Patrick Hivon leads the investigation in “Surprising Detective”

“There have only been two murders in twenty years in the Magdalen Islands. » It is with this statement that the series begins Surprising Detective. The girl with the stone eyes, adapted from the first volume of a series of successful detective novels by Jean Lemieux.

In a tight-knit and more or less isolated community, the slightest event is likely to have unsuspected repercussions. This is what the production team of the series, which consists of six one-hour episodes and which elevates the winning elements of the novel – a sordid murder, complex and tortured characters, a thrilling investigation – has focused on. by adding rhythm, depth and emotions: a perfect recipe to provoke binge-watching.

Written by Marie-Ève ​​Bourassa and Maureen Martineau, and produced by Version 10, Surprising Detective takes the viewer to the village of Cap-aux-Meules, in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, shaken by the discovery of the corpse of the mayor’s daughter, Rosalie Richard (Milya Corbeil-Gauvreau), in a terrifying scene that suggests planned murder.

Detective Sergeant André Surprenant (Patrick Hivon), who has already worked in major crimes in Montreal, refuses to leave the investigation in the hands of the Sûreté du Québec. Surrounded by a team of young police officers overwhelmed by the violence of the event, including the insightful Geneviève Savoie (Catherine Brunet), he is determined to find the culprit and lock him behind bars for life, an objective complicated by his misplaced pride, his recklessness and the growing list of suspects.

The charm of the Islands

First series shot entirely in the Magdalen Islands — “we even cheated on a scene that takes place in Montreal to recreate it in the Islands,” emphasizes director Yannick Savard —, Surprising Detective had its share of challenges. “Filming away from home means transporting crew and equipment, which requires a lot of planning. We have to anticipate every problem,” said the latter during the round table which followed the presentation of the first two episodes to the media.

As the story is set in spring, the technical team also had to deal with the unpredictable weather — cold, showers, fog — in the Magdalen Islands. “Quite early in the process, we decided to brave the elements. We wanted to feel the Islands. In fact, the weather served to accentuate the dramatic aspects. Rain and wind were part of the series’ DNA, and I almost came to hope for them. We also wanted to move away from the beautiful beaches, lighthouses and more bucolic landscapes to look towards places that we don’t often see,” adds Yannick Savard.

For Patrick Hivon, who plays the main role, these natural elements – combined with rhythmic filming deprived of the vagaries of everyday life – helped to build the character. “Everything was there to force me to isolate myself in my head and concentrate on what I had to play. The order of the scenes also played a role. We started with all the sequences that take place in the police station. Everyone came to the set from the first days, which helped create bonds that were strengthened during time spent together outside of working hours.

An instant classic

With its community forced to live with grief, suspicion and secrets, its foggy and increasingly suffocating atmosphere as well as its numerous subplots, Surprising Detective evokes other classics of the genre such as the British and Danish series Broadchurch And The Killing.

In addition to relying on a traditional police construction – each episode ends with a twist or an element of suspense – the scenario explores the repercussions of the assassination on a community as particular as that of the Islands. “This kind of event creates a real tidal wave among residents, who know both the victim and the culprit. We wanted to feel the collateral damage, the evolution of the dramatic intensity caused by a tragedy that becomes bigger than them,” points out the director.

The writers also wanted to distance themselves from the more procedural elements of the novel to focus on experience and emotions. “We kept the basic investigation and the characters, but we wanted to develop them, give them a journey and a complexity that reflects the landscape. Our goal was to reach people,” emphasizes Marie-Ève ​​Bourassa.

Throughout the creative process, the watchword remained authenticity. Thus, around ten local actors were recruited, in addition to the extras. “They are among the most professional with whom I have had the chance to work,” says Yannick Savard. The soundtrack, at once evocative, ethereal, melancholic and bewitching, was composed by Madelinot Éloi Painchaud (Salebarbes), and reflects the environment and the narrative power of the story.

With two mouth-watering first episodes, the production team hopes to achieve the expected success, and thus be able to bring to life the other six volumes of the Sergeant Surprenant series. To be followed carefully.

Surprising Detective. The girl with the stone eyes

On Club illico from December 7

To watch on video

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