The Serpent returns to BBC One tonight for episode two but if you can’t wait to find out what happened to the real-life Monique – aka Marie-Andrée – read on!
Jenna Coleman plays the girlfriend of serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who went by Marie-Andrée Leclerc before her lover renamed her.
So far in the series it’s difficult to see just how complicit Monique was in the horrific killings of Western backpackers in and around Thailand.
Is she a victim herself, of coercive control?
Who was Marie-Andrée Leclerc?
She was a legal secretary, born in 1945, in French-speaking Quebec, Canada.
Marie-Andrée apparently met Sobhraj on holiday in India in the spring 1975, joining him that summer in Thailand as his girlfriend.
In the TV series, she helps to drug victims and uses the stolen passports of Sobhraj’s female victims once he’s killed them to steal their money.
Marie-Andrée was charged with this in real life, despite protesting her innocence.
Was ‘Monique’ brainwashed by Sobhraj?
Jenna Coleman enjoyed the is she/isn’t she? element of her character, revealing ahead of the season launch: “I think the [question of] ‘is she a victim or is she not’, how much of her was brainwashed, how much of it was a choice to be there and a choice to live in the delusion.
“I think that’s what’s really interesting, to make the choices that she made in keeping this reality in a way that she could so that she could keep existing and being with Charles.
“I think what’s really interesting is it’s almost like she created her own narrative, and she’s living in her delusion, really.
“So I guess for me it was more about squashing the truth, it was kind of like not accepting the reality of what was actually going on and meanwhile she’s kind of almost like living her own movie star life in her mind, which made it really complicated in a great way, in a really great way.
“There kind of felt like in-between the lines that Richard [Warlow, The Serpent writer] wrote there were a thousand possibilities which kind of always draws you in.”
Perhaps Marie-Andrée herself never understood the truth…
Did Marie-Andrée go to prison?
Yes, in June, 1976, Sobhraj and Monique were arrested in New Dehli after tricking a group of French students into recruiting them as tour guides.
An attempt to drug the students went wrong and one of them alerted police.
Read more: Where is Charles Sobhraj now?
The couple were sentenced to 12 years in prison, although she denied taking part in any of his crimes, insisting she was under his control.
In 1980, they were convicted of murder but Marie-Andrée appealed and was released on the condition she remain in India.
In 1983, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was granted permission to return home to Canada.
She died a year later, at the age of 38.
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