Trap

The Trap (Пастка in Ukrainian, Ловушка in Russian) is a Russian/Ukrainian drama TV series that began airing in 2013. Each episode is about 40 minutes. It is a remake of a popular Armenian TV series, Vorohayt (Ворогайт in Cyrillic). It seems that the show was initially filmed by a Russian–Ukrainian partnership, but political events got in the way in 2014; the second season had still not aired in Russia as of 2016. The acting team includes both Ukrainians and Russians.

The show is about the 1990s, a particularly difficult time in Russian and Ukrainian history. It tells the story of a criminal underworld in southern Russia, in a city that has been beset by mafia-led wars. The city is on the brink of achieving peace after a long-fought struggle by Vyacheslav Lebedev, nicknamed the Artist (Художник), the leader of one of the most powerful gangs. When he thinks he’s achieved his aim, he plans to leave the city, to pursue a different, calmer life. But he keeps being drawn back into the city and its troubles—and what’s more, one of his worst enemies is on the verge of being released from prison. After 12 years inside, the former mob boss is determined to regain his former position—which will mean further destabilizing the fragile city.

The show has extremely high ratings from Russian and Ukrainian viewers. When it first aired in 2013, it was rated the most popular Ukrainian TV show in a variety of categories, including drama, detective, and criminal. Reviewers online have found much to love about the show, from its dark style and atmosphere to its acting; the show has even garnered comparisons to Guy Ritchie films.

 

Director: Sergey Korotaev (Сергей Коротаев)
Stars: Sergey Gazarov (Сергей Газаров), Sergey Sosnovskiy (Сергей Сосновский), Anatoliy Khostikoev (Анатолий Хостикоев), Igor Botvin (Игорь Ботвин), Ivan Oganesyan (Иван Оганесян), Maksim Drozd (Максим Дрозд), Ramil Sabitov (Рамиль Сабитов), Sergey Strelnikov (Сергей Стрельников), Marina Konyashkina (Марина Коняшкина), Valeriya Khodos (Валерия Ходос)
Production studios: Central Partnership, Film.ua

 

The beginning of the show’s first episode:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.