Nicolas Le Floch (2008–2018): Season 1, Episode 2 - L'énigme des Blancs-Manteaux - full transcript

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THE BLANCS-MANTEAUX ENIGMA

Part One

- You jostled me!
- Not at all, it was you.

Anywhere else,
I'd demand satisfaction!

We didn't come here to quarrel.

Descare! Vile rascal!
So it was you.

Having a guilty affair
with my wife.

Your wife?
Everyone's having an affair

with your wife, Lardin!

My wife, who is also
your cousin, Descare!



Your own cousin!
Miserable wretch!

Enough, gentlemen!

Commissaire,
being a policeman doesn't mean

you can abuse your power here.

And doctor, save that instrument
for your unfortunate patients.

Unfortunate is the word.

Mr Naval Surgeon!

what do you know
of fortune or ill-fortune?

- Much more than you.
- Stop!

Misfortune! Our hapless commissaire
isn't the only unfortunate.

For I know, Scemacgus,

you too have sampled
the Lardin woman.

She's a fine piece.

Gentlemen! I bid you
leave this instant, all 3 of you.



I run a good house
where moderation is the rule.

We have business to settle.

I do not fear you, sir.

Go!

You too, Dr Descare,
you may leave.

Make merry! Return to the party!

Saint-Louis!

Saint-Louis!

Midnight.

Has the fellow disregarded orders?

A cabriolet driven by a dark man.

In this darkness?

He's usually punctual.

He'll find his way.
Get in, sir.

You're as miserable as sin, sir.

To what do I owe the pleasure?

Some enjoy themselves tonight,
not others.

Police reasons, madame.

You're open about it.

Gone midnight, party's over.
It's no time for masks.

I know you have
a faro table downstairs.

Whether the dice are loaded
or the games fair...

We also know of your girls
and their trade.

As long as it doesn't
get too spicy.

You know that you hold me
in the palm of your hand.

It could weigh greater,
if so you choose.

The game is fair

and my girls are clean.

What do you want from me?

You to tell me
what I'll find out later

to your detriment.

You want me to be a snitch.

An altercation
that was easily sorted out.

Three fellows the worse for drink.

Motive of altercation?

The old story: three lads
sniffing after the same fish.

Three masks arguing over a woman.

It came to blows.

I had to ask them to leave.

Who were they?

How do I know?
It wasn't midnight.

- New lodgers?
- A new one who's staying

but refuses to consume.

She's a choice morsel,

and it suits us both.

She calls herself La Satin

and already has a good clientele.

She lives God knows where.

You go to the Com?die Italienne?

Come on!

The axe.

Don't you recognise me, sir?

- With difficulty, madame.
- Mademoiselle, please.

I suppose this is your work,
mademoiselle.

Indeed it is.

Come.

Come now!
Though you don't recognise me,

it doesn't mean you don't know me.

Come.

Come along, sir!

From experience, I doubt
that you are repulsed.

Come on!

Come along, sir.

I know far worse surrenders.

Not now.

We'll have time enough later.

Is it really you?

Yes, it's me.

Marie de Langremont,
formerly La Bicheliere,

presently officiating
with the moniker La Satin.

How come you're here?

How? Thanks to the strength
of the Almighty,

the credulity of women

and the benevolence
of certain men.

I spotted you in the street.

I couldn't resist.

Regrets, Nicolas?

Mr Le Floch is summoned
to Mr de Sartine urgently.

'Twas not lightly that I plucked
one of my creatures

from the throes of desire.

Don't forget, young Adonis...

You have your ears,
and I have mine.

And the king has a police force
the envy of the civilised world.

You summoned me to boast about
our police force?

What do you know
of Commissaire Lardin?

What can I say?

At your instigation,
he was my mentor, when I arrived.

I remember
an excellent policeman,

particularly expert
at policing gambling.

A good father,
comfortably off.

How so?

From what I learned

staying at the Lardin home,

the fortune comes from his wife.

Louise Lardin, n?e Descare.

A beautiful woman,
I've heard.

- What do you know of Louise Lardin?
- Nothing improper.

Slow down.

No need to get on your high horse.

You are a gentleman
and insensitive to matters of sex

and money.
One final question.

On your word,

do you consider Lardin
an honest man?

