Occupied (Netflix)

Three episodes in, and I’m already ready to call this Norwegian political thriller the best thing on television right now.

The scene — the near future.  The US has become self-sufficient in energy, and has withdrawn from NATO.  Norway has elected a Green Party PM, who decides to immediately shut down Norway’s oil industry in favor of an unproven alternative.  The EU is not amused, and looks the other way when the Russians move in, ostensibly to “offer their assistance” in restarting the Norwegian oil industry.  That’s pretty much the first 10 minutes.

The rest of the show is devoted to how various people react to the “non-occupation occupation.”  We see things from three characters’ viewpoints — the PM’s; a member of the PM’s security team who by virtue of his position sees and hears a lot more than he should; and a journalist who smells a rat.  There are a bunch of minor characters who are interesting too.

A stereotyped version of Scandinavia is a feature of our political discourse, on both sides of the aisle.  It’s nice to see a more nuanced version which is probably closer to what Norwegian society is actually like.  My favorite scene along these lines — a senior Justice Department official, female, wants the security guy to undertake a special mission.  She tracks him down in the security team’s locker room, where guys are in various stages of undress and there are no curtains on the showers.   Nobody bats an eye.  Well, maybe 1/2 an eye.  😈

Highly recommended.

Currently only available on Netflix streaming; hopefully will become more broadly accessible at some point.

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