13th Apr2014

‘Inspector DeLuca: The Series’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf


Television movies based on the time of the world wars always create interest, but in countries like the UK we normally focus on the side we relate to the most, the allies.  Inspector De Luca is an Italian series that gained interest through the popularity of European detective shows, but where most go for the Nordic Noir style, Inspector De Luca is based on a detective trying to bring justice between 1938 and 1948, a time of great social change in Italy.

The show itself is a miniseries spread into four television movies Unauthorized Investigation, Carte Blanche, The Damned Season and Via Della Oche.  The first two movies are based during the time when Mussolini was in power and the fascist state was at full power.  De Luca (Alessandro Preziosi) fights for justice not only against the mystery of the crime itself but also a society where the rich felt invulnerable and clung on to the friendship with the leader of the country as a tool to hide from justice.  In Carte Blanche we do see De Luca gain power by being the man who saved Mussolini and this gives him the ability to push for justice, but nothing ever comes that simple.

Moving to the last two movies, The Damned Season and Via Della Oche the change comes in the fact that the war is over and Mussolini has lost power.  De Luca has become an enemy of the people and is a hunted man.  The fact that he still is able to work as a detective shows allows the show to still show his weakness for having to do what is right, whatever the cost.  What is noticeable though is that whether it’s the fascists or new more democratic rules, the corruption is still there.  Justice is not important to the people who feel they have the power to control the system.

De Luca is an interesting character because in the end he will do anything to get justice, even at a time when it may have been easier to not shake the boat.  He has a willingness to sacrifice his own freedom for what he believes to be right, and this is actually something that does make him a likable character, but there are often times that you do almost groan when you see what is coming.  De Luca may have his luck with the ladies (he romances a new lady each episode) but his life is never easy.

As I’ve said before I’m a history fan, so one of the interesting things I found about Inspector De Luca is that we get to see a wartime period piece that is set created by the Italians and gives a fresh view on what was going on in the country at the time.  It’s not exactly a positive look at the fascist state that Mussolini was head of, and I don’t think we’d really want to see that but we get a view of just how restrictive his reign was.  The fact that he had to be treated in an almost godlike manner and he must never be questioned pushed not only a feel of paranoia, but also affected just how justice worked in Italy at the time.

With the character of De Luca he is a man who would do anything just to get justice, so at the time of Mussolini’s reign De Luca isn’t always the type of detective that fits into normal police routine.  It’s also interesting that the fact De Luca saving the leader also put himself on the list of notable fascists, which meant when Italy was invaded and Mussolini overturned again his attempts at justice were restricted, in fact he for a time was a wanted man.  This is smart writing that keeps not only the character interesting but also the situations he is in fresh, and again keep the air of paranoia for the character a constant theme.

For fans of detective shows, especially ones set during World War 2, Inspector De Luca is an interesting set of TV movies that gives the audience a different perspective on the war and shows what life was like in Italy when a great change was coming.  The character of De Luca himself can be annoying at times, especially his dog stubbornness when it comes to his sense of justice but in the end he always manages to do the right thing even at the risk of his own safety.  An interesting and entertaining show it may not be to everybody’s taste, but I for one enjoyed it.

Inspector De Luca: The Series is released on DVD on April 14th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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