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This article is about the TV series. For the Norwegian town, see Lillehammer.
Lilyhammer logo
Lilyhammer poster
Genre Comedy-drama
Crime drama
Created by Anne Bjørnstad
Eilif Skodvin
Written by Anne Bjørnstad
Eilif Skodvin
Steven Van Zandt
Directed by Simen Alsvik
Geir Henning Hopland
Lisa Marie Gamlem
Ole Endresen
Øystein Karlsen
Tuva Novotny
Steven Van Zandt
Starring Steven Van Zandt
Trond Fausa Aurvåg
Marian Saastad Ottesen
Sven Nordin
Kyrre Hellum
Anne Krigsvoll
Opening theme "Lilyhammer"

Frans Bak[1]

Steven Van Zandt
Country of origin Norway
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 16 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Steven Van Zandt
Lasse Hallberg
Producer(s) Agnete Thuland
Trond Berg-Nilsen
Anders Tangen
Location(s) Lillehammer
New York
Cinematography Johan-Fredrik Bødtker
Jakob Ingimundarson
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) Rubicon Tv AS
Netflix (Season 2)
Distributor NRK (Norway)
Netflix (United States)
Red Arrow International (World Wide)
Original channel NRK1
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
First shown in Norway
Original run 25 January 2012 (2012-01-25) – present
External links
SevenOne Lilyhammer Website

Lilyhammer is a Norwegian television series, starring Steven Van Zandt, about a fictional New York gangster, Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano, trying to start a new life in isolated Lillehammer in Norway. The first season premiered on Norwegian NRK1 on 25 January 2012[2] with a record audience of 998,000 viewers (one fifth of Norway's population),[3][4] and premiered on Netflix in North America on 6 February 2012, with all eight episodes available in full for streaming on the service.[5] Lilyhammer was "the first time Netflix offered exclusive content." [6] The spelling of the series title alludes to Lily—Tagliano's dog—killed in the first episode during an attempt on Tagliano's life, and the way Frank and some other anglophones pronounce the town's name.[7]

A second season was commissioned after the success of the first. However, Van Zandt's schedule with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Wrecking Ball Tour delayed production. It was announced in January 2013 that guitarist Tom Morello would replace Van Zandt for the Australian leg of the tour, so that filming could proceed.[8] Filming completed in April 2013 and included shoots both in Norway and New York City. Season two premiered 23 October 2013 on NRK1 and 13 December 2013 on Netflix.[9]

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Van Zandt announced he had signed on for a third season of the show, with filming set to begin on 3 January 2014.[10] In September 2014, announced that season 3 would also include appearances by Bruce Springsteen and Tony Sirico. Season 3 is set to premiere 29 October 2014 on NRK1[11] and 21 November 2014 on Netflix.[12]


Season 1[edit]

Frank Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt), a former underboss of the American Mafia, is placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program after testifying in a trial against Aldo Delucci (Thomas Grube), the new Mafia head who'd ordered a hit on him after succeeding his recently deceased brother, Sally Boy Delucci. Frank requests that he be relocated to Lillehammer, where he believes no one will look for him. His new identity is Norwegian-American immigrant Giovanni "Johnny" Henriksen. On a train journey from Oslo to Lillehammer, Johnny impresses teacher Sigrid Haugli (Marian Saastad Ottesen), her son Jonas (Mikael Aksnes-Pehrson), and a man who later turns out to be a civil supervisor. Johnny befriends the Hauglis after doing them a favor, and sometime later, after he and Sigrid spend the night together, Sigrid learns she is pregnant with his twins.

After a wolf kills Jonas' lamb, and the locals complain that authorities are doing nothing about it, and citizens are prohibited from killing wildlife, Johnny enlists his new friends, brothers Torgeir (Trond Fausa Aurvåg) and Roar Lien (Steinar Sagen), to help him hunt the predator. After killing the wolf and hiding its carcass mob style (by wrapping it in tarp, weighting down the body, and dropping it into an open fishing hole in an ice lake) the hunters hide in a cabin owned by Jan Johansen (Fridtjov Såheim), a local NAV worker with whom Johnny has developed a frictional relationship, and Johnny blackmails him with naked photos of underage girls Johnny took from the cabin.

The supervisor, who heard shots and saw the Lien brothers in the woods the night Johnny killed the wolf, reported them to the police. However, when Johnny's neighbour, police chief Laila Hovland (Anne Krigsvoll), and police officer Geir Tvedt (Kyrre Hellum) question the trio, the supervisor remembering Johnny's favor on the train - says he'd misidentified the Lien brothers; the hunters he saw must have been youth from Oslo.

