is a Norwegian-American co-production that describes exactly what happens when The Mafia
meets Norse by Norsewest
. After the death of his boss
, New York
mobster Frank Tagliano
is betrayed by his new Capo and nearly killed (unfortunately, his dog is not so lucky
). Tired of the Mafia lifestyle
, Frank turns state's evidence and enters Witness Protection
. Deeming New York to be unsafe, Frank demands that the FBI send him to Lillehammer, whose beautiful surroundings he remembers from watching the 1994 Winter Olympics
on TV.Hilarity Ensues
as Frank takes the identity of "Giovanni Henriksen" and travels to Norway
. Things quickly turn out differently than poor Frank intended: the system treats him as an immigrant on par with any Middle Easterner or African refugee, he has weeks of courses to pass before he can gain citizenship, and the Feds "forgot" to set him up with a valid driver's license
. And on top on that, he ends up living next door to the local chief of police
. Faced with all this, Frank quickly gets up to his old tricks
to bend the sleepy, freezing town to his will...
Broadcast by NRK (the Norwegian equivalent of The BBC
) in Norway and available on Netflix
in the United States, Lilyhammer
is unabashedly and unashamedly The Sopranos in NORWAY!
alumn Steven Van Zandt
more or less plays an expy of Silvio Dante, and much of the comedy comes from watching him tackle the totally unfamiliar landscape of rural Norway. The series has turned out to be a huge success in Norway, while garnering ... slightly less attention in the US. The second season saw the inclusion of more (famous) American actors, as well as a few British ones. The third season is about to be filmed.
This series provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: The obvious one: Steven van Zandt is a gangster who opens a nightclub.
- Anti-Hero: Frank, full stop. He's a career criminal who's using his talents to up-end a peaceful rural community, and we're cheering him on. Granted, he does toe the line of falling into full-time Villain Protagonist, but he's certainly Lighter and Softer than Tony Soprano.
- Armored Closet Gay: Jerry Delucci is implied to be one.
- Artistic License - Law: In real life, toy guns are required by law in most countries to have some obvious way to show that they're a toy, and under Norwegian law, it's illegal to carry a realistic looking one. That makes the police commissioner's reactions to Geir stopping the marathon due to seeing Frank with a realistic-looking toy gun a rather large example of this trope, particularly considering the then-recent shooting and bombing.
- Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Subverted. Frank's original attempt to bribe a government employee is couched in euphemisms to avoid the word "bribe", but the official is outraged by the insult and threatens to call the cops. When Frank later obtains pictures of the official engaging in sex acts with underaged girls, however, he says that the situation is "definitely" blackmail.
- Butt Monkey: Geir, Jan.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Julius is the only main charcter of Season 1 not to return in Season 2.
- Buy Them Off: Frank's modus operandi for dealing with anything.
- Cowboy Cop: Geir. Bonus points for being an Elvis Impersonator who spatters his speech with American cop lingo. Also, The Mafia kills him in Episode 5.
- Da Chief: This isn't exactly the way to describe Laila, the chief of police. Commissioner ěstli, on the other hand...
- When he first meets Laila, Frank thinks she's working for the Postal Service.
- Deconstructor Fleet: To the entirety of Norwegian political correctness. Frank cheerfully punches his way through all manner government bureaucracy and social norms.
- Epic Fail: Anything Geir sets out to do. Including trying to find the New York mob—it ends badly.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have: Torgeir's reaction to Arne's mother.
- Heroic BSOD: Geir, after getting suspended.
- Important Haircut: Played for Drama/Tragedy. Julius shaves off most of his newly converted Muslim son Olav's beard while he's asleep. When Olav wakes up, he runs away from home.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: "How did you know he was interested in Elvis?"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Frank is this or just a Jerk Ass.
- Meaningful Name: In-universe, Julius's son Olav takes the name Olav Abdulkarim to signify his conversion to Islam.
- The Nicknamer: Frank. Julius becomes Julie. Utsi [a Sami name] becomes Tootsie.
- Norse by Norsewest: Norway's politics and society are explored in all their baffling detail - to be tackled head-on by Frank.
- Police Are Useless: Everyone except for Laila and her team, and even they're stretching it. So you've got a guy with possible terrorist connections at a marathon where the police commissioner and justice minister are competing, and he's holding a realistic looking toy gun in a country where that would both be illegal and where there had recently been a mass shooting. So what do you do to the officer that tackles him and delays the race? Suspend him, of course! So you've got two Americans in custody wanted for a variety of assaults, not to mention theft of petrol from a gas station where they'd surely have video surveillance footage of both them and the car they drive, so what do you do? Release them!
- Precision F-Strike: Frank does this all the time, but most impressively when it's revealed that Sigrid is pregnant with twins.
Frank: Oh, fuck me.
- Put on a Bus: Laila quits her job after becoming a author of crime fiction early in Season 2 and is not heard from again.
- Reality Hits: most memorably when Frank tries to bribe his case worker to let him open a bar.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Frank in a nutshell.
- Shout-Out: The Season 2 finale has several to The Sopranos:
- The episode opens with Torgeir singing Don't Stop Beliving for an audition.
- When in New York the guys put on the Sopranos theme song on the car stereo.
- The Sopranos actors Tony Sirico and Maureen van Zandt appears.
- Viswanathan uses the words Bada Bing as an expression.
- Turn in Your Badge: After inadvertently stopping the Minister of Justice from completing the Birkebeinerrittet ski race, Geir is put on a six month probation.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Frank, in the "criminal" sense.
- The War on Terror: Geir is wholly convinced that Frank is a wanted al-Qaeda terrorist.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Geir. If he were in a serious cop drama about terrorism, some of his earlier actions would be in the right, such as taking security at the race seriously and calling a code red when he saw Frank with the (toy) gun to keep the Minister of Justice away from the finish line.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Julius gets cancer. Then it turns out he jumped to conclusions based on some worrying signs - in fact, he's perfectly healthy.