This article is about the TV series. For the Norwegian town, see Lillehammer.

Lilyhammer poster
Genre Crime
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
Steinar Sagen
Marian Saastad Ottesen
Sven Nordin
Kyrre Hellum
Anne Krigsvoll
Opening theme "Lilyhammer"
Composer(s) Frans Bak[1]
Country of origin Norway
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 24 (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 metro area
Rio de Janeiro
Cinematography Johan-Fredrik Bødtker
Jakob Ingimundarson
Running time 43-58 minutes
Production company(s) Rubicon TV
Renegade TV
Distributor NRK (Norway)
Netflix (United States)
Red Arrow International (Worldwide)
Original network NRK1
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
First shown in Norway
Original release 25 January 2012 (2012-01-25) – 17 December 2014 (2014-12-17)
External links

Lilyhammer is a Norwegian-American television series, starring Steven Van Zandt, about a fictional "former" New York-based gangster, Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano, trying to start a new life in isolated Lillehammer, 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 promoted as "the first time Netflix offered exclusive content".[6] The spelling of the series title alludes to LilyTagliano's dogkilled 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] The series produced three seasons, with the so far final episode airing 17 December 2014. On 22 July 2015, Steven van Zandt posted on Twitter that the series had been cancelled,[8] and the following day Netflix confirmed that they were pulling out of the series. NRK, which owns the rights to the series, remained optimistic that a deal could be made with another company for a fourth season.[9]


Season 1

Frank Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt), a former underboss in an American Mafia crime family, is placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program after testifying in a trial against Aldo Delucci (Thomas Grube), the new Mafia head who had 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's 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 trans woman, 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 learns 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's abduction, she breaks up with Johnny.

Season 2

Eight months later, British thief Duncan Hammer (Paul Kaye) arrives in Lillehammer, looking to sell a Ferrari through car salesman Dag. However, Dag owes money to Johnny and his crew, which now includes the bikers and Jan. When Johnny and Torgeir capture Dag, Torgeir, Roar, Arne (Tommy Karlsen Sandum), and Roy, 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 Dag 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. 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), leaves a religious cult and returns home. Belinda's boyfriend from the cult, Swedish gangster Stanley Olsson (Johannes Brost), 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 neighbor's sheep. They tell Johnny, who has Stanley abducted and sent 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 and herself, 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 locks up his relocation file in his safe, and he gives the stolen jewelry to Hansen. In turn, Hansen returns the items to the bank, becomes a national hero, and gets a promotion to Oslo. Thomas, now aware of Johnny's past, goes to New York, where he plans to sell the information 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 because he did not want to harm the innocent animals, and the plan is ruined.

Johnny and Sigrid's twins begin at a local kindergarten, and Johnny falls for their teacher, Tiril (Viktoria Winge). However, Tiril says that relationships between teachers and parents are forbidden, so Johnny enrolls his children in another school. After hearing how Tiril's grandfather raced reindeer in the north, Johnny decides to bring reindeer racing to Lillehammer. Johnny informs Lars of the idea, and they begin promoting the reindeer race. In New York, Robert learns of Thomas's presence and kills him and his accomplice. Jan returns to the refugee centre and tells Randi to rescind the complaint report. Randi refuses, and Jan pushes her into a wall, accidentally killing her.

Having discovered Randi's body and suspecting Jan, Johnny meets with him, and 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, Roar, and Arne pose as Norwegian tour guides and sneak into a party held by Delucci in his home. On the balcony, they corner and shoot Delucci before pushing him to the street below. During a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty, Torgeir finds out that he won the lead in a local tribute to Glee, and the group returns to Lillehammer. Eight months later, the reindeer race is a success. Johnny and his friends watch from a rooftop and Johnny embraces his twin infants.

Season 3

The third season premiered Friday, 21 November 2014, on Netflix.

