‘Ultraviolet’ | Netflix Original Series Review Unfortunately online

2.5

Summary

Ultraviolet boasts an intriguing premise and a game cast, but it’s marred by contrivance and cliché.

Ultraviolet, a ten-episode Polish crime drama that debuted on Netflix today, is one of those shows that make it clear they’re about technology by superimposing a giant phone on the screen whenever anyone receives a text message. It has hashtag episode titles and the characters discuss emojis with the same kind of reverential seriousness as murder weapons or dead bodies. It’s kind of dumb.

Perhaps “dumb” isn’t entirely fair, but let’s just say if it was any more on the nose it would need to register for a boxing license. The premise concerns a group of amateur sleuths who trawl the internet solving crimes that the local police are unable to. The police, perhaps unsurprisingly, are cynical, Luddite traditionalists who are more concerned with minimising paperwork than maximising efficiency. And to those guys, the dumb label most certainly applies.

That’s one of the problems with Ultraviolet, which has to make traditional crime-fighting subpar to justify the efforts of its always-online poindexter heroes. As a result it depicts the police as uniformly corrupt, incompetent or uninterested, with the obvious exception of the handsome, for some reason always casually-dressed detective who functions as both a love interest for the protagonist and a narratively useful route into officialdom whenever the dorks inevitably crack the case.

Speaking of the protagonist, she’s good, which is fortunate. Her name is Ola Serafin and she’s played, very well, by Marta Nieradkiewicz, who actually comes from the Polish city of Lódz where the character returns after circumstances force her to depart a cushy married life in London. Her mother (Agata Kulesza) is still mourning the loss of another child, Ola’s brother, which adds some familial texture to Ultraviolet’s otherwise glossy surface.

This is all loosely based on the 2014 non-fiction book by Deborah Halber, The Skeleton Crew, which detailed the phenomenon of obsessive citizens creating internet resources to identify human remains and solve forgotten cold cases. Ultraviolet tries to give the idea a dramatic slant by having the researchers meddle in on-going crimes, but the writing simply isn’t good enough to do it justice. The lines of inquiry are painfully obvious; the pieces fit too neatly together, and if a clue seems a little too elusive, you can always count on a guest appearance from someone with very specific expertise.

Ultraviolet light can be used to expose all kinds of smears and stains that are invisible to the human eye, but this show doesn’t have any secrets to offer beyond obvious mediocrity.

Jonathon Wilson

Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.

15 thoughts on “‘Ultraviolet’ | Netflix Original Series Review

  • August 19, 2018 at 6:18 am
    Permalink

    The writing may not be up to snuff as commented and it does portrays law enforcement as slow and corrupt. The same formula is used by almost all other shows of this type. According to the trailer it does deserves a look. If anything take it for what it is a series that is trying to make it here in the states.

    Reply
  • August 22, 2018 at 3:36 pm
    Permalink

    I liked it ….and I like all the characters. It’s not a factual series it’s for entertainment and it entertained me . Would like a second series

    Reply
  • August 23, 2018 at 2:39 am
    Permalink

    It was a good show. Wilson you really get paid for this review? sometimes are things that not are perfect but for me i wish a 2nd series and a romace betwen the 2

    Reply
  • August 23, 2018 at 4:09 am
    Permalink

    I enjoyed it immensly. Its fiction. Its engaging. The female characters are strong. The male ones, not hard to look at. I was entertained…..isn’t that the point?

    Reply
  • Pingback: 'Deadwind' ('Karppi') | Netflix TV Review | Ready Steady Cut

  • August 24, 2018 at 11:53 pm
    Permalink

    it’s a cool show. Predictable at times but binge watching made my day/night routine and it’s better than a last few episodes of Better Call Saul

    Reply
    • August 24, 2018 at 11:54 pm
      Permalink

      *the

      Reply
  • August 26, 2018 at 8:23 am
    Permalink

    It’s great show. There are obvious things about it like a budget, but bloody well spent. Product placement that made me laugh instead of being annoying and makes you think that everyone in Poland uses one model of the Sony smartphone. Storyline without boring bits it’s captivating to watch and you somehow do identify with the characters. Thanks to Netflix it didn’t ended up in some forgotten archive. I do hope for second season.

    Reply
  • September 1, 2018 at 5:12 pm
    Permalink

    who the hell do you think you are Mr. Wilson?? your review is cliche pretentious , not a word that is true or convincing.
    What is your expertise, and whats more: what makes you such a nasty person? I really don’t understand why you are choosen to write this DUMB review . it only proves how narrow minded you are

    Reply
    • September 1, 2018 at 5:37 pm
      Permalink

      You can write the next one. I think you’d be a good fit.

      Reply
      • September 1, 2018 at 6:14 pm
        Permalink

        that really hurts, pffff…. you are pathetic

  • September 11, 2018 at 3:36 pm
    Permalink

    A wonderful series Destin to be great with such a talented cast and crew. I hope to see more this series. Thanks, Aaron

    Reply
  • October 6, 2018 at 7:02 pm
    Permalink

    The writing was lost in translation unfortunately. Cultural expressions don’t translate well and some things weren’t even translated the same. It’s a great show if you speak Polish and a good one if you don’t.

    Reply
  • March 25, 2019 at 6:43 am
    Permalink

    I enjoyed it enough to binge watch it, and normally I only watch an episode, grow impatient with something, and move on. Definitely want another season and to see both romances continue to develop. Favorite moment: Henryk asserting sexily to Ola’s mother that he was not old, he was mature.

    Reply
  • Pingback: Ultraviolet Season 2 (Netflix) review: A step down from its predecessor

  • January 10, 2020 at 3:42 pm
    Permalink

    Completely wrong. It’s not ‘about technology’ it is about a group of people who are USING technology to solve problems. They are all variously interesting, charming, and actually engaging characters with whom it is easy to empathise. This factor actually grows substantially in the second series. If it was actually like (insert name of cookie-cutter US series of choice here) then I could see your point about being cliche-ridden and uninteresting with the ‘technology’ predominating because all the characters are so utterly dull..Also, the production qualities are damned high, and overall its a programme I’d much like to see more of than many US or even British series – whcih do have a tendency to tick all the audience-pleasing focus-group boxes.

    Reply
  • March 26, 2020 at 8:01 pm
    Permalink

    As a person who does not have great vision I very much enjoyed the magnified screen messages. Most of the time on shows when they show a message on a phone that someone receives I have to just guess as to what it says. I actually love Ultraviolet and wish it were endless. The characters are believable and the story lines up to date.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: