Rating : ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ + ½
Categorisation: Detective drama
Availability: Netflix – Finnish, subtitled
Plot: Anna Bergdahl, a social worker-turned consultant, is found buried on a construction site in Helsinki. Wrapped in plastic she is naked, pale and serene, with a bunch of white canna lilies carefully positioned in her hands. Recently widowed senior detective Sofia Karppi, is investigating. She has returned from Germany where she lived with her husband, until an accident claimed his life only two months before. After his death, with her young son and teenage step-daughter in tow, they move to Finland, Karppi’s home country. It is immediately clear that they all struggle to adapt to their new life. They grieve in their various ways and family relationships are strained, particularly as Karppi becomes increasingly unavailable, throwing herself obsessively into her work. Unconventional, confident and capable, she has her own ways of doing things. And she certainly doesn’t appreciate having to partner with Sakari Nurmi, the rookie detective who has recently been assigned to the homicide squad. Nurmi wants to interrogate Anna’s husband, but Karppi is not in the right head-space to blame a widower, believing there are broader criminal forces at play. As the series unfolds, the many strands of the investigation creates tension and dispute, while Karppi’s life at home unravels
Cast: Pihla Viitala does a great job playing Karppi. Strong in the midst of heartbreak, she is the epitome of sisu – she has guts. She is fearless, yet vulnerable, and Viitala does well across this emotional range. Lauri Tilkanen does an equally good job as Nurmi, and there is a terrific chemistry between the two as they variously spar with each other, then provide comfort at times of distress. The rest of the cast is excellent too, particularly Jani Volanen as Usko, Anna’s husband. Somehow he manages to look guilty and innocent at the same time. Tommi Korpela is very good as Alex, the science entrepreneur whose wind farm plans for the construction site where Anna’s body is found, also place him under suspicion.
Filming and setting: Created and directed by Rike Jokela, the series was filmed during the fierce Finnish winter. And like many contemporary thrillers (see for example, The Dry https://marieconnollybooks.com/Blog/2021/01/15/the-dry/; and, of course, Fargo https://marieconnollybooks.com/Blog/2021/05/07/fargo-series-3/), the bleak and beautiful landscapes in Deadwind do their best to engage an emotional response – tall leafless trees surviving across the stretches of flat snow-covered land, massive shards of fractured ice in the lake – the cinematography communicates messages. This is a harsh environment, and one that becomes a defining character in itself.
Personal Comments: Deadwind is a solid crime series that has a satisfying feel to it, perhaps because it follows familiar Scandi-noir territory. One might say it’s predictable. It doesn’t make you gasp, nor does it have you on the edge of your seat. But if you like a darkly humoured, slow-burning series that develops its characters over many levels of sub-plot, then you might like this one. I did, and will certainly be watching the second series.