French-crime-drama Braquo is an assault on the senses that amplifies the bleak Gallic world with relentless torture, explosions and high-octane action. In the Hauts-de-Seine area of Paris, it is difficult to distinguish the gangsters from the police. Drawing on his experiences in law enforcement as a former policeman, Oliver Marchal creates a heightened, ultra-violent depiction of the controversially interchangeable relationships between the criminal and justice systems.
At the core of this gritty drama is Eddy Caplan, a dirty cop who is played by the actor, screenwriter and director Jean-Hugues Anglade, best known for his roles in Luc Besson’s Nikita (1990) as the heroine’s boyfriend Marco, and as bank robber Éric in Roger Avary’s Killing Zoe (1993).
In Braquo, Caplan heads a four-man rogue team who take it upon themselves to clear the name of their colleague after he commits suicide following accusations of misconduct and corruption on a rape case.
Anglade’s Caplan smoulders with a brooding masculinity. He is a rule breaker who abuses his power in order to seek the truth he demands. Roland Vogel (Geoffroy Thiebaut), an Internal Affairs investigator, is Caplan’s nemesis that intends to put a stop to his destructive ways. However, along with his vigilante posse, Caplan’s tough antihero persona is compelled to penetrate the grizzly underbelly of lawless characters that he is dangerously close to becoming himself.
Caplan leads his team on a series of missions, beginning with a cinematic shoot-out and disposal of the human remains in order to cover their tracks. When Caplan is hospitalised in the fourth episode of season one: “The Other Side”, his mortality does not faze him as he continues in his pursuit to rescue his kidnapped colleague. By the first season finale: “Eddy”, Caplan’s enemy, gangster Serge Lemoine (Alain Figlarz), reveals Caplan’s duplicitous methods and proves Caplan is not as infallible as he thinks.
In the first season, Caplan is uncontrollable and irrational with his motivations. He is under the delusional understanding that his job title and badge give him carte blanche on police brutality. However, in the second season, Caplan is disgraced and subsequently incarcerated; he no longer has the law on his side to disguise his militant behaviour. His unquenchable thirst for revenge, and atonement, cloud his moral judgement as he persists in embroiling his cohort in a new set of plans: to target and infiltrate a new group of mercenaries after his escape from prison.