A guide to ‘The Border’ control


Find out more about the new Polish political crime series

The six-part Euro Noir show radiates with a thrilling plot from a border guard unit stationed in the mountains of Bieszczady, between the EU border of Poland and the Ukraine. Dealing with felonies like human trafficking, the specialised squad are not prepared for a bomb attack, which leaves Captain Wiktor Rebrow (Leszek Lichota) as the only survivor in its wake. Rebrow soon falls under suspicion for being complicit in the crime, forcing him to engage in his own investigation and bring the true villains to justice. What Rebrow quickly uncovers is a political motive that links the act of terrorism to a government endgame.


Here are a few things to know about the show:

The first Polish series to be aired in the UK

The Border not only celebrates its uncanny reflection of current events in its storyline; the series is also achieving notable milestones for being the first TV show to be broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 in the Polish language. Adding to the remit of critically acclaimed Nordic Noir programmes, we have enjoyed a diverse range of Euro Noir since last year: Iranian crime drama Hostages, Belgian viral thriller Cordon, German spy antics of Deutschland 83, and the gritty yet sublime Neapolitan Noir of Gomorrah. Therefore, it is a feat for Polish television but should be warmly welcomed as a fresh new subtitled, foreign drama for UK audiences.


The translation of the original, primal title

While the British alternative programme title for Wataha is The Border – the original, Polish title offers a darker and more primal meaning to the show. The Border is more literal and emphasises the unmovable site of inciting crime (much like the Øresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark in The Bridge). Whereas, the Polish definition of Wataha is Wolfpack or The Pack. This connotes a metaphor that adds to the suspense and game of cat-and-mouse when Rebrow goes on the run, including the concept of the border control team hunting migrants and criminals.


The topical themes in The Border

Albeit contained within a fictional piece of television, the action-packed show examines the social and political climate of Poland, xenophobia, and even the roles of gender and sexuality of the characters. What has really made an impact closer to home for British critics and viewers alike is the clear association of the narrative to the UK political climate, in the aftermath of ‘Brexit’. The focus on immigration, which has been a big contentious subject for those who voted to leave the EU, is a big plot device with the story centring round the border control and human trafficking. The machoism of the male protagonists and traditional femininity of the female characters may stand out against the hard-boiled detectives of Nordic Noir but still exhibit familiar nuances.


There will be a second season of the show

Originally intended as a miniseries, The Border will back for another blistering second season. HBO Poland has announced the second season is already in production, which is perfect timing following the international praise the series has been generating. Season two is due to be aired in its native Poland towards the end of 2016.

The Border can be pre-ordered on DVD here.