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If you love crime drama and particularly like Nordic Noir then Bordertown, set in Finland will be perfect for you. Dark and gritty, it's an excellent show devoid of the usual gloss we have become used to.

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 MurdersBitter 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!


  • Excellent Characters
  • Very Detailed Crime Solving
  • No Gloss!


  • To Many Crimes Involving Main Characters
  • No Light To The Constant Shade



  1. I have binge watched all three series of Bordertown as well as the 2021 film. As a huge Nordic Noir fan I have really enjoyed it. I am guessing that the film brings the series to an end and there will be no more?? While Kari is fantastically well played, Lena is by far the most fascinating character in the series and also puzzling. She is such a powerful figure, capable of acting outside of the law, and yet so fragile in her relationship with her daughter. Why at the end of Series 3 did she say, she could not leave Finland because she had to wait for Kari? I also did not fully understand her role in the movie. She seemed to have gone rogue, but actually worked with Kari in the end. It is hard to foresee what will become of her? Like Kari she too is a tortured soul. Also a side question what happened to Niko and why was he not in the film?

  2. Love this show. One thing that bugs tho is the English over-dub for Kari is way too “breathy” ( is breathy a word?)

  3. Enjoyed it

  4. My husband and I love Bordertown and have watched in in English even though we live in Quebec/Canada. The characters are talented the storylines are interesting. Buy why was the last one only made into a movie format and not the season?

  5. If Holmes watched detective shows
    this would be his favourite

  6. The concept is good. A nice crime drama. I’m trying to watch it just to find out what happens without skipping to the end.
    What is terrible;
    The dubbing is awful
    The English subtitles don’t have proper transliteration
    The monotonous tone of all of the actors is very annoying no feeling like reading from a script only
    Flat,wrong words for specific moments

  7. The dialog in this series is terrible. The script has actors saying the dumbest things at the strangest times. Some scenes are really awkward. The premise is good. Typical crime drama.

  8. Very watchable but make sure you use subtitles as the dubbing translation is annoying.

    Loses it’s way a little towards the end and the plot gets weaker.

    First 7 episodes are riveting but there is a lot of sex and gore so be warned.

    Very well acted and extremely well made. Enjoy.

  9. I live in the UK and I’m a huge fan of Scandi drama. I’ve started watching this following a recommendation but I don’t like the use of dubbing so I won’t be watching the rest of it. Scandinavian drama has a distinct atmosphere, as much due to the language as to the landscape. A great pity that a good series can’t be shown in the original

    • Ignore my previous post. I have been able to switch off English dubbing and switch on subtitles. Way better and I really enjoyed the episodes

  10. Kari is a perfect example of High Functioning Autistic, with a blend of ADHD

    • Yes he plays the character so well. He is the star of the show. I just love his ways of figuring out a crime. He is using his skills much like a person who is using virtual headgear. Very clever.

  11. I agree with other reviewers that Bordertown is an excellently crafted show within the obesely large cliched police crime drama genre with its own version of the flawed but brilliant individualist hero. There is no doubt that it is well-designed to draw you in with enough complexity and variation on this overdone genre to maintain interest (just). HOWEVER, I found the characters and plot lines shockingly misogynist for this day and age. I kept watching the series in part out of a fascination with whether my initial impression panned out, and it has. So be warned.
    While on the surface the characters appear to reflect modern gender equality aspirational norms, it doesn’t take long for the plot-lines and voyeuristic sexual violence to reveal a nasty, aggressive anti-women streak. This show is not some hard-hitting realist depiction about domination and violence lurking in the underbelly of Finnish society, which includes violence against women (as the show would have you believe). What makes the show sexist and not conciousness-raising or even neutral is: 1) the way it depicts (young) women being assaulted that allows the viewers to adopt the perspective of the dominators and take voyeuristic pleasure in these scenes (more naked women than men of course); 2) the ridiculous proportion of women who are also violent serial assailants (midsomer murder style); and 3) the clear lack of appreciation by the show designers of the trauma that sexual and other kinds of assaults have on people – most of the victims of course being women (another reviewer has already pointed out how remarkable and implausible this is). Moreover, once you recognise this theme of allowing pleasure in women as objects of abuse it then becomes hard not to also notice the inferior roles the female characters play relative to the males in the show – despire a veneer of modernity. Even the tough middle-aged Russian character, Lena, has to be portrayed as a bad, insensitive mother (of course), the female boss is portrayed as bureaucratic, passive and largely useless in relation to detective work whilst deferring to our male hero for solving cases and the wife heroine (read madonna figure) is of course passive, sickly and largely used as wallpaper to normalise the weirdo hero.
    One of the laughably implausible plot-lines is the (nb) ‘flat-chested’, petite, 20-something caring social worker killing all of the primary school classmates who had bullied her at school, one-by-one. yeah right. who does that? So as a general technique, the show usually transplants the gendered nature of violence perpetration (whether intimate, acquaintance or strangers) in real life – overwhelmingly male in any country i know – to make it out that women are just as likely, or perhaps even more likely to be perpetrators of serious criminal violence. Now what would be the point of that? That is not realism. It is either plain Midsomer Murders laziness (don’t know how to make reality interesting) or the show designers really truly would like to believe that violence is not gendered and/or has nothing to do with toxic masculine sub-cultures (which we all suffer from, including males) but rather some psychologised BS about some universal deranged behaviour response. Good ‘ole psychology of course has a lovely large archive of such tricks. Curious to know what others think.

    • Omg

    • You want to know what others think. I think the series was excellent; you obviously view the world through the lens of gender and are prepared to find fault with anything that doesn’t fit your gender bias. The show depicts events and people that could exist and in roles that do exist. Sorry life disappoints you.

  12. I really like this show a lot although it is nothing like the American idea of a police crime show. These folks are in a place that is unlike anything I have seen before but they are still the same human characters that we grow to like. They form a family at work and are very close and caring of each other. They are not all Finnish but come from other backgrounds and speak a language that I have never heard before. The cases are quite involved sometime and brutal to match the brutality of the surroundings with all the snow and cold. The character of Kari is someone who grows on you and is quite unique and special. Someone thinks he is autistic but I think he is highly intelligent and very appealing in his own way. Lena is a woman a lot of us would like to emulate because she takes no crap. I look forward to more of this show.


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