Le Bureau des Légendes (TV Series 2015– ) Poster

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Brilliant French TV Series
Cuscaden29 September 2016
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I am British, the old enemy :)

This TV Series is absolutely brilliant. It is a masterpiece spy thriller that delves deeply into the fascinating world of French espionage and counter espionage. The production values are excellent and all of the actors do a stunning job in their roles.

Season one was already an amazing TV production, and the second Season is even better. I cannot recommend this French series enough, for viewers like myself whose French is not great there are options to view the series online with English subtitles. If you like spy dramas or TV series which delve deeply into the human experience then I believe you will love this.

This is one of the best TV series I have watched. Absolutely fantastic.
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A Review Like None Other I've Ever Composed
rujoeking7 March 2017
Short and sweet ... I've never done it before, but couldn't have held out for a more appropriate subject.Le Bureau des Légendes is, 'hand's down', the best television series I've ever had the joy of watching. If not for the pathetic feeling of loss knowing that i am 1 show away from the final show of the 2nd (and thus far last) season, I would have none but the most high and exalted of regards for the show. The writing, production values, acting, character development, all things of salience to excellent TV are super-abundantly present in The Bureau. Okay, already losing the 'short and sweet' struggle. Just one last comment: the best TV series ever.'
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The best of all spy series?
robert-temple-130 July 2017
This French spy series is entitled in the original LE BUREAU DES LÉGENDES (THE BUREAU OF LEGENDS), a 'legend' being a carefully invented fictitious background and identity for a secret agent. In Britain and America the series is known by an English title as THE BUREAU. This is a review of all three seasons. I cannot think of any spy film or spy series which has approached this one in quality. It is simply the best. As everyone seems to know by now, American spy films and spy series are often funded by secret slush funds of the CIA, as PR efforts to make their spies look glamorous and patriotic, rather than sleazy and dubious. Who could fail to admire and love all CIA agents after being dazzled by the cute charm of the delightful Piper Perabo in the series COVERT AFFAIRS (2010-2014)? If they are all like that, as we are meant to believe, well then how do we get her phone number? She is irresistible. And when do we join up so that we can have the chance of being 'operatives' beside her? Although this French series appears to have had assistance from the French CIA known as DGSE (pronounced 'daygaysuh'), if only in being told how IMSI devices work, and other such intriguing technicalities, this series is certainly no propaganda fantasy to make people want to join. It has more than just a down side, it has a deeply tragic side. This series attempts to get to the bottom of just how great a cost betrayal, manipulation, and deceit have for its daily practitioners. They may be saving the world from ISIS, but they are not saving themselves or their loved ones. Nor are their own characters going uncorrupted. The acting is spectacularly good. This series is as good about spies as SPIRAL (aka ENGRENAGES, 2005-2016, see my review under 'E' for its French title) was about the Paris police. (And by the way, a surprise sixth season is belatedly appearing later this year for SPIRAL.) I have rarely seen any TV series with such impeccably perfect casting as this one. And all the roles are played with genuine depth. There are no cardboard characters in this series, they are all so well-rounded that we feel embarrassed sometimes at the intimacy with which we come to know them. The boldest, and one might say most outrageous, bit of casting for this series is Sara Giraudeau as the character Marian Loiseau. It could have failed disastrously, but in fact it works brilliantly. She is an apparently shy, lisping, wimpish, and babyish girl with a little girl's tentative voice who seems not only harmless but hopeless. But in fact she is a ruthless 'warrior' for DGSE (to use Henri Duflot's word for her). As courageous as she is, however, she does eventually suffer from terrible panic attacks while on missions. She is one of the most unexpected and spellbinding creatures in this amazing zoo of spies. Another bit of unexpectedly successful casting is the plump black agent of very few words, Irina Muluile, who plays the character known as 'the Mule' (strange coincidence with her real surname). She conveys more by saying nothing than many actors do by talking too much. The lead actor of the series is Mathieu Kassovitz, as the agent 'Malotru' (aka Paul Lefebvre and Guillaume Debailly). He delivers a magnificent performance, of enormous range. He has to play a character who is in so many wildly varying situations, including being an ISIS hostage, that he has to be ten people, not only one. This kind of challenging lead role is any actor's dream, and Kassovitz fulfils that dream admirably. The other lead actor is Jean-Pierre Darrousin, who plays Henri Duflot, the head of the operations section. He is an older man, nearing retirement, who is calm, quiet, concerned, conscientious, and thoroughly competent. He is like a father to his team. One of the lead actresses is Florence Loiret Caille ('quail'), who is subtle and superb as the deputy head. She says bitterly near the end: 'I never cry. My parents called me "the stone".' Whether she ends up finally crying or not I leave to the viewer's suspense. Zineb Triki (of whom there is almost no information on IMDb) is another female lead, playing the character Nadia El Mansour. She is astonishingly dignified and with a commanding presence, huge soft eyes, and limitless sadness in her gaze. She plays a Syrian, but the actress herself is of Moroccan origin, having left that country in 1995 at the age of 15, studied in France and Canada, obtained a degree in political science, became a journalist, and is now an actress. One could go on and on listing all these people who did so well, but that would involve naming the entire extensive cast of 30 episodes. All of this is the product of the 'creator', Eric Rochant. He originated the series and wrote the scripts, and he then produced and directed them all. (Clearly, he never sleeps but works 48 hours day.) It is all nothing short of a work of genius. Previously he wrote and directed the film MÖBIUS (2013). It is clear, then, that Eric Rochant is not merely a paragon but a marvel. It would be impossible to give even a cursory description of the many intense and parallel adventures of the characters in this series, as the plots are so complex and interweaving, and the stories so dramatic and powerful that they sweep one away. It is all profound, with both expressed and suppressed emotions, and thoughtful reflection amidst all the non-stop and heart-stopping action. The suspense and intensity never let up for one second for the entire series, and by the time it is over, one has worn out all the edges of all the seats, and one is a frazzled emotional wreck. Hold on tight, everyone.
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Among the best TV ever produced
kickeeen21 October 2017
As an avid watcher of films and TV series, I've been on IMDb for quite a while, but I've never written a review, even though I casually read reviews from other users. However, this is the first time I feel I need to urge everyone reading this to watch this TV series.

