Éric de Montgolfier: Class Act character explained

In Class Act, Éric de Montgolfier is the prosecutor of Valenciennes who does not rest until he exposes Bernard Tapie’s crime. 

When Bernard starts dreaming of becoming the mayor of Marseille, he is ready to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He knows that if his team, Olympique de Marseille, wins the Champions League, it will help his chances of becoming the mayor.

Bernard gets his team’s general manager, Jean-Pierre Bernès, to bribe the players of Valenciennes and get them to not play well against Olympique de Marseille. Bernard’s team wins the match, but it does more harm than good.

Jacques Glassmann, one of the players who were bribed, files a complaint against Jean-Pierre. He later reports this incident to the authorities, and the case is handed over to Éric de Montgolfier, a prosecutor who is determined to get to the truth.

Bernard’s downfall

Before taking his investigation further, Montgolfier meets Glassmann and informs him that he needs to be absolutely sure about his statement, as Olympique de Marseille is going to claim that Glassmann is lying.

He also warns Glassmann that the case might end up doing more harm to him than to Jean-Pierre. Only when Glassmann assures him that he is ready to take that risk does Montgolfier take his investigation further.

Montgolfier manages to find the amount that Jean-Pierre had paid the players; the money is found hidden in the garden of a player’s aunt, and the finding makes Montgolfier certain that Glassmann is telling the truth about what happened.

Bernard believes that Montgolfier has summoned Jean-Pierre because he is one of those prosecutors who threaten the rich to get bribes. Bernard goes to make a deal with Montgolfier, but he does not realize that Montgolfier is not interested in anything except the truth.

Class Act Éric de Montgolfier
Bernard visits Montgolfier

Bernard tries to intimidate Montgolfier by name-dropping high-ranking ministers. He also claims that it was the coach from Valenciennes who tried to corrupt Bernard’s team and not the other way around. 

Montgolfier pretends to not know much about the case and lets Bernard tell him one lie after another. He keeps trapping Bernard in his own lies, and Bernard later realizes that Montgolfier has had the upper hand all this while.

In fact, Bernard’s visit convinced Montgolfier that Bernard was somehow involved in the whole match-fixing affair. Bernard then tries to threaten Montgolfier openly and then offers to give him the names of other corrupt people, but even that does not work. 

Montgolfier reminds Bernard that he has a responsibility towards his country and society. He does not let Bernard leave and asks him to confess his crime. If he confesses, the judge will be lenient, but if he does not confess now, he will not be able to avoid going to prison.

Bernard finally realizes that he made a mistake by coming to Montgolfier’s office, as Montgolfier is only concerned about getting justice, not bribes. Montgolfier also tells Bernard that he could have been anything, but he chose to be corrupt and immoral.

Montgolfier believes that deep down inside, Bernard also wants justice, as he chose to meet him and did not bring money with him to bribe him. Montgolfier exposes Bernard’s crime in court, and after a months-long trial, Bernard has to serve eight months in prison, a sentence that was requested by Montgolfier.

When Bernard, who was arrogant and believed himself to be invincible, met a man like Montgolfier, he realized that not every person can be bought with money. Montgolfier did his duty and brought the truth to light without caring about any of Bernard’s offers or threats.

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