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Antonio Frazzi director | Carlo Lucarelli writer | Alessandro Preziosi star | full cast & crew credits

Detective De Luca:

the view from the other side

Trailer: mhznetworks »


let's hope it's not a political homicide

§§ Italy. August 1938, the resort town of Riccione (Rimini), on the Adriatic coast where Benito Mussolini has his fun villa. The body of a young woman in a black floral print dress is found lying on the beach near some fishing net racks by a group of children out for some early exercise with their teacher. The local detachment of the Carabinieri (military police) is alerted, immediately dispatch a squad of detectives in two black cars to the scene. Among them is Commissario Achille De Luca (Alessandro Preziosi), a lithe handsome man in a gray double-breasted suit and fedora, said to be the youngest detective in Italy, a man of integrity and no obvious political persuasion.

We learn, along the way, that his father was a policeman, killed in the line of duty, and that the young De Luca studied law briefly before deciding to join the police himself following his mother's death.

Two members of Mussolini's bodyguard are already at the scene, drawn by the commotion after a patrolling policeman's two dogs and the convent children discover the body. One wears a white suit and a black shirt, the civilian uniform of a fascist thug. While they remain neutral, their presence accelerates the political atmosphere and the need to find a quick solution to the crime. The girl has been shot through the heart with a 7.65 millimeter bullet. A boy finds the shell casing, gives it to De Luca, who meanwhile recognizes the victim as a local hooker called Miranda Rubino a.k.a. "Lucious Butt".

Detective De Lucca


We never see Mussolini in this episode, yet his presence haunts the action of the entire De Luca series as an off-stage character, a phantom deity by whom all actions are judged. In Episode 1, "An Unauthorized Investigation", his villa sits above the beach like the temple of an invisible god awaiting whatever sacrifices the sea will offer. The detectives play cynical games with the fascist protocol, seek solutions with fast salutes, easy justice with expedient politics. The paranoid speed of the prevailing political correctness is a bullet in the dark or a demotion to the provinces. Who killed Miranda? Why, obviously her pimp, a man called Tabanelli. They speed to his room, but he has fled. They speed to the bus station and there he is, back seat of a coach just about to pull out for the big city of Bologna. White suit, white fedora, black goatee, black pistol. The gunfight among the buses ends when he cornered face-to-face by De Luca. Tabanelli fires his Glisenti 1910 point-black at the detective but he's out of bullets and is quickly subdued.

Lucky De Luca? Young, handsome Italians with a strong sense of moral justice are lucky is the message. Back at the precinct the Chief Commissario congratulates the squad, reads a message from Mussolini who's pleased by the swift conclusion to the Miranda murder case. The Chief raises his glass, leads the detectives in a choral salute to il Duce. Heels click, arms extend, and like a wolf pack they howl "'Duce!" Even De Luca -- who, of course, knows the case is anything but solved, even though his compagni try to beat a confession out of Tabanelli in the rubber room -- salutes. Later, when he realizes the bullet casing from the bus station shooting doesn't match the casing found by the little boy on the beach near Miranda's body he doggedly pursues the investigation in defiance of the Chief. No, it's not solved. The boss doesn't want to hear it, as political expediency trumps any idea of justice for the pimp of a dead hooker, never mind the girl herself who turns out to be the mistress of a young Count close to the fascist circle of power.

Game over, case solved? Not a chance. This drama, and the three others that follow in the series, is an excellent way to see Italian society on the heady run-up to WW II, then, later, during the collapse and its aftermath. You see it from the street to the aristocracy, see it within the secular halls of power. It's 'the view from the other side', free of the post-war bias that haunts the typical outsider view of what went on in Italy under Mussolini. What is/was fascism but a style of thinking, another way of doing business: reactionary, technocratic, futurist, aggressively nationalist and full of moral relativism, an ideology rather than a culture, yet seeking to become a culture nonetheless... a tradition. And what is tradition? The illusion that protects us from the jaws of reality, the rituals and repetitions that bind us like mummies in the living tomb. So while some of the characters in Detective De Luca are committed fascists, most just play the game, try to get by in the world they find themselves in. A good example is the landlady in Episode 2 who keeps her radio on Berlin for fear of being reported as anti-fascist, but dials in Milan orchestra music after De Luca tells her to relax. The absurdity of life in a collapsing order, although the collapse must run its disorderly course through intrigues, bombings and the European sickness, that is, what are we to be: a nation, driven by national interests (fascism), or a vassal, part of the Bolshevist collective (communism)?

