With three seasons available, Bordertown is the crime drama set in Finland. Similar to other Nordic Noir series, Bordertown is dark with a gritty portrayal of crime in a small town that borders Russia.
The key detective in charge of most of the cases is Kari Sorjonen. A gifted detective with an unusual way of solving cases, he has recently moved to the coastal town of Lappeenranta, taking on a new job of leading SECRI, the Serious Crime Unit. But, like all detailed crime drama's there's more to Bordertown than simply solving a string of murders.
Kari's wife Pauliina (Matleena Kuusniemi) has recently completed treatment for a brain tumour and it's her home town that they return to. There is also their 17-year-old daughter Janina (Olivia Ainali) who is trying to get used to her new home.
Throughout each season of Bordertown, the stories unfold over a two-episode arc. Characters from the first few episodes then become part of the continuing stories as all of the characters develop. What Bordertown does well is tell very detailed stories. Nothing is wrapped up neatly in 40 minutes.
True to life no crime is instantly solved. We may get a glimpse of the perpetrators but tracking them down requires serious police work. And when you spend all your time consumed with getting justice for victims, your family life can suffer a lot. As is the case with Kari Sorjonen (Ville Virtanen).
This isn't a Hollywood crime show. In true Nordic Noir drama style, the images are often graphic as are the situations that some of the characters find themselves in. There is little or no sunshine, the police operate out of a technologically advanced but very grey basement style office.
Family members get dragged into crimes and the storylines involve seriously disturbing acts of violence – though not all of it is shown. Life in Finland may be different but not so different that there isn't the odd serial killer or drug trafficker.
Helping Kari Sorjonen solve crimes in this Finnish town are Detective Lena Jaakkola (Anu Sinisalo), and Niko Uusitalo (Ilkka Villi). Both come with their own issues, not least for Lena is her wayward teenage daughter Katia (Lenita Susi) and for Niko, it's his ambition that threatens to derail Kari.
Is ‘Bordertown' Worth Watching? (It's Available On Netflix)
Overall, other than many of the character's ability to overcome trauma so quickly, Bordertown is an excellent crime drama. Available with subtitles and dubbing, it's a refreshing break from the glossy serial dramas we have become used to.
Don't expect to see any female police officers running in high heels in this show – thank God! Like other shows in the genre – The Valhalla Murders, Bitter Daisies and Ultraviolet – Bordertown is another hit and perfect for fans of solid crime dramas.
Is Bordertown A Real Place?
The show is set in a town called Lappeenranta which is actually a real place. Lappeenranta is a city in the region of South Karelia, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Russian border.
And for a quick geography lesson, Lappeenranta is home to around 73,000 inhabitants and is the 13th largest city in Finland.
Will There Be A Season 4 Of Bordertown?
Season 1 saw us watch Kari and his family settle into a new life as his colleagues got used to his more unique way of solving crimes. It was also when we were introduced to Lasse Maasalo, the Moriarty to Sorjonen's Holmes.
Season two delved more into the past of all the characters, particularly Lena and her ties to Russia.
The third season of Bordertown was a more emotional affair as the effects of local crime took their toll on family and careers.
So as we came to the end of the 31 episodes available the big question was ‘Will there be a season 4'?
The answer isn't very straightforward. Technically season 3 was the last one. However, there is a movie!!
Bordertown – The Mural Murders Movie
Juuso Syrjä is back directing Bordertown – The Mural Murders, a spinoff movie of the popular series.
Production on the film began in October 2020 and was released theatrically in Finland on the 27th of October 2021. But don't despair if you don't live in Finland! Netflix has secured the global rights to the movie and it is now available to stream.
The movie brings back Bordertown's key cast including Ville Virtanen, Anu Sinisalo (Lena) and Sampo Sarkola.
The plot of the movie follows investigator Sorjonen chasing his arch-enemy Lasse Maasalo. It is set against the backdrop of a social media voting contest in which people have voted on without whom the country would be better off.
When three of the most-voted people disappear, Sorjonen is asked to come back to work to investigate the hate crimes.
It is called Bordertown Mural Murders because in each case the victim's blood is drained and then used to paint a mural for all the world to see. Yes, it's a grim concept, however, the plot is intricate with plenty of twists and turns.
And, luckily for us, we finally get our Sorjonen Maasalo showdown.
Is Bordertown Mural Murders Worth Watching?
Here is the thing about the Bordertown movie. It will only make sense if you've already watched the three seasons of the show.
When we meet Sorjonen he is undergoing treatment at a mental health facility. His daughter is in University and Lena no longer works for the police. The key to understanding the film is knowing how all the characters are related to each other.
That said, if you have watched the show then you are in for another treat. Ville Virtanen is astoundingly good as Sorjonen and as goodbyes to great characters go, this one is done with all the thought and consideration befitting a genius crime solver. A definite thumbs up!