The Best Polish TV Series to Watch Online

23 Dec 2023

Have you already gotten through our list of top Polish books to read? Have you powered through the best Polish films? Well then it's time for the best Polish TV shows.

There's plenty of Polish TV to stream on Netflix and other services...

As much as we've been impressed by the caliber of Polish cinematography, the last few years have seen some top Polish shows being made, all of which are available to watch online through the big name streaming services. We've been so impressed by some of the shows we've watched recently that we dare say Scandinavian crime fiction (or Nordic noir) has now been nudged aside by the ascent of the Polish crime series. Although some of these shows seem to retread the same thematic ground, and also suffer from excessive aerial shots of forests and landscapes accompanied by eery, melancholic music (something all too common in Nordic noir), the narrative backbone of each series is unique enough to keep an audience captivated and wanting more! Below we've compiled a list of our favourite Polish series, which you can watch online in Polish, the majority accompanied by subtitles, and even one in original English audio.


Something of a cross between the humour of Black Adder and The Office, 1670 takes place in a 17th-century Polish village and centres around the self-serving pursuits of Jan Paweł Adamczewski, the Sarmatian head of a noble family, a man constantly scheming to improve his social standing, wealth, and become "the greatest John Paul in Polish history" (For those who don't know, Jan Paweł is the Polish equivalent of that name, and, it saddens us to say, JPII would overshadow Adamczewski in 300 years time). Other characters/characatures featured in the show include Jakub, Jan Paweł's son and the village's self-important, manipulative priest; Aniela, Jan Paweł's rebellious and progressive daughter; Bogdan, Jan Paweł's brother-in-law and a washed-up, bigoted winged hussar; and Izaak, a Jewish village innkeeper who is deeply insecure about his inability to live up to the stereotype of a plotting, coniving Jew. While some jokes may go over your head due to Polish word play, this show is hilarious and brilliantly produced. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Polish history will lap this one up and, like us, will be eagrely waiting for the next season!

Seasons: 1 (2023)
No. of Episodes: 8
Genre: Comedy
Viewing Platform: Netflix


A teenager vanishes on the Western border of Poland, a disappearance that may be linked to a drug trafficking ring run by the guards of a local penitentiary.  The teen's father desperately begins his search on his own, as the dramatic situation his family is in adds more pressure to the existing tensions in their mutual relations, misunderstanding, emotional distance and lack of ties. A captivating watch!

Seasons: 1 (2021)
No. of Episodes: 8
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Viewing Platform: CANAL+


Hold Tight 

How much do you really know your teenage children? What kind of lives do they lead in secret? It's a question asked many times in books/movies/tv shows (think Twin Peaks) but Hold Tight takes it to another level. This is set in an affluent, tight-knit neighborhood on the outskirts of Warsaw where everyone seems to know each other, everyone has a past, and everyone has a secret. That includes the teenagers. When 18-year-old Adam (Krzysztof Oleksyn) goes missing, his frantic mother Anna (Magdalena Boczarska) does everything she can to find him, including diving into the city's seedy underbelly and the secrets her son and his friends are holding tight to their chests. Secrets, hidden connections, and lies get revealed in this show that will keep you binging all the way through. This is one of several Polish shows based on Harlan Coben novels (what can we say -- he's popular in Poland!) and Warsaw residents especially will have fun recognising some of their favourite haunts. 

Seasons: 1 (2022)
No. of Episodes: 6
Genre: crime, thriller, mystery
Viewing Platform: Netflix



A Polish high school teacher, Paweł Zawadzki (Maciej Stuhr), moves from Warsaw to a small town, and like any teacher, he needs a hobby to keep himself entertained - so he becomes a private investigator! Shortly before his arrival, a model student at his school has been murdered in mysterious circumstances (would you even watch if it wasn't shrouded in mystery?!). Zawadzki, or Belfer (a colloquial term for a teacher), feels compelled to begin his own investigation, while simultaneously having to deal with the lack of trust shown to him from the local residents. What is revealed is a web of corruption and fraud amongst the local elites. This is definitely one of the best Polish shows we've seen.

