Review: Detective Anna (Anna-detektiv)

Aleksandra Nikiforova in Detective Anna (Anna-detektiv)

Detective Anna (Anna-detektiv) is a Russian series now on Amazon Video. It features a 19 year old detective with the ability to communicate with the dead.

The series is organized so that each crime takes two episodes. With 16 episodes, there are 8 crimes. Each episode is about 45 minutes, so the series is rather like seeing 8 movies with the same main characters. (There are more episodes than this, but not all the episodes can be found. Be sure to see the comment section for more information on episodes.)

Anna (Aleksandra Nikiforova) is a well-to-do young woman in the Russian town of Zatonsk. The time is 1888. Anna is a free spirited young woman who rides a bicycle – something daring and unheard of at that time.

Dmitriy Frid in Detective Anna (Anna-detektiv)

Into Anna’s small town comes a new detective from the big city, Iakov Shtolman (Dmitriy Frid). He joins the police department and begins training the inexperienced officers there.

Since childhood, Anna has had “visions.” She’s learned to keep them secret, but as she reaches maturity she realizes that the things she sees are actually visits from the spirits of the dead. Those spirits are telling her things about crimes committed against them.

Anna tries to help Detective Shtolman with clues, but without telling him how she knows what she knows. Eventually the two of them begin to work together as a crime solving duo.

I found Aleksandra Nikiforova as Anna quite charming and Dmitriy Frid as the policeman believable. But some of the secondary character actors struck me as stilted and not very good actors. It could be a cultural difference, however. Or a lack of experience watching Russian-made television.

All in all the series was an interesting look into a different time and place which I enjoyed. These stories about Anna take place as the same time as stories by Tolstoy and Chekhov, so readers familiar with the social customs of that time from those writers may be intrigued by this look into the past.

It’s in Russian with English subtitles. The setting is beautiful.

I’m delighted that Amazon (and Netflix) are bringing such foreign language content to American audiences.

Detective Anna poster

71 thoughts on “Review: Detective Anna (Anna-detektiv)”

  1. It’s a great show but Amazon chopped it up and doesn’t bother to tell you….. So you watch 1-2, 7-10, 19-20, 29-30, 39-40….and you know something’s wrong, but then it becomes obvious when you start episode 49…..SO frustrated with Amazon right now. Amazon, if you are listening, please put the FORTY missing episodes up!!!!!

  2. I watched the whole series with 56 episodes on YouTube (I’m Russian). Let me tell you this, the show starts wonderfully, however around episode 25 it turned into something else. Became boring, crimes were silly, Anna and Shtolman kept on doing this weird dance, one moment sparks are flying everywhere and the next nothing. Their relationship was sooooo stretched that I lost interest. I think they should have hooked them up somewhere in mid season. Anyways, the end left the viewers with too many questions, very dissatisfying ending, and apparently there is no season 2. So I was upset but whatever I got over it. The show should have been no more than 20 episodes in my opinion. They stretched it and it lost its point.

      1. all 56 episodes on utube tho the translation is horrid. i don’t understand the ending and i dont think they are reprising it

      2. Any reason why Netflix/Amazon did not put season 2 on its line-up after all? I’m rewatching all the episodes again because I love the show just like everyone else but we need season 2 already.

      1. If you watched on Amazon, it might be due to missing episodes, but according to the comment by Natalia, even seeing all the episodes doesn’t clear up much for the viewer.

    1. Scilla Webb Robison

      I agree with you on this. I watched all 56 on Amazon Prime and the ending was ridiculous. It didn’t have any conclusion at all.

  3. All the episodes for season 1 are now on Amazon prime and I read somewhere that season 2 will be in November 2018 but I don’t know whether that will be free with prime or not.

    The whole point of the last episodes were the slow reveal of the many sub plots that have been running through the series along side the many crimes and the tension between Anna and Shtolman added to the intreague of will they won’t they get together which for me made it all the more romantic and compelling.

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  6. Jeannie Hatchko

    Any idea if there will be a second season. I love this show but it did leave me wanting more and needing answers. I don’t watch too many foreign subtitled shows because I have a hard time following the plots but not so with Detective Anna, it made perfect sense. Plus even in Russian I could tell it is well acted and filmed. Detective Anna is a quality show all around that I look forward to seeing more of in the future.

