I am an idiot, apparently. I thought I knew the history of Arsène Lupin. He is, after all, a famous character in France literature.
Now, in my light defence, I have read Edgar Allan Poe’s short-story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, which is considered by many to be the first modern detective story. The main character in the story? C. Auguste Dupin. Not Arsène Lupin. Oops.
So when I saw that Netflix had a new series starting called Lupin, and it had some reference to the stories, I was expecting him to be a detective. Nope, Arsène Lupin is a gentleman burglar, a master of misdirection and disguise. He can be anybody. Anyone. Any time.
In the opening, you meet a young man who is in debt to a loan shark. He’s working as a janitor at the Louvre. His ex-wife thinks he’s broke. What nobody knows? He’s Arsène Lupin.
A spoiler alert though is needed here. Because I can’t review the story without reviewing his disguise. It’s true he has an ex-wife, a son, and owes money to a loan shark. It’s even true he’s working as a janitor. But it’s all a con so he can get the loan shark to rob the Louvre. He has the perfect plan. It just doesn’t happen to be the plan he told the loan shark and his crew. They double-cross him, but he had already double-crossed them. He steals the necklace, and walks out the loading dock door with it. One young detective is on to him, but is it enough?
The larger spoiler is that the necklace has a history. The main character, who is not really Arsène Lupin but actually Assane Diop, knew the wealthy family that used to own it, as his father was their chauffeur. When the necklace went missing, the father was arrested and charged, and overcome with shame, he apparently killed himself in his jail cell rather than let his son see him in prison. So the theft is apparent revenge for his father’s death.
I loved the show and I loved the main actor, Omar Sy (Jurassic World). He played at least 3 different characters, so to speak, in the show, shifting from one to the other with ease. He was a bit off with his performance as a tech billionaire, a little too casual and cavalier about the necklace being stolen, but otherwise excellent. I can’t wait to see where the show goes.
Netflix’s business model is different than most, but I’m still going to predict renewal. Despite the dubbing, I think people will show up to watch it.