A convicted criminal agrees to help the police catch another criminal, but only with the help of their estranged child. If that synopsis sounds familiar, it’s because it’s basically the plot for The Blacklist. It’s also basically the same plot as Netflix’ La Mante, with a few differences. The series isn’t groundbreaking, but if you want to scratch your crime drama itch with something a little more gruesome than your usual fare, La Mante is right up your alley. It’s got just the right amount of plot twists to hold your interest for six episodes, but stop about one plot twist shy of crossing into eye roller territory. A sweet spot indeed.
The story follows undercover cop Damien Carette, who is struggling to keep his past buried. When a string of gruesome murders mimicking those of famed serial killer “The Mantis” begin to emerge, that becomes basically impossible. Why? Oh, because the The Mantis killer is actually Damien’s mom, Jeanne. Jeanne volunteers to help the agents catch the copycat killer, but only if her estranged son serves as liaison. Yeah, and you thought your family reunions were awkward.
It runs a bit shorter than the bulk of Netflix’s usual fare, clocking in at six, one-hour long episodes. It’s pretty much perfect binge length, in my opinion. Of course, I’m kind of biased since eight to ten episode binges make me feel like I’m wasting my youth. You may feel like six episodes is skimpy. To each their own, I guess. I maintain that the pacing is pretty much perfect, and if they’d tried to stretch it any further it would’ve slowed the whole story down.
It’s a French language series, so unless you’re fluent or have 20/20 vision keep your glasses handy. Also, French really is a beautiful language. The next time someone has to deliver bad news to me, I’m requesting that they do it in French.
The series has solid performances and some really nice, well placed color aesthetics. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be a hit with those who can’t get enough of crime dramas, and will probably go over well with those looking for something a bit outside their usual fare. We see plenty of male serial killers in our cinema. Having a female serial killer is a nice a change of pace (and boy, was that a weird sentence to write).