After her stepbrother was shot and killed, producer Wendy West was plunged into a world she had always written about—the world of cops and crime. She soon found herself becoming an amateur sleuth, determined to solve her brother’s murder on her own, she wrote recently in a column for Variety, and the idea for Ultraviolet was born.
West drew upon Deborah Halber’s The Skeleton Crew, a book about amateur detectives, for the story. But when Sony/AXN picked up the show, they decided to shoot it in Łód with a Polish cast and directors—Slawomir Fabicki and Jan Komasa. Released on Netflix in August, Ultraviolet remains a story about amateur sleuths solving cases.
The series begins when rideshare driver Ola Serafin (Marta Nieradkiewicz) witnesses a woman falling to her death from an overpass. Ola believes she was murdered; the police call it a suicide. But Ola, just like West, has lost her brother and doesn’t trust the police investigations. Determined to solve the case on her own, she turns to the internet and finds an oddball group of amateur sleuths. Together, they solve old and new cases using a mix of old school legwork and high tech—hacking and the Dark Net.
The show glosses over a few details. The sleuths are ordinary people—a student Piast (Viet AnH Do), a security offer Tomek (Michal Zurawski), and YouTubers and sisters Dorota and Regina (Karolina and Paulina Chapko). Yet, they have enough time to be online and conduct investigations. Their sleuthing methods could be considered illegal.
The show also makes it seem like the police are incapable of doing their jobs. Luckily, the cases are compelling (each episode is dedicated to one)—like a Syrian refugee and an agony aunt on a dark net whose help turns deathly.
Ola is a messy, stubborn character undeserving of all the screen time. Tomek is the only one with a side story; the others are mostly faces on a mobile/ laptop screen. Ola finds an unlikely aid and perfect foil in Michał Holender (Sebastian Fabijaski), a dedicated cop who is the show’s eye candy, with his slouching walk, low fit jeans, and a jawline that can cut through steel.
Season 2 is in the works and hopefully, delves a bit deeper into Ola’s brother, and the lives of the other characters.
Netflix’s Polish-language drama crime ULTRAVIOLET series a features compelling of stand-alone mysteries