'Monsieur Spade' is the best show you're probably not watching

Clive Owen in Monsieur Spade on AMC
(Image credit: AMC Networks)

Have you been watching the thrilling limited series "Monsieur Spade?" 

If you haven't I don't necessarily blame you. When we talk about the best streaming services out there, AMC Plus doesn't often come up. AMC does have some great original shows — "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad" and "Better Caul Saul" just to name a few — but they often eventually show up on other streaming services and many people just wait until then to start watching.

But with "Monsieur Spade" I implore you to watch now. This neo-noir crime drama starring Clive Owen as the legendary fictional detective Sam Spade is one of my favorite shows of the year so far and it just gets better with every episode. Owen as Spade is perfect casting, and the ensemble cast puts up some incredible performances. The picturesque post-war French countryside setting doesn't hurt either.

Still need convincing? Well then let's get into it. Here's some background on the famous detective, why you need to watch this show in particular and where you can watch it to catch up on the first three episodes.

Who is Sam Spade?

Hopefully, many of you reading this know who Sam Spade is and can just skip on to the next section, but just in case you don't here's a quick dossier on the legendary fictional private eye.

Sam Spade was created by author Dashiell Hammett and is most well known for his appearance in the 1930 novel "The Maltese Falcon." The novel was incredibly influential, spawning multiple adaptations and serving as inspiration for other fictional detectives such as Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe.

The most famous of those adaptations was the 1941 film starring Humphrey Bogart as the iconic detective, which is often considered one of the top 100 films of all time. In "The Maltese Falcon," the San Francisco private eye takes on the case of Ruth Wonderly, whose sister has gone missing. 

However, this case is more than it appears, as is Wonderly, whose real name is Brigid O'Shaughnessy. Things quickly spiral out of control into a hunt for a legendary statue of a golden falcon considered one of the great treasures of the world in what is still a masterful crime thriller. 

'Monsieur Spade' serves as an incredible sequel to 'The Maltese Falcon'

This AMC show isn't just another Sam Spade story, however. It's a sequel to the iconic 1941 film. Things start with a much older Spade (this time portrayed by Clive Owen) with a young ward in his charge en route to a town in the French countryside. 

This young girl is Teresa (Cara Bossom), who is none other than the daughter of Brigid O'Shaughnessy. In the years since the events of "The Maltese Falcon" Spade and O'Shaughnessy reconnected with Spade, but then left him to continue a life of crime. Eventually, she had a daughter with fellow criminal Phillippe Saint Andre (Jonathan Zaccaï), and it's this daughter that Spade has been tasked with ferrying to her father Philippe in France (and paid handsomely to do so).

But then, something unexpected happens — Spade stays in France. In the process of looking for Phillippe, Spade meets Gabrielle (Chiara Mastroianni), a wealthy widower with a large estate, and falls in love. Phillippe denies Teresa is his, Teresa is then taken to an orphanage at a nearby convent and Spade and Gabrielle live happily ever after until Gabrielle dies. Sam is then left on his own in the quiet town of Bozouls ... until the nuns of the convent are mysteriously murdered. 

A suspect in all this? None other than Philippe Saint Andre.

How to watch 'Monsieur Spade'

"Monsieur Spade" airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Episode 4 airs this Sunday (Feb. 4).
Episodes 1-3 are already available to watch on demand or via streaming.
• U.S. channels: Watch on AMC via Sling TV (Sling Orange) or Fubo
 Streaming: Stream on AMC Plus
Watch episode 1 for free right now

And this all happens in episode 1. There have since been three episodes, further growing the mystery of these mysterious deaths.

"Monsieur Spade" is expertly layered with mystery, backstory and a conspiracy behind it all of a mysterious child that may possess messianic powers. Owen oozes charisma as Spade, and Scott Frank's ("Logan," "The Queen's Gambit") script is phenomenal, with dialogue that can only be described as art. One encounter between Spade and Philippe in episode 3 is particularly enjoyable, with Owen spewing scathing retorts that strike like bullets from the pistol he carries.

But it's not just Owen who puts on a noteworthy performance. Bossom as Teresa, Denis Ménochet as the local Chief of Police and Mastroianni as Gabrielle are all scene stealers whether they're on screen with Owen or other actors.

So if you need another incredible show to watch this year — which is quietly shaping up to be a good one between "True Detective: Night Country," "Masters of the Air" and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" — you need to start watching "Monsieur Spade" on AMC or AMC Plus. I guarantee you it's the best show you're probably not watching right now.

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.