Yes. As honest as one can be
in gambling terms.

Would you answer for him
as yourself?

Commissaire Lardin
was killed last night.

It is not my place
to evoke an affair

which directly interests the king.

It's pointless.

I cannot and must not say more.

Only that we were to meet at dawn

on a vital matter
and he did not come.

Your mission is simple:
establish beyond all doubt

why and how your colleague died.

You may go, Commissaire.

I'm not stopping you.

My God! Nicolas.

You, here.

Sorry I haven't a chair to offer you.

No matter, madame.

You've changed, Nicolas.

You're more mature,
more of a man.

stronger, more bitter.

Tenderness has little room
in a policeman's lot.

Remember the feasts
and the suppers we held here?

The music...
There was a harpsichord there.

We'd play pieces by Rameau, by Lully.

Candles, music, laughter,

wine a-plenty.

We gradually sold it all.
We laid off the cook,

reduced the servants to
that beanpole who let you in.

How can this be?

Commissaire Lardin
started gambling.

The corrupting effect

of the perversity
he was meant to suppress?

Anyway, it was the ruin
of the house of Lardin.

You, at least, Nicolas...

I remember when you arrived
in this house.

I remember how many hopes
I placed in you.

Not all were disappointed.

You were young, full of ardour

that just wanted to pour out.

I am here on duty, madame.

My God, you haven't changed!

The same spirited
yet stubborn stallion.

What do you want to know?
Where Commissaire Lardin is?

Yes.

I haven't the slightest idea.

My husband no longer informs me
of what he does.

Bitterness doesn't suit you.

Bitterness?

Let's stop the barbs, Nicolas.

We're old enough
for the truth not to scare us.

Last night, Lardin had
a rendezvous at Paulet's,

at the Dauphin Couronn?,
where he's a regular visitor.

I don't know why.

He must have feared something
because he took his bludgeon.

To tell the truth, the commissaire
had got it into his head

that I had been gravely unfaithful.

I don't deny that a neglected wife

may seek other arms
than those of her husband.

I won't see you out.

Marie?

My God, you're a big girl now.

She mustn't hear us.

Do you hate her?

As one can only hate a stepmother.

My father came to see me
every morning.

Not today.
I think it's a bad omen.

You believe in omens?
I don't.

Don't fear, I am here.

He gave me this for you

should he ever disappear.
- Why me?

He knew you loved me.
"Like a little sister," he'd say.

So Lardin has disappeared.

"Do not from three come a pair?

"Even their covers can be
Seen by all."

It means nothing.

I don't see her
as the neglected wife.

The sudden fall of the Lardins
intrigues me.

He's brutal and unscrupulous,

but he's cunning and clever,
and keeps a cool head.

Gambling:
one of the seven scourges.

And Mr de Sartine, sly and terse.

I like neither skewed truth
nor missions on tiptoes.

Monarchy has reasons
that reason cannot know.

A report from Temple police station:

"Arrested at dawn this morning,
the lady Emilie,

"soup seller and darner,

"ex-loose woman fallen on
hard times, was surprised

"when bringing back from
the Montfaucon abattoir

"rotten meat taken from some carcass.

"She states that on the way
she came across

"human remains in a sorry state."

What did you see?

I saw two men,
with a lantern,

emptying something bloody
from a barrel,

along with clothes.

I saw them strike a light
and something burning.

- Would you recognise them?
- No.

The mist was too thick.
This way.

Was that it?

This ravaged corpse
is that of a stocky man.

The jaw has been broken.

Fragments of flesh.

This gnarled stick
with a brass knob...

This is Commissaire Lardin's
bludgeon,

his favourite weapon.

The doublet too.

I've seen him put on
this thick leather.

He said he wore it to guard against
knives and daggers.

Have the remains taken away.

You want to keep old Emilie?

No. Release her.

I thought you held Lardin in esteem.

Scemacgus?
What are you doing here?

Like Diogenes,
looking for a man.

My coachman, Saint-Louis,
should have met me

at midnight after the party in town.

He didn't appear.
This morning neither.

You fear the worst?

Indeed, I have every reason to.

You can see that the head
was eaten by animals.

The jaw has been ground
by powerful teeth: dog or wolf.

These strips were gnawed
by sharp little teeth: rats.

