HBO Europe’s Umbre is one of those shows I’m arriving late to. I mean, HBO shows tend to build up a following quickly and you can’t avoid hearing about them. The Wire, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Westworld, Game of Thrones—once people take to an HBO series, you’re going to hear about it every weekend a season is running.
Umbre: A Romanian Crime Tale
Umbre is one of those that floated under the radar and I’m surprised. The network excels at crime dramas and this one—taking place in the Romanian underworld—is a strong series. What works about this show besides a strong cast and a unique setting to crime dramas, is our main character, Relu.
With all the people he runs into in his line of work, Relu comes off as one a few level-headed people in Romania’s criminal world. Because of this, he exists at a lower level since the lack of a true vicious streak is basically like not having the drive to succeed in this world.
What I do like is that despite being at the lower end of the criminal world, Relu still finds himself involved in some deep trouble. Most of the other characters such as Toma and the Captain would honestly look at Relu’s troubles as “just another Monday.” They’ve been in the game at a dangerous, constantly life-threatening level for a while.
Currently, Umbre’s third season just started after what’s looking like a hot season two. For Relu, things just continue to snowball. His family life in impact—which tends to happen in crime dramas—and the criminal world is boiling. Also, the law is poking its nose into it which is only going to complicate things for Relu. It has too, many of these characters are so unlikable that it seems like “ruin Relu’s life” is on their weekly agenda.
Umbre’s seasons run for a handful of episodes and since the seasons are so short, the episodes pick up quickly. The first was eight and the second runs for six, so it will be a brief binge to catch up on and you’ll be in time while this third season is running.