7 reasons why the all-new Riviera will be your next TV obsession

7 reasons why the all-new Riviera will be your next TV obsession


RIVIERA is back, and it’s better than ever. The fashions are every bit as fabulous, the locations even more exotic – but there’s a new grittiness behind the glamour.

It’s a globetrotting tale of conspiracy and intrigue, played for deadly stakes. If you’ve enjoyed the first two seasons, you’ll find everything you liked and more. If you’re a Riviera virgin, this is a great place to start. Here’s why…

Its a whole new departure 

Most women just adopt a new hairstyle to signal a life-change. In the third season of Riviera, Georgina (brilliantly played by Julia Stiles) has changed her name. A year since she left the trauma of season two’s explosive finale behind her, she’s ditched the surname of her powerful late husband and gone back to her maiden name. And she has also left her old profession. So Georgina Clios, art curator, is no more.

Welcome Georgina Ryland, international art restitution agent. She’s a strong woman who knows herself better than ever, as shown in the very first scene where it’s clear she’s not going to take any rubbish from anyone, not even her therapist. If she was brave before, Georgina is fearless now.

The story is a thrilling international conspiracy

Georgina uses her insider knowledge and elite contacts to right artistic wrongs. But her keen desire to do the right thing lands her in the way of a criminal conspiracy of powerful men who will stop at nothing to get their way. When her new partner Gabriel Hirsch (Rupert Graves) accidentally on purpose pockets a valuable bit of religious jewellery, neither Georgina nor Gabriel know that the piece is worth more than the sum of its gold and gems. It’s worth more than life itself to the wrong people.

The duo soon get an inkling of that when they are chased through the winding alleyways of Venice, and enter into a deadly cat and mouse game with an assassin (Franco Masini).

The locations are James Bond-glamorous

In this season, we travel far beyond the glamour of the French Riviera’s sun, sea and sinister activities. One moment, Georgina is on a sleek mahogany cruiser heading up the Grand Canal to a palazzo in Venice; the next there’s trouble brewing in a swanky Buenos Aires mansion. Georgina may find herself forced to go back to Saint-Tropez thanks to Gabriel, but the glam goes deeper than Cannes and Monaco.

The newest addition is the house used in the Bond film Octopussy – available to rent for some €150,000 a week. That jaw-dropping pool makes it worth every euro.

Julia Stiles is better than ever

Stiles is no slouch when it comes to performing, as fans of her early work with Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) love to mention.

Now, she has to be unstoppable and unflappable while maintaining a vulnerable emotional core. She cares about her friends even if they’re dangerous to be around. When one of her professional frenemies is found dead, she doesn’t pass it off as if nothing happened. She’s genuinely upset to the point of losing it. And when Gabriel screws up for the umpteenth time, she rolls her eyes as if reminding herself that she’s the only one who can save the day.

… and theres a great supporting cast

To match a great hero, you need truly bad baddies, and this is yet another area where the third season of Riviera one-ups the last two. Not only have the troublesome Eltham twins Daphne (Poppy Delevingne) and Nico (Jack Fox) returned, but a whole corrupt family from Argentina gets involved. Victor Alsina-Suarez (Gabriel Corrado), the iffy mayor of Buenos Aires, seems to be at the centre of the conspiracy, but his sons Dario (Eliseo Barrionuevo) and Cesar (Franco Masini) also play a part.

For the record, cute little Cesar is one mad henchman – a sadistic switchblade wielder by day and oh-so-charming on the dance floor at night. Also watch out for standout performances by Synnøve Macody Lund, as a multimillionaire with a communications tech business, and Clare-Hope Ashitey, who plays her chief of staff.

The fashions are fabulous

With great locations come great fashions. While we expect style on the Riviera – especially Saint-Tropez, the home of Bardot – the influx of Russian money brings the flashy bling of Versace to the mix. New costume designer Rebecca Hale opts for Cifonelli, Endless Joy, Gucci and Diesel for the Argentinian characters; for Venice, there are strong colours but tons of taste.

For the wealthy twin Daphne, the type of woman who lives between London and France, the look is moneyed-eccentric, with a combo of Silvia Tcherassi, Ashish, vintage Ralph Lauren, McQueen, The Vampire’s Wife and Zimmermann. Gabriel is classically rumpled in Paul Smith and Orlebar Brown. Georgina’s swagger is different, too. Her designer gear is paired with pieces from the high street, and worn more than once, making her character more believable than ever.

The dialogue snaps and sparkles

Flashy, glamorous shows are rarely witty, but Riviera is. One of the early scenes sets up season three perfectly. “Did you ever think about keeping the name Clios just for work? Opens doors,” Gabriel mutters to Georgina as he struggles to pick a lock on an art dealer’s door. “That’s not who I am anymore,” she replies, adding, “Do you want my name to help you open that door?” Georgina has an endless supply of fizzy comebacks (when she’s invited to board a yacht, she retorts: “I would love to but I have some pins I have to put in my eyes”), as well as references to classic films like Casablanca and Dirty Dancing (“Nobody puts Gaby in the corner”).

Even Gabriel gets a few good lols. Running out to Georgina, he’s desperate to light his cigarette: “I’ve been trying to make a fire with sticks,” he gasps. Enjoy the heady excitement, heart-stopping locations and covetable fashions, but keep an ear open for sarky comments just begging to be stolen.

All episodes of Riviera are available to watch now on Sky


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