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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Deadwind: Live-Wire Whodunnit

I thought I'd start off 2019 with a review of a new Nordic Noir series on Netflix - something I haven't done in a while.  (We binged a lot of it last night, because New Year's Eve on CNN without Kathy Griffin was not worth watching.)  Deadwind (originally Karppi) is an excellent Finnish whodunit.  Although my wife and I both had a bad feeling about the killer at the very beginning, his/her identity was kept beyond logical deduction until the 12th and last episode.  That's a good thing in a mystery.

The central characters are Sophia Karppi, a seasoned homicide detective just back to work after the death (by accident, he was hit by a car when he was jogging) and Sakari Nurmi, a detective from "financial" investigations, on his first homicide case.  The victim is a former swimmer, now working for a big company trying to get approval for a new kind of energy-saving wind plant, who has been having an affair with the lead scientist/boss of the company.  There are suspects galore, ranging from the victim's husband to the boss to the head of a rival company for which she (the victim) was working as a spy.

The action is fast and the emotional involvements deep.  I don't speak Finnish, but the captioned translation was ok (the word "bullshit," though, appeared in almost every scene), and the meaning clear.   The murder took place in October, and the narrative unfolds over the ensuing months, making the snow that was always on the ground plausible (I don't know, is there always snow on the ground in Finland?)  Despite the murder and other bad doing afoot, Helsinki looks like a good place to visit.

The acting for the two lead characters - Pihla Viitala as Sophia and Lauri Tilkanen as Sakari - was effective, and I'd definitely be interested in seeing more of their exploits (ok, that tells you they both survived, but it's impossible to have no spoilers at all in a review).  Rike Jokela directed and is listed on IMDb as the first writer,  so hats off to him - though maybe not on a windy day in winter in Helsinki.  I understand there's a new season being written - count my wife and me in as viewers.

Neanderthal noir

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