Bordertown: Netflix ~ Non-Spoiler Review

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Image shows a photo montage with a poster of Bordertown centre and various scenes from the show around it.


Bordertown (aka Sorjonen) ~ Netflix S1-3 ~ S1: 11 episodes; S2 & S3: 10 episodes each x 55-60’. Finnish with subtitles with English dubbing available.

Bordertown is a Finnish TV crime drama which is very much in the Nordic Noir genre. It was created by Miikko Oikkonen and stars Ville Virtanen as Detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen. The character of Kari is based upon the English essayist, novelist, poet, translator and autistic savant, Daniel Tammet. 

The Name:

The name Bordertown, which was used for international distribution, relates to the position of the city of Lappeenranta, which lies only about 30 kms from the Russian border. 

Netflix acquired the rights for a number of countries with other distributors picking it up for many more. The series was sold to over 40 countries worldwide. 


Detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen is one of the most respected officers at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Finland when his wife barely survives brain cancer. Sorjonen takes a new job, initially leading SECRI (the Serious Crime Unit) in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. He moves his family to this town near the border of Russia for a more peaceful life, but life turns out to be less than peaceful. Sorjonen’s partner, a former FSB agent, Lena Jaakkola, is in many ways the exact opposite of Sorjonen, and this makes the duo’s relationship “interesting”. 


Ville Virtanen as Detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen

Matleena Kuusniemi as Pauliina Sorjonen

Anu Sinisalo as Detective Constable Lena Jaakkola

Lenita Susi as Katia Jaakkola

Kristiina Halttu as Detective Superintendent Taina Perttula

Olivia Ainali as Janina Sorjonen

Ilkka Villi as Detective Constable Niko Uusitalo


Bordertown won the 2017 Golden Venla Awards for Best Drama Series, Best Actor (Ville Virtanen), and Best Actress (Anu Sinisalo). 


The main theme song is “Closer” by Kaae & Batz feat. Maria Holm-Mortsensen: 


Bordertown has now finished after 3 marvellous seasons. For me the lynchpin role is that of Ville Virtanen as Kari Sorjonen which has to rate as one of the iconic TV character creations. His meticulous, detailed and consistent portrayal of a gifted yet not “neurotypical” man is something of genius itself. The rest of the cast, including the minor characters are uniformly superb. 

The story arc for Sorjonen and his family along with Lena, her daughter and their “it’s complicated” relationship, run seamlessly throughout the individual cases. Cases which are often dark and disturbing, often revealing the worst in human nature. There are occasional moments of humour in what is generally a very noir offering.

The cinematography, most notably the aerial shots, is excellent. As mentioned earlier many of these case story lines are disturbing and violent, so you can appreciate why this has an18 cert U.K.

Fans of this show include American author Stephen King.


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