Salamander began on BBC Four tonight, with two episodes out of twelve. It's a Belgian thriller series, and although I don't share the widespread enthusiasm of the moment for telly with sub-titles, I must say that I really enjoyed this one. Sub-titles seem irritating to me, but if the story is good enough, they don't bother me too much, and Salamander is certainly a gripping story.
It begins with a heist at a private and evidently exclusive bank in Brussels. A gang enter a vault via a convenient tunnel, and target 66 safe deposits which have conveniently been marked up for them by an insider. When the robbery is discovered, the people in charge of the bank don't call the police. Instead, they set about hushing up the raid. What on earth is going on?
Paul Gerardi, your archetypal honest, maverick loner cop, is soon drawn into the mystery. He receives a tip-off about the raid, and witnesses the killing of someone with inside information. Again, this crime is hushed up. It's plain that important people in Belgian society are implicated, and before long Gerardi is suspended, and goes on the run whilst trying to figure out what is happening.
The second best fictional detective of all time was Belgian, and even if Gerardi isnt't in the Poirot league, Salamander reminded me of how much I like Belgium, a country I've visited three times over the years. The second episode was as good as the first,and I'm looking forward to next week's instalment. I remain sceptical about long TV crime series,and unattracted by sub-titles. But Salamander has made a very good start..