Netflix just debuted its French crime heist drama based on the Arsène Lupin gentleman thief series by Maurice Leblanc. Created by George Kay and François Uzan, Lupin is now the first French series to hit Netflix’s U.S. Top 10 list.
Set in Paris, Lupin is a modern adaption of the early 20th century books. Omar Sy stars as Assane Diop, a thief and master of disguise who uses the texts of fictional character Arsène Lupin as an inspiration and influence in life, utilizing sleight-of-hand tricks as he tries to get revenge on the people who wrongfully accused his father of being a thief. The first five episodes, the plot references the book The Queen’s Necklace by Leblanc. Our story begins with Assane’s father, Babakar, who works for the wealthy family of Hubert Pellegrini as a chauffeur; he’s given the opportunity to offer an Arsène Lupin book for Assane, who is a passionate and avid reader.
However, when the Pellegrini’s prized possession — Marie Antoinette’s necklace — goes missing, the Pellegrinis assume Babakar the prime suspect and he’s thrown in jail. 25 years later, the necklace reappears and is put on auction at the Louvre museum. Assane plots to steal the necklace and hold it hostage while he tries to clear his father’s name. Using the Lupin books as a guide, Assane fools anyone in the way of his mission, including police and politicians.
What’s most captivating about the story has nothing to do with Assane being a thief, but the relationship he has with his father and the relationship Assane has with his son Raoul. Assane focuses so much on trying to avenge his father that he forgets he is a father himself and neglects his own son by not spending time with him. He almost misses Raoul’s birthday, not to mention his poor relationship with Claire, the mother of his child. There is a heartfelt moment where Assane passes down the book Arsène Lupin that his father gave him, and a bond is formed between the two over the novel.
Assane is not the only one inspired by Leblanc’s works. One of our police officials is as well. Ganimard, the officer who always seems to deceived by Lupin in the books, is reimagined in the series as police detective Youssef Guedira. Youssef is investigating Assane and just so happens to be a fan of Lupin. He tries to convince his colleagues that all the things that are happening came from straight from the book which they brush off as foolishness. It’s a bit odd, but it creates some tension.
Ultimately, if you’re into thievery, mystery, and an excellent slice-of-life drama, Lupin has it all with a plot twist that will keep you on the edge of your seat and eagerly wanting more at the very end. There have been many films, plays, comics, anime, and video games about this character throughout time. There have also been many comparisons to BBC’s Sherlock series. Lupin isn’t Netflix’s first foreign series in the heist genre and it could be similarly related to La Casa de Papel, aka Money Heist, which are worth checking out while we wait for the second part of Lupin to hit Netflix.