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The Catalanotti Method: Final Episode of Inspector Montalbano

June 19, 2021
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 new 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)

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.

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 is scheduled to become 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.


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.


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


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  • Reply
    Jeff & Crystal Bryant
    June 21, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Jackie+K+Smith
    June 22, 2021 at 1:41 am

    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. . .

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      June 26, 2021 at 10:39 am

      The books are amazing, too. I love Camilleri’s writing!

  • Reply
    Sharon
    July 6, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Mike and Maura D
    July 8, 2021 at 7:58 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      July 8, 2021 at 8:38 am

      Thanks for your comment. I, too, felt badly for the Livia character but this Livia wasn’t as relatable as the earlier ones. Do you think?

  • Reply
    Margaret
    July 11, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      anonymous
      July 19, 2021 at 11:26 am

      More like 30 years, considering The Young Montalbano series.

  • Reply
    Irene S. Levine
    July 13, 2021 at 11:25 am

    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.)

  • Reply
    erin smith
    July 14, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Aline Guillot
    July 18, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    erin smith
    July 19, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      July 19, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      A nice reminder, too, that we haven’t read the final book, which is scheduled to be published in the U.S. in September!

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