Hovland and Tvedt become suspicious of Johnny when he opens his nightclub, the Flamingo. When the local biker gang attempts to start a war with Johnny, he hires them to deliver the club's alcohol supply. Johnny invests in an apartment complex and is promised his own penthouse. Eventually, Johnny is told the apartments are meant for families, and he is kicked out of the deal. Meanwhile, Geir edits a photo of Johnny to make him appear as a terrorist and presents it to Laila, who dismisses it. Geir is later suspended after he mistakes a toy gun Johnny is holding for a real one during a local ski race and interrupts the race to tackle him. Laila gifts Geir a trip to Graceland in Memphis to visit the home of his idol, Elvis. While stopped in New York, Geir learns that Johnny bears a similarity to vanished criminal Frank Tagliano and attempts to investigate.

In New York, Geir befriends a transvestite, who uses her knowledge of underworld hangouts to show Geir where he might collect information about Johnny. Aldo learns of Geir's appearance and sends hitman Robert Grasso (Tim Ahern) and Aldo's nephew Jerry (Greg Canestari) to interrogate Geir and find information regarding Frank's location. While being interrogated, Geir attacks his captors but is shot and killed in the struggle. When Aldo learn that Geir was from Lillehammer, he sends Robert and Jerry to Norway. Meanwhile, in Lillehammer, Johnny purchases a penthouse and invites Sigrid and Jonas to move in. When a mysterious beating occurs, Laila finds a connection between Johnny and the beating. Torgeir - who'd already remarked upon Johnny's unusual knowledge of guns, for a restaurant owner - informs Johnny of the hitmen and becomes curious about Johnny's true identity. When Torgeir later confronts Johnny, Johnny lies and says he is a CIA Agent wanted by the criminals from his past.

Eventually, Robert and Jerry kidnap Jonas, and Johnny gives chase through a nearby museum. Jonas manages to escape, and Robert kills Jerry. Johnny makes a deal with Robert, providing his ring as evidence for Aldo, in New York, that Johnny died in a mutually fatal shootout with Jerry. Laila discovers the two burying Jerry's body, but allows them to go after learning that Jerry was responsible for Geir's death. When Sigrid learns of Jonas' abduction, she breaks up with Johnny.

Season 2[edit]

Eight months later, British thief Duncan Hammer (Paul Kaye) arrives in Lillehammer, looking to sell a Ferrari through car salesman Sebastian. However, Sebastian owes money to Johnny and his crew, which now includes the bikers and Jan. When Johnny and Torgeir capture Sebastian, Torgeir, Roar, and Arne (Tommy Karlsen Sandum), the leader of the biker gang, "borrow" the Ferrari and film themselves speeding across Lillehammer's longest bridge. On the way, they hit a moose and destroy the car. Jan learns that his old fling Randi (Henriette Steenstrup) is in charge of the refugee centre and blackmails her into selling Johnny a partnership in the centre, at one-tenth its market value. Johnny and Sigrid's twins are christened. When Duncan interrogates Sebastian about the gang's location, he corners Torgeir in the Flamingo. Before Duncan can kill them, Torgeir stabs him through the throat with a knitting needle, and the Flamingo gang hires Arne to dispose of the body.

Johnny relocates Indian IT employee Gareth to Lillehammer, to become his crew's hacker. African refugee Balotelli (Momodou Lamin Touray) is about to deported back to Africa, when Jan and Johnny intervene. They employ Balotelli as the Flamingo's head chef. Duncan's brother Tony (Tony Pitts) and uncle Terry (Alan Ford) arrive in Lillehammer to find Duncan. Eventually, Tony and Terry kidnap Roar, and hold him for ransom. Johnny and Torgeir lure the gangsters to an ice lake, where they rescue Roar and leave Tony and Terry to freeze to death.

Johnny wins Citizen of the Year, and Torgeir befriends local millionaire Lars Olafsen (Henrik Mestad). Lars becomes an investor in the Flamingo and convinces Johnny to fire Torgeir. Reluctantly, Johnny agrees and fires him. However, he later re-hires Torgeir and cuts Lars out of the club's future investments. Meanwhile, a bank robbery in Oslo results in the thieves' stealing files on Johnny's relocation. Laila moves to Oslo and becomes a successful writer[clarification needed]. She is replaced by Mette Hansen (Silje Torp Færavaag), who sleeps with Torgeir and leads a raid on the Flamingo. Johnny hires his old friend, criminal Thomas Aune (Kyrre Haugen Sydness), to help him track down the thieves.

Torgeir and Roar's mother, Belinda (Maylen Feragen), returns home and begins dating Swedish gangster Stanley Olsson (Johannes Brost), who immediately proposes to her and makes Johnny his best man and Roar his toastmaster. Torgeir and Roar hold a bachelor party for Stanley at the club, but Stanley begins to mistreat the dancers. The brothers kick him out of the club and leave him to wander home by himself. The next morning, Torgeir and Roar learn Stanley had raped their neighbour's sheep. They tell Johnny, who abducts Stanley and sends him back to Sweden. During Jan's birthday party, Randi walks in and finds him flirting with the dancers. She leaves and files a report on the refugee centre, causing it to close down.

The crew tracks down the thieves, only to learn that Thomas and his friend are working with them. Johnny's crew raids the thieves' hideout and takes the stolen items from the heist. Johnny gives the stolen jewelry to Hansen, who returns the items to the bank, becomes a national hero, and gets a promotion to Oslo. Johnny takes back his relocation file, but Thomas steals it and goes to New York, where he plans to sell it to Delucci. When a farmer owes money to Johnny, he promises Johnny's crew a reindeer herd. Johnny's crew plans to create an avalanche and collect insurance money, but Torgeir backs out, and the plan is ruined.

Johnny and Sigrid's twins begin at a local kindergarten, and Johnny begins to date their teacher, Tiril (Viktoria Winge). She suggests they race the reindeer herd down Lillehammer's main street. She says that relationships between teachers and parents are forbidden, so Johnny takes the twins out of the kindergarten. Johnny informs Lars of the idea, and they begin promoting the Reindeer Race. In New York, Robert learns of Thomas' presence, kills him, and hides the file from Delucci. Jan returns to the refugee centre and tells Randi to rescind the complaint report. Randi refuses, and Jan accidentally pushes her into a wall, killing her.

Having discovered Randi's body and suspecting Jan, Johnny meets with him to which a tearful Jan confesses. Johnny advises Jan to disappear somewhere that he couldn't possibly be found, prompting Jan to emigrate to Iraq through his connections. Robert appears in Lillehammer and tells Johnny to return to New York to kill Delucci. Johnny, Torgeir and Roar pose as Norwegian tour guides and attend a party held by Delucci in his restaurant. On the restaurant balcony, they corner Delucci and shoot him before pushing him off the balcony. They return to Lillehammer, and Torgeir wins the lead in a local tribute to Glee. Eight months later, the Reindeer Race is a success. Johnny and his friends watch from the Flamingo's rooftop and Johnny embraces his twin infants.


  • Steven Van Zandt as Frank Tagliano / Giovanni "Johnny" Henriksen
  • Trond Fausa Aurvåg as Torgeir Lien, Giovanni's friend and business partner
  • Marian Saastad Ottesen as Sigrid Haugli, Giovanni's friend and love interest
  • Steinar Sagen as Roar Lien, the local taxidriver; Torgeir's brother
  • Fridtjov Såheim as the NAV worker Jan Johansen
  • Sven Nordin as the lawyer Julius Backe
  • Anne Krigsvoll as the chief of police Laila Hovland
  • Mikael Aksnes-Pehrson as Sigrid's son Jonas Haugli
  • Kyrre Hellum as the police officer Geir "Elvis" Tvedt
    • Øyvind Blomstrøm, bass guitarist in El Cuero and drummer Svein Åge Lillehamre of the Lucky Bullets, who appear as backing musicians for (Kyrre Hellum's) Elvis cover-band in multiple episodes
  • Tommy Karlsen Sandum as MC-Arne
  • Greg Canestrari as Jerry Delucci
  • Tim Ahern as Robert Grasso
  • Beate Eriksen as Arne's mother
  • Jay Benedict as Agent Becker
  • Ingrid Olava as herself, playing the piano at the Flamingo at the end of the first season finale
  • Paul Kaye as Duncan Hammer (season 2)[13]
  • Tony Sirico as Frank's brother and church priest (season 2)
  • Pål Espen Kilstad as Trond (season 2)
  • Erik Madsen (season 2)
  • Amy Beth Hayes (season 2)
  • Jakob Oftebro as a baby swimming instructor (season 2)
  • Amit Shah as Gareth, a Packard Bell call center employee, whom Frank hires to be his hacker (season 2)[14]
  • Alan Ford as a British gangster, claiming to be from Scotland Yard (season 2)
  • Tony Pitts as Duncan's brother, Tony (season 2)
  • Richard Skog as Odjobb, Frank's bodyguard (season 2)
  • Silje Torp as Mette Hansen (season 2)
  • Maureen van Zandt as Ange, Frank's friend in New York (season 2)


