Assane Diop and his captivating charm return, this season’s pacy thriller exceeding expectations.
Describing French mystery-thriller Lupin as pacy would severely undermine its speed, though that’s not to say it is rushed. Netflix has produced another great show, with the second season of this highly anticipated drama once again condensing its fleshed-out story of Assane Diop (Omar Sy) into a mere five chapters. However, the short episode count isn’t a detriment—instead, the show is simply jam-packed, oozing intrigue and an unrivalled cleverness. Through all this, the show maintains a classy execution—as you would expect from a series about a gentleman-burglar.
Assane Diop is directly influenced by the character of Arsène Lupin, a gentleman burglar created by Maurice LeBlanc. Diop is the modern-day equivalent of Lupin (hence the show’s name) and attempts to avenge his father through perfectly executed heists ranging from small to gargantuan. Accompanying this, the struggles of a separated family and racism offer a more contemporary depiction of LeBlanc’s famous 1900s character. Creators of the show George Kay and François Uzan brilliantly weave in LeBlanc’s character’s elements into this tight piece of fiction, offering a great modernised outlook in the form of a new character.
We were left with a sour taste after the first season’s finale, where 14-year-old Raoul (Etan Simon) was kidnapped—a taste that is only accentuated in the first episode of this season. This is nothing in comparison to the beginning of Diop’s arc this season as he exhibits an uncharacteristic, worrisome and anxious nature when he is thrown into the deep end, moving heaven and earth to find his son in the streets and fields of Normandy, subsequently paining his family. This hasty opening to the season will truly have the viewer wondering whether Diop is the flawless protagonist we’ve come to love and sympathise with.
Season two opened us up to a delicacy we didn’t know we needed
In the first series, we learn of Diop’s upbringing—his adoration for Arsène Lupin, as well as his father’s unjust arrest and suicide. The close relationship between the two is expanded on in the second series and is unequivocally Diop’s motivation for bringing Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre) to justice. Whilst this father-son relationship was also prominent this season, the primary driving force here was the father-son relationship of Diop and Raoul, who seems to be taking after his dad’s antics, going as far as attempting to delicately escape the kidnapper’s clutches in the opening episode.
Within the story is Diop’s struggles with racism that date back to his youth. As a French-Senegalese man, people often discriminate against him for his race—how he deals with this uncalled-for prejudice, well, you can see for yourself. What is most respectable about the show is that behind the trickery and sly nature of it all, there is nothing but honesty and truthfulness in regards to racism, brilliantly shedding a light on the discrimination that the black community faces in the real world.
While the first series focused almost entirely on Diop, season two opened us up to a delicacy we didn’t know we needed—eloquent insights into the lives of other characters. With an ensemble that includes Claire (Ludivine Sagnier), Juliette (Clotilde Hesme) and best friend Ben (Antoine Gouy), retrospectively, it’s a crime that more information wasn’t given about them earlier. Ben was, and has been, the Robin to Diop’s Batman—which Gouy nails to a tee—and especially considering his role and importance in the second series, it’s a surprise that he was portrayed as a side character throughout the first. Thankfully, Netflix made reparations for this crucial overlook, showing Ben has always been the loyal advocate that Diop needed. Though, not all new additions to the cast were as uplifting, with J’accuse, Ben’s dog barking on the regular—every time he would hear the fated word: Pellegrini. This is not enough to hinder the show but is quite the annoyance!
the first series being watched by 70 million people in a mere 28 days
Assane Diop, suffice to say, has a tumultuous relationship with many of the show’s characters, which Sy and company pull off very convincingly. What hits hard in this series is where it shows how the friendships with these people came to be and how they evolve, most notably with Juliette and Guédira (Soufiane Guerrab).
Our eagle-eyed and dapper-capped vigilante has beguiled the world since the show’s release, with the first series being watched by 70 million people in a mere 28 days after it came out on Netflix.
How Diop beautifully integrates Lupin into his everyday life is a magnificent spectacle. Bearing witness to the minute control he can have over most aspects of his life only elucidates the hard-working nature of this man, not to mention the hard work that Netflix and writer George Kay put into both seasons of this cultural phenomenon. Netflix has renewed Lupin for a third season—let’s just hope J’accuse’s barks don’t make too much of an appearance!