While TF1 is broadcasting a new episode of “Research Section” this evening, Xavier Deluc, the star of the series for 15 years now, tells us more about the developments in season 14 and the romantic rapprochement between Bernier and Ariel.
AlloCiné: Honorine Magnier left the Research Section at the end of the first episode of season 14. How did you experience this departure, which follows so many others in the past?
Xavier Deluc : Regarding Honorine Magnier, I felt it coming a little because she was pregnant. She wanted to go to the cinema, which she did elsewhere. And she wanted to take time for herself, so there were discussions with the production, and that ultimately did. And concerning the previous departures, sometimes it was surprising. Especially when we lost the whole Bordeaux team. Because afterwards, you have to take responsibility for it when you lose friends. But at the same time you have to be pragmatic in saying to yourself “The production is right, we must relaunch the series. And they keep me, and we keep Chrystelle Labaude, so it’s good”. Then, Chrystelle’s departure was painful. Secretly painful, I want to say. Because complicated. They had to agree on things with the production, or not. My position was fragile at the time.
This fourteenth season brings a breath of fresh air to the series, with the arrival of Fabienne Carat and the establishment of a common thread around her character. In your opinion, it was necessary, at this stage, that the series be renewed once again?
As the producer and creator of the series originally, Dominique Lancelot, said: a series must be renewed every two or three years. And now, after fourteen years of life, we need to renew ourselves a little every year. Research section, it’s 14 seasons, it’s not nothing, and it’s still quite rare. There is pressure that is there every year on the authors. The channels are questioning themselves, facing competition from platforms like Netflix. While still remaining popular, in a good way, because the series is simple and effective, there are still some storyline issues to be worked out day by day. It’s not easy, I put myself in the place of the authors. So, yeah, I think you have to challenge the show every year. We must preserve this beautiful brand.
There are fewer episodes this season – 8 compared to 14 last year for example. Was it a wish on your part?
On my side, yes. I needed us to slow down. And I believe that it was also a desire of the production, and especially of the authors. It was becoming very difficult for them, even painful, to deliver 14 episodes each year. So I think 8 episodes a year is the right mix. It allows me to do something else, to develop other projects. And take care of myself, because I was losing a little of my privacy.
Season 13 was quite eventful for Bernier, your character, who discovered in particular that he had a son, with whom relations were rather complicated at first. How would you describe Season 14 in comparison?
The story with his son will be settled. And Bernier rises in rank, he becomes commander. But above all, he will have to try to integrate, and accept without being too jealous, another commander within the team. And, what’s more, a female commander. While he and the women are complicated, he generally doesn’t do well (laughs). And he will try to find out what she is hiding. Because he finds that she does not have a behavior quite worthy of her post. While she is very competent. But he feels that she has problems in her private life which are mixed with her function. And that constitutes the common thread of the season, which will find its conclusion in the final crossover with Alice Nevers.
Going towards more feuilleting, is that something you fancy?
It’s the first year that the writers and the channel have gone in this direction, it’s true, and I thought it was great. And I think it’s to announce next season, if there is a sequel, where this work on the soap opera will be even more thorough. Private lives will become even more entangled in investigations. It’s good to retain the public, and for us too it’s great. It allows different emotions when we conduct the investigation because we know that it affects the characters personally.
How did Fabienne Carat join the team?
Welcoming a new actress is never easy, because we have our marks. But the character is well characterized and his place is clear. And will be even more specific next season. Then it all depends on the person, and Fabienne is delicious. She gives her all. I was a little apprehensive, but it’s going very well.
In parallel with the common thread on Jeanne Lorieux, Bernier is entitled to a lighter plot this season with the arrival of a new roommate in his home. What can you say about how this plot between Bernier and Ariel (Elise Tielrooy) will evolve?
As much as Lucas has stories quite often, his heart beats very quickly for women, and he has to be careful, as Bernier and the women, it’s more complicated. And there, he doesn’t want to see that Ariel is in love with him. It’s interesting to deal with, considering my age, being a commander. And the fact that this beautiful woman is approaching him and he’s not willing, it’s very funny. It brings comedy, and something touching, because Bernier becomes vulnerable. And a little awkward. While in business he manages his boat well. It’s successful, they are well-made little lozenges, and I think it will be developed further in season 15, if there is a follow-up.
Is that a reconciliation that you saw coming?
Not really. Even the authors were surprised I think. By dint of filming us, it was the directors who saw that there was evidence in the image. There was a meeting between the two characters and our two temperaments in life. It matched well. And the authors thought it was interesting to reinforce that. It’s funny. And when we see each other it’s always a pleasure. That takes us a bit out of the investigation. We talk about the case, and at the same time we say something else. Ariel tells Bernier “I love you” while talking about the investigation. Without it really hitting. And he brings her back to the investigation because he does not want to go too far in this area for the moment. And he refuses to face the truth. These are not the usual man-woman relationships, I find that very interesting.
After 14 seasons spent in Bernier’s skin, you feel no weariness?
No None. Obviously, between each season, I want to take a vacation (laughs). But I want to continue. There are still things to tell. After that, it will depend on the hearings, as always. But I’m hopeful, and I know the writers already have ideas for a possible Season 15.
The Research Section Season 14 Trailer: