The latest lavish drama from Sky Atlantic takes us to Monaco, playground of the rich and famous. This is the beautiful setting for Riviera, a tale of crime and intrigue in the world of international banking and art.
Riviera is a 10-part series stars Julia Stiles as Georgina Clios, the art dealer wife of billionaire banker Constantine. She is in America trying to spend £20m on a painting, when her husband is killed in a mysterious explosion aboard a yacht moored outside the harbour in Monaco. On her return to France, Georgina has to identify her husband’s charred remains. She then begins receiving information that her idyllic lifestyle is not all it seems. She is being watched at all times and the police, then Interpol get involved in the conspiracy.
In the background is Constantine’s ex-wife and her three children. Eldest son Adam, played by Iwan Rheon, is an aspiring writer who is not comfortable with the family’s lavish lifestyle. Christos Clios, the second son, is played by Dimitri Leonidas. He stands to take charge of the business empire after his father’s death and is clearly familiar with some of the more nefarious activities. Roxane Duran plays the daughter, Adriana Clios. She is a troubled soul who is prone to self-harm and splits her time between Mum and Step-Mum.
Two British drama stalwarts make important appearances. Adrian Lester plays Georgina’s friend Robert Carver, a fellow art dealer who specialises in forgeries and stolen artwork. Lester is best known to television viewers for a long-running role in the BBC series Hustle from 2004 to 2012, and was magnificent in the 2016 BBC drama “Undercover”.
Veteran Phil Davis has in recent years been on the small screen as a string of unsavoury characters in shows such as Poldark, Bleak House, Silk and Sherlock., This time around eh plays Jukes, an art fraud investigator with Interpol. He brings characteristic style to the role as he attempts to unravel the complex business affairs of the deceased billionaire.
Julia Stiles, as Georgina Clios, has come a long way since her breakthrough role in 1999 as Kat Stratford in the film “10 Things I Hate About You”. She won that role as an 18-year-old and it brought her an MTV Movie award for “best breakthrough performance”. She went on to star in the Bourne trilogy, as well as the 2016 sequel “Jason Bourne”.
On TV she is best known for a regular role as Lumen Pierce in the fifth season of the Showtime drama Dexter. Her work was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Now 36, Stiles announced in June that she is expecting her first child with her partner Preston J. Cook, a camera assistant.
Riviera is a slow-burner but it is worth some perseverance. There are enough twists and turns to make it worthwhile, the spectacular locations and stunning scenery make it a visual feast and the story is strong.
If the opening episode leaves you wanting more, have no fear. Sky has released all 10 episodes as a box set so you can binge away at your leisure.
Riviera – Sky Atlantic & Sky Box Sets
by Ian HIne