Maigret As Played By Mr. Bean

“Maigret Sets A Trap” is the beginning of a very short-lived British mystery series from ITV.  Rowan Atkinson, best known as Mr. Bean, is the latest to take on the role of Jules Maigret, the Parisian detective initially created by author Georges Simenon.  This episode was adapted by Stephen Harcourt and directed by Ashley Pearce. The series ended up being comprised of four ninety minutes episodes.

This episode begins with Maigret working to identify a serial killer who already has a body count of four dark-haired women left on the streets of Paris .  Pressure from the higher-ups in his department compel him to use police women as bait.

Atkinson is a talented performer, however he stayed largely on one note as the seasoned investigator.  I am not sure if that is Atkinson’s interpretation or if Maigret comes off as this bland in the original canon.  I may go ahead and try one of the novels out anyway.

The tension toward the end as Maigret closes in on a confession was kind of interesting. Much of this was pretty slow,  but British mysteries aren’t really known for bombastic action sequences.

The setting of 1950’s Paris was well depicted even though I just read that the scenes were actually filmed in Budapest and Hungary.

I was a little underwhelmed by this introduction to this latest iteration of Maigret.  It was still interesting to see Atkinson is a much more serious role this time around.  I actually have some affection for Atkinson so I hesitate to place all the blame for my reservations on his shoulder.

I will watch the remaining episodes to see if this could have gotten better.  It could be that Atkinson is too typecast to be easily believable as a formidable French detective, but I hope he continues to take on more atypical roles even if this particular one may not have worked out as he hoped.  The shadow of Mr. Bean is still quite long indeed.


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