In the sockets you can see
traces of a crow's beak.

We can assume death
was only hours ago.

Isn't it strange,
in so little time...

Animals have done so much?

No. What's strange is,
their rapaciousness

was not more pronounced.

However, as vermin do not eat hair,

I can say the victim
was either bald or scalped

like an Iroquois.
But I can't explain

this black mark atop the skull.

Perhaps we could ask Scemacgus.

I saw him an instant ago.

Yes. Looking for his coachman.

We're in the presence of a bald man,

in the prime of life,
a stocky, well-built individual.

Lardin.

The body had been cut up
before being left

or you'd have blood on the ground.

The victim was killed elsewhere

with a sharp, cutting instrument
then abandoned

as the first carnival mists
were falling.

First carnival mists?
So it was around midnight.

I don't know how to thank you.

You did it by listening
and shaking my hand.

Goodbye, gentlemen.

I won't forget that in a hurry.
Sanson amazed me.

He sorted it out
in the blink of an eye.

Bald man, prime of life,
the bludgeon, the doublet.

It all fits, doesn't it?
It must be Lardin.

It all fits a body of presumption

leading us to that theory.

You're becoming cautious.

Where did you get that?

From showing more interest
than you in the doublet.

A trick token
you buy from the madam

and give the girls
when the bottle's drunk.

A token bearing
a Dauphin Couronn?.

As for the note,
it's written in Paulet's hand.

I've a call to make

to enlighten myself
on a gift of fate.

You deceived me!

The opposite would have hurt less.

I can close your house in an instant.

You are right to be scared.

What are you so scared of?

Commissaire Lardin.

Commissaire Lardin?

He said he was in charge
of the gambling police.

In charge?

He said he'd been appointed
by your chief, Mr de Sartine.

You have no more reason
to fear him.

Commissaire Lardin is dead.
We have found his remains.

Was Lardin one of the three masks
in the argument?

Against whom?

- Dr Descare, mainly.
- For what reason?

His wife's loose living.

Right. And?

The third mask?

Your great friend, Scemacgus.

He was never without that bludgeon.

Or that doublet.

So he's dead.

Everything points to that.

Your despair would seem
to be limitless, madame.

I can control my emotions, sir.

Apart from moaning,
what do you want from me?

I'd like your opinion.

Who do you think
might have intended

or wanted or needed
to kill your husband?

I've no idea.

Your cousin,
Dr Descare, perhaps?

Descare?

God, no. The poor thing yelps
more than he bites.

An arrogant hornet
with deep-rooted venom,

but only his lancet,
which he's handier with,

could be a sting.

Last night he had a huge row
with your husband.

Could you think of
another likely suitor?

You've gone too far.
I am not an easy woman.

I am a widow, and as such,
you should respect...

I'd like to see
your stepdaughter Marie.

She's at vespers.

I want my husband to have
a Christian burial.

I'd like his remains released
as soon as possible.

You'll have to wait
until the case is finally closed.

Madame.

The pike has taken the bait.
Now it's time to strike.

And he's too interested
in our young girl.

We should see to her promptly.

No!

Come on!

It's a shame you can't enjoy
the cruel beauty

of dissolution.

But I imagine the stench is enough.

You've got a nerve,
showing up here like this!

Strutting around like a boy surgeon.

I'll have you banned!

A man who rejects bloodletting

with no qualifications!
- My qualifications

are worth yours.
As for bloodletting,

you are the dry fruit
of old doctrines.

You insult Hippocrates and Galen!

The sage's teachings bring life.

But yours brings death.

You blaspheme the Holy Scriptures!

That's enough!

You can debate another time.

Doctor Descare,

Mr de Sartine,
chief of police,

has bid me investigate
Mr Lardin's disappearance.

Well, sir?

You were among the last to see him.

I did dine with the Lardins
ten days ago.

Have you seen him since?

Have you seen him since?

Not in the least.
What is this inquisition?

Doctor, I have heard you.
Your claims will be checked

and a magistrate will question you

on Lardin's disappearance.

Sir, I am your servant.

"I was disgraced by my neighbours

"and hated by my acquaintances."

Christ with his credenza.
Did you know Descare was a Jansenist?

No. It'd have to be recent
and all-encompassing.

Interest, lies and slander
often go with devoutness.

