Deadwind S1: Netflix ~ A Non-Spoiler Review

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Photo montage of scenes from Deadwind. Central image is the theatrical poster for the show.


DEADWIND aka Karppi (2018-) S1 is a Finnish TV crime drama, mystery thriller. Netflix internationally. S1 has 12 episodes of 45 minutes. 15 Cert U.K. Available in Finnish with English subtitles or close captioning. 


Just months after a tragic loss, detective Sofia Karppi investigates the murder of a woman with ties to a Helsinki construction company.


Pihla Viitala as Sofia Karppi 

Lauri Tilkanen as Sakari Nurmi 

Mimosa Willamo as Henna Honkasuo

Noa Tola as Emil Karppi

Vera Kiiskinen as Raisa Peltola 

Jani Volanen as Usko Bergdahl 

Tommi Korpela as Alex Hoikkala

Pirjo Lonka as Julia Hoikkala

Riku Nieminen as Roope Hoikkala 

Pamela Tola as Anna Bergdahl 

Jonna Järnefelt as Linda Hoikkala

Ville Myllyrinne as JP

Raimo Grönberg as Tapio Koskimäki 

Mikko Nousiainen as Jarkko Vaahtera 

August Wittgenstein as Andreas Wolf 

Theatrical poster for Deadwind S1 on Netflix


Directors: Rike Jokela 

Creators: Rike Jokela, Kirsi Porkka & Jari Olavi Rantala 

Writers: Rike Jokela, Kirsi Porkka & Jari Olavi Rantala 

Cinematographer:  Anssi Leino

Music: Juri Seppä

Make-Up Designer: Marjo Federley 

Stunt Coordinator: Oula Kitti

Costume Designer: Marjo Federley 

Editor: Jussi Lehto 


Finns and “happiness”:

4 signs of an angry Finn:

Finns and conversation:

Filming took place all over Helsinki and also in Hietalahti, Meriturva and the Uusimaa region. Some underwater scenes were filmed at the Maritime Safety Centre in Lohja.

Filming was done when it was very cold, so when you see characters shivering it is because they are really freezing. 

Finnish theatrical poster for Karppi (Deadwind)


I first watched series 1 of Deadwind last year but a rewatch was in order before writing this review. I did have some lingering memories from the first time mostly involving the lead character (and her hair) her sidekick (and his eyes), a cold Finnish landscape, scuba diving, a son (and his hair), a German actor I know from Das Boot and a vague recollection of whodunnit. How would this series play out for me on the second time of watching?

Pihla Viitala as Sofia Karppi in Deadwind

As the Finnish title might suggest (because the English-language title certainly does not!) the lead character of Deadwind is the detective Sofia Karppi. In season 1 she is recently widowed following a tragic accident and has returned home to Finland from Germany accompanied by her son and step-daughter. Karppi is someone who is throwing herself into her work as a way of coping with devastating grief and guilt. To make things even worse (don’t you just love writers?) her mother is bedridden with worsening Alzheimer’s and doesn’t even remember that her son-in-law is dead! 

Now it is all too easy for a viewer to criticise characters when they do stupid things, but it’s vital to look at their actions from their point of view and state of mind. Karppi is not exactly a great mother as she invests far more time in the murder case than in her family. She is also an outspoken maverick who takes risks… but it’s always worth considering what our view of this might be were she a male detective in the same position. She barely eats or sleeps and keeps going on cigarettes and coffee. Oh and she has one epic alcohol-fuelled, chaotic breakdown. 

Pihla Viitala (right) as Sofia Karppi and Lauri Tilkanen (left) as Sakari Nurmi in a scene from Deadwind

Karppi isn’t exactly welcoming to Sakari Nurmi when he first arrives as the fresh-faced newbie from Financial Crimes. Bearing in mind the Finnish attitude towards unnecessary small talk (see Notes) her coldness is not as unusual as we might feel it is (although his chattiness is). One of the main issues with their working relationship is that, especially at the start, she often leaves him behind and totally disregards his thoughts (you can see this annoys and upsets him). 

Sakari makes up for Karppi’s lack of sustenance by insisting that he stops for food whenever he is hungry (this adds a little lightness to a dark storyline).  One of the ways we can see their relationship thaw is when she accepts (and even eats, shock horror) the food that he has bought for her. 

We find out a little about Sakari’s history, including instability and his own personal tragedy, which in the past has driven him to take both drink and drugs. He too makes mistakes (but personally I like watching fallible characters). He is willing and able to defend himself though (the scene where he does so with his hands handcuffed behind his back is great). 

It is around the character development of these two and how their relationship also develops (aside from the food thing) that the show is often its strongest. The scenes in Sakari’s car are strongly written and well played (silences are telling, as are looks). What I did like is that the thawing of Sofia Karppi’s attitude to Sakari is gradual (unlike some shows where it comes over as a Road to Damascus moment) as he proves himself to her. 

Lauri Tilkanen (right) as Sakari Nurmi and Pihla Viitala (left) as Sofia Karppi in a scene from Deadwind

The lead performances in Deadwind are excellent. Both Pihla Viitala and Lauri Tilkanen impress in their roles. Their performances have truth, nuance and show great range. All the supporting performances are great with those from Jani Volanen (Usko Bergdahl) as the bereaved husband and Tommi Korpela (Alex Hoikkala) being particularly impressive. 

Aside from the performances themselves, there is lots in this show to like, but it over eggs the pudding at times and would have benefitted from being more condensed, which would have probably resolved some pacing issues. Finland has a LOT of forest and there is every reason in Deadwind series 1 as to why the protagonists (and viewers) can often not see the wood for the trees: there is a LOT is going on in this story. 

Deadwind has a lovely opening title sequence and the music is very evocative. The sound design is very good and visually this is an impressive show with a great combination of some wonderful locations and cinematography. The underwater sequences are well done and there are some good set-piece scenes with SWAT teams, raids, explosions and fires. Night-time scenes are very atmospheric. There is decent, realistic fight choreography too. We get to see a lot of Helsinki and its surroundings but also areas further away with their big skies and wide flat landscapes. I never tire of seeing drone shots of cars driving along a snowy road with forest on either side. 

Costuming, makeup and hair don’t always get a mention in reviews but they are excellent in this show, from Karppi’s hair (what a great way to indicate a person’s state of mind) and her costuming to the controlled hairstyle of Sakari and a fantastic choice of colours for his costuming. The makeup work on injury details is excellent. 

Deadwind series 1 delves into some deep, dark themes (this is Nordic noir after all). Themes of love and loss, betrayal and loyalty, lust and power, greed and guilt, revenge and forgiveness.

Can I recommend Deadwind series 1? Yes, I can. I enjoy a slow burning, complex show with more than one or two simplistic storylines and whilst this could have been done better, shorter, I didn’t feel I had wasted time watching it. I was left needing to know what happens next for Karrpi and her sidekick, especially in light of revelations made at the end and that kiss (have I not mentioned THAT kiss?) I was very keen to watch series 2 as soon as it was released on Netflix, so that’s precisely what I did! (Review of season 2 next week). I


1 win 2 nominations 


Kultainen Venla (2019) Best Actress, Pihla Viitala 


Writer of the Year (2019) Rike Jokela, Kirsi Porkja & Jari Olavi Rantala 


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