Johannes Holopainen and Maria Sid return as Lauri Räihä and Sanna Tervo, two odd-couple Finnish police officers with interesting backstories, as they investigate violent crime and murder in the small village of Varjakka – crimes that frequently involve links to the strict Laestadian religion.
If you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading this article now.
Varjakka is a real place, incidentally, located across the bay from the city of Oulu. Although the shows aren’t recorded there, it would be interesting to know what the residents think of the depiction of their village as some sort of Finnish version of Midsomer.
Similarly, the Laestadian religion is a real community. They’re a type of Lutheran church which has pockets of followers in Finland, Sweden and Estonia, but is mostly to be found in Minnesota, Washington, Arizona and Michigan in the States, and Saskatchewan in Canada.
But back to the story – Lauri and Sanna are ordered to return to Varjakka when a former police officer, Kaalo Ahola, is brutally murdered in the forest, and a note left on his body summoning the pair of them back to the village. Reluctantly, they return to the place of Lauri’s birth – and they find a community full of distrust, discrimination and suspicion. Soon, more bodies start to show up with links to a previous incident that the police apparently failed to investigate.
Kaalo has a grown-up son and daughter who also live in the village; the son is going through a painful divorce, which is father disapproved of; and the daughter is a pastor with the Laestadian church, which also didn’t go down well. Both suffered with a difficult relationship with their father, but is that enough to consider them suspects in his death?
Meanwhile, Lauri has domestic issues of his own when his gay partner pushes ahead with an adoption of a 5-year old child, against Lauri’s wishes. It’s a distraction he doesn’t need when trying to tackle such a complicated series of crimes.
This is a complex and enthralling thriller. If it continues in a similar vein to the previous seasons, there will be plenty of red-herrings and twists in the tail before we get to the satisfying conclusion. The acting from the two leads is excellent throughout, and the script is imaginative and engaging – it justifiably won the annual award for outstanding writing of a Nordic drama series at the Goteborg Film Festival.
If you enjoy complex crimes shows with intricate plot twists, this might well be up your street. It is probably best to start with Season 1, though, if you haven’t seen that, to get the full back story for Lauri and Sanna.
Walter Presents: ‘All the Sins’ Season 3 is available as a full boxset now on All 4.