In July, COSMO released the third season of Astrid and Raphaëlle, a Franco-Belgian co-production whose first 25 episodes pleasantly surprised audiences thanks to the unusual pair of protagonists and their ability to solve even the most complex police cases.

The thriller follows Astrid Nielsen and Raphaëlle Coste, two women who are both different and similar enough to make them a duo that would be considered an asset on any investigation. It probably wouldn’t work out that way in real life, but it makes perfect sense here in the realm of fiction.

Actually this episodic procedural proves rather addictive, provoking an insatiable desire to know more about everything it depicts – about the criminal case, the police work and even the personal lives of these two protagonists, who are rarely seen on screen together.

The perfect crime-solving partners

Much of Astrid and Raphaëlle’s charm lies in the very bright minds of the very characters it takes its name from. (In some markets the series is even called Bright Minds.) Raphaëlle is a no-nonsense, disorganized and obstinate police commander who relies on gut instinct. Astrid, meanwhile, has autism and works in the criminal records archive, where she remembers intricate details of cases and loves to keep everything well-ordered.

The two have been working together for three seasons, forming a team that seemed somewhat surprising in early episodes, given their contrasting traits, but now no one could dispute the fact that they complement each other to perfection.

Yes, it is another procedural that uses the trope of investigators with very different personalities. But it should be remembered that in this case it’s been applied to two women. And even better, to two women who, when they get to know each other, enjoy a professional respect for each and take a mutual interest in each other’s work.

For that reason alone, it deserves a chance.

‘Astrid and Raphaëlle’. COSMO.

The cases themselves aren’t important, but they are interesting

Although this is a procedural series, after the first two seasons it has become clear that the cases tend to be of secondary importance.

In the new season, Astrid and Raphaëlle investigate a group of conspiracy theorists, infiltrate a community of Native Americans, uncover a monastery’s secrets, penetrate mental hospitals and even delve into the past of the father of one of them.

And, although all this should be enough to keep viewers coming back for more, the truth is that what keeps them intrigued is the pair’s interactions – their relationship with each other, with their work, with their colleagues, and in their love lives.

It’s not perfect, but it does has something to offer

It’s not the best police series, it’s not even a great thriller. But it does entertain in just the right measure, while debunking myths such as that women don’t support other women when working together, that they don’t make good offsiders for each other as police partners, and that they don’t know how to be true friends.

‘Astrid and Raphaëlle’. COSMO.

Without being pretentious about it, Astrid and Raphaëlle provides a fresh approach for viewers in various ways, such as its insight into what Asperger’s is like, beyond just seeing it as adding a touch of eccentricity, and even helping the audience see neurotypicals through the duo’s eyes. It encourages viewers to stop believing people with Aspergers are some kind of homogeneous group and to understand that every person has their own personality.

This is what the series has achieved in its first two seasons, and in this third season it seems it will continue along the lines of a straightforward procedural but one that goes deeper than it might suggest at first glance. Just like their police investigations.

Paula Hergar
Paula Hergar is a 360 journalist as Paquita Salas would say, writes about TV in Vertele and presents, writes, and directs Zapping on LOS40. In addition to collaborating in cultural programs in La 2 and being the author of the book ‘Around the world in 80 series’.