One of our most requested series, the Finnish cult classic Raid (pronounced like “ride”) is now streaming on MHz Choice! Watch online or stream to your TV or favorite device – start your free 30-day trial at!

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Here's what some MHz Choice subscribers are saying about 'Raid'

‘Raid’ now streaming on MHz Choice. Watch the trailer below:

A police officer investigating white-collar crime is shot dead in a TV studio. A young woman working for a large multi-national corporation commits suicide. And a mysterious harmonica-playing stranger returns to Helsinki on a personal quest for vengeance in this blackly-comic series based on the crime stories by Harri Nykänen.

Meanwhile, police inspector Jansson hunts for the cop killer – and the trail leads inexorably to Raid. Soon, the interests of the police converge with Raid’s quest for revenge – and that’s when things really heat up. An unforgettable cast of eccentric characters, plenty of classic movie references and an outrageous, more than slightly left-of-center sense of humor highlight this cult favorite.

Raid began life as a series of novels by Harri Nykänen, a former journalist who worked for 20 years as a crime reporter for the Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest daily newspaper.

“There were three books before we made the screenplay,” writer/director Tapio Piirainen, who wrote the TV series with Nykänen, recalled. “But it was too difficult to make screenplays (from) those three books.” It was decided to start over again with a brand-new plot, just using the characters of Raid and police inspector Jansson. Even then, there were big differences: for example, in the books Jansson is a small man, and in the TV series Jansson is played by Oiva Lohtander – an actor known at the time for his considerable heft. “Oiva Lohtander was my friend,” Tapio explained, “and his office was near my office, and I wanted him to be Jansson.” So naturally, the character had to “expand” from his depiction in the books. Similarly, Tapio knew he wanted his friend Kai Lehtinen to play the title character. “In early books, Raid was some kind of ladies’ man,” Tapio remembered. “Then I decided to make Raid a little bit afraid about women. Not afraid of guns and knives… but women.”

Tapio said that Nykänen drew on his crime reporter background as inspiration for some of the more outlandish characters – “Arnie the Ass” was inspired by a real person, for example, as was the soccer-obsessed “Maradona”– but in that instance, “he” was actually a woman!

Playing Raid’s “scary” love interest is actress/singer Mari Rantasila, who also performs “Vain Rakkaus” – the haunting song heard over the credits at the end of each episode, for which Tapio provided the lyrics. The distinctive music score is by Pekka Marijanen, Tapio’s childhood friend. The music for “Vain Rakkaus” was originally written by Pekka for one of Tapio’s film school projects – Tapio liked it so much he insisted they use it for Raid. (If you want to know what the words mean, watch the very end of Episode 12 – we’ve subtitled them for you there!) The opening theme song, a moody guitar piece inspired by the zither theme from Carol Reed’s The Third Man, is performed by the director himself. (Those are his hands playing the guitar in the opening – a visual motif inspired by the similar opening to Howard Hawks’ Rio Lobo.) The soundtrack was a huge hit in Finland, earning gold and platinum discs for sales. “It was a very big surprise to us,” said Tapio about the opening theme, “because the tune was recorded in my garage.” (If you listen closely, you might be able to hear his neighbor’s dog barking in the background!)

Classic film fans will notice homages to the works of Sergio Leone (Raid plays harmonica and watches Once Upon a Time in the West on TV), John Ford (the very last shot of the series, inspired by a similar scene from Drums Along the Mohawk), and Howard Hawks (Uki pouring booze back in the bottle – just like Dean Martin in Rio Bravo.) And that’s just for starters – see how many more you can spot as you watch!