The shoot-out is one measure of De Luca's charm, because he is obviously one lucky man (no bullets), but it's in his first encounter with beauty that we recognize his full measure as a 'lucky man'. He receives a phone call from an anonymous female about a burglary at the Villa Maria, a beautiful white house set in a beautiful garden, the home of the young elitist Count Utimperger, a member of Mussolini's social circle and up for a ministerial position. The Count's name conjures associations from the pre-unification days (1861) when the northern states of Italy were Austrian dependencies, and the strong influence of Germanic culture on Italy, so it comes as no surprise when we meet the black shirt Camerata Silvestri (Richard Sammel), a Consul in charge of the local fascist militia who is a friend of Paolo Utimperger and his femme fatale wife Laura (Kasia Smutniak). Chicanery is de rigueur, even if the fascist mindset is techno modernism. Intrigue, duplicity and murder aren't left behind in the revenge tragedies of the Renaissance. The Law is a set of shutters, unfolding light and shadow within which these political players dodge and plot.

Yet it's all sunlight and splendid decor in the Villa as Laura Utimperger descends the stairs with the leggy couture/allure of a Milanese model, even though her answers to De Luca's questions are evasive, as if she is hiding in a shadow. For a rags-to-riches story, she plays the Countess well, alternately hiding behind the haughty verbal noise of class protocol and modulated anger, well aware that her only real power is her beauty. Detective De Luca -- who knows from the maid that a valuable brooch is missing -- plays it cool, suppressing his desire with the discipline of a committed professional. But we know that both parties to this conversation carry a secret weapon that only the other can disarm, regardless of politics and the law. A favorite cliche in both life and film noir -- where the manipulation of desire is often a form of suicide -- we eagerly anticipate the inevitable. Who is the sacrifice, who is the checkmate, who is the victim?

Miranda is from Romania, Laura from Croatia -- the low and the high, the story for two female migrants fated to cross in their hungry desire for a piece of the fascist action. It's a good plot, the story entirely as possible then as it is now. The narrative pattern is stock detective fiction -- bodies, clues, fights, with a bit of romance and class warfare en route... yet the setting is unique, the culture classical. It's like visiting a museum gallery and exploring the mystery of western civilization.

Silvestri, the Consul in charge of Mussolini's security squad, is a pivotal figure, not only because of what he represents but also because you think he's trying to cover up the murder. Why? To protect his friend Paolo Utimperger (who in turn is a protege of the ill-fated Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister and son-in-law of Mussolini) who's in-line for a ministerial appointment? What does Silvestri want? He wants the crime scene pistol. So while he's the boss of Mussolini's protection squad, just whether or not his investigation is authorized or unauthorized remains conjectural. When De Luca fails to find it, Silvestri, dressed in a white summer suit and accompanied by the il Duce squad, threatens to shoot him. He seems particularly upset by the fact that De Luca -- a mere Carabineiri who rides a bicycle when a driver is unavailable -- has bedded the Countess Laura, so his motivation becomes personal as well as political... although, of course, we don't know which takes priority. It does, however, throw suspicion on Laura.

Detective De Lucca

Detective De Lucca

it's said that if necessary, you'd arrest il Duce

As a culture, De Luca's Italy just exchanges one salute for another (fascist hand for a communist fist)... yet there's a nice aesthetic distance in this drama, where communist and fascist are given equal measures of approbation and/or understanding. Perhaps the Left is given a bit more sympathy, although the centre path is definitely De Luca's way. As with much of Italy in those times, the Carabineiri were politically all over the map. They helped Mussolini gain power (1923/5), and they removed him in 1943, only to be subverted by the fabled Waffen SS rescue whereby Hitler made il Duce a German puppet in what Italian territory remained unconquered by the advancing Allies. Mussolini was under Carabineiri guard at the Campo Imperatore Hotel on the Gran Sasso alpine region in Northern Italy. Certain Carabineiri fought with the Yugoslav partisans (mostly communist) against the Nazis. So they were no mere monolithic fascist police organization... just as De Luca is no mere romantic revisionist fiction of the post-war Italian mind, although he certainly is romantic. He's a secular Catholic, guided by law and tradition, yet modern enough to stand apart from the institutional zeitgeist when justice demands it. He's not Jesus Christ, yet he has the key Christian virtues: humility, compassion, charity... and the steadfast use of authority for justice.

