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GenreCrime drama
Created byAnne Bjørnstad
Eilif Skodvin
Written byAnne Bjørnstad
Eilif Skodvin
Directed byJens Lien
Country of originNorway
Original languageNorwegian
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
ProducersTerje Strømstad
Jan-Erik Gammleng
Production locationsNorway
Running time45 minutes
Production companyRubicon TV AS
Original networkHBO Nordic
Original release21 August 2019 (2019-08-21) – present

Beforeigners is a Norwegian six-part television series that premiered on 21 August 2019. It is the first Norwegian-language series produced by HBO Europe. The show was created and written by Eilif Skodvin and Anne Bjørnstad and directed by Jens Lien. Beforeigners was produced by Rubicon TV AS. In September 2020, HBO confirmed that the series had been renewed for a second season.[1]

The show was nominated for Best Drama Series at the Gullruten 2020 awards,[2] thus becoming the first HBO production to be nominated for a Gullruten award. At the Norwegian Series Critics Awards in September 2020, the series was nominated for Best Norwegian Drama, while Krista Kosonen received a nomination for Best Actress in a Norwegian Series.[3]


The series takes place in Oslo, where sudden flashes of light appear in the bay in Bjørvika. People from different time periods—the Stone Age, Viking Age, and the 19th century—suddenly appear in the present. Police officer Lars Haaland meets the first "time migrants", who speak Old Norse.

A few years later, the so-called "Beforeigners" struggle to integrate into modern Norwegian society. Some 19th-century individuals found work as journalists, office workers, and teachers, while most of the old Norse folk are homeless and sleep in parks. The Stone-Agers mainly live at the fringes and in forests. Some modern Norwegians perceive these "refugees" as a drain on society.[4]

Lars now lives alone, having shared custody of his 17-year-old daughter, Ingrid, while his ex-wife, Marie lives as a neo-Victorian with her 19th-century husband, Gregers. Lars is addicted to temproxate, or "time drops", a strong sedative prescribed to newcomers—otherwise illegal. He quarrels with Marie over Ingrid when their daughter wants to go Russefeiring, a traditional celebration at Norwegian high schools. More time migrants continue to appear in the harbor on a daily basis (over 13,000 new arrivals per year). The government claims time migration only occurs from the past.

A woman with Stone-Age tattoos and rotten teeth is found dead on a beach and Lars is put in charge of the investigation. He is partnered with a first-day cop, Alfhildr Enginnsdóttir (Krista Kosonen), a Viking-era woman from the 11th century. She is the first police officer with a "multi-temporal background", but is shunned by most of her colleagues, who consider her unfit for the job and only a PR stunt by management. Lars and Alfhildr gradually get used to working together, though they have occasional run-ins and disagreements.[5]

The dead woman's autopsy reveals that she was strangled, and she has odd cross-hatches on her back. A young girl reports she saw a "green sea monster with glowing eyes" seize the dead woman. As the investigation continues, a Stone-Ager, Navn, becomes a suspect. A second autopsy reveals the dead girl is not from the past but rather a contemporary Norwegian. A new trend occurs, where "wannabe time-migrants" shed their 21st-century identities and live as Beforeigners. The murdered woman is identified as the German-born Mariana Werner, a neo-Luddite who opposes modern technology.

Throughout the series, Alfhildr has momentary flashbacks to her Viking past. She is revealed to have been a shield-maiden and not a farmer's wife, as she had declared in order to attend the police academy. In her free time, she seeks her former commander, Thorir Hund. She meets fellow shield-maiden Urðr Sighvatsdóttir, who introduces her to the Viking-era community. They track down Thorir, now named "Tommy Henriksen", who has no memory of his past. Alfhildr and Urðr are convinced he is Thorir, who slew Olaf the Stout. An attack by an individual who is a follower of Olaf triggers memories in Thorir, and he seeks answers. Alfhildr dates a corrupt harbor cop, Jeppe.

Meanwhile, Ingrid and her friends go Russefeiring to fake a time migration. One of them, Maddie, is high on temproxate, which she stole from Lars. As she jumps into the water, a time flash simultaneously disgorges more migrants. Maddie is suddenly older, with rotten teeth and visions of the past. The girls are quarantined. Maddie suffers an identity crisis and begins praying devoutly. Towards the end of the season, Maddie journeys to an ancient church and digs up a sword and crucifix. She is met by a Christian Viking, Olaf.

Thorir remembers rescuing Alfhildr as a young girl wearing a modern life jacket while on his Viking boat, indicating that time migration is possible in both directions.



Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Episode 1"Jens LienEilif Skodvin, Anne Bjørnstad21 August 2019 (2019-08-21)
Early 2000s: Lars goes to Bjørvika bay to supervise the recovery of "time migrants". They speak Old Norse, claiming to be from the past. Some years later: Norwegian society is significantly altered by continued new arrivals from earlier eras. Lars shares custody of his daughter, Ingrid. He examines an apparently drowned woman with Stone-Age tattoos and strange crosshatch markings across her back. Forensics determine she was asphyxiated. Lars leads the murder investigation; management pairs him with showpiece recruit Alfhildr, a "trans-temporal" Viking. They interview harbour police officers Jepp and David. Then, at the transit camp for recent arrivals, a Viking woman describes a sea monster, Hafgufa. Lars illegally buys temproxate from a neighbour, Pjokk. Ingrid wants to go Russefeiring but is blocked by Marie, Lars' ex-wife, and Gregers, Marie's new partner. Lars pays her fare, however, subverting them. He notices that the description of Hafgufa loosely matches that of a fishing trawl net. These are being used by some men to capture women appearing in the water.
2"Episode 2"Jens LienEilif Skodvin, Anne Bjørnstad28 August 2019 (2019-08-28)
1031 A.D. Finnmarksvidda: Shield-maiden Alfhildr arrives at a collection of huts, looking for the commander, Thorir Hund. A seer directs her to the "lake of a thousand lights". Present: Lars tells Alfhildr his trawl net idea. She suspects a practical joke, but investigates it regardless. Navn is visited by Gedi and Vend, two CroMagnon Security employees. He asks them about the murdered woman. He orders them to collect all captured women from brothels, where they have been sold. Alfhildr finds that CroMagnon ordered a trawl net. She makes friends with another shield-maiden, Urðr. After partying at a Viking bar, the two follow a CroMagnon truck to a brothel. Alfhildr photographs Gedi and Vend. She then tells the squad about suspected trawling for women by CroMagnon, which is put under surveillance. Brothel manager, Holger, orders Navn to return his prostitutes but is attacked. Gedi and Vend are arrested for forced prostitution.
3"Episode 3"Jens LienEilif Skodvin, Anne Bjørnstad4 September 2019 (2019-09-04)
Bicycle courier Tommy is greeted by the Viking Skjalg as his commander, Thorir. Lars and Alfhildr visit a trans-temporal centre to meet its director. Ada, an employee, copies the contents of their laptops while the two are distracted. Urðr is diagnosed with breast cancer but refuses treatment. Ingrid and Maddie find Lars' temproxate, and Maddie steals a bottle. Thorir does not recognise Urðr and Alfhildr, and doesn't remember Old Norse. Navn denies any connection to CroMagnon or Gedi and Vend. At a mediation with Marie, Lars and Ingrid successfully argue for her Russefeiring. Thorir is attacked by Olaf supporters but manages to fight them off. Navn is shot and killed by a drone while out hunting rabbit.
4"Episode 4"Jens LienEilif Skodvin, Anne Bjørnstad11 September 2019 (2019-09-11)
Four girls on the Ben Dover boat attempt to fake time migration. Maddie, dressed as a Stone Ager, takes temproxate and the others follow. Maddie jumps in the water, while being filmed by her friends. In a flash of light, Maddie disappears, and reappears soon after amidst a number of Vikings. Ingrid jumps in to rescue her, and the other two girls phone for help. Lars and Alfhildr search for Navn's body. Lars learns Ingrid is at the transit camp: she and Maddie have been isolated due to contact with time migrants. Both have temproxate in their blood. Maddie is found to have rotted, discoloured teeth. Lars and Alfhildr discover that Ada was the one operating the drone that killed Navn. Maddie is sent home, and begins fervently reciting the Lord's Prayer.
5"Episode 5"Jens LienEilif Skodvin, Anne Bjørnstad18 September 2019 (2019-09-18)
Wenche, a resentful colleague of Alfhildr, provokes her in the car park, and the latter intentionally rear-ends her car, later claiming that her foot slipped. Television news report that Tommy is in fact Thorir—the killer of King Olaf, who is revered for Christianising Norway. Thorir is fired from his job. He agrees to take part in a bare-knuckle boxing match against an Olaf supporter, Tobias. Wenche informs Lars that they found temproxate in Alfhildr's car. He tells Harald, his supervisor, that the drug was his, and is suspended. Alfhildr and Jeppe, who have been seeing each other, have sex.
6"Episode 6"Jens LienEilif Skodvin, Anne Bjørnstad25 September 2019 (2019-09-25)
A new Viking arrival asks for a phone, and calls Maddie. Alfhildr grows suspicious of Jeppe, and while searching the text messages and photos they exchanged, finds bite marks on his skin. Forensics check the drowning victim's teeth for blood and match it with Jeppe's sperm inside Alfhildr. Jeppe and David are arrested for the murder of the girl and for forced prostitution. Alfhildr is fêted for solving the case. Lars wants to investigate Maddie's "time anomalies" further. At Thorir's migration day celebration, Urðr notices an Olaf-supporter with a gun. She jumps in front of him and is fatally shot. Thorir then remembers that as a young girl, Alfhildr was rescued from the sea, wearing a life jacket. Maddie digs up a sword and crucifix from a ruined churchyard, and gives them to Olaf, who has come to meet her there.


After creating the show Lilyhammer, Anne Bjørnstad and Eilif Skodvin decided to explore science fiction ideas. Skodvin suggested the core concept of "refugees arriving not from a different location but from different times". The story was built around the concept, with two main characters, Lars and Alfhildr, chosen early on. The creators were inspired by shows including True Love, District 9, and the story itself was influenced by The Leftovers and sci-fi classics such as Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.[6]

Finnish actress Krista Kosonen had to learn Norwegian and Old Norse for her role.[6] Filming took place in Oslo and Lithuania.[6]


  1. ^ Andersen, Jacob. "HBO bekrefter ny sesong av Beforeigners" [HBO confirms new season of Beforeigners]. (in Norwegian). Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Klart for Gullruten-fest – her er alle de nominerte" [Ready for the Gullruten party - here are all the nominees]. (in Norwegian). 3 June 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Seriekritikerprisen: NRK-serie fikk gjeveste pris" [Series Critics Awards: NRK series receives the most generous award] (in Norwegian). 25 September 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  4. ^ "TV-serien "Beforeigners" fyller hullet etter "Game of Thrones" – og den er norsk!" [The TV series "Beforeigners" fills the gap after "Game of Thrones" - and it is Norwegian!]. (in Norwegian). 7 August 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Beforeigners". (in Norwegian). 14 August 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Pham, Annika (23 August 2019). "'Beforeigners" Anne Bjornstad on HBO's First Norwegian Original Series". Variety.

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