Eva Green and Vincent Cassel are a concentrate of charisma and charm and they are enough to make sense of an already solid series like Liaison
The first news is that, in Liaison, Vincent Cassel and Eva Green, two of the greatest bearers of charisma and charm of mankind, have worked together. If my research has been accurate enough, it’s the first time, but the second will come very soon, given that in a month the first of a series of French films about the musketeers will be released, in which Cassel is Athos and Green is Cardinal Richelieu. No, it’s not true, it’s Milady. The second piece of news is that obviously two similar bearers of charisma and charm already roll together in the theme song of Liaison, hinting at a certain amount of hormones scattered here and there. The third news is that Liaison is not only the strength of these names and this union, but also a series that starts with a solid and interesting pilot. For fans of the genre, of course.
And the genre in question is that of a contemporary spy thriller, somewhat muscular in style Jack Ryana bit geopolitical style Homelanda little mysterious intrigue style Slow Horses (but without the irony). Liaison has been on Apple TV+ since February 24, with the deserving choice of one episode a week, to keep the tension high in a story that promises cliffhangers and twists.
Liaison actually has three narrative strands, which already in the first episode mix and intertwine like crazy. The first is set in Syria and features two hackers who are fighting the Assad regime by trying to infiltrate the security systems: they are discovered and flee to Europe, becoming highly prized goods for Western secret services. The second strand is set in Paris, to be precise in the presidential palaces, where the powerful of France are trying to get their hands on the fugitives, in an attempt to enlist highly expert resources and obtain crucial information on a scenario such as the Syrian one. The third is the English one, with a flooded London after a hacker attack blocked the bulkheads that regulate the waters of the Thames, a sort of MOSE whose existence I personally was completely unaware of, but which has actually been in operation for almost forty ‘years.
In all of this, Vincent Cassel plays Gabriel Delage, a long-time mercenary who collaborates with agencies and secret services almost everywhere. He is in charge of recovering the Syrian hackers, but he fails and has to go after them to London. And right in London lives Alison Rowdy, the character of Eva Green, an executive of the British security services who has to deal with the trouble of the flood and understand what went wrong, but above all she has to deal with the fact that the just mentioned Gabriel Delage is an old acquaintance of his, where knowledge means at least a lover, maybe even something more.
The intertwining is soon served: espionage plots and a little passion, all told in an extremely linear way. Liaison it’s not one of those series that play vague, that try to hide their development behind a veil of mystery. The first episode is very straight, with the individual stories starting in parallel, and then merging more and more. Even the characters are well defined right away, all sharing a loss of control: the two hackers are masters of the online situation, but completely lost in real life in which they are catapulted; the character of Vincent Cassel has a past of great reliability and efficiency, but a present in which he starts to lose his shots (and in the first episode he doesn’t hit one); Eva Green’s character is the typical representation of a powerful woman who cannot allow herself the slightest weakness, because, already for the mere fact of being a woman, she had to work three times as much to get where she is and instead sees all her certainties derailed when her old lover’s big face appears on a screen.
From the first episode, Liaison it seems a well-made series, supported by a first-rate cast (there is also the always excellent Peter Mullan, who plays Alison’s boss). As mentioned, from here on it will all be a fit of twists and cliffhangers: the extent to which this operation is carried out will determine the success of the series. One thing can be said for sure: in reference to spies and old lovers, we are still eight heads above Treasonbad spy series seen at the beginning of the year.
Why watch Liaison: because Cassel and Green are Cassel and Green
Why quit Liaison: because it’s a very straight espionage & intrigue series