With three seasons available on Netflix, 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 has recently completed treatment for a brain tumour and it's her home town that they return to. There is also a 17-year-old daughter 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. 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.
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 – Black Spot, Bitter Daisies and Ultraviolet – Bordertown is another hit and perfect for fans of solid crime dramas.