‘Three Pines’: Alfred Molina on Gamache’s Long-Buried Demons in Edgy Murder Mystery

Alfred Molina in 'Three Pines'
Prime Video

If the Quebec village of Three Pines is so beautifully idyllic, why are people being murdered there in such gruesome ways? That’s what kind and astute Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (Alfred Molina) is tasked with discovering in the eight-part series Three Pineswhen he isn’t busy leading his team’s search for a missing Indigenous mom and facing long-buried demons of his own that have suddenly resurfaced.

“We’ve gotten used to male detectives behaving badly, but Gamache is essentially happy, which makes the fact that he’s dealing with trauma poignant,” says Molina. “But he’s willing to grapple with it.”

He must also parry with a town of eccentric suspects. Most aren’t crying over the killing of obnoxious self-help guru CC de Poitiers (Simone-Élise Girard). “We take an edgier, darker portrayal” of Three Pines than in Louise Penny’s bestsellers, says executive producer John Phillips of the Prime Video drama (first two episodes streaming now).

Georgina Lynn Lightning and Isabel Deroy-Olson in 'Three Pines'

Prime Video

Needless to say, Gamache has his work cut out for him. “Three Pines is a sanctuary, but you have to deserve to be there,” suggests series creator Emilia di Girolamo. “If you don’t deserve it, you’re either gonna leave in a body bag or a police car.”

Gamache’s investigations are assisted by his trusted team comprised of the combative and troubled Sergeant Jean-Guy Beauvoir (Rossif Sutherland), the intelligent Indigenous working mother Sergeant Isabelle Lacoste (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers), and the accident-prone rookie Agent Yvette Nichol (Sarah Booth). His wife, Reine-Marie (played by Marie-France Lambert), also comes to his aid.

The sleuth and his cohorts are initially treated suspiciously by the village’s residents, yet despite the welcome, Gamache finds himself inexplicably drawn to this unusual place and its eccentric residents, played by Pierre Simpson, Frédéric-Antoine Guimond, Julian Bailey, Anna Tierney, Tamara Brown, Tantoo Cardinal, and Clare Coulter. Gamache will find himself more and more changed by the community the more mysteries he uncovers.

Three Pines debuted its first two episodes Friday, December 2 on the streamer. Its eight episodes will be released in twos every Friday over four weeks. The Three Pines finale will drop December 23.

Three Pines, Fridays (Two Episodes), Prime Video