Art and design






Life and style








US news

World news

Spiral recap: season six, episodes 11 and 12 – the finale

Laure Berthaud and Gilou Escoffier
On the run ... Laure Berthaud and Gilou Escoffier. Photograph: BBC/Son et Lumière/Canal+/Caroline Dubois

Has victory ever tasted so sour? Professionally, Laure’s crew walked away with a big win. Drissa and Calvi confessed, Jolers died and Moldovan was captured. Personally, however, they are in abject disarray, with Tintin resigning, Laure absconding and Gilou stuck in a hospital car park with only a giant panda for company.

The Mercier case

Ultimately, it was Mercier stumbling across the baby-trafficking operation that led to his murder. We know now that Jolers never ordered Mercier’s death, intending instead to scare him into silence. Moldovan, though, had a more permanent solution in mind and a frenzied butchering was the result.

It is good, at least, to exonerate Jolers on this charge. He was many things, but the idea of him murdering a fellow officer did not feel right. As for his ugly public suicide, it always seemed he had something of a death wish. Jolers’ contempt for the community he served was palpable, but in the end Drissa proved to be the smarter operator. The 18- to 24-month sentence he is looking at is a result. The kid from the estate out-hustled the corrupt cop and there is something satisfying in that.

As for the cop-killing, baby-selling, child-prostituting Moldovan, he is facing the kind of sentence it takes several lifetimes to serve. Maria, though, survives – wounded, traumatised, but alive. Justine’s baby boy is safe with a loving couple; apparently, we are overlooking the fact they bought him from a psychopath. I suppose there have been worse crimes – many of them on this show.


Christine (second left) and Tintin Fromentin.
Final straw ... Christine (second left) and Tintin Fromentin. Photograph: BBC/Son et Lumière/Canal+/Caroline Dubois

The problem with always having someone’s back is that you become an enabler for every sin they commit, every screwup they make. Gilou’s gold theft is the last straw for Tintin, who exits Team Berthaud with a heavy heart, but a clear conscience. “Don’t bother asking yourself what you’ve become with Gilou and when you crossed the line, because you did that so long ago you’ve lost sight of where it is,” he tells Laure. It’s cruel, hurtful and every word is true. As auroreborealis pointed out below the line, this was a season fixated on the corporeal and physical vulnerability – Joséphine’s rape, Roban’s cancer, Laure’s ailing baby, Mercier’s mutilated torso and Vern’s smashed legs. Justice is not just an abstract concept, it is a living, breathing reality. CID is a body – and with Tintin’s exit they have lost their heart.


Joséphine Karlsson
Fighter ... Joséphine Karlsson. Photograph: BBC/Son et Lumière/Canal+/Caroline Dubois

Lenin said there are weeks when decades happen and Joséphine has just had one of those. She started it a free woman and ended it on remand for the attempted murder of her rapist, sharing a cell with an addict, her Pradas replaced by pumps. We know she can fight like an alley cat and in Edelman she has a ruthless, flamboyant defence brief. With the evidence against her and the swiftly recuperating Vern on her case, she is going to need him.


We end on Laure running away from the hospital, her daughter, the whole concept of motherhood, maybe even Gilou. She feels she will fail as a parent; Tintin’s departure, proving she is a bad mother to her CID family, is the final confirmation she needs. It may be that Romy ends up with Brémont and his extraordinarily understanding partner. It feels a little like the false cliffhanger of Laure’s stabbing in last season’s finale, though. I see a custody hearing in the season seven opener, with Laure and Gilou holding hands, fully committed to each other and ruining Romy’s life.


His hand is forced, but Roban agrees to undergo surgery that should keep him on the job for a while longer. Much like Joséphine, he has not got a lot going on outside of his career and retirement feels like a death sentence. What a nice touch, though, that Didier and the young magistrate who takes on his workload speak so well of him. Maybe a new generation of principled legal administrators forged in his image will continue his work after he is gone.

Thoughts and observations

  • Spiral is often compared to The Wire, but it also shares DNA with another US cable masterpiece: The Shield. As with Vic Mackey’s strike team, there is no escaping your misdemeanours – they snowball and crush you.
  • Unless you are Gilou, of course. Remarkably, he seems to have slipped the noose again. “I might be a twat, but I know things,” he tells Drissa. They should put that on his tombstone if it turns out he is not immortal (I am 50-50 on this). And what a scene it was with him punching the daylights out of Jolers, screaming: “What have you become?” Clearly, he was addressing himself as much as the hapless human punchbag beneath him.
  • The Beckriche neck itch is back with a vengeance. You can only have sympathy with the boy. A few weeks overseeing Berthaud’s mob and any of us would be twitching like Inspector Dreyfus.
  • The Roban monkey finding its way into Romy’s cot was some nice comic relief in a punishing two hours. With a bit of luck, it will become a recurring character.

The comments have been outstanding this year and they have increased my enjoyment and understanding of the show a lot. A big thank you for that. See you below the line.

This article titled "Spiral recap: season six, episodes 11 and 12 – the finale" was written by James Donaghy, for on Saturday 3 February 2018 10.59pm

Television & radio

Young Sheldon review: he’s an irritating little smartypants – but he’s headed for something Big one day

East Texas, 1989, and a nine-year-old boy is playing with his train set. Not so much for the love… Read more

Mum review – a cliched take on the maddening reality of being a mother

The first series of Mum (BBC Two), Stefan Golaszewski’s Bafta-winning sitcom about a grieving… Read more

Ted Cruz is right: Homer Simpson is a Republican. Sadly, he's also an idiot

To listen to Ted Cruz discuss The Simpsons at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference… Read more

Is Belgian drama the new Scandi-noir?

In show business, acts struggling to make an impact in the UK were often sardonically described as… Read more

The £1 Houses: Britain’s Cheapest Street review – the home-owning dream is now a nightmare

Here’s an idea for a Channel 4 property show (yeah, like they don’t have enough of them already):… Read more

Why Alan Partridge is returning to 'restrictive, stifling' BBC

It is fair to say that the TV presenter and North Norfolk Digital radio DJ, Alan Partridge, and his… Read more

Thursday’s best TV: Girls on the Edge, John Worboys: The Taxi Cab Rapist

Girls on the Edge 9pm, BBC Two This sensitive film documents the struggles of Jess, Erin and Jade,… Read more

The Windsor Knot: a twisted take on the royal nuptials – podcasts of the week

The Windsor Knot Podcast Wryly humorous duo Joe Skrebels and Daniel Krupa offer an antidote to… Read more

From Watchmen to Catch-22: can TV tackle 'unfilmable' books?

In recent months, a spate of books has been adapted for TV, with Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Ray… Read more

Britannia recap – series one, episode six

SPQR (So, plot… quick recap) There’s been a Regni spy inside the Cantii citadel all along whom we… Read more