Though The Queen’s Gambit has whiled away many knights over lockdown, viewers have turned their attention to the Queen’s jewels. Lupin follows Assane Diop (Omar Sy), a “gentleman thief” prompted by the eponymous books given to him by his father (Fargass Assandé), who killed himself after apparently stealing a necklace once owned by Marie Antoinette.
Influenced by Maurice Leblanc’s crime stories, this French series opens with Assane carrying out a flawless jewellery heist by working as a janitor in The Louvre – which seemingly has the US Capitol Police doing security. Now You See Me director Louis Leterrier delivers a slick – if subpar – Ocean’s 11 inspired opening, including a joke about the getaway driver showing up in a flashy red sports car that one can see coming a kilometre off – as they might say in France.
Episode two is where Lupin gets interesting. Emotional weight is added to its sequential capers by delving into Assane’s past, as the affable hero attempts to prove his father’s innocence. This trick of executing a series-long mystery alongside Rube Goldberg reveals within each show is an impressive piece of engineering. The same can be said of the simultaneous incorporation of modern devices such as deep fakes, drones and a Deliveroo switcheroo into its charming old-school grifts.
At the heart of the programme is Sy, making it all look as effortless as stealing a priceless artifact from The Louvre – which it definitely isn’t. Never “seen” by swathes of French society, Assane’s immigrant status makes him the perfect thief: a master of disguise and misdirection, driven to act outside of a racist justice system that allows the wealthy to get away with more than a couple of nicked necklaces. With five episodes available and the rest due later this year, Lupin may not break new ground, but making an old formula feel this fresh is a small feat of magic.
Lupin is released on Netflix on 8th January 2021.
Watch the trailer for Lupin here: