The Catalanotti Method: Final Episode of Inspector Montalbano

Luca Zingaretti as Detective Montalbano (credit: MHz Choice) a

“The Catalanotti Method,” the long-awaited final episode of the internationally-acclaimed Italian TV series, Inspector Montalbano, first aired on MHzChoice on July 6, 2021.

Viewers of this episode (first broadcast by the state-owned station, RAI, in Italy last March), won’t be disappointed. The only let-down, perhaps, is that no more shows are promised to come.

The Catalanotti Method

“The Catalanotti Method” (Il Metodo Catalanotti) is based on the 26th of the 28 books of the detective series by Italian director/author/storyteller Andrea Camilleri. The Sicilian author’s masterful mysteries have captured the hearts of fans around the world. (In English, the book and episode title is translated as “The Sicilian Method.”) 

In this two-hour episode, detective Salvo Montalbano (brought to life by charismatic heartthrob Luca Zingaretti) is awoken by a phone call from his womanizing deputy, Domenico ‘Mimi’ Augello (Cesare Adolfo Bocci). Mimi tells his boss that he discovered a dead body by chance during the course of one of his sexual indiscretions and he’s worried that he may be wrongly accused of the crime. 

Cesare Bocci as Mimì Augello in “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method”
Cesare Bocci as Mimì Augello in “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method” (credit: MHz Choice)

Mimi implores Montalbano to find the murderer and get him out of this jam. Joining them in the investigation is Giuseppe Fazio (Peppino Mazzotta), Montalbano’s methodical right-hand man. (Quite young at the inception of the series, it’s hard to believe that the actor is now 50 years old—although most of the cast shows few signs of aging.)

Peppino Mazzotta as Giuseppe Fazio in “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method”
Peppino Mazzotta as Giuseppe Fazio in “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method” (credit: MHz Choice)

We learn that the murder victim was Carmelo Catalanotti, a strange man who divided his time between loan-sharking and overseeing Trinacriate, a cult-like theater group of aspiring thespians who so revere their leader that they are willing to do anything he says. The director’s idiosyncratic and egocentric approach to “method acting” borders on the bizarre.

During the course of the investigation, not only are viewers introduced to Trinacriate’s group of quirky amateur actors but to the beautiful Antonia Nicoletti (played by Greta Scarano), a new head of forensics temporarily assigned to work in the local police station. 

Greta Scarano as Antonia Nicoletti in “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method” (credit: Mhz Choice)
Greta Scarano as Antonia Nicoletti (credit: MHz Choice)

A passionate relationship quickly develops between the aging detective and his much younger colleague that stands to threaten the ten-year relationship he’s had with his girlfriend, Livia Burlando (most recently portrayed by Sonia Bergamasco).

Sonia Bergamasco as Livia Burlando in “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method”
Sonia Bergamasco as Livia Burlando (credit: MHz Choice)

Read my article on Subtitled Foreign Films: 5 Reasons Why I Watch Them

Return to Vigata

Even as the opening credits appear on screen, avid Montalbano fans will delight in returning to the fictional and very scenic Vigata, a Baroque hill town in Sicily, while they listen to the evocative musical score by Franco Piersanti—melodies that can be hard to get out of your head. 

Yes, once again you’ll see Montalbano swimming in the blue waters outside his coastal villa and drive through the charming towns nearby. The final episode was actually filmed in Agrigento, where Camilleri was born, and Ragusa, both in southern Sicily.

Like the other episodes, “The Catalanotti Method” is the length of a feature film. This offers ample time for twists and turns in the plot as you try to discover the rather improbable circumstances of this engaging story. It continues to offer viewers an absolutely addictive mix of romance, humor, and intrigue in just the right proportions. 

The seasoned cast includes character actors from regional theaters whose use of Sicilian dialect and demeanor transports you to the island beside the toe of Italy’s boot. (All the episodes are subtitled in English.)

And whether it’s at Enzo’s, Montalbano’s favorite seaside restaurant, or seeing the dishes at home prepared by his housekeeper, Adelina, the series always conveys the detective’s appreciation of good Sicilian food that can make your mouth water just watching.

Also on MoreTimeToTravel:  Read my Review of Riccardino, The Last Book in the Detective Montalbano Series

The final episode: Truly the end of an era?

Luca Zingaretti on the set of “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method” (credit: Mhz Choice)
Luca Zingaretti on the set of “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method” (credit: Mhz Choice)

Detective Montalbano first aired in Italy in 1999. For more than twenty years, new episodes were released to eager audiences every two years. It also created a spike in tourism in Sicily, dubbed the “Montalbano Effect,” that locals worry may now be in jeopardy.

“Fans have been heading to the places of Montalbano, bringing wealth to the community,” writes Gaia Zoi on an Italian website. “When the production company announced the final show, the locals weren’t happy.” 

