Blood Coast, or Pax Massilia, is a new French crime thriller series on Netflix set in the coastal town of Marseille and featuring a lot of gunfights and blood, thus explaining the name. The plot is centered around a group of police officers in Marseille who set out to bring down some new and old drug rings in the city when things turn personal, and situations get more menacing. Set over six episodes of around an hour each, Blood Coast is only about action and some superficial drama, even managing to get boring at times despite the comparatively short runtime.
Plot Summary: What is the Netflix series about?
Blood Coast begins on a rainy afternoon somewhere in France, when a hardened criminal man is being escorted by heavily armed police forces as the convoy is headed towards a specific location. The criminal is Franck Murillo, the leader of a notorious drug gang that has shut down operations since his arrest, and the location he is being taken to is a graveyard. Murillo’s teenage son has just been killed by some unknown perpetrator, and the man is being taken to the graveyard to bid a final goodbye to his boy. However, things get massively out of control when some gangsters start shooting at the police force, resulting in a big gunfight. While some officers and gangsters get killed, Franck Murillo is able to escape custody and the place safely.
The time shifts forward by eight months, and the focus is now on a police unit in France’s coastal city of Marseille. An officer of the unit, Lyes Benamar, watches on along with the leader of the unit, Audrey, as two of their colleagues, Tatoo and Arno, attempt to carry out a drug bust. Although the mission does not go entirely as planned, the police force manages to eke out information about a new drug source that has cropped up in the city. Even though Murillo had escaped police custody and had moved over to Venezuela, a car crash had apparently killed the man, making Marseille’s drug scene run by a single gangster—Ali Saidi and his family. However, the new batch of drugs being sold in town do not bear the mark of the Saidis, and so Lyes and his team are concerned over this new menace.
At the same time, a young Interpol police officer named Alice Vidal is sent over to Marseille to join up with Lyes’ team and control the extreme drug-related violence in the city. Alice also has a very personal vengeance against drug gangs, for her father was killed by Murillo’s men during the graveyard gunfight. Lyes also faces some troubles within his own police unit, as Internal Affairs officer Victor Miranda launches an investigation against the man for having alleged ties with criminals. Although Lyes does have to be in touch with gang members at times to do his job, and his boss Marion Fabiani has been able to protect him so far, the man now has to deal with problems both internal and related to the drugs.
Can Ali Saidi be arrested?
At the beginning of Blood Coast, the drug lord Ali Saidi is shown to live away in Dubai because of his vast business, while the drug trade in Marseille is mostly run by his nephew Kamel and other members of the family. However, this situation changes very quickly when the family faces animosity from both sides. While their drug trade is affected by the new batch of drugs in town, which easily gain popularity, the Saidi family members are also very directly targeted and killed off one after another, and even Kamel is wiped out soon. The person behind both these direct and economic attacks is Franck Murillo himself, who is revealed to be still alive. Murillo is of the belief that his young son was killed by Ali Saidi because of their rivalry in the criminal business, and it is in order to take revenge that Murillo has returned to Marseille. Along with Murillo is another man named Tarek Hamadi, who is known more popularly as the Indian, and it is Hamadi who has been manufacturing this new batch of drugs. While Murillo intends to wipe out the Saidi family, Hamadi is more interested in completely taking away the drug business from the family.
When his relatives get killed one after another, Ali Saidi returns to France from Dubai and sets out to find out who is provoking him. He is also somewhat helped by the police officer, Lyes, as the two had been very good friends during their childhood. As Lyes and Ali both hail from Arabic immigrant families, they were quite close to each other during their youth, until their lives took very different turns. Even at present, though, Lyes is sometimes helped with information by Ali, and the latter is sometimes warned or informed about raids or attacks that could hamper his business. Despite everyone in the city knowing about Ali’s illegal business and his criminal enterprise, the man cannot be arrested or stopped by the authorities because of a lack of evidence and also because of his influence and network.
However, a time comes in Blood Coast when concrete evidence against Ali Saidi is indeed found by the police, and so Lyes and his men intend to arrest the man. Lyes’ colleague Tatoo was very close to a young boy named Bakari, and even Lyes knew and admired the boy. Since youth crimes are extremely rampant in the city, a young orphan like Bakari is very prone to turning towards a life of crime. This is exactly why Tatoo looks out for the boy, as it is once mentioned that the man himself had been losing his life to wayward activities until he was taken in by the police force. Therefore, when Bakari goes missing for a number of days, Tatoo is very concerned about his safety. Eventually, though, Bakari is found, and the police force also soon finds a video of the boy beating up someone else of his age at an old stadium. It is revealed that Bakari had been appointed to work for the drug trade of Ali Saidi, and the handlers of youngsters often shoot such videos of assault and violence to threaten the kids into working for them.
