behavior, stubborn silence, hesitation, aggressiveness … Everything is done so that we question his intentions through Morgane Sabalys prism, a newly trained investigating judge determined to maintain her independence in an environment whose codes she discovered, of which Pauline represents the first trial.
The series is directed in a sober and effective way by Rodolphe Tissot (The Last Wave), and the series will then depict all the obstacles Pauline encounters, downplayed from all sides, as her husband dies after what she claims to be an unintentional fall . From her bourgeois in-laws who patronize her and their sugar-coated lawyer, to the online hatred that has been poured over her, and even her own eldest son who doubts her sincerity, Pauline experiences both psychological destruction and structural misogyny in the face of like his deceased husband, presented as a charismatic and capable man.
Opposite her, Morhane Sabaly serves as an entry point for the viewer, reflecting both our doubts and our questions about Pauline’s character. Despite the compassion she inspires, could she be guilty? By tirelessly instructing Pauline for or against him under the Code of Criminal Procedure (in other words, to seek both proof of his innocence and guilt), the investigating judge tries to keep a front line insecure and rejects the camaraderie and political alliances his superior offered him. .
But what is the price of a young black judge at the start of his career who refuses to compromise with himself? Just as much as Pauline, Morgan’s isolation and justice will end up costing her dearly. Despite a somewhat lazy basilized development and a conclusion in the form of deus ex machine easily guessed, the series finds its strength in this parallel struggle led by Pauline and Morgane within the justice system, both doomed to the same structural misogyny on the one hand as on the other. Among the entire cast’s smooth score, Grace Seri is a true revelation, bringing a lot of depth to her character.
After the recent thrillers I killed my husband (more or less successful) and Manipulations (surprising and addictive) aired on 13th Rue and France 2, and especially the hard-hitting TV movie L’Emprise on TF1 (dated back to 2014), it is hard to see in What Pauline is not telling you yet another repetition of the mechanics that overwhelm the female victims of psychological violence. But given the number of homicides in 2021, the explosion in the number of complaints of domestic violence during incarceration and their ever-increasing number at the beginning of the year, repeating this point through fiction still seems equally relevant. .