Seasons: 2 (2016, 2017)
No. of Episodes: 18
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Action
Viewing Platform: Canal+ Player


The Pack

Originally known in English as 'The Border,' HBO seems to have improved their translation for the most recent season, updating it to The Pack - as in 'wolf pack,' a more literal translation of 'Wataha.' As this is HBO, the production values are very high, the show is amazing and English subs are a given. Set on the Polish-Ukrainian border, the plot follows an elite team of Polish border guards who combat human traffickers smuggling people into the country. Celebrating in a log cabin after a successful mission, all but one border guard, Captain Victor Rebrow (Leszek Lichota), are killed in a bomb attack. Following his recovery, he returns to work to head a new 'pack' of the border guard, with his personal aim being to discover who the killers were and what their motives are. Being the sole survivor of the attack, there is immediate suspicion from the local prosecutor that Victor is somehow connected to what happened, that he may be connected to organised crime. The show is intriguing, following Victor's personal mission to discover the truth, maintain his innocence, and struggle to cope with the internal personal conflicts within his new 'wataha'.

Seasons: 3 (2014, 2017, 2019)
No. of Episodes: 18
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Action
Viewing Platform: HBO GO



Now for something that goes beyond a simple crime thriller, moving into an alternate historical timeline. Take the idea that the Iron Curtain never came down, that Communist rule in Poland never ended, and is still going strong today. Yuck. We all know the story of Martial Law being imposed in 1981-83 and of the growing Solidarity Movement in Poland, but the makers of 1983 turned this history on its head - a series of terrorist attacks took place in Poland in 1983 which led the Soviet authorities to impose a police state that prevented the Soviet Union from falling apart. In present day [still] Communist Poland, Law student Kajetan Skowron (Maciej Musiał) and Citizens' Militia investigator Anatol Janów (Robert Więckiewicz) uncover a conspiracy that could potentially start a revolution. An interesting concept for anyone with an interest in Polish history that asks a big unnerving 'what if?'.

Seasons: 1 (2018)
No. of Episodes: 8
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Viewing Platform: Netflix


The Witcher

And now for something completely different. Step aside crime drama, it's time for some fantasy. The Witcher, starring Superman Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia and the curiously-exotic Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg has been hugely successful and, for the binge-inclined masses, the series has filled the fantastical void that was left after the disappointing finale of HBO’s Game Of Thrones. Newcomers to the franchise may not know much about what preceded Season 1: notably an equally-successful game and, of course, the book series that it’s all based on by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. Thus, we'd like to state:  Yes we know it's not a Polish production, but the source material makes it worth the mention! The show follows Geralt of Rivia, a monster slayer for hire, and Princess Ciri, who possesses magical powers, as they are bound by destiny; the episodes build up various character arcs before eventually all timelines merge. In the first season, filming predominantly took place in Hungary, however, a few key Polish locations were included in the show as a homage to Sapkowski and the show's connection to Poland. 

Seasons: 3 (2019, 2021, 2023)
No. of Episodes: 24
Genre: Fantasy
Viewing Platform: Netflix


Wielka Woda
High Water

Inspired by the historic 1997 floods in South Western Poland, this series follows a number of characters as they navigate through rising waters in Wrocław and Lower Silesia to rescue family and loved ones. Aside the emotional roller coaster of this brilliant production, the series highlights how emergency services and the millitary attempting to evacuate smaller towns in the region were met with heated resistance, as the recent memory of brutally-repressive Communist authorities fueled the cynicism and counter-productive attitude of the local civilian population.

Seasons: 1 (2022)
No. of Episodes: 6
Genre: Thriller
Viewing Platform: Netflix

Kruk. Szepty słychać po zmroku
Raven. Whispers can be heard after dark

A hotly anticipated show in 2018, and shot entirely in 4K, Kruk is the story of Łódź Crime Division officer, Adam Kruk (Michał Żurawski) with an addiction to prescription and psychotropic drugs, who returns to his hometown where he is tasked to help in the case of a young boy who has been kidnapped. As often happens in a storyline involving 'returning to your roots', Kruk has to deal with the demons of his past, focusing on themes of institutionalised abuse. In an attempt to sway from the generic crime drama genre, elements of magical realism add a fantasy element to the show as the main protagonist interacts with other characters only he can see. Are they ghosts? Personal demons? It all adds to a mysterious background story as Kruk aims to solve the kidnapping case, and deal with his own internal struggles.

