Endemol to Adapt French Hit Drama 'Engrenages' for U.S.

Engrenages (Gears) Still H

The production giant's North American arm has picked up the Canal Plus crime series, whose title translates as "Gears."

PARIS – Endemol North America is readying for a new American adaptation, picking up the French crime drama Engrenages (Gears) for an English-language version.  

L.A.-based Endemol Studios, maker of AMC’s Hell on Wheels and Low Winter Sun, and ABC’s short-lived Red Widow, has closed a deal to make an English-language adaptation. The series, has already been an export hit in 70 countries, including Australia, Italy, Mexico and Japan. In the U.K., it appeared as Spiral, where it was the first French series bought by the BBC. Seasons one through three are available on Netflix in the U.S.

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The series follows the intertwining stories of a prosecutor, a police captain, a judge and a lawyer in Paris.

"The show's masterfully complex storylines and layered characters give us the right blueprint to further explore society's ever changing codes of justice and develop a distinctive, unapologetic, gripping television drama set against the backdrop of today's U.S. legal system,” said Endemol Studios CEO Philippe Maigret.

Engrenages is a homegrown hit on Canal Plus. It was the French pay TV giant’s attempt at producing high-quality drama similar to HBO in the U.S., and critics here have hailed it as “masterful” and “the best French detective series, without a doubt.” Starring Fred Bianconi and Caroline Proust, it has been a ratings hit, with season four's final episode reaching a series high with a 20.7 audience share. 

Since its debut in 2005, it has been praised for its hyperreal, documentary feel and in-depth examination of the French police department and the justice system. Created by former lawyer Alexandra Clert and written by a team, including active police superintendent Eric de Barahir, the show was the only French series nominated for an international Emmy in 2011. The fifth season is expected to launch in 2014, and the sixth season is already in development for Canal Plus.