Alternative Title: Astrid et Raphaëlle
Country of Origin: France
Episodes: Television Show (4 Seasons)
Year: 2020 - Present
Genres: Police Detective, Neurodivergent MC, Nosy Detective, Police Archives, Scientific Evidence
Astrid Nielsen is a quiet young woman with Asperger's syndrome who, with help from her kind employer, has entrenched herself within the peace and calm of the library archives for the judicial police. Struggling to maintain her equilibrium amongst the chaos that comes with daily life and the struggles of completely what to others seem like simple errands, Astrid finds her peace in dissecting puzzles of all kinds.
With an incredible memory she excels at analyzing files of ongoing investigations and easily pulls together links between current cases to the files she has classified in the archives. Her skills eventually catch the eye of the forthright Commander Raphaelle Coste, a female detective with the French police and perhaps the one person who can bring Astrid out of her shell.
As Raphaelle and Astrid team up to confront a string of complex cases, Astrid must learn to balance her mental and physical health against her obsession with solving the puzzles put before her. Her brilliance will help prove her position amongst the team, while their patience and kindness help give Astrid the courage to brave a world that has seemed so terrifying to her for so long. Raphaelle is the precise combination of understanding and confident that Astrid needs in her life; while Astrid tempers Raphaelle's abrupt nature. It is a partnership forged through steady communication and a passion for better understanding each other's way of thinking.
Supporting Astrid and Raphaelle are an amazing cast from the police detectives in the office to Astrid's support group of fellow neurodivergents who guide her through the tricky social situations. The crimes can be gruesome at times, but otherwise this would tend towards being a cozy mystery of sorts. It certainly is uplifting and offers an overall positive message about friendship and the power of a little communication.
Sara Mortensen — Astrid Nielson
Lola Dewaere — Raphaëlle Coste
Benoît Michel — Nicolas Perran
Husky Kihal — Henry Forier
Jean Benoit Souilh — William Thomas
Directors: Frédéric Berthe, Elsa Bennett, Hippolyte Dard, Éric Le Roux, Julien Seri, Chloé Micout
Screenwriters: Alexandre de Seguins, Laurent Burtin, Denis Alamercery, Laurent Courtiaud, Kit Wong, Joseph Lantigny, Mathieu Leblanc, Céline Decoox, Hélène Hassoun, Mathieu Pichard-Rivalan
The crimes can be gruesome at times, but otherwise this would tend towards being a cozy mystery of sorts. It certainly is uplifting and offers an overall positive message about friendship and the power of a little communication.
There are very few mystery shows that feature neuro-divergent characters, but this film is filled with a fascinating collection of both neuro-divergent and neuro-typical characters, all featured in an equally positive light.
Astrid is a brilliant young woman with an ability to identify the intricacies of the puzzles they face that amazes the entire police department. Some of the features that are most overwhelming for her in daily life (her obsession with patterns, her unusually acute hearing) are the things that make her most valuable in breaking open the cases. She has an amazing memory and rapidly identifies links that those around her may have missed.
Unfortunately, Astrid is at a loss when it comes to navigating the social complexities that come with interviewing witnesses, gaining authorization for further searches, and wheedling the bosses and prosecutors into giving them the go-ahead to investigate. She also struggles to understand the motives behind the crimes, cut off as she is in some ways from experiencing emotions the way neuro-typical persons do. This is where Raphaelle comes in.
Raphaelle is equally brilliant in her own way, and comes into the show as a highly experienced professional already. She has a take charge attitude and forges ahead where others fear to dread. She is inherently empathetic and easily connects not only with the motives of the criminals she chases but with Astrid herself. Raphaelle serves as both a shield and a translator, protecting Astrid when she becomes overwhelmed and helping her to communicate her thought processes to the rest of the team.
Of course, a relationship between a neuro-divergent and neuro-typical person is not without its difficulties, so Astrid and Raphaelle are blessed to be surrounded by a crew of understanding and patient friends on either side. Over time, the police team begin to bond with Astrid and work more easily with her peculiarities on their own and Raphaelle is able to build relationships with and assist Astrid’s friends as their own trouble’s arise.
Particularly well portrayed is the use of Astrid’s support group meetings to give her a chance to express the difficulties or confusions she is facing as her character develops. It allows the show to analyze those situations without overlooking the fact that she finds it difficult to communicate in general.
The relationship between the main and secondary characters is generally positive and uplifting and its portrayal of the complexities and beauty of seeing the world from a neuro-divergent person’s perspective is amazingly well done. The show is not necessarily going to win awards in the ‘complexity of the crime’ field, but it is overall a sweet show with fairly well crafted mysteries in between.
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