There are loads and loads of TV series about different fields of the intelligence sector, but few of them succeed in being as smart as the agencies they are trying to depict. With Le Bureau des Légendes, it's the other way around. As a viewer, you are constantly being left to guess what everyone's next move is, knowing only little or nothing at all, just like intelligence work in real life.

Agents constantly have to think at least three or four steps ahead and even if you succeed with your first move, there is no guarantee at all that the remaining moves will be successful. As all those actions are being taken on risk assumptions, it makes the series a gripping ride and makes you constantly feel like you're on the edge. The writers, actors and camera men pull this off brilliantly, much thanks to the outstanding writing which makes every single TV episode feel like a miniature movie. If you do some research about how the show was made, you'll notice that part of the production got never before authorized access (even though limited) to real life DGSE, which really shows off.

However, it's not only down to the writing, but to the acting and filming as well. The casting crew has done an amazing job. You can feel the chemistry between the actors and especially from Mathieu Kassovitz and Jean-Pierre Darroussin who bless us with amazing performances.

I don't want to make this review into a TL;DR piece, so I will shortly summarize by saying that Le Bureau des Légendes is one of the most intelligent, tense, gripping and brilliantly acted espionage dramas I've ever seen. The series, which just gets better with every season, is among the best TV ever produced. If you're reading this and you haven't decided if you'll watch it or not - don't wait, as it'll not wait for you.
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markmscott-114 January 2017
This series, the second season especially, seems almost perfectly made. It is much in little in every scene, and it makes haste slowly. Intellectually and emotionally satisfying, the writing, the acting, and the filming rarely make a false move. Rarely, because the scenes of the prime spy's writing alone, shirtless, at his desk, in voice-over, strike me as unnecessary, and the American CIA chief, who was so good in "Friday Night Lights," is made to play here as if he were an Anglophile precisian: it doesn't come off. The immediate superior of the main spy plays his part brilliantly, and there isn't a weak actor in the French cast and Middle Eastern cast. So many details are funny and telling at the same time, and yet never detract from the wide scope and long narrative of the series. Nor does the Syrian connection, seeming to come right out of the headlines or even ahead of them, hurt. This is yet another series that makes so many feature films seem a waste of time and money.
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As brilliant as it gets. The best spy series ever, and it keeps getting better every season!
maria-ricci-19836 December 2018
I cannot praise this show enough. I agree with other reviewers on the high bar this show sets for the genre. It is the French Homeland, but more credible, low-keyed and deeper.

Everything distills quality here: a really, really superb script which is intelligent, sensible and gripping to the end; extraordinary characterisation and performances from the main to the last character; tremendous production and attention to detail; credible information about the metier; an impeccable direction which keeps extreme suspense and intrigue, only without the flamboyant, explosive special effects so inevitable in American series, but it is still very action- and field-oriented.

