Created by Mathieu Missoffe, Black Spot (originally titled Zone Blanche or ‘White Zone’) is a French crime drama series in which the storyline is based on a small town Villefranche, nestled in the heart of a long-stretch forest range. The setting of the series looks very uncanny and mysterious, as the gradually deserted town is infamous for the unsolved murder cases.
Black Spot is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and I guess it is available in all countries. Ever since it started streaming in April 2017, the eight-episode series has been very popular among those who particularly like crime drama, and of course a series with fewer episodes.
The initial storyline goes like this: the small isolated town Villefranche is completely surrounded by dense forest that makes it really very difficult for regular telecommunication. That’s not all, with its hostile nature, the place is also notorious for its crimes, cases of disappearances, and huge number of murder cases i.e. six times higher than the national average.
Let’s now catch the synopsis for each episode:
Black Spot – Episode 1 – Stranger Comes to Town
In the premier episode, we sense the spookiness of the dark and thick forest where local cops found the body of a young woman hanging from a tree. While Major Laurene Weiss, who is a hometown gal, tries to solve the case, a new prosecutor enters the scene.
The prosecutor was very strangely welcomed to the town when his car got broke down and he tried to call for help but could not, as the cellphone network was down. Moments later he falls on the ground with legs twisted and finds his way back to his car crawling painfully.
While we think that it’s should be pretty easy for sheriff Laurene to maintain law and order, the cases of disappearances and the presence of some mysterious and weird characters, make her job complicated. Together with the guest of the town, she now has to investigate the case, while the town is already under pressure from the recently announced closure of the local sawmill and the disappearance of the Mayor’s daughter.
Black Spot – Episode 2 – A Wolf’s Dream
In the second episode, the series Black Spot moves leisurely but has enough substance to engage you. Laurene in her probe in the forest comes face to face with a white wolf – although others believe that all the wolves are killed by the farmers – which appears to be guarding a newborn baby hidden in a box. She goes on to find the baby’s parents and handover their baby boy.
In the midst of all the suspense, when we keep on thinking about the kidnapper or who is doing this and why, we see flashes of Laurene’s troubled past (about her own abduction 20 years earlier). Then the unfortunate news comes in that the baby boy is once again kidnapped by somebody who has asked for ransom money.
The cops then move inside the bush to deliver the ransom but to everyone’s disbelief, the kidnapper throws the baby into the cascade leaving everyone tormented. This follows the appearance of the wolf once again in the forest who kind of guided the sheriff to a cabin in the woods, where she finds the baby boy unhurt and brings him back to his parents.
The series at the end of second episode, reveals the presence of either some mysterious human being or some animal who controls the wolf. Until now, Black Spot has few prominent characters very well designed whom we need to follow in the next episodes. In addition, we can also say that the forest and the symbolic presence of a wolf have also shaped the storyline.
Black Spot – Episode 3 – The Void
To take the occurrence of strange things forward, cops in Villefranche found a traumatized amateur caver who says that he lost his friend inside the cave. Major Laurene, who is still haunted by her past, tries to get to the bottom of the disappearance of the girl by diving into the cave to unravel the mystery.
While some thinks the boy is traumatized and so talking all lies, Laurene’s daughter Cora with her friend tries to decipher the meaning of a mysterious sign which they found on the walls of the town. She thinks that some mysterious group is behind the disappearance of the Mayor’s daughter.
The episode even though is not better than the earlier two, it at least reveals some layers, or adds more substance to the storyline, further making the scenario interesting. Until now we were thinking that there were some mysterious elements working in the dense forest but now in this episode it is clear that a group is kidnapping the girls.
The exact motives of the masked group are not clear, and moreover the possibility of the involvement of a company that wants the forestland from those inhabitants also comes to light.
Black Spot – Episode 4 – No More Walks in the Woods
A hiker found a mobile phone from the forest that contains videos of a girl named Sophie lying soaked with blood, while few boys are terrified of something. As per reports the mobile phone is of a high-schooler from Villefranche Alexis Petour.
Major Laurene now has a new case to deal with, while she is also trying to assess her relationship with Bertrand – the Mayor of the town.
From the crime scene, cops found animal bones hanging from the trees, and the blood-stained clothes of the girl believed to be killed by someone. They later found a boy tied in a tree who was alive, and other tied in the tree but his throat slit.
In this episode, we learn about some unusual tradition named “all-nighter” in which when someone turns 18, the elders asks him/her to stay the whole night in the woods. But in this case, the boys were not aware that it was their all-nighter; the girl was used as bait to lure them into the woods. We also get to know that it was Laurene’s all-nighters which turned her nightmare.
Watch this episode to know the whereabouts of Cora and about the killer of Alexis.
So far, the first four episodes of Black Spot (Zone Blanche – Season 1) has been very interesting. The series has a great storyline with multiple characters that are designed and dramatically presented very well. While the elements of suspense more or less remains the same, by the end of fourth episode we at least get to know the motives of different people in the town.
There are quite a few likable characters, including the sheriff Laurene and her associates who are genuinely worried about whatever is happening in the town and hence try to give everything to serve in a not-so friendly environment, probably because most of them are locals. The series has an ensemble cast, who have done justice to their roles while an amazing cinematography has further elevated the overall imagination of the directors.
REVIEW OF THE NEXT FOUR EPISODES (5 to 8) OF BLACK SPOT WILL BE PUBLISHED SOON. PLEASE BOOKMARK THIS PAGE TO CHECK BACK LATER.
Zone Blanche Season 1 is available on DVD and now on Amazon Prime Video entitled BLACK SPOT. As per updates, Season 2 is now being prepared to be shot in April 2018 in Les Vosges (France).
Creator: Mathieu Missoffe
Directors: Thierry Poiraud, Julien Despaux
Casting: Suliane Brahim, Hubert Delattre, Laurent Capelluto, Samuel Jouy, Renaud Rutten, Tiphaine Daviot, Camille Aguilar, Anne Suarez, Brigitte Sy, Samir Boitard, Olivier Bonjour, Thomas Doret, Dan Herzberg, Cyrielle Debreuil, With Naidra Ayadi.