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Omar Sy's Lupin most popular ever French show on Netflix

New hit series inspired by French books about Belle Epoque gentleman thief is first to top viewing figures in the US

12 January 2021
Omar Sy in a scene from Netflix's Lupin
By Liv Rowland

A new French original Netflix series – Lupin – hit the number one most popular spot on the platform globally and in many countries including the US in recent days.

The show, starring French actor Omar Sy, is so far the most popular French series ever on Netflix and the first to enter the top 10 classification in America for viewing figures.

It has also appeared at number one in many other countries since it was released on Friday, including Brasil, Morocco, Vietnam, Mexico, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates - and France.

Lupin – full title Lupin, dans l’ombre d’Arsène (in Arsène’s shadow) – is inspired by the Arsène Lupin stories of Maurice Leblanc, about a suave and daring ‘gentleman thief’.

In the books, written between 1905 and 1941, Lupin, who steals from the rich to give to himself, often outwits a detective character called Herlock Sholmes, a thinly-veiled reference to Sherlock Holmes.

However unlike the BBC’s Sherlock, which takes the Victorian Holmes and places him in a modern setting, Lupin is not, as was originally speculated when Netflix announced Sy's casting, a modern recreation of the Belle Epoque character. It rather depicts a contemporary French man who admires the literary character.

In the series, Sy plays Assane Diop, son of a Senegalese immigrant who was wrongly framed for the theft of a very valuable diamond necklace and took his own life in prison. As an adult Assane uses his sharp wits and sleight-of-hand skills to seek revenge, inspired by his childhood hero Lupin.

The story is mostly set in Paris but includes a trip to Normandy’s Etretat cliffs, a key setting in one of the most famous Lupin stories, L’Aiguille Creuse.

Sy, who became famous with 2011’s French hit film Intouchables, is one of France’s most popular actors.

The series is now showing in 190 countries, in eight languages, and Netflix viewers in France can choose options including the original French or an English dub – with American accents – and subtitles in English or French.

A ten-episode first season is being released in two five-episode halves.

Netflix has not specified when the next five will be released but based on previous similar releases commentators speculate it will be in around three months’ time.

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