The Best Nordic Noir Crime Dramas Set in Finland

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Finland has enjoyed a growing reputation for producing high-quality TV shows in recent years. Specializing in brooding crime dramas in the so-called Nordic noir genre, this country has brought out a range of shows that have gained legions of followers around the world.

Bordertown

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Credit: Netflix

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This Finnish crime drama was first shown in its home country in 2016. The first episode was watched by a record 1.1 million viewers and it maintained viewing figures of about a million for the rest of the season. It then became an international hit, being sold to more than 40 countries around the world and with Netflix buying the rights to stream it in 2017.

It follows Detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen, who is played by Ville Virtanen. He works for the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation and has Asperger’s. A move to a new town on the Russian border and with a new partner leads him into a variety of dangerous investigations.

Three seasons of Bordertown have been filmed to date, with the darker, edgier third season expected to be the final one. However, a movie based on the series called Bordertown: The Mural Murders is expected later in 2021.

Arctic Circle

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Credit: Netflix

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This show was a co-production between Yellow Film & TV from Finland and the German company Bavaria Film. It was first shown in late 2017, before being distributed to channels across the globe. The first episode is Kellari, which translates as Cellar, and the action doesn’t let up.

Arctic Circle stars Iina Kuustonen as police officer Nina Kautsalo, who investigates cases in the Lapland region of Finland. Maximilian Brückner plays the role of Thomas Lorenz, a German virologist who gets involved when a mysterious virus is found in a victim’s body.

The first season featured ten episodes, and it was announced at the end of 2020 that the Topic streaming service would have the North American rights to season two. This second season lets us delve deeper into the characters, and it should be screened towards the end of 2021.

Deadwind

Deadwind Netflix

Credit: Netflix

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Another crime drama series from Finland that fits into the growing Nordic noir genre, Deadwind has already run for two seasons, with the very first episode called Leski and the second season-ending with Mustaa vettä. The third season will be shown in its home country later in 2021, with Netflix expected to add it to the earlier seasons after this.

The story focuses on Sofia Karppi, a Finnish police detective and a single mother to two children who has recently been widowed. The action is mainly set in Helsinki, where 1999’s Spy Games and 2009’s Helsinki were also shot. Actress Pihla Viitala handles the main role. Rookie officer Sakari Nurmi is her partner and is played by Lauri Tilkanen.

Critics have praised Deadwind as being realistic and for letting us see professional police officers solve cases smartly to bring order to the world. It is a far cry from the typical Nordic legends we can see in the online Kalevala kasino, where games like Book of Loki and Thor Hammer Time give us a glimpse of Nordic characters we are more used to seeing.

It seems that Finnish TV creators have discovered a winning formula, with their police stories set in beautiful landscapes becoming highly sought after by Netflix and other streaming services across the planet. If you enjoy brooding crime dramas with smart storylines, these shows are well worth taking a look at.

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