Acorn TV, the streaming service delivering entertaining British, Australian and European series and films is just releasing a second season of the French detective dramedy, Candice Renoir.
Candice Renoir, which has run for eight seasons in France beginning in 2013, and stars Cecile Bois, has a winning premise and set-up: In a small seaside city in the South of France that is either Montpelier or Montpelier adjacent, Candice Renoir is brought in as chief detective of a local unit of investigators. This comes as a surprise to the detectives in place who are almost half her age and who expected one of them to be promoted to chief detective.
Candice is a woman of a certain age, as they say in France, which when the series means in her late thirties or early forties. She is a single Mom with four children, a surly teenage girl, a tween who is something of an oddball but has a passion for cooling and two troublemaking twins. As we learn in the first episode, she was once a top detective in Paris with an enviable rate of solving crimes. However, she has spent the last decade abroad as an expat, following her husband whose business posted him outside of France to raise their children. Her husband cheated on her, they got divorced, and now she is taking up her career again.
Candice is also blonde — and in France, the expression “blonde” is the same as “dumb blonde in the States. She is somewhat rusty on her detective skills, and not up-to-date on the latest technology and current police procedures, and no one including her younger female superior nor her fellow detectives is looking for her to succeed. Candice is continually underestimated.
However, Candice is a great detective, and she succeeds where others don’t. Imdb.com describes her as “Colombo in heels” and there is something to that. What is so charming about the series is that in every episode Candice solves the crime by noticing or knowing something that one would only if you had been a mother of four and housewife (for example, she is always check the fridge at a crime scene and in one instance deduces that the suicide is actually a murder because she sees that he was about to cook dinner; and another time she deduces that the kebab skewers were the instrument of death).
The theme song is a cover of “RESPECT” the Otis Redding song made classic by Aretha Franklin. Although it seems somewhat out-of-sync with a French detective series — the way one feels listening to it, is the way the Candice Renoir series wants you to feel — fun and strong. And Blois carries off the title character with great charm.
This being a French series, and the characters being oh-so-French, there is also romance and the fantasy that a woman of a certain age can have it all. Which only makes watching Candice Renoir all the more enjoyable.
Season 2 of Candice Renoir is now available on Acorn TV.