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The latest season of hit Romanian crime thriller Umbre (Shadows) arrived in the US on Monday, and the series is as awesome as ever.

Umbre (Shadows) S3
Umbre (Shadows): (L-R) Laurentiu Bãnescu as Emilian, Serban Pavlu as Relu, Costel Cascaval as Nicu — Image courtesy of HBO

Umbre (Shadows) is one of the most riveting series — Euro TV or otherwise — on TV today. Its characters are compelling, its storylines are engrossing, and its action runs the gamut between outright violence and pained reflection.

With the arrival of its third season in the US, stateside viewers can pick up where the series left off in the life of Relu Oncescu (Serban Pavlu, Everybody in Our Family). Here’s a quick recap of Seasons 1 and 2:

Not too long ago, Relu worked as a legit taxi driver and as a collector for a mobster called the Captain. He did a pretty good job of keeping his double life a secret and his two families separate. Then things went sideways on multiple fronts, and he was forced to agree to an unsavory deal if he wanted to see another day. However, he couldn’t follow through on it because, as he put it, “the situation [had] changed.” Then a tragedy struck, and the thirst for revenge followed. Meanwhile, Emilian (Laurentiu Bãnescu), an unscrupulous and unhinged cop, had set his sights on catching the Captain and Relu, as they and Nicu (Costel Cascaval), the Captain’s wacko brother, were set to carry out a big drugs deal. Except a leak was putting everything and everyone in the criminal organization in jeopardy.

Season 3 finds Relu going even further down the rabbit hole. While he’s trying to stay one step ahead of Emilian, Nicu is putting together a multi-million-euro drugs deal, despite protests from the Captain. Meanwhile, their sexpot cousin, Nico (Andreea Vasile), is doing her best to stay alive and stay sane as she’s stuck in the middle between two psychos. Elsewhere in Bucharest, Gina (Maria Obretin), Relu’s ex-wife, has moved on with her life and moved into the apartment of her new lover. But neither her son Chuckie (Dan Hurduc) nor her daughter Magda (Madalina Craiu) and Magda’s husband, Teddy (Gabriel Huian), have been able to move past their traumas in healthy ways.

As the season progresses, Relu receives more threats, both from the cops and the criminals, and is made yet another offer that he can’t refuse. He also helps Gina out of a bloody mess after she’s targeted by Emilian. And after Relu and Nicu arrive in Spain to do that huge deal, Relu’s instincts kick in and he just knows things are not going to go as planned.

Season 3 of Umbre is yet another triumph for the series’ award-winning writer and co-director, Bogdan Mirica (Dogs). From the tension in the opening scenes, to the shocker of an ending, this season is chock-full of some seriously fine storytelling.

I really hope there will be a fourth season, because Relu’s story is nowhere near finished.

All three seasons of Umbre are currently available for streaming in the US under the title Shadows on HBO Go, HBO Now, HBO on Demand, and partners’ streaming platforms, including HBO on Amazon.


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Euro TV to Watch: Season 3 of Excellent Romanian Crime Thriller ‘Umbre’ (Shadows)
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