The Break opens as a police psychiatrist Dr. Orban (Jasmina Douleb) is questioning a clearly damaged Inspector Yoann Peeters (Yoann Blanc) who has no memory of some recent events. Three weeks earlier, Yoann and his young daughter Camille (Sophie Breyer) had moved from Brussels to his old hometown of Heiderfeld. Still reeling from the death of his wife and the loss of his job, Peeters teams up with junior Inspector Sebastian Drummer (Guillaume Kerbush) to determine if the death of African footballer Driss Assani (Jérémy Zagba), found floating in the Semois river, was a suicide or a murder. As the investigation proceeds, it seems that Driss has had amicable or sexual relationships with numerous inhabitants of this close-knit community and his death shocked everyone from Mayor Brigitte Fischer (Catherine Salée), to her son Kevin (Thomas Mustin), Driss’s teammate, and her daughter Zoé (Sophie Maréchal).
As Yoann probes into this case, he exposes some of the dark secrets hidden in Heiderfeld’s recesses and reconnects with old girlfriend Inès Buisson (Anne Coesens). Inès explains that the illiterate Driss who could not have written the suicide note found in his apartment. An autopsy confirms that the young footballer was indeed beaten to death before being tossed in the river. When loony religious loner “Indian” Jeff Lequais (Phillipe Grand’Henry) is arrested and interrogated by Chief Rudy Geeraerts (Jean-Henri Compère) it looks like the case is closed. But not so fast, there are nine more episodes to go.
The detectives exonerate Jeff and the investigation draws in the poisoning of farmer Serge Willems’s (Luc Brugmagne) cows, and his kinky neighbors, Ghislaine (Aylin Yay) and her brother Robert (Thierry Janssen) Malausa. Meanwhile, Mayor Fischer is on a break-neck campaign to purchase private farmland for an expensive high-tech dam project by terrorizing hold-out farmers like Philipart (who is killed when his barn is torched) and Willems.
The murder case takes on some weird twists as the two detectives discover a trove of S&M props in the Malausa barn. The trail eventually turns to Driss’s football team and its crooked managers Ronald Vermeiren (Sam Louwyck) and Markus (Jean-Benoît Ugeux) who conducted a series of “fixed” soccer matches that netted Albanian gambler Krojan (Bess Limani) a small fortune. Peeters eventually brings Mayor Fischer to the station for questioning when the bumper on her SUV is found to have traces of Driss’s blood as the questions surrounding his murder continue to mount.
As The Break proceeds, it would appear that the murder case has been solved and all of the lingering questions satisfactorily answered. However, we must remember that this is a classic neo-noir affair in which many more terrible secrets will continue to surface. Creators Bergmans, D’Aoust, and Donck have combined to give viewers numerous memorable characters, shocking events, and the gorgeous natural settings of the Belgian countryside. All of the elements of a top-drawer serial thriller fall into place and the result is a total success. I have heard rumors of a Season 2 and hope that this will materialize for US television.
All 10 episodes of The Break: Season One are available to stream now on Netflix.
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