‘Deadwind’ (‘Karppi’) | Netflix TV Review Nordic Noir

August 23, 2018
Jonathon Wilson 7
TV, TV Reviews
3.5

Summary

A well-made crime drama that mixes mystery with personal trauma, Deadwind (Karppi) is another fine addition to Netflix’s international library.

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3.5

Summary

A well-made crime drama that mixes mystery with personal trauma, Deadwind (Karppi) is another fine addition to Netflix’s international library.

New on Netflix today is the 12-part Finnish crime drama Deadwind, or Karppi, co-written by director Rike Jokela with Jari Olavi Rantala and Kirsi Porkka. Those names likely mean very little to you, but I have a word count to meet and it’s always good to show your work.

Deadwind, which joins other Finnish crime shows on the streaming platform, such as Bordertown, did remarkably well in its native Finland, boasting strong reviews and consistent ratings, and a nomination for its screenplay at the 2018 Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

You can see why. It’s well-written, even if it is occasionally blighted by regional idiosyncrasies that might leap out at an international audience. But the Nordic noir demographic will probably lap Deadwind up, and short of a few plot holes and instances of clanging characterisation, they’d be wise to. And coming courtesy of one of the most egalitarian societies in the world, a woman in the lead role and several women in other, prominent ones, isn’t treated as a tiresome thematic novelty.

The plot instead concerns itself with recently-widowed mid-30s detective Sofia Karppi (Pihla Viitala), who investigates the body of a young woman found buried in a construction site and is led along a trail of mysteries that interlace with her personal trauma. The themes of loss, grieving, parenthood and recovery are universal, treated respectfully and patiently in Deadwind, which is mostly humourless and self-serious but rarely dull.

Presented with chilly authenticity, the show’s muted colour palette and frequent use of long, wide shots gives it an eerie, effective atmosphere, reminiscent of classic genre work that’ll surely satisfy established fans and likely court a few new ones. The performances, particularly Viitala in the lead role, are sullenly compelling, and supporting turns from Lauri Tilkanen, Jani Volanen and Tommi Korpela flesh out a strong, game cast.

Only recently following Ultraviolet, an inferior show, Deadwind offers Netflix another female-led foreign-language crime drama that’ll likely do well with a certain audience. This one is more traditional, but also more deserving of your time and attention. With a second season already in the writing stage and slated to shoot in spring 2019, now is the time to get on-board.

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7 thoughts on “‘Deadwind’ (‘Karppi’) | Netflix TV Review

  • August 25, 2018 at 10:39 am
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    Sorry to say but the plot is really bad and the only noir is the police office with no lightning inside. 🙁

  • August 26, 2018 at 3:45 pm
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    I also thought it was good. Well defined strong characters and good narratives. The two leads were excellent. Can’t wait for second series.

  • September 4, 2018 at 8:56 pm
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    I find the plot a bit ridiculous – one woman alone searching a massive container ship.. Good acting though and the interactions between the two cops are funny.

    • April 26, 2020 at 11:53 pm
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      The plot was ludicrous. Have they no civil rights in Finland? The female cop, ordered off the case, kept flouting what would be civil rights here in the US. She slapped kids around, for Christ’s sake. She kept invading people’s homes. Everyone in the series got hit in head, some multiple times, without suffering actual brain damage. The plot closely mirrored the Norwegian series, The Valhalla Murders. Knocking on doors, stumbling around, going up and down stairs. No humor. Dull personalities. Unintelligent red herrings and plot twists. I knew who killed Anna, the first time I saw him in his nursery. It just took 12 boring episodes to prove I was right. The only reason to watch this nonsense is to gaze upon the 2 gorgeous male actors, Lauri Tilkanen and Tommi Korpela.

  • September 17, 2018 at 5:40 am
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    It plays like a Lifetime channel mini series. You know the theme women smart men dumb. It gets old quick.

  • October 30, 2018 at 3:36 am
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    The characters and acting are good, but the whole plot hinges on a series of ludicrous coincidence that left me frustrated and dissatisfied. Character can make a good show great, but a murder mystery has to have a reasonable whodunnit answer to work. Here, the murder investigation’s difficulty (spoilers coming…) depends on a cheating wife confronting her husband, her lover, the evil international corporation paying her to be an industrial spy, and the obsessive neighbor who she somehow never until today recognized she grew up with in a commune…in the same 24 hour period…through sheer coincidence. Each of these subplots were apparently going on for months or longer, but for the show to work they need to all blow up together despite having no relationship to each other. Pihla Viitala is amazing, but the writing has some awful holes.

  • November 7, 2018 at 5:23 am
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    I liked the show except the main character, the woman. She seems a loser who makes mistakes with every turn and miraculously everything works out well at the end for her. The other characters are ok and the plot is ok, not great. But frankly every time the female detective showed up I wanted to turn off the TV

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