PAS­SION­ATE AMATEURS

India Today - - LEISURE - —Joanna Lobo

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

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