(Photo Credits: Screengrab from IMDb)

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

There’s a serial killer on the loose, and his target is Warsaw’s gay community. 

In Operation Hyacinth, a detective named Robert (played by actor Tomasz Ziętek)—a rising star (albeit inexperienced) in the Warsaw Police—was assigned to investigate a murder case. The victim, a man named Adam Gregorczyk, was affluent but also gay. 

A second man was murdered by the name of Adrian Sobolew and a suspect named Kamil Barczyk (played by actor Piotr Trojan) was brought in. Kamil—who was beaten to confessing to the murder of Gregorczyk—was found dead in his prison cell. Because Kamil confessed and because he admitted that he knew Sobolew, Robert’s higher-ups closed the case.

Robert, however, was unsatisfied with the result of the investigation. He tries to convince his boss. He even enlists the help of his father, Edward (actor Marek Kalita), a police officer himself, to allow him to continue investigating but they adamantly tell him that the case has already been resolved. Robert was, instead, advised to focus on his upcoming wedding and wasn’t he recently admitted to the officer’s academy? He and his partner were even given a commendation for “a job well done.”

But Robert would not let the case go. He continues investigating, and even compromises his fiancée Halinka’s (actress Adrianna Chlebicka) job (she is a fellow officer in charge of the evidence lockers). He goes deep undercover into the Polish gay underground in order to crack the case and there he meets Arek (played by actor Hubert Milkowski), a young gay student. 

Robert, it seems, is set to discover multiple truths – not just about the case but also about his own sexuality.

Operation Hyacinth, which was directed by Piotr Domalewski and written by Marcin Ciastoń, also stars Tomasz Schuchardt, Sebastian Stankiewicz, Jacek Poniedziałek, Agnieszka Suchora, and Tomasz Włosok to name a few. This 2021 crime thriller film was set in 1985 in Poland. 

The film’s title, Operation Hyacinth, was inspired from the Polish government’s secret mass operation of the same name that took place in between 1985 to 1987. On the surface, the purpose of the operation was to: “control homosexual criminal gangs and fight prostitution,” and because the government reportedly feared the then “newly discovered HIV virus,” as gay men then were regarded as “a group of high risk.” 

The real goal, however, was to gather information that can be used to blackmail those who were unfortunate to have been included in the database. Today, these documents are called “pink files,” and said database contained the names of around 11,000 Polish gay men including the “people who were in touch with them.” Thousands of those on the list were said to have been “detained, questioned, and surveilled” and blackmailed.

Operation Hyacinth is now streaming on Netflix.

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