Season 4 is really fantastic, it has not decayed in the least. The addition of Mathieu Amalric makes an extra bonus, with the talent he brings to fore in every performance. Marie-Jeanne acquires more weight in the show in the most positive sense. Florence Loiret Caille is such a superb, nuanced actress! And the priceless Kassowits recreates his complex Malotru, the antihero always full of surprises which you respect, admire and love as the seasons go by. He is the perfect spinal cord for the show.

In short, this is the most exciting show in the year. I really hope it will maintain the high quality and the cast in years to come, to the delight of all the genre lovers. Kudos to everyone involved in the production!
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Outstanding Spook/Spy series on TV
sfglightburn-2187711 December 2018
This is the best TV show I have seen to date. My friend from China email me and told me to check out Le Bureau. I had to subscribe to Sundance to start watching season 1. I was hooked and it just kept getting better and better.

I love watching British Spy series, but this French series is the best one I have ever seen. Even with my slow reading the subtitle. I know it has a disclaimer at the beginning of each show but this TV series is so believable it is scary.
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Simply brilliant
annimack11 October 2017
This French spy thriller leaves the equivalent US shows for dead. US shows like Criminal Minds, etc. are just the same old drivel each season.

This series was riveting right from the start, though slightly slower in the first couple of episodes as character profiles were established.

Most characters are very likable and none became annoying like they do in the US shows.

I only hope the creators make more seasons as I fear that a trilogy is all we are going to see.

Absolutely brilliant series!! Magnifique!!
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don't miss this fantastic, realistic spy thriller.
rs82826 October 2017
the plot, characters, scenes, stories, side stories are fantastic, realistic and believable. Nothing over the top and nothing underwhelming. only thing i wanted when it was finished was another season. most foreign language shows don't keep me in the zone (binge worthy) due to having to read subs, but i couldn't stop loading episode after episode. i did wish there was a little more action but totally unnecessary. don't hesitate to watch this, you won't be let down.
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If you have friends, then destroy them.
searchanddestroy-13 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
What a terrific, astounding French series about the cold, ruthless and fierce world - or may I say underworld - of the French intelligence services (the D.G.S.E), the equivalent of American C.I.A, Israeli Mossad or British M.I.6. You deal here with a deep dive into this obscure and so lethal jungle where predators of all kinds, cheaters and cold blooded killers, men and women, are on constant rampage to destroy you. The painting is so accurate, sharp as a knife, describing all the details, at least many of them - it' a secret world, after all - many tricks used by this shadow warriors to accomplish their duty and, most of all, survive. The true face of those men and women who fight for their country all over the world, in most cases totally undercover. Those men and women who lose their own identities because they have so many of them. Those men and women who are ready to cheat, kill, torture OUT OF ANY LAW in order to achieve their mission. Those men and women ready to accomplish the impossible to be the best among the best. You have already seen SECRET DEFENSE directed by Philip Haim, back in 2008, and AGENTS SECRETS that Frederic Schoenderffer gave us in 2004. Both were accurate portraits of what secret agents truly are. But this TV series is the most brilliant expose of what the "Swimming Pool" atmosphere is. Swimming Pool is the nick name given by the agents of the French Intelligence (DGSE) headquarters in Paris.
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Rewarding low-key approach ... compelling French spy drama
ok_english_bt7 July 2018
The reviews I've read here about Canal+'s 'Le Bureau Des Legendes' seem to cover it. I'd only add that its more nuanced non-sensationalist approach works better than many similar political-spy dramas I've seen recently. The apparently ordinary people working out of an office go about their everyday lives as extraordinary events unfold around them. Eric Rochant's series builds the tension gradually, which gives the big 'moments' greater impact. And at the heart of things is a beautiful love story, of course! Don't know how accurate 'Le Bureau' is as regards DGSE and the French intelligence network it portrays, but found it credible and gripping as a series. Still can't find it in myself to award it a '10' (think it would have to be in my native English so I could follow all the verbal stuff to do that), but I'm certainly looking forward to more of 'Le Bureau Des Legendes' (they're making a 4th season, right?).
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40 points to destroy America
mediodetrito14 March 2019
This series simply broke me. Never imagined that I'd never watch my fav series of all times with the very same eyes. This is far way better than any American thriller series that I've ever seen. The veracity of the dialogues and facts are extremely powerful. This is how I've always thought the life of a spy should be, kind of like any of the rest of us. And remember, the magic here is in the details. Simply and mundane things that you'd do or say on a regular basis. Ten over Ten.
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French "Homeland" but much better ;-)
celiagheeraert29 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
i am French so of course i may be biased by this great series produced by Canal Plus a TV producer we are cherishing for spreading creativity on European TV Show! Still let me convince you why you should watch with show.

