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The acclaimed Swedish thriller Blue Eyes premieres July 11th on MHz Choice!

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The Guardian calls Blue Eyes a “terrifying TV show that tracks the rise of the far-right in Europe” and “as claustrophobic as Homeland and as tightly wound as The Wire”. We think there’s more than a dash of Borgen and House of Cards in its depiction of naked power grabs and back-room political shenanigans. But it’s also a gripping, complex murder mystery combined with searing social commentary – like The Bridge. Whichever angle you come at it, this ten-part series smashed ratings records and provoked controversy when it premiered in Sweden in 2014, and the ensuing years have only increased its relevance.

We’re firmly in Nordic Noir territory as the story begins (like all good Scandinavian mysteries) with a murder. Annika Nilsson, a local representative for the extreme right-wing Swedish Security Party, is on her way home after a party meeting. But she never makes it. In the middle of her hometown of Uddevalla, she is brutally stabbed and killed.

Cut to Stockholm. With eight weeks to go until the general election, Justice Minister Gunnar Elvestad of the ruling Coalition Party urgently needs a new chief of staff to replace Sarah Farzin, who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Elvestad has the perfect candidate in mind, one who’d previously worked for him before resigning after a confrontation with a reporter. Her name is Elin Hammar, and when he finds her waiting tables in a coffee shop he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Elvestad has found his new chief of staff – and Blue Eyes has found its leading lady. Elin re-enters political life and is immediately drawn into the show’s other central mystery: what happened to Sarah Farzin, her predecessor in the job? The deeper Elin digs, the more she finds the trail pointing to Uddevalla. Is there a connection between Sarah’s disappearance and Annika Nilsson’s murder?

Anna Bjelkerud as Annika Nilsson

At the same time, a series of escalating terror attacks spreads fear throughout the country. A neo-Nazi group called Veritas has declared war, and will do whatever it takes to uphold their so-called “Swedish values”. Their aim is to destabilize the country and bring down the government. From here, all the disparate elements combine to take the story to unexpected places, twisting and turning as the clock ticks relentlessly down to election day.

Louise Peterhoff as Elin Hammar

The series features some familiar actors: Elin is played by Louise Peterhoff, best-known to MHz Choice viewers as crazy stalker lady Annika Melander in The Bridge 3. Niklas Hjulström (Patrik in the original Camilla Läckberg series) plays the Prime Minister, and Scandi Noir perennials Marie Richardson (Johan Falk, Wallander: The Original Episodes) and Dag Malmberg (The Bridge, Irene Huss) feature in key roles. On the other side of the camera, the series’ main directors are Henrik Georgsson, who helmed many episodes of The Bridge, and Emiliano Goessens, whose credits include Irene Huss, Inspector Winter and a pair of Camilla Läckberg adaptations. And speaking of directors, keep an eye out for Mårten Klingberg, who plays far right leader Peter Westman in several episodes. Klingberg also played policeman Nick Ingvar, half of the “Nick and Robban” duo, throughout Beck Season 2, and he’s an accomplished writer/director too – in fact, he just finished directing two of the brand-new Beck movies! (More on those next year.)

Niklas Hjulström (left) as the Prime Minister and Marie Richardson (right) as Veronika Strömstedt

The controversy around Blue Eyes on its broadcast in Sweden stemmed from the blatant parallels between Peter Westman and the show’s fictional “Security Party” and the real-life Swedish Democrats, a right-wing nationalist political party founded in 1988. The similarities were actually quite prescient; the SD had its greatest election success in 2014 while Blue Eyes was still in production, but it had been conceived and written several years before – at which time the script’s conceit of a Swedish far-right party polling in double digits was considered too outlandish to be even remotely believable!

Mårten Klingberg as (center) Peter Westman

So, to summarize: if you like Homeland, The Bridge, Borgen and/or House of Cards, if you like a complex murder mystery wrapped in searing social commentary, if you like strong female leads, conspiracy stories and a unique spin on all the classic Nordic Noir tropes, then you should definitely watch Blue Eyes – premiering July 11th only on MHz Choice!

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