  7. I just finished watching all 56 episodes on Amazon and literally screamed at the tv after episode 56. I do not usually binge watch shows or even get that caught up in a show, but this one was different. I’m extremely agitated that I can’t figure out if there is a season 2 or not. The ending of season 1 was completely ridiculous….like there is no way that could even be considered an ending. As the last ten minutes closed in, I was preparing myself for an awful ending and trying to guess how they could possibly wrap up all of the tangled plot in ten minutes. If there isn’t a season 2, I’m going to be incredibly shocked. I can’t believe I can’t find information about whether there is one or not. The last episode was 2016, so I wouldn’t think that it would take that long to develop another set unless they are translating it for Amazon. I thought I would at least be able to find some sort of English info on it somewhere. This show might actually make me learn Russian or just watch it to try to guess what is going on, because I need to know if he is okay! AAARRRGGHH!

    1. You aren’t the only Amazon customer upset about the missing episodes. I wish I knew more about how the series has been brought to the US because the people who have watched it like it. The series doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry to help us.

      1. Amazon must have taken the complaints to heart. I’ve just binge watched all 56 episodes on Amazon prime.

        Loved the series but the end has left me with more questions… No answers reg Alice, the Prince or Gordon Brown which makes me hope there will be a second series. Read somewhere it was to begin Nov 18 but maybe they were referring to filming??

      2. Thank you for sharing this news. I hope it doesn’t apply to only Amazon UK! I’m sure a lot of the fans will be delighted. Time to head back the Amazon and catch up on all the episodes of Detective Anna you couldn’t see before.

  8. I found this page trying to find season 2 after binge watching because I got laid low by a nasty flu. I saw someone mentioned a season 2 will be released in November 2018 but it’s almost Christmas 2018 and I don’t see it so maybe there is no season 2. That’s crazy. It’s actually very well made but the ending is very disappointing. We don’t know what the subplots are all about at all.

  9. Carole Voliotes

    I have binge watched Detective Anna twice on Amazon Prime. The second time around, I picked up on more nuances that I had missed. The Producer reminded us that this series was very Russian. It is a wonderful series. I do hope that it will have a second season. Episode 56 was a real cliff hanger. I only wish Hollywood could make shows like Detective Anna. I love the actors chosen for this show. Anna, Shtolman, Anton, the Uncle, all are great. Remember, do not critique this show based on American standards. This show reminds me more of BBC shows. The beauty, the intrigue, the characters. I am now trying to watch more Russian shows. I see an industry that is truly unique in Russia.

    1. Patricia Tomb Boggs

      I agree Carole, I also have binge watched this show. I think it is wonderfully made and keeps you guessing. I was a little disappointed at the end and I am hoping for a second season or a movie conclusion.

    2. I love the quality of the story and all the excellent work of all aspects of putting together this project.
      I really hope to see more Russian films like this. Music was so hauntingly beautiful. Quality props, costumes, sets, lighting, actors, writers, directors, etc., BRAVO!

  10. Hi fellow Detective Anna fans. I love this series. Like a lot of others, I stumbled upon it looking at Prime. I binged not once but three times. I searched and searched online looking for Season 2 information. I also tried searching on FB and Twitter to see if I could find the main actors pages but came up empty. However, I did stumble upon a 53 second clip on a Russian website with 2018 dates listing 10 episodes. I also saw pics in this brief video of Anna wearing different outfits that I never saw in Season 1. There was even one clip of her mom/dad in it during a seance. I don’t recall seeing her mom and dad at a seance in Season 1.

    So here’s to hopefully getting a Season 2

  11. Like everyone else the end of “Detective Anna” is making me crazy! From looking over the information I could find on the series it seems that the last 10 episodes of the 56 we can watch are Season 2. Check TVDate. You’ll have toe translate it as it comes up in Russian. Vicki Where did you find the 53 second clip?

    1. Oh wow so that’s the 10 episodes I saw on a list then? That’s discouraging. I could only see that it was 10 episodes and 2018. The rest I could not read

      Not sure really how I stumbled upon it. I just google and then look at possible matches. There was a picture of her carrying a fan in an evening dress. Maybe that was just an ad for the series but I couldn’t remember seeing her in that attire.

  12. I’ll just add my 2 cents and maybe Star Media catches these comments. Such a great series that really deserves a follow-up. If they’re looking to reach an American audience, this story does it. I was hooked and so bummed out that it ended on a cliffhanger, unresolved conflict and unfinished relationships.

    1. Disappointed

      I agree that this is an excellent show. However. I too almost binge-watched the whole series before finding out about the lack of an ending. I made it to episode 40 before becoming impatient and suspicious. I read a review on Amazon that was complaining about missing episodes (by now, they all seem to have been added), and skipped to the end to check. I cannot believe the last episode, 56, is where it ends. I won’t spoil it for anyone else but what a disappointment that there is no real ending, and just a cliffhanger. I thought they were building towards something. I’ve stopped watching immediately and wish I had known sooner. It’s unconscionable to do that to fans. It happens, as productions get pulled or the money runs out. But still, they should have planned for this…

      1. It seems so many shows end with a cliffhanger in hopes they will be renewed for more. When they aren’t the cliffhanger just sits there, unresolved. Perhaps they have the same problem in Russian TV.

