I've found myself addicted to a new limited series on AMC, "Monsieur Spade," which chronicles the late-in-life adventures of Sam Spade, the private eye created by novelist Dashiell Hammett and played by Humphrey Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon."
Clive Owen takes over for Bogart, and he's excellent - wry and cynical, and yet you can see that he has the heart of a damaged romantic. The series takes place in the small town of Bozouls in southern France, and it is 1963 - 20 years after the events of "The Maltese Falcon." In "Monsieur Spade," Spade is a widower - he'd come to France several years earlier on business, fallen in love with and married a beautiful vineyard owner.
As one might expect, there are mysterious happenings afoot, and it all seems to focus on a young boy who is somehow mixed up with veterans of the Algerian War, which to the residents of Bozouls seems to have left the same scars as Vietnam did for Americans. Spade being Spade, he gets involved. As one character says, the past is portable.
Some of the plotting of "Monsieur Spade" is thick, but it all seems like perfect private eye noir, crafted with affection by Scott Frank and Tom Fontana, two of the best TV writers out there. I recommend it.
Having watched "Monsieur Spade," I went further down the Scott Frank/noir rabbit hole and watched "A Walk Among The Tombstones," which he adapted from a Lawrence Block novel about his unlicensed private eye, Matthew Scudder.
Liam Neeson plays Scudder, and he is all soulful remorse as a former cop and current reformed alcoholic looking for redemption from past sins. He finds himself tracking a pair of serial killers and kidnappers, making his way through the criminal underworld to identify the criminals. "Tombstones" is dark and moody, demonstrating Frank's affection for the genre. I share his affection, and so I recommend it.
So the Super Bowl is on Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers are favored to beat the Kansas City Chiefs by 2. Me, I'm taking the Chiefs - my policy is to never bet against Patrick Mahomes.
And I'm making lamb and artichoke stew.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.