The first series was shot on location during 2011, with post-production finishing in November and originally intended to be aired on NRK1 on 1 January 2012. Due to a conflict between NRK1 and the producers about product placements, which were illegal under Norwegian law at the time of production, the Norwegian broadcast was put on hold. After a three-week delay, the series premiered in Norway on 25 January 2012. The series was commissioned by NRK1 from Norwegian Rubicon TV AS, in association with Netflix and German-owned distributor Red Arrow International.[2]

The second season was filmed on location both in Norway and New York City during the first four months of 2013.[citation needed]

An eight-episode third season began filming in January 2014, with Netflix remaining the exclusive U.S. producer.[15][16]

As Rolling Stone reports: "Van Zandt is involved in nearly every element of Lilyhammer. In addition to starring in the show and co-writing it, he also worked on the music. 'There was no music budget the first season,' he says. 'Now that we have one, I put it all into licensing great songs. I did the whole score myself for free. I did it from my own studio. That's what I spent the last six months on.' "[6]


Season Episodes Originally aired DVD and Blu-ray release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2
1 8 25 January 2012 14 March 2012 3 December 2013 28 March 2012
2 8 23 October 2013 11 December 2013 N/A 19 February 2014
3 8 29 October 2014[17] N/A N/A N/A

Viewer ratings currently hold a 65/100 critic rating and an 8.2 user rating on Metacritic.[18]


Lilyhammer premiered in Norway on 25 January 2012. On 6 February 2012, the show began streaming on Netflix in Canada and the US. From 11 September 2012, it was transmitted on BBC Four in the UK.[19][20][21] The series was bought by several other broadcasting companies, including SVT[22] in Sweden (for transmission in autumn 2012), and companies in Germany, Belgium, Australia, Denmark and France.[23] The series has been sold to over 130 countries worldwide.[24]


  1. ^ "Frans Bak Scored ‘Lilyhammer’". IMDb. 
  2. ^ a b "Norge får "Lilyhammer" først likevel". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). 16 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "‘Lilyhammer’ sets new NRK record". Norway International Network. 26 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Steven Van Zandt’s ‘Lilyhammer’ Breaks Ratings Records in Norway". Hollywood Reporter. 27 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Netflix 'Lilyhammer' to tv lineup". 9 March 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Greene, Andy (December 5, 2013). "How 'Lilyhammer' Changed the TV World: 'Netflix is opening a whole new golden era of television,' says Steve Van Zandt. Plus: Can the E Street Band play forever?". Rolling Stone. 
  7. ^ Silverman, Jacob (February 13, 2012). "The circuitous return of Steven Van Zandt, wise guy (via Netflix, and Norwegian comedy)". Capital. 
  8. ^ "Tom Morello to join Wrecking Ball Tour in Australia". 16 January 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Netflix Sets Second Season Premiere Of ‘Lilyhammer’". 6 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Steven Van Zandt 'Honored' By E Street Band's Hall of Fame Induction". Rolling Stone. 18 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 3, 2014). "Bruce Springsteen & Tony Sirico To Appear On Steven Van Zandt's Series 'Lilyhammer'". Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ Prudom, Laura (October 16, 2014). "'Lilyhammer' Season 3 Premiere Set for November on Netflix". Variety. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  13. ^ "‘Lilyhammer’ Adds Cast For Season Two". Deadline. 21 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Lilyhammer: Production Kick-Off Season 2". Red Arrow International. 
  15. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (January 13, 2014). "Netflix Confirms ‘Lilyhammer’ Season 3 For 2014". Deadline. 
  16. ^ Stieber, Zachary Stieber (January 15, 2014). "Lilyhammer Season 3 Confirmed: Release Date for Netflix Show Sometime in 2014". Epoch Times. 
  17. ^ Berg, Marthe (October 3, 2014). "Her er de første bildene fra «Lilyhammer 3»". Verdens Gang (VG). Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Lilyhammer - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "BBC Picks Up Steven Van Zandt Drama ‘Lilyhammer’". Hollywood Reporter. 6 February 2012.
  20. ^ Frost, Vicky (5 February 2012). "Lilyhammer series could provide just the tonic for bereft Borgen fans". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  21. ^ "BBC4 TV listings for 11 September 2012". BBC. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  22. ^ "Lilyhammer" (in Swedish). SVT. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  23. ^ ""Lilyhammer"-suksess i Storbritannia" (in Norwegian). NRK. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Lilyhammer solgt til over 130 land" (in Norwegian). NRK. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 

External links[edit]