Every once in a while, a quirky private detective character comes along and makes mystery stories that much more interesting to watch. Monk was one. The Sniffer is another.
The Sniffer (Nyukhach), a Russian-language mystery/crime drama series from the Ukraine, stars Kirill Käro as The Sniffer.
Similar to people with perfect pitch, who can recognize a musical note in an instant without need of a reference, The Sniffer can detect even a trace amount of a substance just by using his extraordinarily acute sense of smell. To wit: In the series opener, he discerns that a man on board his flight is carrying an explosive concealed in his arm cast, just by sniffing the air after the man walked past him.
It’s no wonder The Sniffer wears filters in his nostrils to prevent olfactory overload, given the constant assault of smells on his hypersensitive sense.
Like Monk, The Sniffer avoids social contact and is smarter than most people in the room. Unlike Monk, he doesn’t exhibit symptoms of OCD; rather, he display fits of pique and temper, as well as egotism and self-centeredness. The Sniffer also has a nag of an ex-lover (or ex-wife), Yulia (Mariya Anikanova), and a rebellious teen-aged son, Aleks (Sergey Leskov).
The Sniffer’s sense of smell is more of a curse than a blessing to him, but for his (only) friend and colleague, Viktor Lebedev (Ivan Oganesyan), who’s in charge of a special unit within the (fictional) Special Bureau of Investigation, it’s a key tool the SBI uses to investigate crimes. They pay a steep price for The Sniffer’s services, but when he gets results, so do they.
Viktor is the person who recommends that The Sniffer see Tatyana Voskresenskaya (Nina Gogaeva), a doctor who both treats his recurring allergies and sees his sense ability as a mystery of science that needs to be studied and examined. As the series progresses, their relationship grows from one of doctor and patient to something more intimate, which eases The Sniffer’s loneliness but also brings a different kind of mystery into his life.
From forgery and fraud to kidnapping and murder, The Sniffer has his hands — and nose — full of criminal cases to solve.
The third season of The Sniffer premieres in Russia this fall. Stay tuned for details about when it will screen in the US and UK.