Scandinavian or Nordic Noir is a thing these days and a pretty popular genre at that. These dark, disturbing, dystopic thrillers are suddenly gaining a solid amount of popularity. With an audience score of 91% on review site Rotten Tomatoes, Bordertown is definitely one of them. Called Sorjonen in the original Finnish platform, Bordertown is a crime drama television series which seems all too real, even though it is said not to be based on any real-life events. With production companies Fisher King Production and Federation Entertainment at its helm, the series is described as a “Scandinavian crime fiction” that “combines family drama with police procedural in a uniquely exotic setting.”
The thriller series follows chief investigator, Kari Sorjonen, as he moves from Helsinki to a small and sleepy town on the border between Finland and Russia, with his family, looking to escape the horrors of his career and to find some peace. The relief from trauma and the escape from the horror of one too many murder victims that he is looking for, however, fail to materialise. What he finds, instead, is himself faced with new murders and the possibility of a serial killer who might have some connection to his family. Bordertown is full of suspense, murder investigations, and family drama. This Finnish language series, with English subtitles, has had two seasons so far with a total of 16 episodes. It won an Emmy for Outstanding TV Drama in 2017.
As per Lionel Uzan, MD and co-founder of Federation Entertainment, Bordertown is a world apart from other Nordic Noir dramas in the sense that it doesn’t just focus on the darker side of things but also brings warmth in the series with the family element it thrives on. He said, “If you talk about the main characters of The Killing and other series like that, they’re very depressed, very dark. It always ends badly. Here, it’s not the same. The sergeant is totally original. He’s an offbeat character in the way he reacts with people and the way he acts with his family. He’s warm and very close to his family. It’s not a tough relationship that you’ve seen in lots of Scandi crime series.”
Bordertown Cast: Who’s in it?
The series created by Miikko Oikkonen and directed by Miikko Oikkonen, Jyri Kähönen, and Juuso Syrjä, stars Ville Virtanen, Matleena Kuusniemi, Anu Sinisalo, Lenita Susi, Kristiina Halttu, Olivia Ainali, and Ilkka Villi, among others. Virtanen and Sinisalo won the Best Actor and Best Actress Emmys for their outstanding performances in the series as Detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen and Detective Lena Jaakkola respectively. Both actors are expected to return in season 3 alongside Ainali as Janina Sorjonen and Kuusniemi as Pauliina.
Bordertown Plot: What is it about?
The plot premise is simple enough, and it is in these simple ways that the worst horrors often begin. Quirky, gifted, detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen, a respected National Bureau of Investigation officer takes a new job, in a sleepy border town, when his wife survives cancer after a hard fight. Used to delving into and solving the most despicable of crimes in Helsinki, he takes a job in the small border town of Lappeenranta leading SECRI, the Serious Crime Unit. Determined to enjoy a quieter, simpler, less complicated pace of life so he can find quality time for his wife and daughter, in this town on the Finnish-Russian border, he’s soon foiled when tragedy strikes in the most unexpected way imaginable. He gets drawn into a string of murders that connect to one another, sure, but also have some connection to his family.
Bordertown may be fiction, but it is certainly no fantasy. What it is, is a dystopic, dark, gritty crime series wherein darkness lurks below the surface in even the most unexpected places. Fisher King producer Matti Halonen told that “It felt for us that when we started to create the show, it was a natural place for it to be set,” he explained. “It’s the border of the Western world and Europe with Russia and the East – two different cultures, two different economies. It’s full of drama!”