Lupin, a Surprising Success


American shows and movies usually fill Netflix’s Top Ten, but not this week. Lupin, a French TV show, has taken and kept a spot on the board. (Photo courtesy of Savannah Sinor).

On January 8, Lupin premiered on Netflix and quickly rose in popularity despite being a foreign show.

The drama follows a middle-aged Parisian, Assane Diop, as he delves into a life of crime. He mimics the work of Arsène Lupin, a thief from a popular book series in France. Diop uses his techniques to gain the answers he desperately seeks.

During his childhood, Diop’s father, Babakar, was wrongfully imprisoned for the theft of a diamond necklace worn by Marie Antoinette. At the time, the necklace belonged to the Pellegrini family. Diop believes that they arranged for it to disappear to gain money from their insurance company and then blamed Babakar. 

When the necklace falls back into the hands of the Pellegrinis, Diop decides to commit the crime his father went to prison for. The jewelry is just the beginning of Diop’s journey. What began as a heist quickly evolved into the destruction of the Pellegrinis’ power and influence. 

Breaking and entering, kidnapping, and stealing are just a few of the things he is willing to do to get what he perceives as justice. He avoids capture because of his skill at disguising himself and disappearing. Diop uses these skills daily in his fight to avenge his father.

Diop, with some help, goes against corrupt cops and dirty businessmen in this thrilling crime show. 

His schemes and the unraveling of the Pellegrini family are intriguing to watch, but they would not be nearly as good if it were not for the writers’ attention to detail. These details are what pushes the plot over the edge and makes it exceptional.

Every episode contains a flashback that reveals information that is important later on. It is not obvious what is relevant at first, but eventually, the writers reveal the connection. Sometimes these details are objects or sometimes they are people. No matter what it is, viewers know that it will come back at some point. It is these little details that make Lupin so good. 

This show does not excel only in its plot but in its characters as well. None of them, not even the side characters, are simple. Each one is complex and has underlying motives for all their actions. After revealing their reasons, the characters become more than just villains or heroes. They become people. The “villain” loves his family and believes his actions protect them. The “hero” is a criminal who wants revenge. The complexity of each character creates a more believable show.

The only major downside of Lupin is that it is a foreign production. The actors are speaking French, which means that viewers have to either turn on subtitles or switch the audio to English. Switching the audio can be annoying because the video does not match the sound afterward. The actors also reference events, items, and people that non-French people are not familiar with. Pausing to look things up or going on ahead without a full understanding of the situation is annoying and after a while, it takes away from the show. Being a foreign film does not help the show.

Despite some problems with it being French, the show is worth watching. The acting, plot, and character are all amazing and have inspired an international fan base. Lupin is one of the best shows Netflix has made. 


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