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Astrid

Updated: Apr 3

My wife and I are watching a wonderful French import on PBS Passport, “Astrid” (Astrid and

Raphaëlle in France), and we are completely hooked. The title character played incredibly by

Sara Mortensen (a neurotypical French-Norwegian actor), is an Asperger’s patient on the

autism spectrum, and working as an archivist for Paris’ judicial police where she has handled and

memorized virtually all the cases in the Criminal Records division. She partners with

Commander Raph Coste (Lola Dewaere) a defiant, rules-ignoring detective whose attitude and

determination will remind you of Harry Bosch, as Coste deals with various murders. Astrid lends

her skills of puzzle resolution and observational deduction to assist in the solving of these

crimes.


Astrid’s quirks are plentiful and include extreme time consciousness and frequent checking of

her watch so as never to be late for anything she has committed to; eyes that only focus on

other people as she learns to trust them and, in her way, chooses to communicate with

them; a left hand in constant motion as she works to unravel mysteries, either personal or

professional; social ineptness colored with brutal honesty and frankness; little display of

emotions (though she sometimes stares agape, with eyes wide, when she confronts a surprise);

sensitive, at times painful, hearing (reminiscent of those who suffer from hyperacusis);

intolerance of being touched—in other words, an incredibly well-written, well-developed

character. If she has not won any awards for this acting extravaganza, there’s something

seriously wrong with whoever makes those decisions because she is brilliant in this role!


As her friendship with Coste develops, Astrid appears to be learning some new interpersonal

skills, and the writers have been careful not to move that along too quickly as the tempo

seems appropriate and realistic. Mortensen’s real mother, Elisabeth Mortensen, effectively plays

Astrid’s mother in the show. Other outstanding actors, include Jean Benoit Souilh as William Thomas, Astrid’s support group leade; Benoit Michel as detective Nicolas Perran, a colleague and potential love interest for Coste (we’ll see); and Husky Kihal as Fournier, the Medical Examiner, with whom Astrid has a contentious and at times humorous and professional relationship, help to make this detective series worthwhile. I highly recommend this one...it’s terrific!

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