On January 8, 2021, Netflix released part one of a new French-language mystery series, Lupin. Five suspenseful episodes follow the daring exploits of professional thief Assane Diop, portrayed by Omar Sy (The Intouchables). Lupin is the first French series to rank on Netflix’s top ten list in the United States, and it’s projected to be streamed in 70 million households in its first 28 days on the platform.
With an explosive storyline that draws on a beloved mystery character, it’s no wonder that this new series has debuted to unbridled popularity. Series protagonist Assane Diop has a troubled past. His father, a Senegalese immigrant, found work in France in the employment of the wealthy Hubert Pellegrini. However, he was framed for the theft of an expensive diamond necklace and died in jail before his name could be cleared, leaving young Assane an embittered orphan.
25 years later, Assane is haunted by memories of his father, and vows to get revenge on the Pellegrini family. He even has the perfect fictional role model to guide him: Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief and master of disguise created by French author Maurice Leblanc in 1905. Conceived as a French adversary to Sherlock Holmes, Lupin featured in 17 novels and 39 novellas by Leblanc before the author’s death in 1941.
Assane’s father gifted him an Arsène Lupin novel shortly before his death. Inspired by the character’s knowledge of subterfuge, Assane has plotted a multimillion-dollar Parisian heist as part of his grand plan to avenge his father and expose the powerful Hubert Pellegrini for the criminal he is. What could go wrong?
With five episodes total in part one, Lupin is the perfect bite-sized crime series to binge watch in a single weekend. Eager viewers are already clamoring for the release date of part two. The trailer below is sure to get your pulse racing—check it out for yourself, then explore some of Maurice Leblanc’s best Arsène Lupin novels.
Arsène Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes
Arsène Lupin duels with a world-famous English detective who is nearly as brilliant as Lupin himself.
The Hollow Needle
No one has ever managed to foil one of Lupin’s fiendish plans, but boy detective Isidore Beautrelet is counting on beginner’s luck.
Framed for murder, Lupin must clear his name or face the gallows.
The Crystal Stopper
The infamous gentleman thief must save his partners from the guillotine and match wits with a ruthless blackmailer.
Featured still from "Lupin" via Netflix