Jaak Kilmi

Juhan Liiv, a struggling poet and an unlikely detective, solves frightening murder cases in Estonia, the “wild west” of the Russian Empire in 1890s.

Investigations take him to miserable dwellings of the local peasants, luxurious castles of the land-owning nobility, steam- powered cities full of Tsar’s secret agents and to the depths of ancient forests where witchcraft is still practiced. Fighting crime and his own inner demons, the detective is torn between madness and sanity, darkness and light.


Juhan Liiv, an aspiring poet, is haunted by personal tragedy and professional misfortune. The over-sensitive young man is beginning to suffer with mental illness. He escapes the harsh city life and heads towards his parents’ poor farmstead in the countryside.

Against his will, Juhan gets drawn into several dangerous adventures. He becomes an unlikely detective helping to solve gruesome crimes.

The first signs of early schizophrenia make Juhan paranoid and distrusting towards his surroundings. He is able to notice details that elude everyone else. Liiv is restless, constantly searching for truth in situations and people.

Well-read and modern-thinking, the character of Liiv becomes our eyes and ears to the late 19th century Estonia and its curious habits of hygiene, sex, violence, superstition and social hierarchies.

Juhan forms a partnership with a village policeman Peeter. This veteran of a Russo-Turkish war makes use of poet’s sharp senses to solve crimes too complex for his own simple logic.

In the first season of the series, they look into murders triggered by a cursed treasure, search for the cold-blooded killer of a young girl at the Alatskivi castle, and solve a chilling case of robbery-homicide in the local water mill.


Events of the series take place in 1890s in Estonia, one of the westernmost provinces of the vast, multi-cultural Russian Empire. The local population of Estonians is caught between two mighty powers. Nominally under Russian rule, the Baltic territories were governed since medieval times by the iron-fisted German nobility. Bloody revolutions and wars of the early XX century lay still in the future, but the conflict is brewing and the cracks of the dysfunctional empire are beginning to show. Ancient ways of life, unchanged for gene- rations, have to give in to confusing developments in politics, industry, science and crime.

Contact: film@taska.ee