“Gloria” – TV Series Review
“Gloria” is a six-episode subtitled miniseries from French TV, featuring a justifiably frazzled woman suddenly facing chaos on many fronts. Gloria (Cecile Bois) is a lawyer about to return from maternity leave after eight months at home with her third child. Her loving husband David (Michael Cohen) is also a partner in their firm. When he drives off to court one morning, she has no reason to feel anything but joy over their stable, successful life together.
But David vanishes. Accident? Foul play? Another woman? All possibilities are bounced around as Cecile’s efforts to find out what happened spiral ever deeper down the proverbial rabbit hole. Old losses and grudges start emerging as her marriage, career, children and extended family either unravel or become threatened. Or both. Gloria is smart and resourceful but soon finds herself swamped from suddenly having to deal with problems and people beyond her ken.
Gloria has to quickly step in for David on a couple of cases, showing her professional brilliance, and making useful new friends of a couple of disreputable clients. Then her supposedly prospering firm turns out to be deeply in debt, and David’s finances may have been entangled with some large-scale criminal activity, now putting their lives in unexpected danger. Added to all these destabilizing surprises is the involvement of a police detective zealously committed to nailing Gloria for everything in reach due to an episode in their legal history. Plus the suspense of an anonymous string-pulling villain even worse than the one she discovers to be the at the center of this crisis, Gaelle Brak (Anne Consigny).
Whew! I’m tired just from writing that paragraph. That’s a lot to unpack in six episodes but they manage. If this summary seems familiar, that could be because the six-episode “Gloria” is adapted from a 2017 British TV thriller, “Keeping Faith,” that ran for four years.
Even though Gloria and her kids face many threats – physical and otherwise – throughout, nothing occurs on-screen that’s more graphic than our U.S. prime-time crime dramas. Actually, less so. We mostly see Gloria in various degrees of desperation and frustration as she pounces on each clue or lead, often unwisely, and frequently aggravating her situation.
Bois’ performance as a woman suddenly under incredible stress, due to no fault of her own, is suitably exhausting to watch. We really feel her desperation and empathize with her scattershot reactions. Many may question her judgment at times but we remain firmly in her corner. Because she’s constantly having to respond to new surprises coming from all directions, the series carries considerable intensity over to its audience. Two arguable flaws come to mind. Gloria may be blindsided too many times in too many ways for some viewers’ patience. And the most intriguing character of the lot is Consigny’s calmly-understated local crime boss, who deserved more screen time than allotted.
Bottom line, “Gloria” is good for a binge, when you’re craving ramped-up suspense.
“Gloria,” mostly in French with English subtitles, is streaming on MHz Choice starting Tuesday, June 21.
RATING: 2 out of 4 stars