Andrea Camilleri, creator of Detective Montalbano
Andrea Camilleri in 2010 (Credit: Wikipedia/Marco Tambara)

Why would such success come to an end? Camilleri wrote the Montalbano series when he was in his 70s and passed away in July 2019 at the age of 93. The talented director of the series, Alberto Sironi, died less than a month later. (This last episode was directed by Zingaretti.) In 2017, Marcello Perrachio, who played a lead role as the forensic pathologist in thirty episodes, passed away. 

In part, because of these successive losses, some have speculated that additional Montalbano episodes after this one aren’t likely to make it from book to screen. Camilleri wrote one last book in the detective series, the 28th and final novel, Riccardino. Released in Italy in July 2020, it became available in the U.S. in September 2021.

“At eighty, I foresaw Montalbano’s departure from the scene,” wrote Camilleri. “I got the idea and I didn’t let it slip away. So I found myself writing this novel which is the final chapter; the last book in the series. And I sent it to my publisher saying to keep it in a drawer and to publish it only when I am gone.” 

Assuredly, rabid Montalbano fans will continue to enjoy both the series reruns and the beautifully written books upon which these stories are based for years to come. And if they forgo sleep, they can now watch all the RAI episodes back-to-back on MHz Choice.

If you are looking for “lighter fare,” I highly recommend the irreverent comedy series, Vita da Carlo, on Amazon Prime. 

Update 1/15/21

A glimmer of hope! According to a recent post on, agent Catarella (Angelo Russo) is ready to resume the Montalbano series. Moreover, he’s hoping that Luca Zingaretti will reconsider his decision and return as Detective Montalbano.

It also noted that Maria Pia Ammirati of RAI Fiction said that, despite the death of author Camilleri and director Sironi, “the fiction is too much loved by the public to end up in oblivion.” We’ll stay tuned.

Update 1/17/21

Update 1/22: A recent article in Italian Vanity Fair speculates that two episodes of the popular Montalbano mysteries that have still not aired on TV, Riccardino (released posthumously in 2020) and The Cook of the Halcyon (released in 2019) might still make it to the screen. (This article also cites comments made by Maria Pia Ammirati of RAI Fiction).

Update 7/13/21

A newsletter from MHz Choice confirmed that episode 37 of Detective Montalbano will indeed be the last one. Regrettably, no more new episodes are planned.

Update 3/1/22

As Luca Zingaretti embarks on a new series called The King, there is still some online chatter that the “most successful TV series in the history of Italian television, Inspector Montalbano, may be reborn.

Certainly, fans are still hoping that Rai will develop the two missing episodes of the fiction inspired by the novels of Andrea Camilleri.  

Luca Zingaretti in “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method” (credit: MHz Choice)

Luca Zingaretti in “Detective Montalbano: The Catalanotti Method” (credit: MHz Choice)

Watch the trailer for the final episode on YouTube:

How to Watch the final episode of Montalbano

Is the final episode of Montalbano available on DVD?

The DVD of Episode 37 of Montalbano is available on Amazon.


Other Binge-Worthy TV Series That Transport Viewers to Italy


  • If you love this series, you’ll want to read this article in Crime Reads about the series and its creator, Andrea Camilleri.

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  1. We aren’t too familiar with many television series but this one looks like the type we would love to see. Its sad to hear that it is coming to an end. Of course, the lifetime work of this author will be forever recorded and available to adoring fans.

  2. I so love the books and have such a mental image of the Inspector, that I can’t quite bring myself to watching the television series. . .of course, with no television in Greece, I guess I don’t have to debate that one too long. A beautiful report of the final episode. . .

  3. But what is the dessert that Montalbano serves on the terrace! I wish someone would compile all the foods that make an appearance throughout the series.

  4. We have a complete collection of the books and TV episodes covering the many years of the show. The genuine anger at the Salvo Montalbano character for the shabby and out of character treatment of Livia is a testament to how deeply fans have come to be engaged with the show. The ending, if it is that, of the TV episodes was horribly done and should go down as one of the worst final scripts and plots ever filmed for a show of such international appeal and weight. Montalbano deserves an ending worthy of its life and not what is served up in episode 37.

      1. Actually I’d feel the same, Irene. Montalbano was a pathetic shambles in his dealing with Livia – which is a lack of respect for the audience’s obvious emotional connection to the series and Salvo in particular. However you are right, personally anyway, in the lack of spark perhaps with the last Livia. Though still after all those programmes down he years, it was a pretty off hand way to “wrap things up.”

  5. We were so disappointed in the ending. How out of character for Salvo to be so cruel to Livia after a 20 year relationship. And to leave for a young chick who could be a daughter’s age.

      1. It made me so angry how so cruelly Livia was treated in the end. After so many years of admiring what an extra-ordinary man Montalbano was, in the end, he turned out to be one of those men who was blinded by a young, fresh thing.

        I used to watch and rewatch some episodes now and then. Alas, no more. Watching Livia in shock and total disbelief is too painful to bear.