He's in no way corrupt -- unless love be corruption -- yet corruption surrounds him. In one way he's a slow-moving action hero cliche, yet in another a sophisticated navigator of realpolitik. He learns as he goes, like a tightrope walker who follows the dead. In Episode 1 he clashes with the fascist orthodoxy. Episode 2, the Nazi occupiers. Episode 3, the communist partisans. Episode 4, the new post-war order (will it be Moscow or Washington... Communist or Christian Democrat). The movement is dialectical: Rimini, Bologna, the northern Apennines, Bologna... the death of one Order, the birth of another. Behind the ancient arcades and marbled villas of these neoclassical players, chaos simmers.

He's not a blunt instrument, is pragmatic, takes beauty at face value, and remains pragmatic even if beauty is revealed to be flawed. Laura is revealed to be a hustler, in bed with evil, yet there are extenuating circumstances. Most of the characters in the De Luca series are hustlers, high and low, de facto pimps and whores to some necessitated degree. Definition is merely a matter of power or proximity to power.

In Episode 2, "Carte Blanche", the women throw themselves at the German-Italian Riccardo Rehinard, either excited by the couture of his "New Man" persona or his social position with the Germans. Just what he is remains vague. He could be a satire. The symbolism of the situation sums up the Italian paradox: sell-out greed or adaptive survivalism? For the beautiful Slavic fortune teller Valeria, it seems to be a matter of survival, whereas for Laura (of Rimini) it could be either, with greed rationalized as survival. In the third episode, "Cloudy Summer", Francesca, the daughter of a widowed innkeeper, has her head shaven by the CLN because of her romance with a blond, blue-eyed German soldier, yet she is also the girlfriend of the hot-headed communist partisan leader Carnera. Francesca is another strong-willed woman who "does what she likes" in order to survive. It's definitely a trend with novelist Lucarelli's romantic characters, especially the females: strong, stubborn survivalists who will vamp any man if he can improve their situation. Francesca is perhaps an exception, unless she really beds De Luca in order to protect Carnera. She has no ideology, no materialism, is just one degree beyond the peasant.

Can one infer that fascist totalitarianism advanced women from domestic entrenchment through its adaptive modernism? Or is this mere revisionist thinking, a fiction of the present imposed on the past? Or -- as seems clear in this drama -- is it the chaos behind the New Order that gives the opportunity to women? Of course it's beautiful women who have the power, and that power is ancient. The young women that De Luca encounters in the line of duty do what they like... Laura, Valeria, Francesca... even the peripherals like Sonia and Lea, and the ladies who play at the Grand Hotel. There is, of course, a degree of crime fiction fantasy whereby the women are femme fatales waiting around for outlaw men packing guns, and while he's a government cop, Achille De Luca is something of an outlaw within a system that bends to the whims and imperatives of the politically powerful.

the man who saved il Duce's life

In "Carte Blanche", De Luca arrives for his new posting in Bologna in the back of a National Guard truck, and is dropped off in the street as a (fascist) funeral cortege passes. As he walks through the arcade, suitcase in hand, a bomb goes off, tossing him to the ground and wounding some of the GNR militia, who engage in a brief gunfight with some unseen partisans on the roof. When the shooting stops, De Luca recovers his suitcase, continues to the Pensione Dal Raduce. But hardly has he checked in when an officer from the precinct arrives with orders that De Luca come at once as there's been a murder that requires immediate attention. The victim turns out to be a fellow by the name of Riccardo Rehinard, a known dealer and womanizer in the local high society circles.

By now Commissario De Luca is famous because he was recently in the newspapers as "the man who saved il Duce's life" -- he thwarted a street assassination attempt simply because he was passing by -- which turns out to be an embarrassment for him, and later, a curse (the partisans put him on their death list). Even the Italian SS have a use for him, and it's with their blessing that he proceeds with his investigation, even though the high placed Count Zaccari will be compromised.

Italian SS? De Luca, now a fascist hero because he saved Mussolini's life, is given "carte blanche" by Vitali, a slim figure in a natty Italian SS uniform standing near the heavy curtains in the Chief's office, an older gent replete with the grim politeness of a vampire bat who may or may not visit De Luca some night and draw blood if he doesn't nail Count Zaccari. You do wonder why the SS has turned on Zaccari, a well-placed diplomat in the Mussolini regime. De Luca does but nonetheless gets on with the case.

Riccardo Rehinard is a dope dealer gigolo whom all the women love like some magic mirror that flatters. Rehinard is part of a local high-roller clique that holds seances on Friday evenings at Count Zaccari's villa. With his Germanic surname, his character assumes a symbolic function like a corrupt movie star from Berlin always available for Italian fascist romance. Vaguely Theosophical, the neo-paganism of Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler and other Nazis was seen as the hip way of rationalizing fascist exclusivity, so seances hosted by the local aristocracy in Bologna would fit with the European tradition of secret societies that exercise the real power.

