Review: Lupin Season 1 Pulls Off a Charming Heist
Effervescent and timely, Lupin’s first installment steals hearts.
In a TV landscape that often feels like a competition to see who can be the most shocking, grim, and humorless, Lupin arrives like a breath of rain-washed Parisian air. It’s vibrant, entertaining, and—for a narrative that tackles themes of racism, colonialism, and class—surprisingly light.
George Kay and François Uzan’s mystery-thriller will be released on Netflix in two parts. The first, subtitled Dans l’Ombre de Arsène, tells the story of Assane Diop, the son of an immigrant from Senegal who was falsely accused of stealing a priceless necklace by his employer. Assane has spent his life following in the footsteps of the famous fictional thief Arsène Lupin, and now he has a plan to get back at the wealthy Pellegrini family who is responsible for his father’s disgrace and imprisonment—and you better believe there’s a heist involved.
Lupin is fleet-footed and lean, leaping between plot points and ladling out backstory with nonchalant efficiency. It rarely lingers long on emotional beats, for better or worse—it’s far more interested in kicking the gears of its heist machine into motion, but when the machinery is this shiny and thrilling, it’s hard to get too bent out of shape about that.
Lupin lives and dies by the charisma of its leading man, and Omar Sy is so effortlessly charming that you never have trouble believing he can pull off any ridiculous stunt the show requires of him. From disguising himself as an old man for a TV appearance to talking a rich lady into handing over the spoils of European colonialism, Assane manages it all with a mischievous twinkle and a grin.
Somewhat less effective is the police investigation side of things, simply because Sy is so magnetic that the show loses momentum when it spends large chunks of time away from his character. Police inspector Youssef Guedira (Soufiane Guerrab) shares Assane’s obsession with the Lupin stories, but can’t seem to convince his colleagues that their perp is a fellow fan despite his cheeky use of anagrams for “Arsène Lupin” for his many false identities. Likewise, the storyline involving a corrupt cop from Assane’s father’s case feels a bit undercooked as of now, but with only 5 episodes down, it remains to be seen how everything will come together.
Overall, Lupin is clever and diverting, as lighthearted as its leading man, leaving audiences eager more adventures with the gentleman thief, emphasis on the gentleman.
- I’m not familiar with the original Lupin stories, but I’m getting a “what if Moriarty was the protagonist instead of Holmes?” vibe from them, which I am 1000% into.
- The friendly relationship between Assane and his ex-wife Claire (Ludivine Sagnier) is refreshingly sweet, but he’s obviously still carrying a torch.
- Cranky journalist Fabienne Beriot (Anne Benoît) is a delight, as is her little dog J’accuse.
- Crashing a car through the glass pyramid at the Louvre could easily have been too silly, but is in fact rad as hell. (That’s Lupin in a nutshell.)
- Assane sneaking into the Louvre dressed as a janitor was a fun nod to the classic Audrey Hepburn/Peter O’Toole art heist caper How to Steal a Million.
- Loved that Assane took his son to that Lupin-themed cosplay event at Le Havre for his birthday. Classic dorky dad move.
Lupin is available to stream on Netflix.