Bordertown is a Scandinavian crime series from featuring Ville Virtanen as Kari Sorjonen, a brilliant & peculiar detective who moves his family out of Finland’s capital to the small town of Lappeenranta near the Russian border. His wife, Paulinna has survived brain cancer and Kari’s feels his family must come first instead of his job. He thinks his wife’s former town will be just the place to have a quiet life and that the crimes will be much less complex and violent. However, Lappeenrants quickly to the viewer begins to slowly like the layers of an onion reveal otherwise.
The series premise is very similar to other crime series I have watched where the main detective needs a new beginning with his family and for work to be less intense only for all concerned to find nothing has changed. However, with Bordertown, it is similar yet different. Kari’s wife and daughter are well aware of how absorbed and consumed he can get with his work. They do like that he is making the effort to be different, like turning off his phone or asking them if he should answer if a call if one comes in. Kari also makes a point to be home for dinner or to leave during the day from work, as he does in the first couple episodes, to be there for his wife’s doctor’s appointments.
Nothing goes smoothly but unlike other series Kari keeps trying to separate work from his home life and it shows throughout the season. He hardly talks about his cases and when he does bring work home he isolates it to the basement where Paulinna and Janina, their daughter, know to stay away from. There are slips of course but not many.
Another difference from similar crime series, that I appreciate, Kari’s family and his co-workers have near equal footing to them. They are fleshed out, given their own story to tell and most importantly they feel as real as Kari. Also, the episodes have elements that build off of each other even though the cases themselves get solved in two episodes.
Further, I savored the slow build up of this series over 11 episodes and the revelations made feel natural and not forced. It feels fresh to me. Also, the series remained consistent with its characters and the story threads. Additionally, at no time an action by a character or an unfolding event felt far fetched or a stretch of reality and imagination. Bordertown, is a series that I wouldn’t binge over a weekend but instead watch just like the episodes play out, it will be worth it.
Bordertown – a Netflix Original Series 2016