Rehinard is a silhouette character, a D'Annunzio without the poetry, a corpse whose true history and appeal remains with the women who loved him. What little we do see allows us to believe he deserved what he got: a stab in the heart, a stab in the balls. The fact that he deals in contraband British morphine is almost beside the point, as the real crime is the fact that his fascist accomplices dream of escape to Switzerland. As a plot, this is very similar to that in the excellent ZDF (Germany) TV miniseries "Dresden" (2004) where a hospital administrator is hoarding British airdrop morphine and selling it to the SS in order to have money to escape to Switzerland. Copied? Or a common story from the Axis defeat?

In their first encounter, Count Zaccari (Jose Maria Blanco) barks at De Luca, "I am a personal friend of Mussolini!" It's a claim that others will make as they try to intimidate the servants of justice. Is/was Rehinard really connected? For once De Luca has "carte blanche" to pursue the case with official blessing (unlike the Miranda/Rimini case). Carlo Lucarelli, who wrote the novels on which this series is based, must surely have been thinking of the time when the Duce sent a telegram to Cesare Mori, Prefect of Palermo, Sicily, stating that Mori had "carte blanche" to take on the Mafia.

There's a sense that Count Zaccari is more than an ultra conservative. The fact that his addled daughter the Contessina Sonia is a morphine addict is one clue, his obsequious clerical secretary Don Vincenzi Peroni another. Perhaps the fascist elite distrust him as an old school elitist because, after all, the root of fascism was/is socialism. Zaccari's class arrogance has a criminal dimension that reaches beyond the occult and a cellar of vintage wine. The fact that De Luca uses a squad of GNR (National Guard) to haul the Count in for questioning might be reason enough for an oligarch to have a nosey cop killed, but obviously there's more to it. The plot thickens.

De Luca also has occasion to tangle with the local detachment of the German SS police, the Gestapo. They have detained and tortured Oreste Galimberti, a criminal associate of Rehinard's and when De Luca arrives to question him, he finds Oreste already dead. You are left to assume that this rough justice was the goal, not any confession or useful information per se. This sequence also reveals the uneasy relationship between the Italians and their German overlords in the puppet state (the Italian Social Republic a.k.a. the Salo Republic, 1943-45), only weeks away from total collapse. Allied bombing, partisan attacks, Nazi cruelty and easy murder makes daily life in the Republic existential. Law and order become theatre, survival reality. One of De Luca's sergeants is murdered, tied to a railing above a fast running sluice that photosizes the chaos, and De Luca himself is hunted through the night shadows of the arcades of the Via Nosadella. Once again gunfire, and De Luca saves himself from Count Zaccari's assassins by seeking refuge in the apartment of Valeria (Raffaella Rea), the beautiful Balkan clairvoyant.

Valeria is also pivotal, as she recurs in Episode 4, resumes her romance with the charming Detective De Luca. As with all the femme fatales in this series, there's a madonna-whore aspect to the relationship. The male cop is the figure of virtue, not the woman. Referring to the times, Rehinard's landlady says, "There are no decent girls anymore." When beauty is the only currency you have, sometimes you must spend it to survive. Valeria lays it out with forthright modern simplicity when she admits she slept with Rehinard: "So what? I slept with you, didn't I? I'm a grown woman and I can do what I like." Once again it's the realpolitik of the moment, of the time... and De Luca is shown to be pragmatic, especially when it comes to women. He allows Laura Utimperger to walk, and he allows Assuntina to walk... and as for Valeria, well, love trumps all.

Their relationship is stormy, to say the least. One visit is preceded by a gun battle, another interrupted by a bombing raid. Both sequences act as psychological analogues to their fated romance.

The interrogation that turns into a love scene during the nighttime bombing raid really sums it up. The mutual fear of uncertainty undermines the professional distance, closes the human gap between being and nothingness. Mortality is focused and real in the time of war when everyone becomes a patsy. While bombs are democratic and impersonal, bullets are always personal in Bologna, April 18-21, 1945.

