Occupied, the ratings-record-breaking, award-winning, and news-making Norwegian political thriller, will have its US premiere on Netflix in 2016.
Occupied (Okkupert) is the most expensive Norwegian TV series ever produced, with a budget of 90 million kroner ($10.7 million/€9.5 million/£7 million).
When it premiered on TV2 Norway on the 4th of October, its first episode attracted 663,000 viewers and garnered a whopping 53.4 share against the target demo of viewers aged 20-49.
Two weeks later, the series won the New Creators Award Mannheim-Heidelberg at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival, one of the oldest international film festivals in the world. According to the jury, Occupied “is one of the most compelling series in terms of storytelling and intensity… incredibly well written, directed and cast… thrilling from the get-go…”
And last month, series director Erik Skjoldbjærg (Insomnia) won the award for Best Director in a New TV Series/Limited Series/TV Movies at the Roma Fiction Fest Award.
Created by bestselling author Jo Nesbø (“Harry Hole”), Occupied has had its detractors, namely the Russian government, which publicly took issue with the country’s being portrayed as the aggressor in the ten-part drama.
Set in the near future, Occupied finds the European Union in the midst of an energy crisis. Making matters worse for the EU is non-EU member Norway, whose newly-elected Norwegian Green Party halts the country’s fossil fuel production in favor of nuclear power, following a devastating hurricane brought on by climate change. So the powers that be within the EU call on Russia to invade Norway and restore its oil and gas production.
Kidnappings, assassination attempts, bombings, and more ensue, as security forces of both countries attempt to prevent a full-scale war, while an insurgent Norwegian group takes extreme measures to provoke Russian withdrawal.
Occupied stars Henrik Mestad (Lilyhammer) as Jesper Berg, the Prime Minister of Norway; Eldar Skar (Mammon) as Hans Martin Djupvik, a member of PST, the Norwegian Police Security Service; Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė (Wallander) as Irina Sidorova, the Russian ambassador; Ane Dahl Torp (Codename Hunter) as Bente Norum, the restaurateur wife of journalist Thomas Eriksen, played by Vegar Hoel (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters); and Ragnhild Gudbrandsen (Mammon) as Wenche Arnesen, the head of PST.
Written by series co-creators Erik Skjoldbjærg and Karianne Lund, Occupied is a production of Yellow Bird (Annika Bengtzon, Irene Huss, Millennium Trilogy, Wallander) and GTV (Blood on the Docks, Dolmen, Versailles). The series has been picked up in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden, as well as the UK and US.
Occupied will premiere in the US on Friday, 15 January 2016, exclusively on Netflix. The series will be shown in Norwegian, Russian, and English with English subtitles.
Sky Arts will screen Occupied in the UK (date TBA). Stay tuned for updates.