UR­BAN MYTH

THE PAS­SEN­GER | Raphaëlle Agogué on her role as French TV’S tough­est fe­male de­tec­tive…

Crime Scene - - CASE NOTES -

“CHÂTELET’S RUDE, TOUGH AND STRONG, WEAR­ING A PAIR OF PANTS AND A GUN ”

Apsy­cho­log­i­cal thriller that’s likely to have you hooked from its open­ing scene, French se­ries The Pas­sen­ger fea­tures the grisly work of a se­rial killer who bor­rows from Greek mythol­ogy. Based on a novel by Gal­lic au­thor Jean-christophe Grangé, the lat­est for­eign lan­guage TV drama from Wal­ter Presents begins with the dis­cov­ery of a dead man wear­ing a bull’s head at the Gare de Bordeaux-saint-jean.

Cap­tain Anaïs Châtelet, who leads the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, has shades of Spi­ral’s no-non­sense Parisian de­tec­tive Laure Berthaud. “Châtelet’s rude, tough and strong. She’s wear­ing a pair of pants and a gun,” says Raphaëlle Agogué, re­gard­ing her char­ac­ter in The Pas­sen­ger, a show that she de­scribes as “am­bi­tious”.

French view­ers were gripped as much by the se­ries’ elab­o­rate crimes as its un­likely lead duo of Châtelet and foren­sic psy­chi­a­trist Mathias Freire (Jean-hugues Anglade from Braquo). “It’s a very un­usual pair­ing – even the phys­i­cal as­pect of it, be­cause I’m quite tall,” Agogué tells Crime Scene. “I like the con­fronta­tion be­tween the two.”

She com­pares her tough but trou­bled cop to Car­rie Mathi­son (Claire Danes) in Home­land. “In the first two episodes, my char­ac­ter is not very nice, she’s doesn’t re­ally smile, she’s not very friendly” says Agogué. “She has very deep psy­cho­log­i­cal trou­bles – she re­ally has to see a ther­a­pist.”

In one scene, Châtelet shoots a pair of snarling dogs in an aban­doned ware­house taken over by drug ad­dicts. “The chan­nel thought it was a bit too much,” says Agogué. “They tried to cut it, but the di­rec­tor said we have to keep it be­cause it says some­thing about the char­ac­ter of Anaïs and why she could have such anger.”

In ad­di­tion to dead dogs, there’s also a de­ceased bull, which was des­tined for the fight­ing arena. Châtelet ex­presses her con­tempt for the breeder and south­ern France’s cruel tra­di­tion of bull­fight­ing or tau­ro­machie.

“For my char­ac­ter, we can see how it would be hard to be forced by her father to see that [ as a child],” Agogué says. “I grew up in Nîmes, and dur­ing sum­mer there are bull­fights. I went to see it when I was 12 or 13 and it was a night­mare – I just cried.”

There’s also a night­mar­ish qual­ity to The Pas­sen­ger. As the mythol­ogy-based mur­ders con­tinue, both main char­ac­ters ap­pear to be con­nected to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The psy­cho­log­i­cal as­pect of my char­ac­ter is what is in­ter­est­ing,” says Agogué. “We’ll see how [ her] psy­cho­log­i­cal trou­ble is linked to the case. She will dis­cover some re­ally dark as­pects of her per­sonal life.”

Agogué is “very proud” of The Pas­sen­ger, which should in­crease her chances of be­ing cast in an English-lan­guage pro­duc­tion – she missed out on a role in Sky­fall – but will we see a sec­ond se­ries?

“I think the chan­nel wants to leave the door open,” she says. “Jean-christophe Grangé said he couldn’t be in­volved be­cause there is no [ sec­ond] book. So my own per­sonal opin­ion is, prob­a­bly not.”

The Pas­sen­ger is avail­able to stream now at wal­ter­p­re­sents.com

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