- Author : Sébastien Girodon
- Master : 2828
GREAT COPS 6 | TF1 | Reportages
The collection “Once upon a time: their greatest cases” invites some “Great Cops”, legends of the Crime Squad, to tell the story of the investigation that changed their lives, that marked a turning point in their careers. The one that still haunts their imagination and continues to disturb their nights. In this 6th episode, Commandant Alain Vasquez, division chief of the mythic Paris Crime Squad where he spent 25 years, relates the investigation that obsessed him for more than six years: the Catherine Choukroun case. This young policewoman, aged 27 and mother of a little six-month girl, was murdered in cold blood one night in February 1991 as she sat in her patrol car quietly carrying out radar checks on the Paris beltway. It was the first time a policewoman had been killed while on duty in France. Every resource was deployed to find the perpetrator or perpetrators, but the absence of a motive (police officers later realize that this was a totally motiveless crime, just “for kicks”) and paucity of material evidence (no prints, no ballistics, few witnesses) make the officers’ work difficult. The investigation bogs down… Until December 31 1996, more than 5 years after the murder of Catherine Choukroun, when a certain Henri, a cop in Seine St Denis and totally unrelated to the Choukroun case, is collecting information from “Madame Simone”, 62, a former prostitute now a “madame”. Within a mere matter of minutes this¾surreal¾conversation reopens the Choukroun case and creates chaos right to the very highest levels of the Paris Crime Squad. After more than six years’ investigation, and dealing with all the tensions of a veritable police war, Alain Vasquez and his men finally identify and arrest three suspects. However, yet one more dramatic turn of events will rock their trial…
The other story in this 6th episode, the case of the Roissy baggage handler, could have become one of the greatest judicial errors of the 2000s. The story is told by Frédéric Péchenard, who, at the time, was head of the Paris Crime Squad. On December 28 2002, weapons, explosives and pro-Palestinian documents were found in the car of a young baggage handler working at Roissy airport.
For the Police, the Press and the whole of France, it’s a clear-cut case: this young man is a terrorist about to blow up a plane in mid-air. However, he protests his innocence and even claims to be a victim of a plot set up by his in-laws. Even though he thinks the idea is “crazy”, Frédéric Péchenard tells his men to check out the baggage handler’s story. And they find themselves plunged into another case worthy of the finest detective novels: a fire that happened five months earlier and which took the life of the baggage handler’s wife… who was about to leave him…