Stephen Dillane, Lydia Leonard & James D’Arcy Lead Viaplay/A+E Networks Spy Noir ‘Red Election’

EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Dillane (Game Of Thrones), Lydia Leonard (Gentleman Jack), and James D’Arcy (Homeland) will headline Nordic noir spy thriller Red Election, which is set at Scandi streamer Viaplay and is co-produced by A+E Networks International.

Housed at Swedish production outfit Mopar Studios, Deadline first mooted the 10-part series in January. Production has now wrapped following a six-month delay last year, when filming was shut down after just two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Set against the backdrop of a terrorist plot in London, Red Election centers on Danish secret service agent Katrine Poulson (played by Danish actress Victoria Carmen Sonne) and British spy Beatrice Ogilvy (Leonard), who are pitched together in a desperate race against time.

Caught in a web of lies, murder, and power struggles, they soon realize they can’t trust anybody and that the deadly conspiracy could be part of a far-reaching geopolitical masterplan.

Dillane, who also stars in The Tunnel and Alex Rider, plays MI5 director William Ogilvy, while D’Arcy features as British Prime Minister Adam Cornwell. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Zack Snyder’s Justice League) and Lorraine Burroughs (Fast Girls) also star.

The drama was created by William Diskay and Jonas Fors, together with Ola Norén, Roland Ulvselius, and lead writer Stephen Brady (Stan Lee’s Lucky Man). Jill Robertson (Harlots) and Paul Murphy (Death in Paradise) direct.

The tagline for the Red Election is “democracy is dead” and Patrick Vien, group managing director, international at A+E Networks, namechecked franchises including The Night Manager and the Bourne films as touchstones for the series.

Vien added that it is “uncanny on how many fronts the themes of Red Election are touching on the realities of modern society,” referencing seismic global events, such as Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential election and the pandemic itself.

Moreyba Bidessie, A+E Networks’ vice president of international scripted development, said the hope is that the series can become a returning franchise. “There’s a resolution, but there is absolutely a very meaty path it can take [forward]. It ends really beautifully, but you want more,” she added.

Nordic Entertainment Group’s streamer Viaplay will premiere Red Election later this year, while A+E Networks International is taking the show to market, including in the U.S. and UK. It is produced by Veronika Eriksson and Christian Alveborg for Mopar Studios. Robertson executive produces alongside Bidessie for A+E Networks.

Filippa Wallestam, NENT Group chief content officer, said: “The stakes couldn’t be higher in this tense and absorbing story of international intrigue with a truly stellar cast. At the same time, the complex relationship between the two lead characters gives the series a very human centre.”

NENT Group has big ambitions for Viaplay, which will play host to 50 originals a year by 2022, including financing and producing two English language feature films every 12 months. The streamer is launching in the U.S. in December. “We want to create some curiosity around this peculiar little region of the world, which has had quite an impact in science, innovation, progression,” NENT Group president and CEO Anders Jensen told Deadline this week.

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