Netflix has acquired the global rights outside of Norway to the hard-hitting Norwegian crime series “Gangs of Oslo” (“Blodsbrødre”), produced by Monday Scripted for Norway’s largest commercial broadcaster TV 2, Variety has learned exclusively.
“Gangs of Oslo” is one of the new Norwegian premium TV shows to be highlighted by TV 2 Norway as part of the Focus on Norway showcase at the Göteborg Film Festival’s TV Drama Vision confab (Feb. 1-2).
The six-part series is created and directed by Ole Endresen, episodic director of Netflix’s first Original series, “Lilyhammer,” and “Young Wallander.” Monday Productions’ CEO Lasse Hallberg who served as executive producer with Steven van Zandt on “Lilyhammer,” holds a similar role on “Gangs of Oslo,” produced by Cecilie Tiderman. Sajid Malik is co-producing.
TV 2 Norway’s head of drama Alice Sommer said that following the show’s premiere on the broadcaster’ own VOD service TV 2 Play on Jan.19, and an exclusive six-month hold back period for the Nordic territory, “Gangs of Oslo” will also be available to Netflix customers in Norway. The U.S. streamer is set to premiere the show in the rest of the world in the coming months. The news was confirmed by Netflix.
“Gangs of Oslo” is the third series financed by Egmont-owned TV 2 Norway in association with Netflix after “Girl from Oslo” (2021) and “Borderliner” (2017).
Endresen’s anticipated new series is being billed as “‘Snabba Cash’ meets ‘City of God,’ with a touch of ‘The Wire.’” Audiences will follow the cop Moaz, who gets transferred from the westside of Oslo to a suburb in the east of town where he grew up. He soon realises that the leader of the criminal gang Enemiez, whom he is tracking, is his former childhood friend Rami.
As Rami battles to keep control of his slice of Oslo’s criminal underworld, he forces Moaz into becoming the gang’s insider in the police. The latter gets increasingly entangled in the gang’s web and torn between loyalty to the police forces and to his friend to whom he is eternally indebted since childhood.
“My ambition with the show was to tell a story of suburban crime going beyond the stereotyped image of gangs shooting at each other,” said Endresen who spent several years researching the topic with Monday’s creative team, via books, articles, and interviews with people connected to Oslo’s underworld. “I wanted to show that even gang members dream of a traditional safe life with families, and a house with a back garden”.
One major topic in the series is gang recruiting of young kids, and by setting the story against the backdrop of an election, the creator said he “wanted to shed light on how politicians are totally failing on this issue.” “My hope is that parents will take good care of their loved ones after watching the show,” he added.
Inspired by landmark French crime movie “La Haine” (1995), Endresen opted for street casting to capture the authentic feel of the milieu depicted. Toplining the cast of 80% amateurs – including a few hip-hop artists – are Mohamed Youssef, a plumber in real life who plays Rami, while Emir Zamwa – an IT student – makes his screen debut as Moaz.
In other roles are Per Kjerstad (“State of Happiness,” “Afterglow”), Janne Heltberg (“Headhunters,” “Witch Hunt”), Ishak Kaya and Ingvild Lakou (“Raised by Wolves”).
For Sommer, “Gangs of Oslo” is “a compelling and uncompromising crime thriller set in the criminal underworld, depicting the relationship between two friends who went in totally opposite directions in life.”
“Acclaimed director Ole Endresen has a sharp and tender eye for the jagged bitter-sweetness of this double-edged friendship, and he has worked with great dedication to nurture new onscreen talent for this hard-hitting yet vulnerable crime drama series,” she underscored.
Endresen who serves as creative chief officer at Monday Productions Norway, is also credited as showrunner on Viaplay’s crime/courtroom drama “Aber Bergen” and helmed three episodes of Sky’s cop drama “Bulletproof,” produced by Vertigo Films. He is repped by the London-based talent agency Curtis Brown.