Monday, 9 September 2013


Inspector Montalbano is back - well sort of but as a new younger version of himself in The Young Montalbano which began last Saturday evening on BBC 4 and continues for another five weeks.

I missed actor Luca Zingeretti in the role that he has made his own and it was hard to imagine that within 20 years, the actor who plays the comissario's younger self, Michele Riondino (pictured above) will transform into the older man he becomes. However, the character traits are consistent and it didn't take long for me to put aside the physicality of the outward appearance and warm to the humble beginnings of this great literary and screen detective created by writer Andrea Camilleri.

The new series begins with Montalbano in a mountain village which is cold and too far from the sun and sea for his liking. However, he is soon promoted and transferred to his own home town of Vigata.

He leaves for his new role before the case of a man murdered with hobnail boots is concluded but a chance sale of the same boots in the local market in Vigata has him heading skywards again to tie up the loose ends of that case before returning to the seaside town to deal with a vulnerable young girl who appears to have been sent to murder a judge by a Mafia lover.

All is not what it seems, however, and Montalbano resolves to find the true reason using unofficial means which could put him at odds with the Italian law system and end his career before it even gets off the ground.

As we see a young Montalbano so we also see an older Fazio in the shape of the young Fazio's father who, like his son with the older detective, acts as Montalbano's conscience in aiming to keep his investigations on the straight and narrow.

And it is was with great delight that I saw Caterella come back too - slightly taller and slimmer than the original but with those OCD character traits and zealousness to please intact, despite getting much largely wrong, that lend so much of the comedy to the series.

Will the womanising narcissist Augello also come back as a younger version of himself as the series progresses? I guess we'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, I'll be tuning in again next week for a slice of Italian sun, sea, culture, food and a mystery like nothing else we'll see on TV this year.

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