The third season begins with Torgeir and Roar visiting Rio de Janeiro in order for Roar to meet in person a woman he has met online. Roar falls head over heels for the beauteous dark-haired Alex(andra). The happy couple are about to be married in Rio when, back in Lillehammer, Johnny gazes out his window at a Norwegian holiday festival with costumed participants walking on the street below. A boy in a tiger costume is one of the participants. Johnny then glances up at a window across the way and spies a beautiful blonde girl dressed in a cheerleader costume. A man approaches her from behind in what appears to be the beginnings of a lovemaking session. Suddenly the man strikes the woman brutally.

Johnny runs downstairs from his apartment, sprints across the street, and attempts to enter the building where the violence is taking place. The glass front doors are locked, and a dismissive clerk inside mouths, "We're closed", through the glass. This does not stop Johnny. He breaks through the glass, grabs keys, and rushes up to where the woman is being beaten. Johnny bursts into the room and drags the man off the blonde. A one-armed woman enters behind Johnny and promptly shoots him.

Shot and bleeding, Johnny staggers back down to the snow-covered street where he collapses. As he gazes up a huge tiger approaches him. He next awakens in a hospital bed. Back in Rio, Torgeir learns of this and tells Roar he will immediately return to Norway and can no longer serve as Best Man at the impending nuptials. The bride's brother, Oscarito, will take his place. On the day of the wedding, which is to take place on a yacht, Oscarito - playing on his status as a future brother-in-law - requests Roar to "perform a small favor" for him. The favor is to transport two gym bags to the yacht. Overcoming his reluctance, Roar agrees to do so in order to win favor with his bride's brother. Unbeknownst to Roar, the bags contain cocaine. Both Roar and Oscarito are arrested and thrown into jail.

The plot this season revolves around these events and complications devolving from them. Additionally, Johnny's family background is explored in this season.



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. Because of 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. Production was delayed due to Van Zandt's schedule with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Wrecking Ball Tour. Van Zandt was replaced on the Australian leg of the tour by guitarist Tom Morello so that filming could proceed.[12]

The eight-episode third season began filming in January 2014, with Netflix remaining the exclusive U.S. broadcaster.[13][14] Season 3 was shot on location in Lillehammer, Lofoten and Oslo in Norway, New York City in the USA, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

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
First aired Last aired
1 8 25 January 2012 14 March 2012
2 8 23 October 2013 11 December 2013
3 8 29 October 2014 17 December 2014

The show has an 8.2 user rating on Metacritic.[15]


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.[16][17][18] The series was bought by SBS in Australia.[19] The series has been sold to over 130 countries worldwide.[20] On 22 July 2015, Steven van Zandt posted claims on Twitter that the series had been cancelled,[8] and the following day Netflix confirmed that they were pulling out of the series. NRK, who owns the rights to the series, remained optimistic however that a deal could be made with another company for a fourth series.[9]


  1. "Frans Bak Scored 'Lilyhammer'". IMDb.
  2. 1 2 "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. 1 2 Greene, Andy (5 December 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 (13 February 2012). "The circuitous return of Steven Van Zandt, wise guy (via Netflix, and Norwegian comedy)". Capital.
  8. 1 2 Steven van Zandt Twitter
  9. 1 2
  10. "Lilyhammer: Production Kick-Off Season 2". Red Arrow International.
  11. "'Lilyhammer' Adds Cast For Season Two". Deadline. 21 January 2013.
  12. "Tom Morello to join Wrecking Ball Tour in Australia". 16 January 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  13. Tartaglione, Nancy (13 January 2014). "Netflix Confirms 'Lilyhammer' Season 3 For 2014". Deadline.
  14. Stieber, Zachary Stieber (15 January 2014). "Lilyhammer Season 3 Confirmed: Release Date for Netflix Show Sometime in 2014". Epoch Times.
  15. "Lilyhammer - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  16. "BBC Picks Up Steven Van Zandt Drama ‘Lilyhammer’". Hollywood Reporter. 6 February 2012.
  17. Frost, Vicky (5 February 2012). "Lilyhammer series could provide just the tonic for bereft Borgen fans". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  18. "BBC4 TV listings for 11 September 2012". BBC. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  19. ""Lilyhammer"-suksess i Storbritannia" (in Norwegian). NRK. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  20. "Lilyhammer solgt til over 130 land" (in Norwegian). NRK. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
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