The seventh of nine new programs to premiere in advance of the launch of the new MHz Choice SVoD service is Codename Hunter, a taut ensemble-cast action drama from Norway.
Created, directed, and co-written by the award-winning Jarl Emsell Larsen (Dirty Money, White Lies), Codename Hunter (Kodenavn Hunter) takes us inside the worlds of international organized crime and a special team of multinational undercover operatives, brought together to take down a resourceful criminal network operating in several countries.
Season 1 opens with a routine prisoner transport from Østfold Prison to Oslo. Three units of armed officers make up the convoy. At the same time, a helicopter lands on a remote farm in Värmland, Sweden, to airlift an injured man to the hospital.
Then the convoy gets ambushed, the helicopter is hijacked, and two officers are killed. One victim is Vegard Rønningen, the older brother of fellow officer Bjørn Rønningen (Mads Ousdal, Varg Veum), who managed to shoot and wound one of the men who got away with the escaped convict.
Utterly distraught, Bjørn takes it upon himself to deliver the devastating news to his late brother’s widow Vibeke (Andrine Sæther, Mammon) before comforting his own (pregnant) wife Carina (Laila Goody, Lilyhammer), being debriefed by the police shrink, and going on leave.
At the National Police Directorate in Oslo, commanding officer Anne Marie Kildal (Thea Stabell, Anguish) meets with Dan Wester (Jan Sælid, NAV, Norway), Norway’s “foremost analyst of international organized crime” about what he would do to catch the criminals if he were in her position.
Since there had to have been someone at Østfold Prison or inside the Oslo Police leaking information to the ambushers in order for them to know details about the prisoner transport, Wester replies, “Focus on intelligence” and put together “a small group of specialists with the authority and resources to infiltrate the criminal organizations.” Fair enough.
So Wester is to lead this secret, independent unit — codenamed Hunter — under the Directorate, although it is officially to be headed by Østfold police chief Trond Jerkås (Lasse Kolsrud, The Eagle), with Bjørn’s partner Ola Gjessing (Svein Tindberg, Peer Gynt) serving as the information funnel between the unit’s local and national operatives and international partners.
Meanwhile, in Gothenburg, Sweden, bartender Kikki (Ane Dahl Torp, The Sandhamn Murders) is all but forced leave her drink-pouring duties by hoodlum Jonna (Kristoffer Joner, King of Devil’s Island), who needs her nursing skills to help an injured friend. (Guess who that could be.)
And at Gothenburg Police headquarters, Maria Milinkovich (Alexandra Rapaport, The Sandhamn Murders) discusses with her boss Ingemar Bergquist (Dag Malmberg, The Bridge) and Ola the benefits and dangers of involving her undercover operative in the Hunter unit’s investigation.
As events unfold, Kikki and Jonna make their way to Oslo, and Bjørn learns that his brother was about to leave his wife for another woman, one who was no stranger to the inmates at Østfold Prison…
Codename Hunter did gangbusters in the ratings when it debuted in Norway, delivering higher audience figures than even the popular Amanda Awards winner Dirty Money, White Lies. The series also made the shortlist of semifinalists for the 35th International Emmy® Awards nominees.
Episode 1 of Codename Hunter, shown in Norwegian with English subtitles, premieres tonight, 29 April 2015, at 11 PM ET, following the US debuts of Medicine Man and Talisman, on MHz Worldview and MHz Worldview Live.
All six episodes of Codename Hunter: Season 1 will be available on MHz Choice, MHz Networks’ new subscription video-on-demand service, beginning 3 May 2015.
Read more about MHz Choice here.