We see it coming as clearly as a heavy truck in the rearview mirror and yet it remains violent, appalling: the accident. Taken by an asthma attack at the wheel of his Volvo, the young Adam runs over another teenager on a motorcycle in a deserted crossroads in New Orleans. Petrified by fear and his shriveled lungs, Adam fails to call for help. Just dragging himself close to the victim, watching him dying on the side of the road, leg twisted at 90 degrees, concrete bathed in blood. Five minutes of horror where anguish rises, until this reaction both animal and unforgivable: Adam takes the road.
The introduction is trying and you have to hang up your seatbelt, the trouble has only just begun. Because the driver’s father, Michael Desiato (Bryan Cranston), is none other than the most famous judge in the city, and the deceased biker, the son of an ultra-influential mafia family. When he finds out, Michael Desiato has two options: take Adam to the police station and risk a bloody vendetta, or cover up the hit and run. It will hesitate less than a second before tilting, you will have guessed which way.
How far to go to save the skin of those we love? Can we sacrifice justice on the altar of danger? The argument of Your Honor turns out to be as readable as the double meaning of its title – the honorific formula designating the judge at the same time questions his morality. Adapted from an Israeli series (Quota, released in 2017) by Briton Peter Moffat and offered in Switzerland by Canal +, this thriller plays on the obvious contrast between the respectable figure of the judge and the filth of which he is guilty.
And he imposes, Michael Desiato. In court, he is discovered a skilled hunter of false alibis, flushed out looking half jaded, half amused. A useful flair when it comes time to create it, and to get rid of the exhibits, bag of bricks at the bottom of the lake and volatilized Volvo. Small problem: the police will find the car with, inside, a gangster of the competing mafia clan …
This is the start of the process. Cascading lies, dubious alliances, manipulations, each decision heavier with consequences than the previous one, like a snowball. As others are drawn into his fall, the noose tightens relentlessly around the judge.
And you can’t help but empathize with this pressured father, whose wife was killed in a robbery a year earlier. All the more so as there is the unstoppable effect of the “good villain”: this brave citizen who finds himself getting his hands dirty, pushing us to carry out our own examination of conscience (would I also have chosen the route of crime? ?) and to tremble for him.
Other series have exploited this framework, starting with the triumphal breaking Bad in which Bryan Cranston was already illustrated, as a chemistry teacher who became king of meth to ensure the financial future of his family. We can also think of Ozark or Dead to me, two excellent Netflix series in which the main character slips, “for a good cause” or almost.
An air of déjà vu therefore in Your Honor, and a somewhat rough-cut thread. The speed with which the judge turns over his jacket is hardly credible, as is the chain of events which, we quickly understand, will only go from bad to worse – the son adds another layer by forging links with the dangerous family of the deceased. And if the series, by transposing the Iranian scenario to the south of the United States, tackles the problem of police violence and facies crime, the portrait of a city corrupted to the bone (even within its prisons ) has an old cliché taste.
It is missing Your Honor a little relief, spirit and flesh, to go beyond the mechanical thriller and weigh the weight of the choices she draws. But the series has the merit of building an infallible stress machine, whose cogs are linked without ever seizing up or weakening in intensity. All served by a vast gallery of characters, unsurprisingly dominated by Bryan Cranston who, if he spends a good part of the time with his forehead bathed in cold sweat, knows better than anyone how to play the father consumed by anguish.
Suffering from the comparison with its (many) predecessors, Your Honor Nonetheless, it remains an effective entertainment, bluntly mixing up questions of justice and family, duty and guilt. The kind to watch on a Saturday night, only to conclude that his personal dilemmas, after all, are not so nightmarish.
“Your Honor”, a ten-part series broadcast Thursday evenings on Canal + and available on MyCanal.
Three works in resonance
Ozark (2017). Or the story of another Mr. Everybody who fell to the dark side: Martin (Jason Bateman), financial advisor and father who became somewhat unwillingly the cornerstone of a drug cartel in Missouri. . Confused and taking.
(2018). Are you a fan of extreme tension? The opening scene of this British series will take your breath away. Twenty minutes during which David, a Scottish veteran, rides a train where a terrorist is hiding with explosives …
Argo (2012). Tehran, 1979: the American embassy is under siege and its staff taken hostage by Iranian militants. Effective thriller, Argo stages this episode of the story with Bryan Cranston as a CIA agent, tasked with saving six diplomats before it is too late.