Should I Try It: Monsieur Spade

Clive Owen returns in a new original mystery as classic detective Sam Spade.
Clive Owen in Monsieur Spade. Photo Credit: AMC
Clive Owen in Monsieur Spade. Photo Credit: AMC /

We’re halfway through January and getting plenty of new viewing options. But with all the content that’s available in this era of shows, movies, and streaming options, it can be daunting to know what’s worth your time to watch. Don’t worry, this series is here to help. Today, I’m looking at a new mystery series that spun out of an all-time classic.

Series: Monsieur Spade

Where to Find It: Episodes air Sundays on AMC and stream weekly on AMC+

What’s It About: This new series comes from Scott Frank, who directed the episodes, and Tom Fontana. It’s a further story featuring Sam Spade, the detective from Dashiell Hammett that was made most famous in the film The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart. This time, we get an older Spade who is played by Clive Owen.

As the series opens, Spade is in the South of France to complete a case. He’s trying to deliver Teresa (Cara Bossom) to her birth father. It’s 1955 and Spade meets plenty of resistance when it comes to trying to connect with the locals. By the end of the pilot, we’ve moved ahead to 1963. Spade remained there, married a wealthy woman who has since passed, and inherited a nice property. He lives a quiet life, making friends with the locals, while Teresa lives in a local convent facility as a ward.

When word reaches Spade that Teresa’s father might have returned to town, he takes an interest. When the nuns that run Teresa’s home turn up dead, he is called back into action as a detective. This six-episode series follows his work to crack the case.

You Should Try It If: You’re a fan of mysteries, a well-crafted series, Sam Spade or just Clive Owen.

One Man’s Opinion of Monsieur Spade

I love a good, hard-boiled crime drama. We’re certainly getting plentiful amounts of those the past few months, but few have the pedigree of Monsieur Spade. The series has a great creative team, a classic background and a solid lead in Owen. The pilot wastes no time in establishing the world and the mood.

Owen is quite good in the role. The first hour is patient, taking it’s time and setting a mood. We don’t even really hit the inciting incident—the murder scene—until the closing moments. But it’s clear this will be a challenge for Spade, and one that he’s up to tackling. I enjoyed the craft and the potential of the story.

That said, the pilot was a bit dry at times. Still, it follows a very British mystery style. For those who are fans of the genre, this will be well worth diving in, especially since it’s a tight-packed six-episode commitment.

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