Through the second and third seasons, broadcast in 2018 and 2020, the series really starts to follow the turmoils of French politics. Amélie Dorendeu’s arrival to power in the show follows the thunderstorm that was the real presidential election of 2017. She is young, a socialist, little known, holds centrist views and stands as a bulwark against the National Front. Gender aside, the parallel with Emmanuel Macron is obvious.
Season three sees a direct influence from reality, with Christophe Mercier’s scheming and demagogic character setting in motion a political game. This teacher and YouTuber is a mix between Beppe Grillo and Etienne Chouard (French blogger and controversial activist). Mercier embodies mistrust of politics, made a reality just a few months later through the Yellow Vests movement. In the same vein, Jean-Marie Bigard, a French comedian, decided to hop into politics earlier this year, by running for the municipal elections, and even expressing interest in the 2022 presidential elections. This intrusion is ephemeral, yet telling.
This increasingly visible attachment to real life gradually lifts Baron Noir from the realm of fiction to echo the political vicissitudes of 2020. The show speaks about our daily lives, the prevalence of communication, citizens’ mistrust towards elected officials, the thriving role of social media, conspiracies and anti-system struggles.
On a more positive note, the show also manages to illustrate the social intelligence of certain political leaders. Rickwaert's character, although highly controversial, is a true "political animal", strongly in touch with the realities of local life and unions, and with the "flair" that’s needed to blow the wind of change.
House of Cards, no holds barred
"99% of what you do on that show is real. The 1% you get wrong is you could never get an education bill passed that fast," is what Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, said of the show.
House of Cards tells the story of Frank Underwood, a Democratic representative of the US Congress, who is trying to become President of the United States. For him, all moves are allowed: betrayal, lies, manipulation...even murder. His wife Claire assists him up the ladder, as she climbs it with him, until she turns all the spotlights on her in the final season.