The Norwegian/Israeli thriller series produced by Monster Scripted and Drama Team will be set against the Oslo Accords of 1993. Filming is scheduled to start in 2020.
The announcement was made this morning on the closing day of the Nordic Media Festival in Bergen, by TV2 Norway and Netflix who are teaming up with Israeli broadcaster HOT.
The 10-part series What Happened in Oslo (working title) created by Kyrre Holm Tønne Johannessen and Ronit Weiss-Berkowitcz, will be set in Oslo, the Palestinian Territories and the Sinai desert. The series focuses on the Norwegian couple Alexandra (Alex) and Karl, whose lives are turned upside down when they receive a phone call from Jerusalem, announcing that their daughter Pia (24) has gone missing. Seeking answers, they travel to Israel where Alex calls on an old friend, Arik, whom she met during the Oslo Accords in 1993 [agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation].
Arik is now an established politician in Israel. Fearing the worst, the parents also search for Pia in Gaza, where Layla, another of Alex’s friends from the Oslo Accords, is based. One day, they receive a video, showing Pia and two Israelis standing out from the harsh desert landscape in orange prison jumpsuits, surrounded by Isis soldiers. Their demands? Release 11 Isis prisoners from Israel and 1 from Norway, or Pia will be executed.
“We were inspired by the secretive negotiations in Oslo in 1993. The impossible happened: enemies managed to reconcile and become friends, then everything collapsed and they found themselves sliding back towards old hostilities. Today the gulf between the parties is larger than ever; a tantalising backdrop for both drama and excitement”, said co-writers Johannessen and Weiss-Berkowitcz in a statement.
The TV project was initiated by Monster Scripted’s managing director and producer Håkon Briseid and TV2 Norway’s Head of Drama Christopher Haug during an inspirational trip to Israel in 2017 where they decided to join forces on the project with the established local production company The Drama Team (In Treatment, US version of Hostages).
“TV 2 has been involved in the development of the series from the very beginning and has high hopes for the final product.”, commented Haug. “TV2 is always on the hunt for the best stories, and in this instance, we’ll be presenting the Norwegian people with a high-end Norwegian thriller which incorporates international overtones. We have enormous faith in the fact that the audience’s eyes will be glued to the screen and we couldn’t be happier knowing that both Netflix and HOT feel the same way” said Haug.
For NENT Group’s preeminent production house Monster Scripted (Nobel, Borderliner, Young & Promising), What Happened in Oslo marks a step in a new direction. “We have done co-productions on a smaller scale before – and with large broadcasters like Sky in the UK on Borderliner, but we have not had producing partners involved creatively to this extent before,” told Briseid to nordicfilmandtvnews.com. “I expect you will see more of this from us in the future as we experience that true creative partnerships gives an added authenticity on cross-border projects.”
Asked about the terms of the deal signed with Netflix and HOT and hold back period, Briseid said: “I cannot comment on the details, but will say that all partners have shown flexibility in getting this show together, and I expect that we will be able to co-ordinate the individual releases closely when time comes.” In the meantime, Monster Scripted is concentrating on NRK’s procedural For Life, currently in production, and will start filming this winter Netflix’s original series Bloodride.