Netflix has ordered “The Unlikely Murderer,” a Swedish limited series based on Thomas Pettersson’s eponymous 2018 award-winning book.
The five-part drama series is a fictional interpretation of how Stig Engström, the graphic designer named as the suspected murderer of Sweden’s prime minister Olof Palme, managed to elude justice right up to his death through a combination of audacity, luck and a perplexed police force.
Engström’s murder was not planned well, he did everything wrong from the beginning and almost no one believed his lies about what he actually did during that fateful night in 1986 in Stockholm, Sweden. The series will question how police could have let the suspect get away, despite tracking him.
The series is written by Wilhelm Behrman and Niklas Rockström (“Caliphate,” “Before We Die”). Charlotte Brändström (“The Witcher”) is the conceptual director and will helm the first two episodes of the show.
The Swedish-language series will be produced by FLX, the production company whose credits include the Netflix original series “Quicksand” and “Love & Anarchy.” “The Unlikely Murderer” will launch on Netflix in 2021.
One of Sweden’s most beloved comedians and actors, Robert Gustafsson (“The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared”) will play the lead role as Engström. The series will also be headlined by Eva Melander, Mikael Persbrandt and Peter Andersson.
The cast also includes Joel Spira, Emil Almén, Shanti Roney, Torkel Petterson, Henrik Norlén, Lia Boysen, Magnus Krepper, Björn Bengtsson, Peter Viitanen and Cilla Thorell.
“It’s an exciting challenge and a great responsibility to portray Stig Engström, but also, in a way, a form of therapy. Since I was at the same cinema as Olof Palme on the night of the murder, this case has always felt like an abscess that never disappears — and I’m not alone in feeling that,” said Gustafsson.
“The theory about Engström is the most logical one and the one that the latest Palme investigation group has concluded as the right one. It is also the theory I believe — and now there is a chance for me to understand the event and examine Stig Engström’s character,” said the actor.
The series “explores and depicts the inadequate police work around the Palme Inquiry during the 1980s and 1990s,” added Gustafsson.
Tesha Crawford, director of Nordic Original Series at Netflix, pointed out that the “gripping and challenging case has intrigued people both in Sweden as well as the rest of the world for more than 34 years.”
Brändström said she “certainly remembers the immense national trauma caused by the assassination of Olof Palme in February 1986, a trauma that still quietly rumbles on today.”
The mystery of Olof Palme’s killing has also inspired Schiaffino Musarra’s Swedish crime comedy series “We Got This” which was recently acquired by AMC Networks for the U.S., Canada and the U.K.