Petra - Italian TV crime drama series
Petra - Italian TV crime drama series

Petra

31/03/2022

A classy, four-part crime drama series in Italian language

Introduction:

'Petra' is a four part Italian crime drama series based on the books by Spanish author, Alicia Giménez Bartlett, which feature a female detective, Petra Delicado.

Petra - Italian TV crime drama series
Petra with her deputy, Antonio Monte

The series is set in Genova, Liguria, and was broadcast on Sky Italia in September 2020. Petra is played by Paola Cortellesi, and her faithful deputy, Antonio Monte, is played by Andrea Pennacchi. The series was directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi. The storylines follow the familiar themes of robbery, rape, extortion and murder, but the characters are refreshingly different and attractively flawed.

The Characters:

  • Petra Delicato, played by Paola Cortellesi, is a former Rome-based lawyer who moved to Genova and is working as a police Inspector in the archive department. She is called to attend a rape case due to staff shortages and is appointed to the homicide squad.
  • Antonio Monte, played by Andrea Pennacchi, is a Deputy Inspector from the fraud squad, called to assist Petra and appointed to the homicide squad.
  • Nicola Ferzicantieri, played by Diego Ribon, is a high-price lawyer, Rome-based, Petra's first husband, who is dismissive and misogynistic.
  • Lorenzo, played by Simone Liberati, is a chef restaurateur, Petra's second husband, who is very supportive but somewhat clingy.
  • Pessone, played by Antonio Zavatteri, is a Homicide Inspector who gives Petra his low profile cases.
  • Salvo Carona, played by Riccardo Lombardo, is the Superintendent, Petra's boss, who tries to sideline her whenever cases turn high-profile.

Petra has been married and divorced twice, although both of her husbands turn up unexpectedly from time to time. Her unconventional approach, together with her cynicism and intolerance causes friction with her work colleagues, especially when she has to deal with some stereotypically sexist attitudes. Her more conservative partner, Antonio, who has been recently widowed, is quite shocked by her professional and private behaviour although, over time, he begins to appreciate her qualities and they become friends.

Episodes:

  • 1. Death Rites
    The first episode sees Petra and Antonio investigating a series of rapes where each of the victims has been branded with what looks like the letter 'M'.
  • 2. Dog Day
    The second episode features the murder of a dog breeder who is connected with illegal trade in vivisection and dog fighting.
  • 3. Emissaries of Darkness
    The third episode starts with Petra receiving a severed penis in a jar! As the case progresses, she receives another three and is placed under police protection. The investigation leads to the Russian mafia.
  • 4. Deathwatch
    The last episode follows the investigation into the death of a TV personality. As they discover an increasingly seedy and unpleasant world, there is a shocking development as Antonio is stabbed!

Location:

The original books were written in Spanish and set in Barcelona. The transfer of the stories to Italy works well and the choice of Genova as the location is a good one. They even manage to portray the port in an attractive light.

Conclusion:

Italian television drama, like that of several other European countries, is often thoughtful, well-produced and well-acted. The locations are often spectacular, making the most of their natural assets, and the storytelling is skillful, making the programmes gripping, without needing to fall back on gratuitous violence.