Review: Ultraviolet, season 1

Marta Nieradkiewicz in Ultraviolet

The Polish mystery series Ultraviolet is on Netflix. It features a group of internet savvy private citizens who call themselves Ultraviolet and who get involved in police work.

The lead character is Ola Serafin (Marta Nieradkiewicz). She returns to her hometown of Łódź from London. She’s just left her husband and moves in with her mother (Agata Kulesza). She works as a driver with the Polish equivalent of Uber. While driving, she sees a woman fall from an overpass. She thinks the woman is pushed.

When the police arrive, the officer Michal Holender (Sebastian Fabijanski) is disbelieving. He thinks it’s suicide. Ola starts looking into the woman’s death on her own and discovers the group of internet denizens who solve crimes using their computer skills. They help her prove to the police that it was indeed a murder. Cat emojis were involved.

Sebastian Fabijanski reminded me so much of American actor Joel Kinnaman. Watching him was like seeing Kinnaman’s character in The Killing speaking Polish. The same slouch, the same attitude, and very similar looking.

Marta Nieradkiewicz and Sebastian Fabijanski in Ultraviolet
Ola and Michal never agree on anything

This is the basic plotline of each of the 10 episodes in season 1 of Ultraviolet. Each episode is a new case. Each episode has the police balking at the truth, or being overly slow about finding the truth. The private citizens step in to solve the case. Ola takes information from Ultraviolet to Michal, who tries to send her away, but always accepts her help in the end.

I found it almost ridiculous that the Polish police were painted as such fools, and that the private cadre of Ultraviolet was even allowed anywhere near police business. Other than getting past that barrier of disbelief, the crimes and the methods used to unearth the truth were interesting and engaging.

Viet Anh Do in Ultraviolet
The members of Ultraviolet seldom meet in person

The others in the Ultraviolet group are Piast (Viet Anh Do), two sisters played by real sisters Karolina Chapko and Paulina Chapko, and Tomek (Michal Zurawski).

Along with the various crimes that are solved by the private group assisting the police, we get personal stories as well. The two sisters have a beauty channel on YouTube. Piast can hack into anything. Tomek frequently gets called away from his computer because his wife is ovulating.

We learn to know Ola and her mother. Ola is still obsessing over her brother’s death and blames her former sister-in-law for that. Her mother’s old friend Henryk (Marek Kalita) gets involved in the crimesolving. He’s an expert on cars, car wrecks, and car functions. Ola calls on him to help and he stays around because he likes her mother.

Ola and Michal become close the more they cooperate on crimesolving. They’re not lovers, but possibly heading that way.

Everything, except perhaps the Luddite police force, was very oriented to internet insider knowledge, social media, fast-paced connections and conversations. The various screens that characters looked at were always thrown up on our screens in a size that made following the action easy. The music was a driving techno beat most of the time, propelling us forward.

I’m always attracted to a series with a woman in the lead. The series is inspired by the book The Skeleton Crew written by Deborah Halber and by the personal story of Wendy West. Halber and West, along with several other women writers, wrote most of the series.

Ultraviolet aired in Poland starting in October 2017. It reached Netflix US in August 2018. The series is in Polish with English subtitles. Netflix has a trailer with subtitles – I couldn’t find one on YouTube to share with you here.

7 thoughts on “Review: Ultraviolet, season 1”

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