Detective De Luca: Rassetto

Rassetto goes on trial

Cloudy Summer

Captain Rassetto (Rolando Ravello) is a sort ghost figure who runs behind the series as a parallel but alternate moral view to De Luca. Rassetto is a committed fascist and fellow detective at the precinct in Rimini. He's always friendly with De Luca, helps him out with inside information, even though De Luca teases him about his politics. Yet there's a mutual respect which in turn forces us to be less judgmental about the Italian situation. Public servants can never be fully neutral and in totalitarian regimes this is almost impossible. The fact that the De Luca series ends with the Carabineiri/OVRA policeman Rassetto about to go on trial for the unlawful killing of a communist partisan underscores the Italian divide and the fascist fiasco. We know the circumstances, we see the shooting, but we don't know the outcome of the trial. The fact that he was a member of OVRA (secret police) during the war won't auger well and quite possibly he could implicate De Luca in some form of plea bargain.

Because he's "on the list" as a fascist Carabineiri policeman that the partisan CLN want to apprehend and execute (probably because he 'saved Mussolini's life'), De Luca goes into hiding with Captain Rassetto and some other colleagues. Episode 3, "Cloudy Summer' starts with Rassetto and De Luca leaving their farmhouse hideout in the Moden Appennines to escape the advancing British Eighth Army. They run into a partisan roadblock and a shoot-out occurs. Rassetto has a sub-machine gun (Beretta Model 38A), kills the partisan who orders them out of the car, but as they attempt to escape, their driver is shot. They bail from the car, Rassetto going one way, De Luca and another Carabineer going another. De Luca eludes his pursuers but quarrels with his companion on a river bank. While they have false I.D., De Luca thinks it's foolish to carry weapons, as displaced citizens don't carry guns. He tosses his pistol aside, much to the contempt of the other cop, who seems more committed to the ways of the past. He pockets De Luca's discarded pistol, while threatening to shoot him. The best policeman in Italy? The man doesn't believe it. De Luca shrugs, walks away, crosses the river by wading the shallows and using stepping stones.

This crossing is symbolic in the sense that he leaves the world of the political Right and enters the Left.

Will he be investigating the shooting death of a communist partisan at a roadblock? No such irony. It's not who killed who that matters in this drama -- after all this sort of jigsaw fetish is just an excuse to present other ideas -- but rather the characters, the landscape, the times, the past slipping forward into the present.

Instead, he encounters a partisan policeman, Brigadier Guido Leonardi (Stefano Pesce), while waiting with some refugees for the British army to clear the road ahead. Leonardi examines De Luca's ID -- he's passing himself off as a government engineer called Morandi* -- and while he thinks he recognizes De Luca from somewhere (that news photo, "Italy's Best Policeman"), offers him a cigarette and ride to a local inn. On the way they check in briefly with Leonardi's second, who's guarding a rural house, scene of a recent murder. The cat-and-mouse game proceeds, with Leonardi installing 'Engineer Morandi' at the inn and having dinner with him. They are served by Francesca (Ana Caterina Morariu), the landlady's shapely daughter. She looks pretty chic despite having had her hair sheared by the partisans for having a German lover. She's unrepentant and incorrigible, yet even Leonardi is forced to admit she has "a nice ass". While Leonardi is a serious communist, he is also a man.

[*In Episode 1 there was a painting at the Utimperger villa by the Bologna artist Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), so we recognize that De Luca chose his alias in memory of Laura]

He's also pragmatic, recognizes he has neither the training nor the logic to solve the murder on hand. He more or less holds 'Engineeri Morandi' hostage while co-opting the fugitive detective's aid in solving the murder. He recognizes De Luca is a Carabineer, yet has empathy, as if he recognizes another idealist -- not an ideologue, but an idealist nevertheless -- whose goal is not that different from his own: the common good and a better Italy. So he offers De Luca a quid pro quo: help me out and I'll return your I.D. and deliver you to wherever you need to go.

While this is northern Italy, the local politics are Sicilian: a corrupt mayor, homicidal partisans, a village society with ingrown traditions and a dissembling present. The Germans have just left, the British have just arrived. The mysterious disappearance of the English Lieutenant Witherspoon is as symbolic of the situation as is the death of a goat in the minefield near the village. Francesca too as the trophy woman of Carnera (Massimo Venturiello), a reclamation from the Germans of the village integrity, and in the wider context, the Italian. When she seduces the handsome fugitive Carabineer, this places him in an interesting (if familiar) situation when it comes to arresting Carnera for the murder of the Count. When faced with the growing evidence, Leonardi expresses apprehension, admitting that he's afraid of going up against an Italian hero. De Luca isn't. The irony is sweet: a Carabineer of the old regime versus a Communist Partisan of the new.

Who really speaks for Italy?

