A look back at the TF1 phenomenon, which has approached ten million viewers every evening since the launch of its season 2 in early May. Why is this detective series among many others so successful?
Recruited as a consultant for the police, Morgane Alvaro, 38, mother of three and endowed with an IQ of 160, uses her extraordinary analytical skills in the service of the Lille DIPJ under the supervision of the commander Karadec (Mehdi Nebbou) in exchange for the reopening of an investigation into the disappearance of his ex-companion, who died in mysterious circumstances fifteen years earlier. Not without encountering some difficulties with respect for authority…
Chaining the small precarious jobs before being recruited by the police, Morgane, divorced and mother of a blended family of three children from two different fathers, does not exactly have the profile of the bourgeois investigator, dressed to the nines and morally irreproachable.
Totally refractory to authority figures, this thundering forty-year-old who has not studied (as confided by his interpreter Audrey Fleurot) does not have her tongue in her pocket and says aloud whatever goes through her head without sparing those around her, which has earned her many disappointments to manage to keep a stable job while she is struggling to make ends meet. months and the roof of his old rented house is in danger of collapsing at any moment.
But her extraordinary IQ and deduction abilities worthy of the best hours of Sherlock Holmes do not go unnoticed by police commander Céline Hazan (Marie Denarnaud), ready to wipe out her excesses in order to exploit her talents. to complete the most devious investigations.
Problem: Morgane has a total aversion to the police and does not bother to respect the procedure, relying on her formidable intuition to flush out the culprits even if it means messing up her hierarchy. Embellished with an ultra-feminine and flashy look that contrasts with her uncompromising personality, Morgane Alvaro is a real tornado who stands out in French detective series… And is reminiscent of another extraordinary cop of the small screen.
A decentralized series
The famous “will they/won’t they” between Karadec and Morgane
Trope essential of romantic comedies, the game of cat and mouse between two main protagonists, who hate each other and that everything seems to oppose before different adventures end up bringing them together, is perfectly illustrated in HPI through the duo formed by Morgane and Karadec .
The classic “Will They/Won’t They?” (are they going/are they not going?), which has become a recurring narrative convention in many Anglo-Saxon fictions, hence its name, thus has fun mistreating the audience’s expectations by making the romantic tension between two characters who we guess are in love with each other, but whose diametrically opposed characters and other obstacles of all kinds will systematically postpone the fateful moment when both will confess their feelings.
Like many American series with iconic duos like X-Files and Bones, or even Tandem and Balthazar for France, HPI is gradually raising the temperature between its volcanic heroine and the inhibited police commander, while turning the tide each once one of the two realizes his attraction for the other.
“What’s funny is that they miss each other all the time! ” declared Mehdi Nebbou at the microphone of Allociné during the Series Mania festival. “As often, contrasts work well in comedy (…) It was interesting to put a psychorigid, stuck character, for whom order is almost a religion, against a rebellious punk who hates authority.“
Last peculiarity of HPI: its quirky tone, which contrasts with the seriousness of the investigations carried out by the characters. Presented as a “detective comedy”, the series does not skimp on visual gags to illustrate the mechanisms of reflection of its heroine, with delirious staging and inserts as instructive as they are hilarious to unfold the thread of her thought. which goes faster than the music.
Used as a powerful spring in the resolution of investigations, Morgane’s high intellectual potential is presented both as a blessing and a poisoned gift, as her excessive temper hampers her relationships with others and often turns against her.
By assuming to play with the codes of the detective series, whether by staging crimes more outlandish than each other or tasty dialogues between the characters, sometimes going as far as lewd gags (in episode 6 of season 2, after having surprised Karadec naked in his bathroom, Morgane can no longer think calmly without seeing a male appendage appear in front of her), HPI breaks with the monotony of detective series which often struggles to renew itself on the small screen.
“She shows an inventiveness and a good mood on the set which is really great. It is characteristic of theater actors, of Marie Denarnaud too, of Bruno Sanches… There is something extremely worked and light at the same time in their acting.“