April 23, 2021

Occupied: a Norwegian political thriller tv series on Netflix

Netflix has chosen not to carry many of the great European tv shows, but every so often they feature worthwhile programs like Wallander from Sweden, The Returned from France or The Time Between from Spain.

Occupied, a ten episode political thriller from Norway should go on your list of programs to watch if you like Nordic noir and drama. The prime minister of Norway decides to stop pumping oil for the world and instead, switching entirely to a cleaner energy source called thorium. This precipitates Russia to take soft control of Norway and its oil industry, with the European Union’s tacit approval.

We are introduced to a journalist, a secret service man, several politicians and their families, as well as a female Russian diplomat who is tasked with keeping the Norwegians docile. The viewer is continually asked to decipher the good guys from the bad. What is the intention of the prime minister who tries to appease the Russians? Or perhaps the secret service man who foils the assassination of the Russian ambassador?  What do you think of the young immigrant who joins the militant underground? Why does the wife of the journalist cater to the Russians at her restaurant? Characters switch from black, to white to decidedly gray.

The series is based on an idea  from crime fiction writer Jo Nesbo and Occupied is the most expensive Norwegian program to date. The show has been broadcast in much of Europe and is streaming on Netflix in Australia, Canada and the U. S. There are some confusing scenes, but the  plot will keep you plowing through the whole series. True, there are some subtitles in Norwegian, but many characters also speak excellent English so your native language will provide respites of familiarity.

MHZ remains the best European tv streaming service, but Netflix comes in second. Merci!

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