• Sweden's news in English

New Nordic Noir shows 'true life of Swedes'

Catherine Edwards · 24 Dec 2015, 06:00

Published: 24 Dec 2015 06:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Gåsmamman is not a typical Nordic Noir," Rapaport tells us. She plays Sonja in the show, a Stockholm mother-of-three and accountant at a local marina - and, after her husband is shot in a drug deal gone wrong, heir to a marijuana empire.

“There are lots of morally questionable characters but they still have some likeability, there is always a balance," Rapaport explains. "There is hope, there is humour."

Indeed, alongside the obvious comparisons to Scandinavian thrillers The Bridge and The Killing, reviewers have drawn likenesses with American show Breaking Bad, because of the show's humorous side despite its dark subject matter.

Sonja's husband shows her his business empire. All photos: C More

Rapaport promises that although the first few episodes start out relatively light, the show gets darker and more fast-paced as the series unfolds - but humour is always there, central to the series. The title of the show encapsulates this: Gåsmamman translates as Mother Goose, referring both to the protagonist’s protective nature towards her family and to the goose farm which acts as a cover-up for the marijuana farms. Plus, ‘goose’ in Swedish is slang for the drug.

But according to Rapaport, "the most important difference [between this and others in the genre] is that this is not a show about police or detectives, it’s about a family who gets into trouble."

Intense scenes of deals, threats and shoot-outs are interspersed with the women of the family preparing for Sonja’s sister’s wedding, and arguments between the two sons.

“I really wanted people to feel that Sonja is a regular person, that’s important,” says Rapaport, emphasizing the contrast with the female leads of other Nordic Noirs, such as The Bridge's Saga Norén and The Killing's Sarah Lund, both of whom struggle with social interactions and relationships.

“The family scenes are not there just to soften up the thriller sequences,” Rapaport adds. “The children have their own lives and it’s all part of the plot – it’s not a time to leave and make a coffee, it all ties together to make a tight story.”

Rapaport's on-screen children.

Rapaport herself is a mother of two young children, and says she found the family scenes easy. “But when it came to the conflicts around drugs and gangs, I had to use my imagination!” she laughs.

However, Sonja’s role as a mother is central to why she gets caught up in the world of drug dealing. “I can understand why she makes these decisions, and I hope that viewers can relate to the family scenes and understand her," says Rapaport. "She has a huge conflict around drugs, she does it because she wants to save her family. She is braver than me – I would never go that far!”

Sweden has a strict no-tolerance policy on drugs, but Rapaport says the series doesn’t aim to make any political statement. “Drugs do support Sonja at the start of the story, but it shows that if you get involved with drugs, it will always turn out bad. We also show how Swedes relate to drugs. Although Sonja accepts growing marijuana, when her son uses ecstasy she goes mad - that's part of her conflict.”

Unlike other shows in the genre, Gåsmamman doesn’t use the atmospheric natural landscapes to complement the harsh story. “We show city views that appeal to tourists, but you recognize everyday life. We have scenes in homes, schools, people going shopping; it shows how we live and interact. This is the true life of Swedes - it's realistic."

A family wedding.

Rapaport says that the global success of the Nordic Noir genre has opened up many more opportunities for Swedish drama. She is also co-producer for Gåsmamman – her first producing role – and so was creatively involved in the decisions from start to finish, but she says the hardest part of making the show came before filming began, “waiting for the money, trying to stay calm and not give up.” 

Story continues below…

Gåsmamman will get its television premiere on Swedish network Kanal 5 in early 2016. The series has already stated  received positive reviews from Swedish journalists since it began showing on Swedish online channel C More in late November. 

At the moment, it isn’t certain if it will be broadcast internationally, but Rapaport is hopeful that audiences will relate to the story, and homegrown interest will translate to a wider viewing public in future.

“We want to show it to as many countries as possible. I think it will appeal to people – it’s a great story, it’s exciting, I think we have everything!”



For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Catherine Edwards (catherine.edwards@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Facebook slammed for cutting Swedish breast cancer video
File photo of the landing page of the Swedish version of Facebook. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant removed a breast cancer awareness video because it deemed the images "offensive," according to the Swedish Cancer Society.

Pastor rapped for depicting rival as Nazi in church play
A different pastor. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The pastor allegedly found it funny.

In Pictures: Look inside this perfect Swedish island home
This modern Gotland home was designed and built by two Swedes. Photo: United Frog Studios/AB

Anna-Lena and Johan designed and built their home with tall beautiful windows, a smart heating system, and a separate section for their greyhounds.

Cannabis worth millions seized at Swedish port
A file photo of a Swedish police cannabis find not related to the story. Photo: Polisen

The 300kg haul was found by in a truck which drove off a ferry in Karlskrona.

Roll over Volvo: there’s a new Swedish car in town
Photo: Björn Olsson

Car developers in Gothenburg have given Volvo a new sibling.

Thaw trip: Swedish PM Löfven heads to Saudi Arabia
Margot Wallström was at the centre of the 2015 diplomatic crisis. She will not join the Prime Minister on his trip to Saudi Arabia. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

There are fences that need mending.

Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
This shot of snow in western Sweden may not be as far away as you think. Photo: Johan Eklund/TT

...and it's still only October.

Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
The new rules are unfair, say Swedish IB pupils. Photo: Berit Roald/NTB scanpix/TT

A new system for converting the grades of International Baccalaureate students in Sweden will make it almost impossible for them to get into top Swedish universities, it has been claimed.

Education doesn’t always pay in Sweden: study
Nurses are paid less than a lot of non-college graduates. Photo: Bertil Ericsson/TT

Half of Swedish graduates would earn more in their lifetime if they instead started work straight after high school, a new study shows.

What's On in Sweden
Five ways to discover something new in Sweden this weekend
Frank Zappa's symphonic works will be performed in Malmö this weekend. Photo: Anonymous/AP

From a performance of Frank Zappa's unheralded orchestral work to an intriguing combination of circus and opera, Sweden has some unique events this weekend.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Blog updates

8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »


6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
People-watching: October 5th
Must-watch: Incredible time-lapse video of Northern Lights in Sweden
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
jobs available