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Lilyhammer is a Norwegian-American co-production that describes exactly what happens when The Mafia meets Norse by Norsewest. After the death of his boss, New York mobster Frank Tagliano is betrayed by his new Capo and nearly killed (unfortunately, his dog is not so lucky). Tired of the Mafia lifestyle, Frank turns state's evidence and enters Witness Protection. Deeming New York to be unsafe, Frank demands that the FBI send him to Lillehammer, whose beautiful surroundings he remembers from watching the 1994 Winter Olympics on TV.
Hilarity Ensues as Frank takes the identity of "Giovanni Henriksen" and travels to Norway. Things quickly turn out differently than poor Frank intended: the system treats him as an immigrant on par with any Middle Easterner or African refugee, he has weeks of courses to pass before he can gain citizenship, and the Feds "forgot" to set him up with a valid driver's license. And on top on that, he ends up living next door to the local chief of police. Faced with all this, Frank quickly gets up to his old tricks to bend the sleepy, freezing town to his will...
Broadcast by NRK (the Norwegian equivalent of The BBC) in Norway and available on Netflix in the United States, Lilyhammer is unabashedly and unashamedly The Sopranos in NORWAY!. Sopranos alum Steven van Zandt more or less plays an expy of Silvio Dante, and much of the comedy comes from watching him tackle the totally unfamiliar landscape of rural Norway. The series has turned out to be a huge success in Norway, while garnering... slightly less attention in the US. A second season is now available, with even more Sopranos stars putting in appearances.
- Actor Allusion: The obvious one: Steven van Zandt is a gangster who opens a nightclub.
- Anti-Hero: Frank, full stop. He's a career criminal who's using his talents to up-end a peaceful rural community, and we're cheering him on. Granted, he does toe the line of falling into full-time Villain Protagonist, but he's certainly Lighter and Softer than Tony Soprano.
- Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Frank shoulders his way through the initial government immigration process by discovering, and using, incriminating photos of his Jerkass case worker in an orgy with young girls
- Norwegian Brevity: Each season is only eight episodes long.
- Butt Monkey: Geir, Jan.
- Buy Them Off: Frank's modus operandi for dealing with anything.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Frank instructs the Norwegians on the proper way to talk in New York. It actually works.
- Cowboy Cop: Geir. Bonus points for being an Elvis Impersonator who spatters his speech with American cop lingo. Also, The Mafia kills him in Episode 5.
- Da Chief: This isn't exactly the way to describe Laila, the chief of police. Commissioner Østli, on the other hand...
- When he first meets Laila, Frank thinks she's working for the Postal Service.
- Deconstructor Fleet: To the entirety of Norwegian political correctness. Frank cheerfully punches his way through all manner government bureaucracy and social norms.
- Epic Fail: Anything Geir sets out to do. Including trying to find the New York mob--it ends badly.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Most of Johnny's crew, but especially Torgeir. He may have killed a man with a crochet hook, but he definitely was not going to kill a herd of defenseless reindeer.
- Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Torgeir's reaction to Arne's mother.
- Heroic BSOD: Geir, after getting suspended.
- Hot Mom: Sigrid. Frank certainly thinks so too.
- Important Haircut: Played for Drama/Tragedy. Julius shaves off most of his newly converted Muslim son Olav's beard while he's asleep. When Olav wakes up, he runs away from home.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: "How did you know he was interested in Elvis?"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Frank is this or just a Jerkass.
- Killed Off for Real: Poor Geir. And a few more.
- Meaningful Name: In-universe, Julius's son Olav takes the name Olav Abdulkarim to signify his conversion to Islam.
- The Nicknamer: Frank. Julius becomes Julie. Utsi [a Sami name] becomes Tootsie.
- Norse by Norsewest: Norway's politics and society are explored in all their baffling detail - to be tackled head-on by Frank.
- Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters: Frank does his fair share of philanthropy in the community -- especially when it will get him closer to a woman.
- Precision F-Strike: Frank does this all the time, but most impressively when it's revealed that Sigrid is pregnant with twins.
Frank: Oh, fuck me.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Frank in a nutshell.
- Theme Tune Cameo: In the last episode of the second season, both portions of the song get played, as well as the Sopranos theme.
- Turn in Your Badge: After inadvertently stopping the Minister of Justice from completing the Birkebeinerrittet ski race, Geir is put on a six month probation.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Frank, in the "criminal" sense.
- The War on Terror: Geir is wholly convinced that Frank is a wanted al-Qaeda terrorist.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Geir. If he were in a serious cop drama about terrorism, some of his earlier actions would be in the right, such as taking security at the race seriously and calling a code red when he saw Frank with the (toy) gun to keep the Minister of Justice away from the finish line.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Julius gets cancer. Then it turns out he jumped to conclusions based on some worrying signs - in fact, he's perfectly healthy.