We are following the story of "Paul Lefebvre" the undercover name of a French Secret Agent send to Syria as a French Teacher to get intelligence For France. The Story of Paul is the famous "legend", a Legend is the story and the identity you create in order to fulfill your secret mission with minimum suspicion. When your mission is done, The legend ends and you are moving on to normal life.

Several strong characters Guillaume (whose legend was Paul Lefebvre Story ) has to deal with Nadia A beautiful Syrian Professor he met during his mission in Syria.... has he been compromised? is she an undercover agent with secret puposes in Paris? Why is she followed?

Marina is a fragile -like woman trained by THE DGSE (French CIA) to get crucial intelligence on real Nuclear Risks in Iran. She is a nuclear engineer the day and an agent the night... we are following with her every step of the master plan to make Marina hired by Top irani representatives and move to Teheran to provide intelligence... Paris, Alger, Teheran....Eric Rochant the series maker studied the true methods of DGSE to make the series as realistic as it is in real Life.

THE PLOT IS MOSTLY INSPIRED BY WHATS CURRENTLY HAPPENING IN OUR COUNTRY ( France made a historic agreement with Iran on Nuclear control)

SEASON 2 will be mainly based on djihadism and it is so realistic that it will blow your mind ...tension is maintained all along and Guillaume, alias "Malotru" his agent alias, our favorite agent will make the better sacrifice on a chess play .... OK ! no more spoiler! hope i could convince Non French Crowd to watch the show!
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Sets the high watermark
chucklebud9 July 2018
Very much enjoy watching programmes from different cultures exactly because of the cultural differences. The Bridge would have been my previous high watermark but The Bureau has surpassed it. It's not a story that we've never seen before but the detail, character development and plot twists are paced brilliantly to stay in sync. The fact that Malotru is writing the story as we see it happen isn't new but adds a great edge because of what his writing does (or doesn't) suggest!! The acting is top rate and after the first series I couldn't wait for more. Series 2 didn't disappoint either and now I'm just waiting for series 3 to become available on Amazon without me having to pay yet again (which I'd do in a heartbeat if I didn't take the perspective that this is why I have a subscription!!). Don't miss it!! If you like tough, challenging thrillers and dramas, this is where it's at.
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Another versatile French political thriller
BeneCumb12 August 2017
/refers to Seasons 1 and 2/ In the era of heavy domination of English-speaking films and series, it is pleasant to enter the world of other language, other habits and comprehensions. An as I have good experiences with e.g. Braquo and Engrenages, then Le Bureau des Légendes was my another logical choice.

True, its mood and approach is less violent and with less action, but with more suspicion and dubiety - so is the world of reconnoissance and espionage. In my opinion, the creators and actors have almost got the maximum out of it, thus the viewers are able to follow intertwined events on various levels, in various countries, with personal lives nicely complementing the story, not providing just "filling-in" as in some series, for the sake of duration. The characters are realistic, the performances elaborated, and as most of actors-actresses were rather unknown to me, I could fix my mind upon the script and cast in the whole, rather than on certain leading actors, sometimes disturbing to follow the integral course of events. Still, Sara Giraudeau as Marina Loiseau seemed the most interesting and versatile.

Well, the story includes some questionable moments and apparent "wrong" moral dilemmas, but they do not deplete the opportunity to follow the course of events with tension and excitement. As the Series 2 ended up in an intriguing manner, I look forward to Season 3, soon to be ready.
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French brilliance...
hamlet-165 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This a hard series to watch at times even though there is relatively little violence shown the dialogue bristles with threat and the lack of human warmth is chilling.

The actual plots, because there are many concurrent stories in play are almost not important. Agents face death or worse in the field while their handlers in the main office plot tactics like a game of chess.

Loyalties are tested ..strained to breaking point ... is the enemy ISIS or Iran or is it the Russians Israelis and Americans? The UK barely gets mentioned by the way.

(For us in the South Pacific the DGSE is known for one thing .... the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior on the direct command of Pres. Mitterand. An act that cut deeply into the friendship between France and nations of the pacific.)

However this a brilliant tv series on a par with the BBC's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or ITV's Callan from the early 70s. No wonder it is a hit in France.

There is a sadness and hollowness to the lives of the characters. And they know it.

