TV Review: 'The Red Shadows' Season 1 Premiere Captivates

Red Shadows Les Ombres Rouges Raphaël Lenglet Frédéric Garnier Nadia Farès Aurore Garnier Paoletti Sundance Now
Image by Acorn TV / Sundance Now
If you love French thrillers, then the Season 1 premiere of “The Red Shadows” (“Les Ombres Rouges”) will hook you almost instantly. Aurore Garnier Paoletti (Nadia Farès) is a police officer haunted by the abduction of her younger sister, Clara, and their mother’s subsequent murder decades ago. In the present day, Aurore believes that she has incidentally discovered the break in the case she has been waiting for.

In fact, Aurore suspects that she might have found a now-adult Clara. Has she? Sundance Now’s “The Red Shadows” plunges viewers headlong into a puzzling mystery with its Season 1 premiere. One that’s implications run back to the past and stand to drastically impact the future. If the mystery woman (Manon Azem) is Clara, a complicated family awaits her return.


To the tremendous annoyance of her husband, Aurore’s investigation into her sister’s kidnapping has been a significant fixture of her life. She has two brothers. One of them is a club owner and the other works at their grandfather’s luxury hotel. The siblings’ dad has remarried since their mother’s death and has a teenage daughter with his current wife.

As you can tell, “The Red Shadows” makes a bold play as both a mysterious drama and one boiling with potential family conflict. As seen in other shows, the combination can be quite combustible. In true French style, the show starts with a simmering burn before turning into a steamy boil. It has everything right under its frothy surface, ready to go.

Theories are tricky to conjure from the Season 1 premiere alone. The suspect pool and potential scenarios appear pretty limitless. The whodunit is undoubtedly a major part of “The Red Shadows” and its appeal. While there are a lot of missing pieces, the foundation that the premiere sets puts them in a followable context.

As the Season 1 premiere finished, I found myself incredibly curious to see what the next chapter in the saga would hold. As expected, there are a lot of unanswered questions, and while I am not sure all of them will be answered, the journey getting there should be entertaining. “The Red Shadows” has a cast of characters that are easy to plug into.

There will be six episodes in total of the Sundance Now series, which leaves five left to finish the story after the premiere. Can it fit in everything? It is one of the concerns with a mystery like “The Red Shadows.”

The genre can sacrifice tying up loose ends to spend time on elements that do not drive the main story. That does not seem primed to be an issue with “The Red Shadows.” The show charges headfirst into the drama without using any scenes that do not feel necessary.

“The Red Shadows” is reminiscent of “The Chalet” in that regard. Series creator, Sébastien Le Délézir, affectively sets the pace while checking off the character development necessary to make you care. It is a balancing act and “The Red Shadows” nails it.

Rating: 8/10

You can currently stream the Season 1 premiere of “The Red Shadows” (“Les Ombres Rouges”) on Sundance Now. A new episode of the six-part series will premiere every Thursday. Stay tuned to Eclectic Pop for coverage of Episode 2!

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