Get closer to the writers of the Norwegian series Borderliner (Grenseland), nominated for the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize to be handed out January 31st in Göteborg.

In the 8x45’ crime show Borderliner (Grenseland), honest Oslo cop Nikolai (Tobias Santelmann) is faced with a tragedy in his family and decides to cover up a murder case to protect them. But when co-investigator Anniken (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) suspects foul play, he is trapped in a dangerous game. The series was produced by Monster Scripted for TV2, in co-production with Sky Deutschland and Sweden’s Nice Drama. DRG handles world sales. Borderliner had its world premiere at the 2017 Festival de la Fiction de la Rochelle.

Megan Gallagher studied at Loyola Marymount University, L.A. with a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting. She went on to work for both Creative Artists Agency and Focus Features, where she consulted on films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Atonement, The American, Burn After Reading, Into the Wild, Milk and Away We Go. She later joined the development team at Lightstorm Entertainment, James Cameron’s production company.

In 2008, she relocated to Oslo, where she currently works as a screenwriter. Her original feature film Grand Hotel (2016) was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at Norway's Amanda Awards. Borderliner is based on Gallagher’s original idea.

What makes you tick in terms of genre and storytelling?
MG: I love it when a series moves forward and backward at the same, when the plot itself is progressing (a police investigation, for example) but at the same time, you’re learning things about your characters or their back stories that are not quite what you thought, for instance something you took for granted as true turns out to be untrue. Getting both those things working at the right pace, without one overshadowing the other, is tricky. I’m always so impressed when I see a show do that well.

What do you find the most rewarding and the most challenging about writing for television?
MG: The most rewarding part for me is getting a beat sheet spot-on. It’s like a puzzle, and it takes a long time to get all the pieces in place. But when it clicks, it’s a great feeling. The most challenging part is simply having enough content to sustain people’s interest. You always need more than you think.

Cite your top 3 TV shows that you’ve binge-watched recently.
MG: Godless blew my mind. I think I watched the whole season in two days. Scott Frank [the show’s writer/director) had such an amazing vision and passion for that show. Ozark was incredible; I cannot believe how much tension they managed to sustain for a whole season. Also Top Boy and Doctor Foster, because British TV is amazing. That’s four shows, but it’s not my fault...TV is too good to pick only three.

Bjørn Ekerberg is a PhD graduate in cultural, social and political thought from Victoria University, BC, Canada and former journalist. He wrote the script for the Norwegian short film Camping with Ada (Campingliv) and co-wrote NRK’s internationally-acclaimed drama series Valkyrien, winner of the 2017 Norwegian Gullruten awards for Best TV Drama and Best Actor. The series was sold to numerous territories such as the UK (C4/Walter Presents).

What makes you tick in terms of genre and storytelling?
BE: I’m driven by affective storytelling. Conflict-driven character drama may be conventional but still very difficult to achieve well, and when it truly works, it is sublime. For Borderliner, it was a challenge to combine crime, a genre where scenes often hinge on revealing plot points at the end, with the emotional logic of drama, where scenes often must be cued upfront if viewers are to engage affectively. Straight crime is a mind game, drama is about heart.

What do you find the most rewarding and the most challenging about writing for television?
BE: As TV series are (unfortunately) often green-lit based on first episode scripts, it can be an extreme sport to develop and write the rest of the series ahead of production. The scale is so large that practical constraints and timelines often determine more than good ideas. The challenge is to keep storylines clear and your own head above water. The reward is an intensified sense of teamwork and a creative dynamism unlike any other kind of writing project.

Cite your top 3 TV shows (Nordic and international) that you’ve binge-watched recently
BE: Arvingene (The Legacy) season 1, is in my mind the best Nordic drama in the last three years. Then I enjoyed Big Little Lies, for being irresistibly compelling, entertaining and dark, and Black Mirror, for being relevant, sharp and a different series format.

Alexander Opsal is currently a crime editor at Norway`s biggest publishing house, Cappelen Damm. Previously, he was the editor for Anne Holt, Samuel Bjørk and Gard Sveen at Vigmostad & Bjørke publishing house. As literary consultant, he has worked for authors such as Jo Nesbø, Tom Egeland and Tom Kristensen.

What makes you tick in terms of genre and storytelling? 
AO: I have always been drawn towards crime as a genre. I think it is the perfect vessel to create interesting characters in moral dilemmas.

What do you find the most rewarding and the most challenging about writing for television?
AO: The enormous reach of streaming TV, knowing that people all over the world now can follow characters that I had the privilege to help mould, is both very rewarding and very humbling. The most challenging part is taking in the magnitude of an entire series of television; it is a daunting task.

Cite your top 3 TV shows that you’ve binge-watched recently
AO: I am way behind, unfortunately, but I really enjoyed last year’s Nordisk Film & TV Fond prize winning series Nobel. This Christmas was very enjoyable thanks to Stranger Things, season 2. I also really liked Mindhunter and can't wait for season 2.