Sleuth vs Sleuth on Sunday (and Monday)


TVNZ 1 and Prime will go head-to-head in a Sunday night showdown of TV’s top sleuths.

On June 17, TVNZ 1 will premiere Maigret in Montmarte against the return of Endeavour on Prime.

Montmarte is the fourth and final Maigret mystery ITV made with Rowan Atkinson. It has the French detective investigating the random murders of a countess and a showgirl in Nice.

The Guardian thought it as “delicious as Dubonnet” while The Telegraph quipped: “The outcome wasn’t predictable but the process was. After the clues presented themselves, Maigret mused, smoked, had an epiphany and eventually got his man.”

Despite adapting only four of the 75 Maigret novels, ITV confirmed to Radio Times there are no more series on the agenda: “We’ve no current plans for further Maigret films. Rowan Atkinson is also committed to other projects.”

Prime’s Inspector Morse prequel opens its fourth season with one of Endeavour’s research team being found drowned near Magdalen Bridge. Assuming it to be a suicide on first inspection, the circumstances become more suspicious after two more drownings. 

Season five aired earlier this year in the UK, where The Guardian called it “as comforting as cheese on toast … made with the finest English cheddar,” and a sixth has been commissioned.

The same week Prime will launch against TVNZ 1’s Criminal Minds (8.30 Mondays) the latest American crime drama with a gimmick, Instinct.

It stars The Good Wife’s Alan Cumming as an ex-CIA agent-cum-university professor who comes out of academia to help an NYPD detective (Shameless’ Bojana Novakovic) catch a serial killer who appears to have been inspired by his first book on criminal theory.

The twist? He’s the first gay protagonist to carry a CBS procedural.

Instinct went to air three months ago in the US, where it earned middling reviews. “But unlike so many other shows, where the ‘work wife’ female partner becomes a simmering love interest, Instinct from the start establishes a different paradigm,” Variety said. 

“It makes for just enough of a twist on the form that Instinct feels different, and Cumming’s magnetism picks up the rest of the slack.”

Traditionally, Prime has fastidiously avoided programming clashes with its much bigger rival.

But targeting the ageing Criminal Minds with such blatantly like-minded fare suggests it sees an opening on Monday nights for a vaguely fresh take on one of TV’s most popular genres with 25-54 year-olds.

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