  13. I wish I would have read these comments before I started watching . I binge watched the series too. And now there is no ending.

  14. I didn’t watch it yet but I tend to like shows with an open ending, an ending you have to imagine yourself, an ending that can be understood in more than one way.

  15. Did anyone think the beggar, Mitry, in Episode 56 may be Sholtman in disguise? I swear he looked like him with theatrical makeup on.

  16. Just watch this series (one season so far) it was very good! Loved the lead actor and actress! So keen to show what a true heroine and Lady Anna was and Gentleman Detective Y was only to let them have a one night sat and at the end!!! How tactless!!! Sure hope there’s a season 2. It was wrong to end it so brashly!!!

  17. Amazon has all 56 episodes and I have watched them all. The last episode has left many questions unanswered and if it was the last one, then a “special” episode should be made to tie up the loose ends. There was supposed to be a season 2 in November 2018, but I can find nothing that supports that happened. I loved the show, but felt the “ending” (unless there is a 2nd season) very disappointing.

  18. Im not sure if anyone has found this but there is supposedly a prequel to detective anna called The Mysteries of Madame Kirsanova (Та́йны госпожи́ Кирса́новой) I found it on you tube after searching through too many russian language sites….then there is a site ( that says season 2 isnt scheduled at all which is really really dissapointing and just as a note finding any info on it really takes using google translate and searching in russian there are alot more sites than in english

  19. What a joy to read everyone’s comments. It feel like this Russian tv show has created a mini community of loyal viewers. I came across this page as I was searching for information about a potential second season. My mom is an avid fan and had been asking me about it for a while. What a bummer there’s nothing about a second season, you’d think the producers would at least put out some info out there about it happening or not.

    For anyone who finds this information useful, my mum started watching this show on Sepember 2019 on Prime Video and all 56 episodes are available. Perhaps during initial rollout, Prime was testing audience interest?

  20. Janice Hansen Takashima

    I just finished bingeing Detective Anna during the cornavirus lockdown. Following the subtitles while enjoying the superior sets and costuming and also knitting caps at the same time kept my mind busy. I loved the cultural differences and was disappointed like the rest of you with the unsatisfactory ending. One thing that encouraged me was the last appearance of the Prince showing to me that Anna’s powers were still there.
    If a continuation of this series is ever produced and released to international audiences, I would be very grateful. Meanwhile, I can use my own imagination to create alternative endings. As we are finding out this year, there are often questions that have no answers.

  21. They started filming Season 2 or 3(?) in early March according to Dmitriy Frid’s Facebook page, but discontinued a couple weeks later, presumably due to coronavirus.

    1. You give me hope! I binged watch this show over a year ago and was beyond frustrated at the end but have never regretted watching it- even with that cliffhanger! I still think of it fondly and re-watch it with my own made up ending all the while hoping they would come out with more episodes. I am going to re-watch to see the beggar though! The journey is so worth it- to get to spend time with all those characters again. love, Love, LOVE this show!

  22. So, I, too, just finished all 56 episodes. I was prepared with tissue in hand for a happy or sad ending because I was going to cry regardless because if was over! What a huge disappointment! I am so hooked on this show – the actors, the chemistry, the beautiful sets and costumes. Please TF SEEM keep us posted on future seasons!

  23. If anyone has Tubi they have all the episodes on there and it ends with a cliffhanger which really makes me not happy but love the show nevertheless.

  24. I liked the series very much. The actors and actresses did a wonderful job. I’ve never watched a series in a different language with subtitles before. It was more interesting listening intently to the series. But unfortunately it must have been cancelled around the time the last episode was filmed because the ending is a cliffhanger. There isn’t any information that the series will continue which is sad.

  25. I recently found season 2 on Youtube. It only has 8 episodes 40 minutes long. It was in Russian with no subtitles. I don’t want to spoil anything but more puzzles were added onto the already remaining ones. Hope there is a season 3 to finally answer all the questions.

    1. valerie butler

      Youtube posted all 40 episodes of season 2. It is in Russian so many will have to wait to watch it. I found season 2 even better than season 1 if that is at all possible. Many questions will be answered . Many will be added. I understand that season 3 will be filmed in 2022. One of the most enjoyable detective series I have watched in my long life

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