De Lucca & Pugliese

De Lucca: Valeria

people didn't care about the future... they lived in the present... so I had to stop being a fortune teller

Episode 4. April 14, 1948. Via Delle Ocha is the brothel district in Bologna and this is where De Luca finds his assignment after his 'rehabilitation' in the provinces. A young brothel worker has hung himself, apparently... but as De Luca points out to Pugliese the space between the chair and the toes of the deceased are a couple of hands (8 inches), so it must be murder. The victim is the brothel's handy man/muscle who the girls call Ermes. Once again -- as if the war never happened -- Deputy Chief D'Ambrogio (Carlo Cartier) wants the case wrapped up immediately as a suicide despite De Luca's suspicions of murder because Ermes was a communist and his death might have something to do with the elections underway in which the Communists are neck-to-neck with the Christian Democrats (Moscow vs. Washington as the street hailer proclaims) and D'Ambrogio is a Christian Democrat. In fact, he has already written up the death as a suicide, so he tears up De Luca's report. It's simple, really: if the Christian Democrats win, the current Chief will move along and D'Ambrogio will ascend. The fix is in.

Not only is De Luca reunited with Sergeant Pugliese (now a full detective with the Homicide Squad) but also Valeria, the fortune teller, from "Carte Blanche" who is now a cynical "madame" or prize hooker at Number 22 (but "23 on the papers"). Again, their scenes are fraught with sexual tension wherein the interrogations are just a form of foreplay. Why is she now a prostitute? "People didn't care about the future," she replies. "They lived in the present, so I had to stop being a fortune teller." Of course she is hiding vital information. Of course the murder is political and of course Valeria's position is political. This becomes obvious when the body of another communist called Usvaldo Piras is found lying in the street. D'Ambrogio prefers to see it as a robbery, De Luca as 'suspicious'.

But when De Luca and Pugliese investigate Osvaldo's apartment they interrupt an intruder. A gunfight ensues. De Luca pursues the man across the flat roof. The man uses a rough fire escape but wouldn't you know it, one of the metal rungs gives way and he falls to his death. Before the squad arrives, they find a number of sentimental photos of Ermes with various girls (girls from Via Delle Oche as it turns out). A stud? No. Seems the girls used him as a substitute fiance to fool their families back home.

Shortly thereafter Valeria is moved to the best brothel on the Via Delle Orso, a reward apparently for her silence. Nevertheless, her affair with the relentless detective continues with the erotic elegance of an undergarment modelling show. Love might be sweet but it isn't easy. Both are carrying a cross that only the other can remove.

Suspicion eventually falls on Antonio Abatino, a fascist masquerading as a Christian Democrat. Did he have a hit man take out three communists? Is he connected to Deputy Chief D'Ambrogio? It's a fascinating scenario that develops, perhaps a bit obscure for outsiders today to follow, yet utterly credible. Blackmail is the order of the day and even De Luca isn't immune. When an angry mob attacks Abatino's back street H.Q. office and De Luca finds him burning sex photos of the dead communist politician Orlandelli, Abatino sneers, "If the gods have fallen, the angels will too... your turn will come next, De Luca."

God can see you, not Stalin!

De Luca is also reunited with Guido Leonardi, the CLN brigadier policeman from "Cloudy Summer". Leonardi now holds an administrative position with the Bologna Police and being a communist, is fully cognizant of the local political situation, both in the force and out. He sees a cover-up under way, and welcomes De Luca's appearance.

But with the victory of the Christian Democrats and the elevation of D'Ambrogio to Chief of Police, Leonardi is immediately transferred to Rome, the graveyard of all communists. As for De Luca, it's the night shift.


The production values here are of a very high order. Antonio Frazzi's direction is superb, the cinematography and editing likewise. Carlo Lucarelli -- whose novels were the basis of the De Luca series -- was involved in the scripting of all four episodes, although he was aided by a dozen other writers. The costumes, the music, the sound all have the bona fide period feel. The acting -- extremely good. The women -- watch out. While we've seen dozens of cops and their faithful buddy sergeants, the rapport between Alessandro Preziosi (De Luca) and Corrado Fortuna (Pugliese) is a thing of beauty, more like an artist and his student. Police procedural ugliness is softened by the period fresco, so there's not only an engaging honesty in their story, but also a real humanity, both in terms of characterization and history.

Get yourself a bottle of Primitivo and check it out. Salut!

LR © July 2014

BBC Detective De Luca trailer | the opening scene of Carte Blanche [episode 2]

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