The Italian mystery series Fog and Crimes (Nebbie e Delitti) is based on the popular novels by writer and journalist Valerio Varesi.
Commissario Franco Soneri is my favorite type of fictional detective. He’s cynical with a "man-of-the world" nonchalance hiding a caring and wounded soul. When we first join Soneri (Luca Barbareschi) in this Italian Television series he is trying to recover from the loss of his wife, the love of his life. In order to try and get on with his life he moves from big city crime to the provincial and historic city of Ferrara and the Po (River) Valley.
Ferrara is where Soneri spent his youth, and met his wife when both were university students. In the new job as Police Chief he soon meets with an old friend from his youth, Nanetti (Paolo de Vita) who is now the coroner. At different times in the series he talks of old times with his friend and we find out more about his wife and early life. As many of us experience when we try to go back to an earlier and happier time, he discovers things are not always as they seemed when young, and friends of youth may not turn out as we hoped they would.
Soneri is also good at spotting talent, even in the most deceptive of packages. He enlists as his “Watson” young geek detective Juvara (Gianluca Gobbi) who is more at home in front of a computer with a plate of pasta than with a gun apprehending a criminal. Juvara himself can’t believe he’s been selected, but Soneri knows that Juvara may not have the muscles, but he has the brains. The father and son relationship between the two is one of the charming parts of this series.
Soneri still mourns for his wife, but this doesn’t mean he’s not looking for love. In Series 1 and 2 he finds it with Russian born lawyer Angela (Natasha Stefanenko). This love affair between two middle-aged and attractive people (even if Angela is younger) committed to each other, but also to their careers, is one of the most believable I've seen in this type of crime mystery show.
AnnaValle (new love interest), Natasha Stefanenko, Luca Barbareschi
The crimes themselves, the murders, all explore in one way or another the mysteries of the human mind and how appearances can deceive. Even those that we think we know intimately can have a hidden inner life and be capable of a horrific crime given the right motivation. The guilty can be found among rich and poor and among colleagues, friends, and lovers.
I've just started watching Series 3 and Soneri has now moved to the bigger city of Torino, after a stint in Rome. He also worked in Torino before and again has come back to old colleagues and friends, and a new love interest. In the first episode Soneri becomes a sort of foster father for a troubled 12 year old girl. I’m not sure about this new direction for the series, but time will tell.
There’s a strange story connected to Barbareschi according to Wikipedia:
“He was one of four actors whom the Italian police believed had been murdered in the making of the 1980 horror film Cannibal Holocaust. So realistic was the film that shortly after it was released its director Ruggero Deodato was arrested for murder. The actors had signed contracts to stay out of the media for a year in order to fuel rumors that the film was a snuff movie. The court was only convinced that they were alive when the contracts were cancelled and the actors appeared on a television show as proof.”
Below is a fan video about the series and a clip from an episode (in Italian, no translation I’m afraid).
In the U.S. Fog and Crimes (with English subtitles) can be seen on MHz Networks. Check their website here for further information, or check with your local Public Television station.
Photos and etc. from various sources including MhZNetworks