What's the story?

Parlez vous Francais?

Oui. Un petit peu.

Bien. Then you won't need the subtitles.

For what?

Spiral. The gritty French police procedural returns to BBC Four, tonight, at 9pm. The seventh series opens with a double bill.

Remind me of the main players?

The Parisian set crime drama centres on Captain Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust) and her loyal lieutenants Gilou (Thierry Godard) and Tintin (Fred Bianconi).

READ MORE: Ready for a box set binge? Here's what's new this autumn

They're like a dysfunctional version of The Three Musketeers, often finding themselves as up to their knees in emotional quagmire as solving crimes; the line between personal life and police work frequently becomes blurred.

Other key characters include steely, by-the-book judge Francois Roban (Philippe Duclos) and ruthless lawyer Josephine Karlsson (Audrey Fleurot).

Since it began in 2005, Spiral's gripping storylines have covered prostitution rings, bribery scandals, gun-running, terrorism, kidnapping, torture and human trafficking.

A quick recap?

As the sixth series reached its explosive conclusion, our protagonists were scattered to the four winds, each dangling professionally and personally by a thread, thanks to a trail of corruption, murder, theft, ill health and generally bad decisions.

READ MORE: Ready for a box set binge? Here's what's new this autumn

We re-join the action as Commissioner Herville (Nicolas Briancon) is found dead in a Chinese restaurant in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Gilou must break the news to Berthaud, who is being treated in a police rehabilitation centre. Buckle up.