Netflix has a wide-ranging cache of true crime docuseries. Serial Killers are undoubtedly the most morbidly fascinating topics when it comes to true crime series. “Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil” is a French docuseries that is a little different from all these serial killer series. Here, the actions of the killer, Michel Fourniret, are details that help examine the mind of Monique Olivier. The wife of the killer. It explores the possibilities of the true extent of Olivier’s crime. It also poses the moral question of how much looking away from evil becomes equally evil.
Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil (2023) Recap
The series starts by giving a little background on serial killers in France. It becomes apparent that Michel Fourniret was one of the more notorious ones in France. Fourniret’s long list of grotesque crimes provides the premise of the series. But Fourniret’s actions were never in question. His life imprisonment was a foregone conclusion. Thus the series’ primary focus is on the titular Monique Olivier—the wife and accomplice of Fourniret.
Fourniret was already incarcerated in the eighties when Monique Olivier started communication with him. Fourniret was in prison on rape and child molestation charges. A fact that never bothered Olivier when she agreed to become his pen pal. This indifference of hers is explored over and over throughout the entirety of this series. Olivier agreed to marry Fourniret the first moment he posed that question in one of his letters. When Fourniret was released in 1987, their relationship started to grow. So did their criminal partnership.
By the accounts of both, Fourniret had an obsession with virgin girls. In his twisted mind, it was his birthright to deflower those young girls. He owned their virginity. It was never in doubt that Olivier was fully aware of her husband’s desires and actions. She helped him in this ‘hunting.’ In whichever way you can imagine. She was the perfect bait for the unfortunate girls. Sometimes using her and Fourniret’s child, she lured the young girls straight into the hands of the killer. Furthermore, she provided alibies for Fourniret whenever he needed them. Thus helping him evade police for years. The extent of her eagerness to help her husband in this ‘quest’ of his can be best explained by the macabre fact that she even performed fellatio on her husband to get him aroused before he could rape the victims.
Fourniret and Olivier formed the perfect dominant-submissive couple, at least in appearance. They even fooled a notorious drug lord. Jean-Pierre Hellegouarch was a gang leader and a kingpin in drug trafficking. He was Fourniret’s prison mate, and he had knowledge of the location of a hoard of wealth. Jean-Pierre had his wife reach out to Fourniret, who got out of prison by that time. To get the wealth together and share. But Fourniret killed her. And Monique Olivier helped him. She even visited Jean-Pierre in prison and sold him the sob story of his wife leaving with the whole loot. Her convincing performance fooled the gang leader.
Fourniret was able to purchase a chateau with that money, which he used as the perfect hideout for bodies.
Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil (2023) Review
Directed astutely by Christophe Astruc and Michelle Fines, the docuseries is a thoroughly engrossing, detailed, and devastating watch. It uses real-life footage and photos in perfect conjunction with interviews, especially that of the victims’ families. The editing is manipulative in that way, but it wants you to feel those emotions. The reenactments are chilling and disturbing. Equally driving home the point that these are monsters we are dealing with.
The cinematography is perhaps a bit too beautiful and occasionally irrelevant for a series of this nature. But, regardless of the nature of the topic it explores, I cannot complain about a film for being too visually pleasing. It is primarily a visual medium, after all.
Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil (2023) Ending Explained
Was Monique Olivier the actual mastermind? How did Fourniret and Olivier get caught?
In 2003, Fourniret was arrested in Belgium thanks to a botched kidnapping. That time, the girl was able to get away. She stopped a passing car, and with the help of that car’s owner, she could provide the police with the registration plate numbers of Fourniret’s van. The Belgian police picked Fourniret on a kidnapping charge at first. But soon, things start to become clear. The authorities quickly became aware of who they were dealing with.
Olivier was also brought in for questioning. At first, it seemed the interrogation would not be able to break the couple. But, somewhat unexpectedly, Olivier confessed to involvement in more than one killing. And she admitted Fourniret being guilty of six counts of murders at the very least. This began the trial that would go on for years.
Why was Monique Olivier more maligned than the actual killer, Michel Fourniret?
It became evident in the trial, as it also became evident in this series, that most people felt Monique to be equally guilty, if not more. One victim’s family member said that Monique is more guilty because she was a mother and woman. And she still helped her husband in this perversion against women. Throughout the series, Olivier is thoroughly maligned as if she is equally guilty.
Richard Delgenes, Monique Olivier’s defense lawyer, pointed this out perfectly. Was Michel Fourniret not a father as well? Delgenes’ believed, and rightly so if I may, that Monique’s crimes, however grotesque they are, cannot be equated to those of Fourniret’s—the actual rapist and killer. Olivier should not be put in the same box for being an indifferent and complicit woman.
Apart from this misogynistic tendency, let us look into the other reason people sometimes hate Monique more than Michel. You would be cautious if you were a young girl and saw a man approaching you in a white van in a deserted alleyway, but instead of a single man, if it were a married couple, and with a child at that. You would think that was safe. That is exactly what Monique provided to Fourniret. A sense of safety for the girls that Fourniret could exploit. Without this, Fourniret might not have been able to carry on for as long as he did.
Was Monique really the mastermind?
Monique was proven to have a higher IQ than Michel. Monique Olivier also seemed to be quite the perfect manipulator. However, it is a bit stretch to call her the mastermind. Michel was always the rapist, even before Monique came into his life. Monique enabled him to be more prolific in his evil deeds. A higher IQ does not necessarily mean that she was the dominant personality.
The show channels a certain risk of forgetting who the real evil is. Michel is not a gun or machine Monique operated to kill these girls. Michel had a mind of his own. And raping young girls was his goal, not Monique’s.
Where are Fourniret and Olivier now?
Michel Fourniret died in 2021. Olivier is still in prison. She is due for a release in 2032. She would be 84 at that time. However, there is still a trial of three more counts of rape and murder that Monique could be punished for, thus pushing her release date even further.