Maigret Sets a Trap
Rowan Atkinson, Shaun Dingwall
Directed by Ashley Pearce
Made for TV 2016
87 minutes

It will take most viewers a bit of time to buy Mr. Bean Rowan Atkinson as George Simenon’s Maigret Sets a Trap, the first of four Maigret TV movies. In this first outing as Maigret, I got the impression Atkinson himself had problems embodying the famous French detective and relied a lot on the character’s pipe to anchor Maigret as a character.

Maigret Sets a Trap has the detective under enormous pressure after four women were murdered in Montmartre. To make this clear to the viewer, a journalist even reminds him that the inspector in the Jack the Ripper case ended up spending his life writing letters to newspapers with his latest theories.

Maigret decides to flush out the killer by baiting him. He has the newspapers announce the arrest of the killer, believing this will force to real killer to strike again to prove himself. He then plants a series of undercover female officers in Montmartre to draw him out. The plan works but the killer gets away. He does leave behind a clue that will eventually lead to his capture.

Maigret Sets a Trap is interesting enough and if it is to be the first of a series, a good start. There is however the problem that it is not French enough. The look is there (even if everything was filmed in Hungary) and the little French details are there but you never quite believe this is really taking place in France because the mood is simply not there.