The hit detective series “Criminal Tropics” returns to France 2 this evening for a highly anticipated new season 3. Sonia Rolland and Béatrice de La Boulaye tell us more about what awaits Sainte-Rose and Crivelli in these new episodes.
France 2 launches the new season 3 of Criminal Tropics. Season 4 is already filmed. Do you still take so much pleasure in embodying Mélissa Sainte-Rose and Gaëlle Crivelli after four years in the skin of your characters?
Beatrice de La Boulaye : More and more. Because we are more comfortable with the conditions in Martinique, where it is very hot. At first it’s the unknown, and now we feel at home. We formed a real family on the set. And the exploration of our characters is increasingly broad. You can really afford things after a few seasons.
Sonia Rolland : And as we constantly renew ourselves, we continue to discover each other.
Was it obvious between you two when you first met?
Béatrice de La Boulaye: Yes, really right from the casting. We had seen each other ten years before in Cannes, a little tipsy (laughs). And then when we met as actresses, there was real magic. We rely heavily on each other, we help each other, we support each other.
Sonia Rolland: The difficulty at the start was to find the right music together. Because Béatrice has a colorful character, who speaks very quickly. And I had to be this very anchored character, who tries to refocus her. And that is very difficult, because we are tempted to be like Crivelli. Especially since by nature I am closer to her than to Sainte-Rose (laughs).
Béatrice de La Boulaye: We found our duo, as people quite quickly, and now we shape the duo of our characters over the years and seasons. And it’s a huge pleasure.
Sonia Rolland: And then every year we find a team that we love, and that feels good. This series has given rise to certain talents, it has also developed positions. Martinique had not yet hosted a series like this, so it’s a real job creation and it energizes a region.
And we wanted to include diversity in a very current fiction, uninhibited in terms of tone, embodied by women well in their time. The series is very modern and we are pushing to write so that we go there even more. And we realize that the public is ready and asking for more. There’s a lot of honesty in this series. It is defended with faith by the whole team, we are all going in the same direction.
How do you see the evolution of your duo on screen?
Béatrice de La Boulaye: They have become more accomplices. The authors must therefore always find ideas to oppose them, because that is what makes us laugh. But we, as actresses, we like this sisterhood that is born between them, it’s a feeling that is pleasant to play. And that is very instinctive for us.
So afterwards, it’s accidental what opposes them: it’s situations, the fact that Crivelli stings his ex… It’s always very funny.
And after three seasons, they have not yet passed the milestone of familiarity …
Sonia Rolland: Never (laughs). They briefly tried but they immediately return to formality.
Béatrice de La Boulaye: There, we shot season 4, things are happening, a kind of even greater rapprochement. But despite that, they will never be friends. They are too diametrically opposed.
What can you say about season 3, which begins quite thunderously with Crivelli dropping his wedding ceremony to go solve an investigation?
Béatrice de La Boulaye: This third season marks an important milestone in Criminal Tropics, I think we feel a real change.
Sonia Rolland: It’s kind of the season of maturity. Even if it starts oddly for Crivelli, as always, she still becomes aware of many things during the season. And Melissa and they also discover themselves in their failings, their neuroses. They are quite close in the end: sensitive, quite cash. But there is one of the two who has to play this role of commander which is sometimes a little narrow for her.
Béatrice de La Boulaye: I want to say that it takes off on all points. Season 3 is funnier, there’s more action, more love. Everything is heightened. We felt a collective progress, on all points. And we have once again a festival of great guests: Lord Kossity, Frederic Bouraly, Armelle Deutsch, Edward Montoute, Hector Langevin, Sara Mortensenand many more.
Sonia Rolland: Sara Mortensen is magnificent in a role that she had trouble assuming because her character is ultra racist and sexist (laughs).
Can we also say that it is the season of complicated love?
Béatrice de La Boulaye: In any case, our characters aren’t the most gifted in terms of romantic relationships (laughs).
Sonia Rolland: They throw spades at each other, but they’re really alike on that level. They are indecisive, unstable. They are super cops who, in their private lives, are totally off the mark. That’s what makes them human and what makes the public love them so much.
Béatrice de La Boulaye: Afterwards, in terms of love, it must be said that Sonia was very lucky because in this season 3 Melissa catches the eye of a young student. We envy him! I didn’t have that chance, I didn’t have the right to the student embodied by Sailor Judas ! A very very good actor, who worked very well on his plastic (laughs).
Sonia Rolland: No, but above all it reveals one thing: this issue of quarantine. Everyone laughs at her because she failed to settle down with a man. For her, who embodies a bit of the serious side, it doesn’t work. So at some point she gets fed up and she thinks to herself “Why not this little kid? Since he flatters me and runs after me, he’s going to wear me out”. And there she goes (laughs). And Crivelli obviously pushes her into the arms of this guy.
France 2 renews the series even before the broadcast, there is real confidence, since season 4 is already filmed. Are you surprised by this somewhat crazy success?
Béatrice de La Boulaye: Not really. It is a series that is good for France. She only has good values. She talks about social issues, overseas territories, diversity, femininity, without it really being a subject. It’s a benevolent series in every way. It’s entertaining, there’s thriller, comedy, love, and it’s assumed.
Sonia Rolland: It’s the sun that invites itself into French homes in the middle of winter, it’s great. And it’s a series that deconstructs all preconceptions, all clichés. We were afraid at first that it wouldn’t work with the West Indian community, because we talk about their island, we invite ourselves to their homes, but in the end they are the first to support us.
Béatrice de La Boulaye: Because Martinique is actually one of the characters. Each episode is titled with the name of a place or town on the island. We really make people discover Martinique. It’s not just decor.
Sonia Rolland: In season 4, we have a lot less heavenly settings, we go more inland. We have invited ourselves into this kind of postcard that is Martinique and we discover this island and its mysteries over the seasons.