Seasons: 1 (2018)
No. of Episodes: 6
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Magical Realism
Viewing Platform: Canal+ Player


Ślepnąc od Świateł
Blinded by the Lights

Follow 7 days in the life of Warsaw cocaine dealer Kuba Nitecki (Kamil Nożyński), whose clients include everyone from politicians and businessmen to yuppies, celebs and hipsters. Well known, yet also unknown, his perfectly organised life begins to unravel and he wants out, his aim to escape to Argentina. Wouldn't you know it - his career acquaintances are gangsters (played by Janusz Chabior and Robert Więckiewicz) who may make leaving his former life more difficult, particularly when a notorious 'old school' gangster returns on the scene after release from prison. Nail biting stuff. The stunning cinematography helps build up the atmosphere, making this more than 'just another gangster series'.

Seasons: 2 (2018) 
No. of Episodes: 8
Genre: Crime, Thriller, neo noir
Viewing Platform: HBO GO


The Mire

Filmed in and around Katowice (and Warsaw), The Mire, revolves around the brutal murders of a prostitute and her apparent boyfriend in a forest in 1984 Poland. Unsurprisingly, nothing is as it seems or easy to decipher for a crime drama, but the setting and title provide some big clues. Set during Communist-era Poland after the imposition of Martial Law (1981-83) with the Solidarity movement building momentum, the times were bleak, as depicted by the show's well-chosen colour palette. The Mire (a boggy marsh) itself implies the difficulty to manoeuvre in such a system, meaning any actions or movements taken will simply bog you down even more - the characters are victims to the unfortunate circumstances of the time. This is the backdrop to the show, which depicts two journalists - one an old staffer, Witold Wanycz (Andrzej Seweryn), and the other his young protégé Piotr Zarzycki (Dawid Ogrodnik) - as they investigate the crime, believing there is more to the case than the official police investigation concluded. What follows is the unravelling of a corrupt local system involving organised crime - and all this littered with personal stories dating back to the forced mass migrations to/from the 'recovered territories' following World War 2. There are only 5 episodes, but this mini-series is worth the binge watch.

Seasons: 2 (2018)
No. of Episodes: 5
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Viewing Platform: Netflix

Zasada Przyjemności
The Pleasure Principle

Another chance to see the same scenery of the Polish-Ukrainian-Czech borderland in Poland's Bieszczady Mountains that you may have seen in Wataha (The Pack), this time going beyond the theme of human trafficking. The Pleasure Principle is a Polish-Czech-Ukrainian co-production which explores the idea of the political borders actually being a fine boundary where peoples' ethical and moral compasses become skewed. The show follows separate investigations taking place in Warsaw, Prague and Odessa after three young women are killed and mutilated in each city in a similar fashion and within a short space of time. The killings appear connected, leading to co-operation on the cases between three international police departments, and as expected, nothing is as it seems, as the story unfolds to expose a web of corrupt businessmen, politicians and organised crime.

Seasons: 1 (2019)
No. of Episodes: 10
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Viewing Platform: Canal+ Player


W Głębi Lasu
The Woods

Only the 2nd Polish language production to be made for Netflix (after 1983, above), released in June 2020 and already a bit of a hit! No wonder, it's based on the 2007 book of the same name by mystery/thriller heavyweight Harlan Coben - if you're familiar with his other work, you'll know that his books and subsequent film/TV adaptions contain more twists and turns than a yoga session. The Woods is set in present day Warsaw, with frequent flashbacks to the grizzly events at a summer camp in 1994, where the main character, public prosecutor Paweł Kopiński (Grzegorz Damięcki) was a young mentor. Two teenagers were murdered, and another two went missing (one of whom was Paweł's sister), presumed dead, until years later a mysterious murder victim appears to be connected to the original case...

Seasons: 1 (2020)
No. of Episodes: 6
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Viewing Platform: Netflix


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