What can TV teach L&D? Ep. 4 – Spiral

Here is a transcript of Ep.4 – Spiral.

Hi everyone, my name’s Tom Hickmore and in this episode of “What can TV teach L&D?” I’m looking at Spiral, (Engrenages).

I make drama for learning, so I’m taking popular TV drama and looking at it with an analytical eye, asking “What can we learn from this that we can be applied in the field of learning and development?”

Spiral is a French crime drama that centres on a single investigative unit in the Paris murder squad.  Police dramas relate to learning and development drama because much of the drama comes from a conflict between passion and duty.  The very word ‘passion’ seems incongruous in L&D, but we could just call it ‘emotion’.  Drama in L&D is usually about handling our emotions at work.  For example, when we need to manage someone difficult, or get along with someone who’s got different outlook to our own.  Or maybe it’s about the difficulty of following rules when they seem counterintuitive.  A drama scene gives us licence to discuss such topics by creating a safe space. 

So, in this clip from the final series of Spiral, we see Superintendent Beckriche rushing in, late on an evening, to see the duty judge because he needs something for his case.  And straight away he gets off on a bad note, treating her with disrespect.  But she’s a judge, she’s superior to him in the hierarchy and she knocks it right back at him.  Now, this being a fun TV show, they are both awesomely beautiful and we can feel the underlying sexual tension, (which leads to an affair later in the series).  We rarely go there in L&D, but sexual tensions are normal things in our work life and it doesn’t hurt to discuss how we handle them. 

So, she tells him off and he is immediately compliant.  But he’s not done yet, so he negotiates a deal with her.  He uses a little bit of charm and a little bit of subterfuge to get his own way. 

These are the sorts of grey area we often feature in learning films.  If we’re good at our jobs, we will be passionate about them.  And we will bring our passions to work.  But passion has a way of doing its own thing.  So large organisations help their people manage their passions with drama – portraying workplace conflicts, and discussing how to manage them.

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