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Netflix announced today The Unlikely Murderer, a new five-part Original limited series from Sweden.

The Unlikely Murder
The Unlikely Murder — Photo by Johan Paulin © Netflix 2020

Based on Thomas Pettersson’s 2018 award-winning book of the same name, Swedish drama The Unlikely Murderer is a fictional interpretation of how Stig Engström, the graphic designer who was named as the probable murderer of Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme, managed to elude justice, right up to his death, through a combination of audacity, luck, and a perplexed police force.

The murder was not planned well. Engström did everything wrong from the beginning. And almost no one believed his lies about what he actually did during that fateful night in 1986 in Stockholm, Sweden. So how could the police let him get away, despite being on his track?

Playing Stig Engström is Robert Gustafsson (The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, The Truth Will Out). Joining him are Eva Melander (Rebecka Martinsson), Mikael Persbrandt (Beck), and Peter Andersson (Inspector Winter).

The top-notch cast also includes Joel Spira (Thicker than Water), Emil Almén (Gåsmamman), Shanti Roney (Arne Dahl), Torkel Petterson (Triggermen), Henrik Norlén (Modus), Lia Boysen (Jordskott), Magnus Krepper (Before We Die), Björn Bengtsson (Conspiracy of Silence), Peter Viitanen (Real Humans), and Cilla Thorell (Gåsmamman).

Said Robert Gustafsson:

“It’s an exciting challenge and a great responsibility to portray Stig Engström, but also, in a way, a form of therapy. Since I was at the same cinema as Olof Palme on the night of the murder, this case has always felt like an abscess that never disappears – and I’m not alone in feeling that. The theory about Engström is the most logical one and the one that the latest Palme investigation group has concluded as the right one. It is also the theory I believe – and now there is a chance for me to understand the event and examine Stig Engström’s character. It is an exciting and tragic story that affects Sweden and the Swedish people very much. The series explores and depicts the inadequate police work around the Palme Inquiry during the 80s and 90s. Stig Engström is very far from myself as a person, which makes this role attractive and challenging, and in playing this character I feel it will lead me to inner peace on these events.”

Added conceptual director Charlotte Brändström:

“Certain events in the life of a nation can be considered seminal – changing the mindset and the trajectory of a country thereafter. I certainly remember the immense national trauma caused by the assassination of Olof Palme in February 1986, a trauma that still quietly rumbles on today. As such I leapt at the opportunity to return home to Sweden to direct the first two episodes of The Unlikely Murderer. The series is a powerful character study and poses a serious and credible hypothesis regarding the man who most likely killed Palme on that snowy winter night when the Prime Minister left a cinema in central Stockholm and was walking home. The very fact that Sweden’s head of government could, back then, live like any other citizen and eschewed chauffeur-driven vehicles or bodyguards in favor of public transport speaks to a now lost innocence in our national life.

“What makes someone a murderer – and one who felt compelled to target a prime minister for assassination? How did this sad, solipsistic figure elude police detection? Our series attempts to provide answers to these questions and poses certain conjectures. Just as it is a compelling and psychologically dense attempt to unravel a crime that shook a proudly stable and pacific social democracy to its core. Could it be that the murder of Olof Palme – the greatest real-life whodunit in Swedish history – has a shockingly simple explanation?”

A production of FLX (Quicksand, Love & Anarchy), The Unlikely Murderer is penned by Wilhelm Behrman and Niklas Rockström, the writing team behind Caliphate and Before we Die. The directors are Charlotte Brändström (The Witcher) and Simon Kaijser (Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves). FLX’s Fatima Varhos and Frida Asp are the producers and Pontus Edgren is the executive producer.

The Unlikely Murderer will launch on Netflix in 2021. You can set a reminder for it now at www.netflix.com/theunlikelymurderer.


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The Unlikely Murderer: New Swedish Netflix Original Series to Launch in 2021