Being a student journalist, it can too often feel like many, even a majority, of the stories we cover are terrible. From the war in Ukraine to the COVID-19 pandemic, every week has something to throw at us that’s horrible, terrifying, or sad. But every once in a while something happens that’s so meta, so ridiculous, so fitting, that you can’t help but want to tell people about it.
Today is one of those days.
First, the background. Netflix is currently producing the third season of an excellent show called Lupin, based on a 1905 French novel and associated series called The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar. Yet what makes the current series great is that, much like BBC’s Sherlock, Lupin loosely adapts the ideas of its original text to the modern era and modern stories. Even better, the show goes a step further by focusing the story on a new, modern character, Assane Diop, who’s father gives him the book The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin when the two immigrate to France.
After his father is unjustly framed by the billionaire Hubert Pelligrini, Assane swears to get revenge by taking the name Lupin as his own criminal alter ego and pulling off fabulous heists with independence, authority, style, and the help of his lovable criminal crew. Although really buddy, do your high school bestie and ex-wife count as a professional crime ring? I think not, but it’s sweet that you try. Yet the three of them are, in the end, where the story’s real strength lies. In the style of other Netflix greats like The Umbrella Academy, Lupin is a show about awkward, misfit adults who are still, deep down, awkward, misfit kids trying to find themselves, and even as they crack jokes and plot heists, flashbacks to their shared high school days give their journey the emotional resonance that makes it worth watching.
It also, unfortunately for Netflix, happens to be a show about a hobbyist criminal with a flair for the dramatic who pulls off stylish, meta crimes with no training and no expertise, and has a lot of fun getting very rich in the process.
Netflix may be regretting that message now.
Last week in the French city of Nanterre, where Lupin has been filming its upcoming third season, production had to be temporarily halted after a group of 20 unknown individuals launched fireworks onto the set, creating such a distraction that they were able to make off with an estimated $333,000 worth of equipment and props in broad daylight, presumably including the fake artifacts Assane had planned to steal himself this season. Guess they beat you to it Lupin. The sheer audacity of the crime, not to mention the style and flair implicit in stealing from a heist show, and with fireworks no less, surely bespeaks a master thief at work.
To be clear, in reality we know nothing about the identity or motivation of the individual or individuals who organized the heist. Yet, personally, I like to imagine an everyday Netflix fan binging the latest, greatest season of Lupin and thinking, “What’s that you say? Stylish amateur turns to crime, finds fame, riches, and true love in the process? No experience required? Thanks for the idea Netflix!”
If so, this would of course imply a meta-meta-heist organized by a real thief inspired by a TV thief inspired by a literary thief, which would be just fantastic. The only thing left is for Netflix to make an “inspired by true events” dramatized miniseries called Lupin: The Crime Against Netflix. Why not?
It is at this point I feel obligated by the rules of City High Middle School to say don’t do crimes kids. Stealing is bad, and you shouldn’t do it. But the show Lupin is very good, and you should watch it. And maybe, on the good days, we can all be inspired by Assane Diop to be a little more confident, a little braver, a little kinder. Just make sure that, unlike Lupin Real Life Edition, you keep your journey of self discovery on the right side of the law.