Inspired by the original stories by Maurice Leblanc, Netflix‘s hit series Lupin sees its lead character Assane Diop (Omar Sy) take inspiration from the fictional master thief in his quest to clear his late father’s name of a crime he did not commit.
It’s not a straight adaptation of the Arsène Lupin books, more a reimagining, as series co-creator and writer George Kay explained to RadioTimes.com: “A lot of our favourite shows have their own podcasts and fanbase and all of that stuff, and I thought it’d be cool if that was incorporated into the series itself, so it becomes like an adaptation ‘live’ within the series.”
As you might expect, then, the Netflix series features many nods and references to Arsène Lupin’s exploits on the printed page – for example, Ganimard in Lupin is represented by the show’s detective character Guedira (Soufiane Guerrab) who, like his counterpart, is a cop doggedly pursuing ‘Lupin’ who earns the grudging respect of his nemesis.
Sometimes, though, these Easter eggs are more subtle – including one that appears in episode two of Lupin Part 2. You’d have to be a real Arsène aficionado to spot this…
The number “813” pops up a couple of times in Lupin Part 2. Having pocketed Guedira’s phone, Assane is able to unlock the device by guessing the detective’s pass code – 0813. Having kidnapped Assane’s son Raoul (Etan Simon), the villainous business tycoon Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre) holds the boy captive in a hotel room, also number 813.
Both of these instances are a reference to the Maurice Leblanc novel 813, originally published in 1910 and the fourth outing for his Arsène Lupin character.
It makes sense that this is the lock-code on Guedira’s phone, and that Assane was able to guess it, since the two men had previously conversed about their shared affection for the Lupin stories.
It’s rather more unlikely that the number of Pellegrini’s hotel room would, by sheer luck, also be a nod to Lupin – it works as a nod to viewers, of course, but within the fictional world of the series, the odds of that happening are pretty slim. Maybe we just put it down to cosmic coincidence?
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Unless of course Pellegrini, who was once the employer of Assane’s father, knew of the shared passion that Babakar Diop (Fargass Assandé) and his son had for the Lupin stories? Now he’s aware that it’s an adult Assane who’s out to get him for his framing of Babakar, perhaps Pellegrini decided to hold Raoul captive in room 813 as a little in-joke for his own amusement? He’s certainly petty enough.
The nods to 813 go even deeper than lock-codes and hotel rooms, though.
The original story concerns the murder of a wealthy South African diamond dealer, Rudolf Kesselbach – when his bloody card is found pinned on the deceased, Arsène Lupine becomes the chief suspect. Surely it’s no coincidence that a major plot point in Lupin Part 2 involves Assane likewise being suspected of a murder he did not commit, as Pellegrini frames him for the killing of his henchman Leonard (Adama Niane)?
Much like unpicking one of Assane’s schemes, getting the most out of Lupin means taking nothing at face value – and it helps to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the works of Maurice Leblanc, too.