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All this is a game, Inspector. A game with rules... and I make them.
~ Pellegrini to Gabriel Dumont.
He wants to destroy us. But I won't let him.
~ Pellegrini to his daughter about Assane Diop.
Hubert Pellegrini is the main antagonist of the 2021 French Netflix series Lupin, serving this role in both parts.
One of the richest men in France, Pellegrini hopes to become even richer, even if it means murdering and/or framing people, such as Babakar Diop, which starts the events of the series. He is the archenemy of Assane Diop, the son of Babakar, who seeks vengeance for his father's death.
For an unknown amount of time, Pellegrini has had what he claims to be half the police department in his pocket. In the year 1995, when his company was on the verge of collapse, Pellegrini came up with a plan to save it. He would hire Senegalese immigrant Babakar Diop with the sole purpose of framing him for the theft of a necklace once belonging to queen Marie-Antoinette. During this period, Pellegrini often treated Babakar in a racist manner, at one point even calling him an ape. Knowing his wife Anne was friends with Babakar, he tricked her into making Babakar sign a confession to the crime of the necklace theft, claiming that it would lighten the sentence (in actual fact, it wound up making it worse). Alongside this, he also forced Gabriel Dumont, the police officer in charge of Babakar's case, to join his side by threatening his wife. He then hired Léonard Koné, a man in jail for attempted murder, to kill Babakar and make it look like a suicide by hanging.
In 1996, Pellegrini sold weapons to Malaysian terrorists, who went on to attack the French embassy in Kuala Lampur, killing eleven people. When journalist Fabienne Bériot tried to expose him for his crimes, Pellegrini turned his guns on her: with a record-breaking defamation lawsuit, Pellegrini made sure that Fabienne would never work again. Meanwhile, Pellegrini's daughter Juliette occasionally met Assane Diop, Babakar's son. However, Pellegrini put a quick stop to this, both because of Assane's relation to Babakar and because of his race.
In 2020, Pellegrini has become distant from his wife, but maintains a strong relationship with his daughter Juliette. Even after 25 years, Assane still wants revenge on Pellegrini, having become a real-life version of Arsène Lupin. Assane meets Fabienne and the two team up to bring down Pellegrini. Under the Twitter alias of Salvator813, Assane threatens to release footage of Pellegrini selling weapons to terrorists in 1996. When learning that Assane/Salvator will appear in The Other Edition, a talk show, Pellegrini manages to have the footage altered to delete all signs of him actually selling the weapons. After learning that Salvator was Assane, Pellegrini sends Léonard to kill him. Léonard visits and kills Fabienne while making it look like suicide.
Pellegrini gets a call from Léonard, who tells him that he has kidnapped Raoul, Assane's son. Annoyed by this, as he only wanted Assane, Pellegrini tells Leonard to take care of the situation, and Leonard decides to do it by killing both father and son (although he fails in both tasks). Later on, Pellegrini gets a visit from Assane's ex-wife Claire, who has learned that he is behind everything. Desperate to keep her son safe, Claire agrees to turn Assane over to the police in exchange for Raoul returning home. Pellegrini sends undercover cops to Claire's house in order to arrest Assane when he returns. However, when he does return, Claire is able to tell Assane to run away before the police can catch him. Beforehand, Pellegrini has conversation with Raoul about a foundation he and Juliette are starting which will give money to disadvantaged children. What Pellegrini doesn't say is that only 15% of the money gained will actually be for the children; the rest is for his offshore bank account.
After his wife Anne reports him, Pellegrini is arrested for obstruction of justice and fraud, but let go after calling in a favor from a powerful government minister. Pellegrini sends Léonard to kill Assane, while secretly sending another man, Pascal Oblet, to kill Léonard in Assane's house to make it look like the latter killed the former. When this is finished, he sends Pascal to spy on Benjamin Ferel, a friend of Assane.
During a concert intended to launch the foundation, Assane ambushes Pellegrini from behind and puts a knife to his throat, forcing him to reveal all his crimes. Upon getting what he wants, Assane escapes and Pellegrini warns his men that he is inside the theater. Eventually, it is revealed that Assane had recorded the conversation, and sends it all to police officer Youssef Guédira, who, along with his colleagues Romain Laugier and Sofia Belkacem, arrests Pellegrini. He is last seen being handcuffed and put into a police car.
In public, Pellegrini puts on the persona of a benevolent French patriot. In reality, he is a cunning, manipulative and greedy egotist who will do anything to become as rich as possible. His wife, Anne, says that you're either with or against him. Pellegrini is completely willing to murder others to get what he wants, and is shown to be a racist who looks down upon Black people like Babakar and Assane. Hypocritically, Pellegrini later claims that his foundation will promote diversity.
Pellegrini is shown to be willing to get rid of his own men if they present a threat to his overall goals or if it is to his advantage in some way; for example, he orders Léonard's murder to incriminate Assane. He frequently uses blackmail, bribery or intimidation to keep his associates in line, as seen with the policeman Gabriel Dumont. Pellegrini appears to have no remorse for his crimes. Even Juliette, the closest thing he has to a genuine relationship, is not safe from his villainy, as he uses psychological abuse to keep her on his side while hiding his unscrupulous plans for the money being donated to their foundation.