Suave, smart and somewhat strange. That’s how the promotional material describes the title character Balthazar, a Paris-based forensic pathologist played by Tomer Sisley who can speak to the dead and drives some amazing sports cars.
Yes, he’s probably all of those three things. He’s certainly brilliant, he’s also quite troubled, not least by the death of his girlfriend in a grisly murder. That incident permeates all three seasons of the show, as Balthazar struggles with his loss at the same time as he and his partner in crime, the magnificent Capitaine Bach (Hélène de Fougerolles), try to piece together information to solve the case. All the while solving a whole bunch of others throughout the three seasons.
Apart from the amazingly tender relationship he clearly had with his murdered partner, Lise, it is the relationship Balthazar has with policewoman Bach that drives the show.The author writes
At times, she makes little secret of how annoying she apparently finds his restless energy, as they turn up at some God-forsaken hour to another crime scene; at other times they can show great tenderness toward each other. You are never really sure what is going to happen to them on a personal level, but I for one was always rooting for them to get it on. Without spoiling anything, the repressed feelings become so much clearer by the end of season three.
This makes it all the more disappointing that, in the speculation online about whether there will be a season four, it seems likely Capitaine Bach will be no more. At least we know that Fougerolles will not be playing her if indeed her character survives, according to multiple reports. Unless there’s another surprise. After all, right at the cliffhanger in season three, we aren’t even sure Balthazar is alive, so who knows anything concrete about another season?
The show, currently available with an Acorn TV subscription, was one of my favorites of the COVID era. The two main characters are absolutely brilliant and work so well together, despite their completely different approaches to work and life. There are also great supporting characters: Balthazar’s dead girlfriend Lise (Pauline Cheviller); Bach’s sidekick Delgado (Yannig Samot); the deeply disturbed love interest Maya (Leslie Medina), Balthazar’s on and off girlfriend; and the pathologist’s talented associates Fatim (Philypa Phoenix) and Eddy (Côme Levin).
There were the occasional episodes that didn’t really work. The opening one of season three, for example, was a crazy tale about some cult on a remote island almost killing Bach, making me worry about the trajectory of the rest of the season. But it soon got back on the rails and it all builds to a stunning climax. And a couple of misfiring episodes in a total of well more than 20, that’s pretty damned good.
Some of the better ones include episodes where Balthazar and Bach find themselves forced together in very difficult situations they appear to have no control over, including being held overnight in custody on suspicion of abduction. There’s also a harrowing episode in which they are both caught in a freezing chamber.
Even with death apparently on the horizon, they struggle to express their feelings for each other.The author writes
The chemistry of Balthazar and Bach keeps you enthralled. Plus you want to find out what exactly happened to his ex-girlfriend. And you’re never really sure about his new girlfriend Maya and what her motives are. She goes in and out of his life, turning up oh so conveniently at seemingly coincidental moments, and she has a way about her that keeps you wondering what she might really be up to.
There’s plenty in Balthazar to keep you sucked in. I sure hope there’s a season four. I mean, we have to find out what kind of car he will be driving, for one. I’ll settle for the fact he is alive. And that Capitaine Bach will be back.