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Arsene Lupin books: the novels that inspired Netflix’s Lupin

Omar Sy plays a gentleman thief inspired by a famous French literary creation.


Netflix heist drama Lupin is a French-language series starring Jurassic World’s Omar Sy, and inspired by an iconic French literary character.


The show takes its cues from fictional thief Arsène Lupin, whose crimes inspire the modern-day drama’s central character Assane Diop (Sy), a light-fingered Parisian janitor who orchestrates a huge heist as a means of avenging his father.

Read on for everything you need to know about the inspiration behind Netflix series Lupin.

Who is Arsène Lupin?

Arsène Lupin is a fictional character originally created by French author Maurice Leblanc in 1905.

Lupin is a genius “gentleman thief” who often works for the greater good (despite breaking the law), and is a master of disguise and sleight of hand, among other skills.

In the original books he often appears in a top hat – similar to the one Assane Diop’s teenage son dons in the Lupin trailer.

The character of British detective Sherlock Holmes frequently pops up (and gets outwitted) in the Lupin stories, although for legal reasons his name was changed to “Herlock Sholmes”.

What Arsène Lupin books are there?

Maurice Leblanc penned an extensive list of stories featuring Arsène Lupin, which have since been published as both novels and collections of short stories. These include:

Which Arsène Lupin story is the Netflix series based on?

Lupin (Netflix)

Netflix series Lupin doesn’t adapt the Arsène Lupin books by Leblanc, but rather takes inspiration from them.

The show follows Assane Diop, a disciple of Lupin who takes inspiration from Leblanc’s character, settings, and stories for his own heists, becoming a kind of modern-day Lupin in the process.

Omar Sy told Variety that, while working with production company Gaumont Télévision (which now produces Lupin), he was asked whom he would most like to play. He answered “Lupin,” whom he describes as the French equivalent of James Bond.

“My answer was Lupin,” he said. “If I was English I would say James Bond, but Lupin is the best character for that: he’s fun, funny, very elegant; there is action. Lupin is just the perfect character to cross [off] everything on the bucket list. You can do everything with that character. It is the perfect role.”


Lupin arrived on Netflix on Friday 8th January 2020. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide