Elisa Viihde Orders ‘The Invincible’ from ‘Cargo’ Creator (EXCLUSIVE)

Matti Kinnunen
`Photo: Heidi Hanna Karhu

Leading Finnish streamer Elisa Viihde Viaplay has ordered financial thriller “The Invincibles”  from “Cargo” creator Matti Kinnunen. The series is produced by “Black Widows”’ Moskito TV. Director and head-writer Kinnunen will co-pen the show with Mikko Reitala (“Blind Donna”).

Currently in development, the eight-part TV show is set in the turbulent Finnish banking crisis of the early 1990s. The smart and idealistic 28-year-old Salla Nurminen gets a job at the Bank Inspectorate and vows to fight corrupt bankers. Her core assignment is to check on Skopbank, which has masterminded a “strike and cash in” speculation technique. Salla soon launches a cat-and-mouse game with Skop’s charismatic financial wiz Christopher Wegelius. When she discovers that Skopbank is hiding vast sums of money in the Cayman Islands tax haven, the battle gives way to a new, mutual enemy.

Kinnunen said “The Invincibles” will be a character-driven drama, inspired by real events. The show will mix fictitious characters and real-life players from the time, such as former banker Christopher Wegelius, now in his 80s, who was charged in the 1990s for Skopbank’s collapse and eventually cleared in 2000.

Kinnunen, who was a young economics student at the time, said he watched “from a front-row seat” as Finland verged on bankruptcy. He believes this “dark and peculiar” phase in his country’s history is not very well known internationally and deserves to be told from a fictional standpoint, with a young woman as the plot driver.

Moskito TV’s head of drama Mari Kinnunen feels it’s a good time to tackle this controversial episode of Finnish history, still rarely shown on screen. Although rooted in her country’s past, she believes the story has a strong universal appeal as the portrait of “a young sharp woman who breaks barriers to enter a man’s world.”

For Laura Kuuslasmaa, Elisa Viihde’s exec producer, the series is indeed both local and universal, but also relevant in today’s COVID-19 context which is “affecting the global economy and where lots of companies are going under,” she said.

Filming for “The Invincibles” is due to start this fall, and casting is underway. Moskito exec Kinnunen is negotiating global distribution with various key players.

Meanwhile NENT Group’s flagship Finnish production house Moskito TV has lined up another TV show with Kinnunen after “The Invincibles”: the cyber thriller “The Revenge,” commissioned by C More.

The creator-showrunner’s premium series “Cargo” is competing for the high-profile Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for outstanding Nordic screenplay. Set to premiere on the Finnish public broadcaster Yle later this fall, the gripping refugee drama is represented globally by Fremantle.

The winner of the Nordic screenwriting prize will be announced Feb. 3 at the two-day TV Drama Vision, the industry sidebar of Sweden’s Göteborg Film Festival, which runs Jan. 29-Feb. 8.