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.

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.

25 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

      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.

  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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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??

        1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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