Maigret’s Night at the Crossroads
The body of a Belgian jeweller is found in a car at a countryside mansion. The owner (Tom Wlaschiha) is unsurprisingly a prime suspect (he even wears an eyepatch for that extra touch of villainy). But what is his housekeeper up to, and isn’t there something a little odd about his relationship with his sister? After two one-offs last year proved a hit with viewers (if less so with critics), Stewart Harcourt adapts another of Georges Simenon classic murder mysteries, with Maigret required to penetrate a rural conspiracy of silence and negotiate the sometimes startling ineptitude of his fellow policemen.
At its heart is Rowan Atkinson’s anti-performance in the lead, still loitering somewhere between enigmatic reserve and comatose blankness. It’s left to Lucy Cohu as Madame Maigret to inject humanity into proceedings, fretting about the philandering and drunkenness of her husband’s colleagues. It’s a strange affair, and not necessarily intentionally so. There’s nothing wrong with a policier that can demonstrate restraint, but cerebral doesn’t have to mean chilly or sluggishly paced, as Inspector Morse proved. For all the attention to detail on display, it’s oddly unengaging. Gabriel Tate
Unanswered questions: Rowan Atkinson as detective Maigret