I know that, my friend.

What were you doing there?

You suddenly sound very official.

- Looking for my coachman.
- At Descare's?

Yes. Recently, claiming Saint-Louis
had stolen cherries,

Descare shot at him
and broke his leg.

But for my surgeon's skill,
the wretch would have been crippled.

But Saint-Louis
didn't steal cherries.

He just happened to be black
and be there.

Descare hates Negroes.
He thinks they're beings

that dirty our Lord's earth.

You were at Paulet's.

- Yes.
- Descare had a row

with Lardin.
As did you, Scemacgus.

Did you know Lardin was dead?

- Not until earlier.
- It scarcely moved you.

You talked of disappearance
not death.

So Lardin is dead?

Do I infer
that I am a suspect too?

Unless you can provide
an alibi for the time

between leaving the Dauphin
and the body being found.

I have nothing to justify.

My affection for you is like that
for a younger brother,

but I fear you'll have to
make do with my word.

Which, to a policeman, counts
as much as a nun's fart.

Commissaire.

Good evening, Nicolas.

The throes
of a terrible attack of gout.

But you, my friend,
seem broody.

Perhaps the sudden presence
of some lady?

Did you know about
Lardin's disappearance?

By Jove! You don't bother
with preliminaries.

News of his death
is all over Paris.

I'm not sure the man
is particularly missed.

But I hear your sorrow.

It is never pleasant

to lose a companion
from one's beginnings.

And did you know

Mr de Sartine had charged him
with overseeing gambling?

I was aware.
And I sense your astonishment.

Sir,

answer without pretence
and with brutal sincerity.

Can you answer for Scemacgus
as for yourself?

Scemacgus...

He's a strong character.

His vigour leaves him exposed
to women.

He can scarcely resist
and puts all his light into it,

sometimes without judgment.

It is said he had an affair
with Lardin's wife.

By Jove! No need to ask
where you got that.

You could suggest standing down
from this case.

It is not in me to stumble
before a hurdle.

Another strong character.

You should get some rest.

Heard the expression 'sleep on it'?

Commissaire.
Talking of starting out,

did you know that, before getting
her clutches into Lardin

and acquiring
an almost spotless virtue,

Mme Lardin had taken her first steps
in courtesanship

at Madame Paulet's,
in the Dauphin Couronn? pub?

An odd conversation
was overheard in a tavern

between 2 rascals
with gold to spend.

Were they known faces?

No. The worst kind of scum.

Former ruffians or outlaws.

Their master paid them well

to cut up a good piece of meat

and take it to Montfaucon.

Montfaucon?

One claimed to be
a former navy gunner.

He wears a wooden leg
of which he is very proud.

I must find them, Tirepot.

Lardin's death doesn't concern you.
Let him rest.

No one has anything to gain
in stirring up his death.

My God! Commissaire...

Is Mr de Sartine visible?

He's in a hearing.

You know the situation:
Pondicherry is in enemy hands.

So I am aware.

If they obtain these letters,
it's a disaster.

- How is it going?
- I put someone on the case.

He's acting at once
as both dog and hare.

He knows nothing of the affair.

How dare you show up unannounced!

Are you drunk?
Have you gone mad?

No. Just doing my duty.

What happened to you?

I was attacked in here.

Bloodhound turned game.

Their impudence is limitless,
in proportion with the case.

What did you overhear?

Nothing worth reporting.

I didn't know the Lardin case
had several sides.

It is ever thus when reasons of state
mix with men's things.

I can add nothing.

So Lardin is dead?

Everything points that way.

Murdered for motives
that seemed straightforward.

Mme Lardin was at the centre
of a dangerous triangle.

Many triangles are.
A simple woman's affair

that just happened
at the wrong time.

And the other two points
of the triangle?

Mme Lardin's own cousin:
Doctor Descare.

Doctor Descare
and Scemacgus,

naval surgeon
and adept at dismembering bodies.

Inspector Bourdeau has an urgent
message for Commissaire Le Floch.

Show him in.

Excuse me, sir. I interrupt
for a serious development.

I wanted to report that
Dr Descare has been murdered.

Everything points to Scemacgus
as the murderer.

Commissaire?

There's only one point left
on your triangle.

I'd like to know

the precise reason
for your being here.

