The news headlines have been dominated this year by the upcoming referendum on whether the United Kingdom should stay in the European Union. One of the main arguments from the ‘out’ campaigners is that Britain can base its future on the Norwegian model. However, they might want to watch Erik Skjoldbjærg’s new TV series, Occupied, before jumping to conclusions. Set in the near future, Norway’s most expensive small screen production follows a potential nightmare scenario.
The USA has achieved energy independence and Middle-East oil production has stopped. Whilst Europe finds itself in an energy crisis, the Norwegian Green Party has risen to power following a climate change fuelled natural disaster. After new Prime Minister Jesper Berg (Henrik Mestad) announces that they will be ceasing oil and gas production he is kidnapped by Russian special forces and told by accede to EU demands and change his mind. In order to placate them and prevent further reprisals, he accepts a temporary Russian occupation to re-instigate production. Aided by the intelligence services and his bodyguard Hans Djupvik (Eldar Skar), he must find a way out of this mess. However, his attempts are undermined by the rise of a Free Norway nationalist organisation.
Occupied is a taught political drama which imagines how this scenario may play out. Prime Minister Berg plays a delicate balancing act whilst Djupvik must discover who’s behind several terrorist acts, whilst maintaining relations with the Russian ambassador Sidorova (Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė). Djupvik and Mestad are excellent as the two central protagonists and there’s a strong supporting cast who help make Occupied a frighteningly believable future reality.
The Occupied is released on DVD and Blu-ray by Dazzler Media on Monday.