It is brilliantly realised, gripping and not to be missed.
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Tres magnific
sas20144 June 2019
Simply the best tv series I have ever watched. Got chronic insomnia due to watching episodes back to back sometimes 72 hrs none stop.
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If you love Le Carré, this show is for you
bowmansarah-718238 April 2019
ALERT: if you're a fan of the espionage genre, then check out The Bureau (aka Le Bureau des Legendes, the best tv show title in history) - it is MAGNIFIQUE. Le Carré -level mastery storycraft and characters. It's *quiet* in the way that many spy shows are not - which equals proper suspense. The Bureau leaves Homeland for dead and makes Spooks ( which I also loved) look over-produced and somewhat clumsy.
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Twisting and intriguing
kristianfuruskjeg29 December 2018
Through all four seasons you are kept on the edge of your seat while agents and half-politicians are making still new plots.
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On season 1.
punishmentpark14 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This first season (at least one more is in the making at this point) is a pretty good bit of television. There are about three main cases, some of which intertwine, but all of them of course deal with the French secret service.

The stories develop mostly slowly, rather focusing on a believable portrayal of things, instead of letting the action, suspense or drama get too much in the way. At times it does feel a bit dry because of that, but in the end it does help the effectiveness of the series. One choice I do find quite unbelievable, though. When Malotru boldly goes to visit Nadia at the airport in the ninth episode, he can only add to the danger she is already in. I understand why and how he defends his choice, but still, he should have understood by then that her mind was made up. And perhaps the ending with 'Cyclone' has a few too many happy clichés in there, but what the hey.

The acting and cinematography are quite good, if not terrific. The tone of things is rather subdued and human - on some level, since most of these people doing this sort of work are required to act quite inhuman a lot of the time. It takes a while before the whole story becomes clear to the viewer, which makes it all the more fun (read: suspenseful) and there is still plenty to work with in season two.

So, even if I didn't always sympathize or even empathize with all the characters, this is still a pretty good show. It does not, and will never beat a classic like 'Tinker tailor soldier spy' (the 1979 version, of course!), but I didn't really expect that to happen anyway.

A big 7 out of 10.
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Will hook you. French Homeland
boydpeters26 September 2018
Exceptional series. Cannot be faulted. Simple as that
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Taunt, believable, intelligent and contemporary spy drama
robertemerald23 April 2019
This hasn't got the riveting excitement and hysteria of Homeland, and lacks the cinematography of Berlin Station. It is definitely in the same league however and sparkles with intellect and charisma. Lovers of the genre have been truly spoilt this year!
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Excellent series with the usual anti-American stereotypes
louisecloe15 April 2018
This series is well acted and directed. It is both entertaining and also very relevant to the conflict in the Middle East. I strongly recommend it. Nonetheless, it is annoying to watch Americans repeatedly portrayed in such negative sterotypes, as often happens in European movies and series. The CIA guys in The Bureau are all very offensive and nasty, more so than representatives of any other nationality in the series. It diminishes my enjoyment of and respect for the series; individuals are individuals and should be respected and portrayed as such, and not portrayed as stereotypes of the "Ugly American."
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To enjoy it more, just ignore the flaws.
ikanboy11 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A very good, entertaining, French series. Like "The Americans" it is better to pay attention to the characters, action, and plot and skim past the unlikely spy scenarios. The character Marina, while endearing, is just too naive and gullible to play the tough nut. And the episodes in Azerbaijan are ludicrous, making the Mossad out to be morons. Their trying to infiltrate Iran's nuclear energy system and they use Marina?? The psychologist is straight out of "Shrink" stereotype land. Brilliant insights in nano seconds. The boss Duflot goes wandering off in IS land without knowing Arabic, because he knew the target spoke French??? Still it's gripping stuff, even if it views the Yanks as barely palatable allies. I really like the frequent use of foreign scenarios (even if they're all Morocco) and the French certainly have a lot of Arabic actors to choose from.
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A new TV series enters my top 5
mmsrd27 August 2019
For context, some of the TV series that I've thought were exceptional in the past 5 or so years have been Justified, Manhattan (the WGN series now on Hulu) , Berlin Station, Spiral and The Americans. I will need to drop something out of that group so that I can add The Bureau.

I'm not a spy and not a computer expert, but this show seems to me to be about as realistic as it gets. The writing is superb (as much as I can tell from the translations), the acting is generally excellent and the plot which more or less continues over the entire 4 seasons is intricate and fascinating. Based upon news reports, the plots seem entirely realistic and not contrived.

I could write more, but others have pointed out the merits of the series in detail. The only nitpick that I have is that the subplots can be hard to follow because the series uses what I call the rule of 3. There are generally three subplots each year or two that are connected to the over arching plot, but the direction cuts back and forth between the subplots and characters...I've occasionally lost track of the details of the subplots as each episode progresses and have had to go back and remind myself of what has happened. Hope that makes sense.

This is not a 10 only because a I've never rated anything as perfect.

This series will rate a second viewing in a few months.
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