‘It’s visually impressive, narratively captivating and will have viewers hooked’

DISTRIBUTOR All3Media International
LENGTH 4 x 60 minutes

The Man Who Played With Fire is a tense, thriller-like documentary that follows former Swedish diplomat Jan Stocklassa as he delves into the assassination of Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986.

As part of his journey, Stocklassa leans on the detective work of author Stieg Larsson (The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo), who spent decades investigating the crime before his own death in 2004, aged 50.

The series is distributed by All3Media International, which will bring it to Mip TV as one of its headline titles. Explaining the show’s genesis, All3MI executive vice-president, EMEA, Stephen Driscoll says: “Jan Stocklassa published his book of the same name in 2018. Director Matt Rudge brought the idea to Raw to develop together until it was commissioned by Sky UK. Once Raw and Sky were ready to proceed, Raw asked All3MI to discuss deficit financing and potential co-pro partners.”

Due to the series being set in Sweden, and Raw’s editorial ambitions for the project, All3MI started discussions with Swedish broadcasters.

“Discovery embraced the idea and brought in additional Discovery+ territories to support the project financially as co-producer, completing the funding to meet Raw and Matt’s ambitious vision,” Driscoll says.

Despite its strong Scandinavian flavour, the series is primarily in English. “Where appropriate, we interview some Swedish subjects in their native language [and use English subtitles],” says Driscoll. “But due to the scope and locations, English worked best to reach the widest international audience.”

The Man Who Played With Fire is in the final stages of post-production. Sky has rights to the series for the UK, Italy and Germany, while Discovery/Discovery + has Scandinavia, North America, Iberia, Benelux, France, Poland and Turkey.

“Discovery+ was keen to come on board the project as co-producer following its recent success with [documentary] Estonia in Scandinavia. After seeing the production’s impressive scale, exclusive access and international recognition, the hope is that it will bring new audiences to the platform,” says Driscoll.

All3MI has the rest of the world. In terms of exportability, Driscoll says: “Number one on every buyer’s list is a series that will give the audience a brand new story never told on screens. There were several witnesses, yet despite multiple investigations, incredible lapses in procedure and evidence gathering mean that the public have never been given a satisfactory answer as to who killed Palme.

“What our series will show is how the investigative work of Stieg Larsson contained valuable clues and evidence that official investigations overlooked.”

Driscoll says the series is “elevated above traditional true-crime documentaries as it explores the global politics involved in Olof Palme’s assassination, while balancing two captivating narratives about Palme and Stieg Larsson”.

Furthermore, he adds, premium factual content from established producers like Raw is always in demand. “It’s visually impressive, narratively captivating and offers exclusive access and revelations that will have viewers hooked.”