TV review: The Passenger, Walter Presents
French psychological crime thriller
Since its launch in January Channel 4's Walter Presents has built up an eclectic library. From Israeli romcom The Beauty and the Baker to Danish horror Heartless it's a fascinating snap shot of international TV that doesn't usually make its way to our screens. However, the meat of Walt's content are thrillers (such as the excellent Deutschland 83 or Sweden's Blue Eyes). And for their final series launch of 2016 they have gone back to their roots with French murder mystery The Passenger.
A junkie is found dead in an abandoned station, his head replaced with that of a bull. Anaïs Châtelet (Raphaëlle Agogué) takes charge of this baffling murder that appears to be linked to a hulking amnesiac (Vincent Deniard) in the care of psychiatrist Mathias Freire (Jean-Hugues Anglade).
The initial image of the mutilated body is striking, instantly invoking the legend of the minotaur, the maze graphics in the opening credits hamming home the point. In this first episode it's too early to tell if there is a deeper connection with the Greek myth, whether it's symbolism representing the labyrinthine case or just a cool visual motif. And while the why and how of this grisly murder are intriguing The Passenger soon slips into formula.
It's almost as if there's a production line: take a bizarre killing add a female detective (preferably with an unusual character quirk), stir and bake for six episodes. That's not taking anything away from Agogué's performance – she's tough and charismatic (just check out how she deals with a pack of vicious dogs), hints at a darker past and struggles with self-harm. The Passenger is eminently watchable, well-produced and boasting a strong cast, it just feels like we've visited this crime scene before.
The Passenger is available on Walter Presents on All 4 from Fri 2 Dec.