Review: The Paradise, Finnish crime drama set mostly in Spain

Riitta Havukainen in The Paradise

The Paradise (Paratiisi) features a complex older woman who is a Finnish cop, Hikka (Riitta Havukainen). She’s semi-retired because her husband has dementia. A friend asks her to go to Spain “for one day” to find someone. That sets her off on an investigation that expands into a search for a serial killer and keeps her in Spain for several days.

The Paradise (Paratiisi) is an interesting mystery with well-drawn police work from both the Finnish and Spanish police. It’s in three languages – an ever changing mix of Finnish, Spanish, and English. The main characters are well developed, the crimes are interesting, and there are occasional bursts of danger and excitement.

The mystery has many moving parts. A large colony of Finns have homes in Costa Del Sol. Several expat Finns, older women, are killed in ways that appear accidental at first. Until Hikka arrives, the Spanish police don’t even recognize that the cases are related.

The police sift through many false leads. Tie-ins to a construction empire, a long ago summer camp in Finland, drug dealers, and corrupt cops factor in the story.

Riitta Havukainen and Fran Perea in The Paradise

Hikka meets Spanish detective Andrés (Fran Perea) in Costa Del Sol and quickly proves invaluable to him. She’s smart and intuitive. She speaks Finnish and knows many of the people living there. He’s troubled by events in his past and isn’t 100% all of the time.

There’s an attraction between these two despite their ages (#EldersRock) and circumstances. It’s handled with grace.

Maria Romero in The Paradise

Luisa (Maria Romero) is Andrés new partner. She’s green but learning fast, and is impressed by the mentor she sees in Hikka. I wish her character had been more developed.

While Hikka is in Spain, her husband’s condition worsens at home. Her daughter is having an art show opening. She has two grandchildren. Part of her drama is the constant pull and need from the people she left at home, even while she’s embroiled in the life and death details of the case.

A woman directed all 8 episodes of The Paradise (Paratiisi): Marja Pyykkö. Because of the way the series ended, Hikka might be called on to continue police work in the future. I would enjoy another season with this complicated and capable woman.

Thanks to my Twitter Pal Elise Paisley for the tip about this series. You can see the series on Acorn TV. It should not be confused with the English period piece also called The Paradise that starred Sarah Lancashire.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Paradise, Finnish crime drama set mostly in Spain”

  1. Leslie Depenbrock

    I found the constant moving between three languages confusing. Reading subscript and then having English in a foreign film which moves slowly makes for difficult watching and following a somewhat convoluted story.

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