  6. This episode didn’t completely close the door although it seems like Salvo would have a hard job making amends. I am eager to read the final book, Riccardino, which may offer a more definitive answer (scheduled for release in the U.S. in September 2021.)

  7. I wouldn’t take the MHzChoice newsletter’s “We can confirm that there are no new episodes of Detective Montalbano in production and that no more episodes are planned” as official because: 1) MHzChoice doesn’t give the source of the alleged confirmation; and 2) Angelo Russo, who plays Catarella, leaked exactly the opposite news in late June, and is being quoted all over in the Italian press. Russo said that his statement confirming that two more episodes are expected came directly from Palomar, the producer of Montalbano.

  8. I just finished watching this final episode, and I agree with everything that has been said about this terrible, out-of-character, cliche-ridden, poorly-written AND directed script! I have purchased all of the CD versions but can’t bring myself to buy this one.

  9. I, too, love both the books and the TV episodes, but unfair to blame the scriptwriter for the very disappointing episode 37 — this is in fact Camilleri’s story, including the Salvo-Livia ending. One good thing about the overwhelmingly negative reviews is the possibility that Luca Zingaretti, who had said earlier that he doubted the TV series could or should be continued with Camilleri and key crew having died, will decide as a matter of pride that the series which delighted so many viewers for 22 years cannot end on such a sour note.

  10. This is so out of character for Salvo to treat a women in such a way and especially with a woman who he has had a very long and loyal relationship. Another couple of episodes need to be added to bring back the Salvo we all know and love. PLEASE

  11. The Young Montalbano ended quickly unfortunately. Then the series continued with a new actor. Why cannot the present actors continue with a writer who could undertake to write a similar story line ….the intent of Andrea Camilleri can thus be honoured. The present characters are “alive” and much “loved” . The Sicilian land is now so familiar. May the vibrant “story” of Montalbano et al continue……

  12. Unfortunately, although Angelo Russo had said earlier that there would be more episodes based on the remaining two books and that both the production company and main cast were committed, Zingaretti himself recently put the kabosh on it.

  13. If you need a new fix, try “Imma Tataranni”. If you want to see “Evil Fazio” try the fascinating performance by Peppino Mazzotta in “Mafia Underover”.

  14. T,otally agree with everything others have said. I thought it was a sad ending in many way. Mimi and Salvo are both looking really ancient now!
    To see them behaving like men twenty years younger with young women is rather pathetic. And to be honest if I were either of the young women, I wouldn’t fancy either of them! I think dumping Livia on the phone without any conversation or explanation when they’ve had a twenty or more years relationship, with commitment, passion, intimacy, friendship and support, that has weathered both their different lives, is unrealistic. Livia wouldn’t have started all that old stuff again, and Salvo, as a thoughtful and reflective individual, wouldn’t have done it either. I’m sorry I watched it. The storyline was poor, the dialogue stilted, and the three, Mimi, Salvo and Fazio unconvincing. It should have been left where it was.

  15. Agree. Really saddened by the tawdry treatment of Livia in this final episode. Very out of character and horrible. We had built up a relationship with both characters, Salvo and Livia, and expected Salvo’s sense of integrity to remain the same. Just an old man’s fantasy at the end of the day I suppose. My husband loves the programme for the ladies and the meals on balconies etc but we were not expecting this! Apparently it was aired on National Women’s Day in Italy!

  16. My husband and I really loved the new Livia. I am surprised when I read that people think differently :). For both of us, Sonia Bergamasco was much more relatable, and real, and their relationship seemed to deepen and become more loving when she arrived.

  17. I thought the same. It was a mature relationship of trust and tenderness. Salvo asked her opinion a lot more, and she accepted his work commitments. In real life no-one of Salvo’s awareness and insight would ever dump such a relationship for an infatuation without greater consideration.

  18. What a Bastard Salvo turned out to be, Livia gave up everything children especially..Can’t forgive him, totally disappointed with the end of a programme I have loved forever..Wish I hadn’t watched it..

  19. I think it was really more about the fact the Camilleri and Alberto Sironi had died, and Zingaretti didn’t want to do the series any more without them. It was an ending, but not much of one. Ricciardino, the ‘last’ book was actually written some years earlier and put away. The
    Catalanotti story was perhaps just the final call of a very old man tired of writing and not long before his death. I don’t think anyone should
    take it as an indication that Salvo, who is after all a fictional character, would suddenly become a different person. It’s more the case, I’m sure,
    that all the people involved had come to the end of what they had to say about the characters they’d lived with for so long.

  20. Regarding Livia: ‘dumped’?. Hardly. She’d tortured Salvo for years with lack of commitment. When was she represented as caring? Her last contacts with him were typical: angry, demanding, about herself, not him. She asked him to say if he wanted to break off, and he did. Nor did he hang up on her.

    Next, Antonia’s response to his proposal and his response struck me as the most mature representation of love relations that I’ve seen in quite a while. He, too, had been thinking too much of himself, which is the opposite of love. Then there ending was quite satisfying.

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