A note sent to me by the victim,

inviting me to visit forthwith.

I thought you were on bad terms.

And so did I.

Sir, I would be glad
if you'd produce this note.

Would you believe me

if I said I lost it on the way here?

Take away the body

that it be duly opened.

A routine search
and then seal the place.

Mr Scemacgus...

come with me to Ch?telet,
where you'll be kept in secret

until this case is concluded.

Your instructions were carried out.

"Do not from three come a pair?
Even the covers can be Seen by all."

Lardin was secretive
and loved ciphers.

How's your friend Scemacgus?

Like a man resigned to imprisonment

who keeps his silence.

I went digging around last night.

I know your feelings for Scemacgus.

However, among
the Lardin woman's suitors,

the least ardent was not
our fiery naval surgeon.

Their discreet affair
made a great din.

A husband.

Two lovers.

Descare eliminates Lardin.

Scemacgus eliminates Descare.

Or Scemacgus eliminates both

on the pretext of the scene
in the Dauphin Couronn?.

Were it not for your friendship
with Mr Scemacgus,

could you see any objection
to this configuration?

Alas, no.

I have a new mission
for you, Bourdeau.

An important mission,
as it concerns my life.

You're obviously intending
setting up shop here.

Does Lardin's still-warm place
hold some attraction for you?

Unless this is about me.

No, I already know
everything about you.

As for the rest, I wouldn't
swap places with you.

Your cousin Descare is dead.
Your lover, they say.

If he was, I am scarcely
aroused by the memory.

What else do they say, sir?

That you had adulterous relations
with a certain Scemacgus.

Relations your cousin was aware of,

since he revealed this
to your husband at Paulet's.

As a former employee,
you'll remember the place.

You exceed your rights
and I know mine.

Get out!

You are hiding part of the truth

or the whole truth,
I know it.

I also know you are involved
in your husband's disappearance.

I could make you confess.

The question loosens tongues.

You are a fool.

I know your methods.
My husband's methods.

You could, but you'd need
a warrant from your superior,

the chief of police.

I doubt Mr de Sartine
would consent. Get out!

Gently, sir.

I followed the ruffian.
He took a long route to get here.

Did he spot me? I lost him
by the Lardin house.

I'd only just arrived
when you emerged.

Your man might have entered
by a hidden access.

To be sure, we'd have to enter too,

and I fear that's impossible
for the moment.

De Sartine
is not playing fair

and I fear I'd make things
even more muddled.

The animal leaves here.

- It has flair and instinct.
- No doubt.

The beating to convince him
of Lardin's death wasn't enough.

We're alone, madame.
What do you fear?

The shadow of your husband,
returned from hell?

We must eliminate the commissaire
before he compromises everything.

Have you found the letters?

No.

Shame Lardin was so tough.

He could have told us.

Descare can't have known.
For a coward, he said nothing.

They gave Lardin his power,

but he wouldn't use them
except for blackmail.

Maybe he retained
a vestige of loyalty.

Go back there.
We need those letters, Mauval.

We don't have Lardin's scruples.

Plotting against France
doesn't repulse us.

Clients for those letters
jostle at our borders.

I want the house
and its surroundings watching.

It'll be done.
And more if needed.

No need.
My troops are like me.

They live on fresh air.

Tell me where you're from one day.

I doubt that the matter
is of any importance.

The lancet near the heart
can't have been the cause of death.

The wretch was already dead,

neck broken
by extremely powerful hands.

These traces only appear
well after death.

Not one bone, not one member
was spared.

Doctor Descare
was cleverly ill-treated

before his torturers
cut short his suffering.

To make him talk?

It could be that.

Or to inflict
great suffering on the patient

to give him a foretaste of hell.

You think Scemacgus
capable of that?

He has the strength

and the knowledge of
how to cause violent pain.

He may have used the lancet
to allay suspicion.

An informer claims
Dr Descare's house was searched.

The seals were broken.
Everything is in disorder.

It looks like someone
was looking for something.

But who, what, and why?

You see, Bourdeau,

one of the fellows
left his signature.

There couldn't be a more cautious
nor finer chaperone.

Your servant, sir.

Sir!

Sir, wake up. Sir!

To be continued...

Subtitles - Henry Moon
for TELETOTA