Deadwind season 2 is another fine outing for this underrated Nordic noir, with a more complex plot but the same sense of underlying humanity keeping things together.
This review of Deadwind Season 2 is spoiler-free. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these words.
The second season of Deadwind (or Karppi, as it was originally titled) proves that some of the best stuff on Netflix is hidden among low-key foreign-language exports – although that’s probably obvious only a week removed from the concluding season of the beloved Dark, which even here earned a coveted five-star rating. Nevertheless, this ice-cold crime drama fronted by Pihla Viitala’s engaging, eponymous homicide detective Sofia Karppi is a fine example of high-quality Nordic noir, and as Carly Simon once said, nobody does it better.
Karppi, a workaholic single mother with her fair share of demons and vulnerabilities, is immediately thrust into a new case when a chilling double murder links two Estonian sailors to the crooked development of an undersea tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn. This project is the lovechild of progressive Mayor Sara Tulisuo (Leena Pöysti) but quickly becomes personal for Karppi when her superior and mentor Tapio Koskimäki (Raimo Grönberg) and his daughter Kerttu (Satu Tuuli Karhu) are both murdered in their home.
Deadwind season 2 is unashamedly a crime show rather than a political one, so while cover-ups and backroom deals all factor into the core plot, the meat and potatoes is a solid warts-and-all police investigation fronted by compelling and complex characters, especially Karppi herself, and blessed with often stunning cinematography that takes in the frigid, often lightless terrain with something resembling awe. But personal subplots are folded into the criminal investigation as Karppi has to deal not only with the loss of her father-figure, but her rebellious teenage stepdaughter Henna (Mimosa Willamo), now a homeless wannabe drug dealer, and her son Emil (Noa Tola), who is becoming increasingly violent and unstable. Karppi’s inability to balance her work and home lives make the mundanity and difficulty of single motherhood a key theme in Deadwind season 2.
Even without this, the 8-episode sophomore outing of Deadwind provides a familiar but solidly constructed crime story, with plenty of twists and turns to keep fans engaged. It might not do anything all that new, but it delivers the expected beats with style and confidence, and occasionally observes them from a slightly new perspective. As engaging a lead as ever, Karppi – and her partner Sakari Nurmi (Lauri Tilkanen) – helps to give this icy thriller a human warmth.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.