The City of Lights is used again to set another original Netflix production, after the beloved and hated “Emily in Paris”. This time, the Parisian scenery tells the story of “Lupin”, a French series created by  George Kay and François Uzan that premiered on Netflix on 8 January 2021. The first season has 5 episodes, that mixes action, drama and suspense. 

Contrary to what is expected, the series unfolds the saga of Assane Diop, a charming and mastery of thievery who, since he was a child, has seen his life influenced by a book about a gentleman thief  Arsène Lupin”, written by the French author Maurice Leblanc, in 1906, that his father had given him on his birthday. The series shows the narrative divided between flashbacks and actions in the present to justify the protagonist’s actions. The series opens showing Assane works as a janitor at the Louvre museum who devises a plan to steal a valuable necklace that belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette, infiltrating the museum, with a false identity at the event that will auction the jewel. He robs the museum and steals the gem using a daring and intelligent action plan. 

The plot goes back to the past telling the past life of Assane, a black child, of poor origin, motherless and who left his homeland Senegal, with his father Babakar, in search of a better life in France. Babakar works as a chauffeur for the wealthy Pellegrini family, very influential in French politics and society. It’s shown Pellegrini’s family owns the necklace that belonged to Marie Antoinette. Later, the jewel is stolen and Babakar is accused by Hubert Pelegrinni of having committed the crime. He goes to jail, is cheated to assume the crime and ends up committing suicide in prison, while Assane is sent to an orphaned children’s shelter. The book becomes the link between his father and a source of inspiration for his plans in the future.

Back in the present, we discover the real motivation of the protagonist: he wants to revenge his father’s death and prove his father’s innocence. From this point on, we followed Assene and his fantastic plan to prove that the necklace in the past was not stolen by his father. That was a plan orchestrated by Hubert Pellegrini, owner of the necklace, to use the jewel insurance money and promote his business, which 25 years ago caused a tragedy with his father Babakar’s arrest and suicide.


Although the series is not about a new and original theme, the elements used to create the narrative give an air of modernity and freshness to the classic story of revanche, for example, mixing stories from the classic French book “The adventures of Lupine Arsène” into dilemmas of a character in his contemporary life, showing the power of reading over our social and cultural background. Or even, using a turning point in the story during the development of the main conflict, showing that the reason for Asanne to steal the necklace is neither for money nor lack of opportunity, but to show that he devoted his whole life to becoming a skilled thief capable of revenge against the Pellegrini’s. 

The entire narrative also adopts an agile rhythm and without much commitment to the reality in terms of time and space, which ends up valuing the content of the series. The writers do not hold the suspense for long, they create the sub-plots and storylines, establish the conflicts and resolve them in sequence, making the episodes very fluid. 

The performance of actor Omar Sy, known for starring in the French film “Intouchables” in 2011 with François Cluzet, is worthy of praise. Asanne is a classic hero of the contemporary world dealing with technology and disguises. He’s the most fascinating male protagonist of recent times in series that I remember. He exudes charisma, charm, cunning, strength, and lightness (even in the most dramatic moments), in the right tone. 

The scriptwriters and directors make some mistakes when they choose some shortcuts to implant storylines and solve them, often in cliché, easy ways, without establishing a clear connection between the actions in the past and in the present and sometimes they are not credible, for example, in the last episode when Asanne is chased by the hitman, who is sent by Pellegrini to exterminate him. On the train, Asanne tried to escape the hitman sending a message to the police, who are looking for him, informing the station that he will disembark on. When Asanne and the hitman got off the train, the cops arrest the bandit, instead of catching up him, even they should have had any evidence about Asanne’s face and characteristics. That was unreal and fool plot twist to keep the hero sound and safe.

The series proposes to discuss certain polemic subjects, even if it does not go deep into them such as how the social and racial prejudice work in French society or, the influence of the French elite in political and media institutions to defend their interests. 

Despite some mistakes, the series has more triumphs. It is far from being a masterpiece, but it is honest entertainment, with good performances, a modern language, a dynamic and attractive narrative, as well as charming Paris as the centre of its actions. I can’t wait for the second season!

Photos Credit: Netflix