With this evidence in hand, Lyes and his team apprehend two brothers who are known to be handlers for kids. The two men confess to Ali Saidi’s ties with the whole operation, and they also agree to testify in court when the time comes. Lyes informs Ali that the police will come to arrest him, but the latter refuses to leave the country. Lyes and his team finally arrest Ali Saidi, and the man is imprisoned, but the very end of the series confirms that he will not be kept behind bars for long. Ali’s trusted henchman, Tobias, manages to break into the hospital and the jail to kill off the two handler brothers, and so both witnesses and the biggest pieces of evidence against Ali are lost. Without any solid proof against him, Ali Saidi will once again walk out of prison in a short time.
How do Lyes and his team catch Murillo?
As Blood Coast progresses, it is revealed that Lyes Benamar had once been a part of Murillo’s gang, as he had been working undercover for the police at the time. It was Lyes whose efforts had gotten the criminal arrested for the first time, but this was obviously seen as a huge betrayal by everyone in the Murillo gang. During that time, Lyes had also been the lover of a woman named Fanny Santiago, who was in the same gang as him. The two had been lovers for a long time until Murillo’s arrest, and at present, Lyes finds out that Fanny is now Murillo’s lover and partner in Marseille. It is gradually revealed that Fanny had a daughter named Zoe, who was most definitely Lyes’, as the little girl’s age coincided with the police officer’s romance with the woman. Aside from the unnecessary element of drama that this element is made to eke out, it is this very relationship that becomes central in tracking down Murillo.
Although the police find proof of Murillo’s return to the country, there is no way for them to find out his location and arrest the man. Lyes, therefore, starts to make use of Fanny to track the man down, and he sends his team members to the woman’s house, knowing well that she will return to take her daughter away. The plan does not work exactly well, as Fanny is able to take Zoe away to Murillo’s hideout, but Alice follows the woman and finds the location. Lyes and the team soon reach the place, but this brings in more danger as Tobias follows the man and now brings Saidi gangsters along to kill Murillo and exact revenge for their boss, Ali. Murillo manages to escape, but Lyes saves Fanny and Zoe, following which he even gets a DNA test done on the girl, just to know for sure whether he is her father.
Very soon, it is found out that the real killer of Murillo’s son was not Ali Saidi, but Tarek Hamadi, who had so far been posing as Murillo’s helper. Back in the past, Hamadi had intended to kill Saidi and had shot at the man in order to take away his business empire, but the bullet missed him and accidentally hit Murillo’s son, killing the young boy instantly. Hamadi had kept this a secret for so long, but now that Lyes finds proof of it, he sends word to Murillo about it. Lyes plans to use Hamadi as bait to bring out Murillo in the open, but this plan also fails when some vengeful teenagers kill Hamadi, for the man used to exploit them for his drug trade.
Lyes tells the youngsters to lie to Murillo about Hamadi being alive and to falsely inform the man about his presence at a particular spot that evening. Lyes is confident that Murillo will come to the place to confront Hamadi and take his revenge for having killed his son, and this is exactly what happens. Although Murillo figures out the trap after some time, he is ultimately chased down by Lyes and Alice, who successfully arrest him. Lyes receives a hero’s welcome the next day for having managed to capture the man who was believed to have been dead for so long. Alice Vidal also completes her redemption, for she had known about Murillo being alive and had come down to Marseille only to ensure that the man was arrested.
Did Miranda Finally Arrest Lyes?
Although the external trouble with regards to the drug gangs is solved for Lyes after his arrest in Murillo, the internal pressure against him still poses a threat to the man. The Internal Affairs officer, Victor Miranda, does not give up on his plan of finding the truth about Lyes, for he firmly believes that the police officer is still linked with criminal gangs. While this is actually true, Lyes does all of this only to ensure that crime and violence can be kept in check. Miranda has a hunch that Lyes and Ali Saidi have been talking in recent times because of their friendship in the past, and so he tries to find proper evidence against the police officer.
When Miranda is unable to find anything on his own, he starts to pressurize Tatoo and Arno to spill the beans on Lyes. Although Tatoo does not have anything too serious against him, Arno had been having an extramarital affair as his wife was terminally ill, and Miranda had found out about this. The IA officer blackmailed Arno over this, threatening to tell his wife about his affair if he did not help him pin Lyes. Scared and nervous about his situation, Arno asks Lyes for help, and the police officer himself gives the man a fabricated piece of evidence. This voice recording is of Lyes confessing about his regular contact with Ali, and Arno finally turns this in while also beating up Miranda for being such a stickler against the good guys.
During Blood Coast‘s ending, Lyes gets arrested by the police after Miranda informs the authorities, but the IA officer is disheartened to learn that Ali Saidi is being released from prison because of a lack of evidence. While Lyes had done so much for the city of Marseille, right when he starts a romantic relationship with Alice Vidal, the protagonist is arrested for his associations with the criminal gangs, and Blood Coast comes to an end with this very scene. The man had also now refused to open the results of Zoe’s DNA report, deciding to let Fanny take the calls about Zoe’s life, since he had been absent from her life for this long.