All eight episodes from the first series of the TV comedy drama, centering on a mafia mobster's attempts to start a new life in Lillehammer, Norway. After testifying against his old buddies in the mob, New York gangster Frank 'The Fixer' Tagliano (Steve Van Zandt) enters the FBI witness protection programme, choosing to be relocated to Lillehammer, Norway (he liked the look of it when he saw the 1994 Winter Olympics on TV). Now Norwegian-American immigrant Giovanni Henriksen, he quickly sets about making his new life as comfortable as he can by casually employing a mix of blackmail, extortion and threats to further his ambitions of opening his own bar, 'The Flamingo'. Unfortunately for Frank, however, his arrival in the town has not gone entirely unnoticed, as the local police soon begin to take an interest in his strangely empty background. The episodes are: 'Reality Check', 'The Flamingo', 'Guantanamo Blues', 'The Midwife', 'My Kind of Town', 'Pack Your Lederhosen', 'The Babysitter' and 'Trolls'.
A terrific mix of comedy and drama, Lilyhammer
centres on New York gangster Frank Tagliano played by Steve Van Zandt. Said gangster testifies against his former mob colleagues and with inevitable fear for his life he enters the witness protection programme. So far so conventional. But where Lilyhammer
takes a different turn is when Frank decides to relocate to Norway. Nothing could go wrong there, right?
Predictably, it doesn’t quite work out like that. Frank’s life across the eight episodes in Lilyhammer’s first season remains full of incident as he looks to put his new life together, and the programme has great fun exploring that. Anchored by an excellent performance from Van Zandt, Lilyhammer turns out to be a Scandanavian series with a lovely, light touch. Furthermore, the Norwegian setting gives the programme some real distinction, with the exquisite scenery expertly utilised.
The disc release is a good one, not only bringing the quintet of episodes together, but also adding in some welcome added material. There’s still room for a lot more, but you get some concept art, as well as just over five minutes of outtakes. A short featurette also dissects putting the theme tune to the programme together.
Shortly after the first season premiered, a second season order of Lilyhammer was given the green light. It’s not hard to see why, on the basis of the quality of what’s on offer here.--Jon Foster