(Credit: Netflix)

Netflix being sued for naming 'true assassin' in Swedish series

Netflix is being sued for defamation over their highly riveting Swedish thriller series The Unlikely Murderer that was released on the streaming giant in the first week of November. 

The five-episode limited series is based on the eponymous award-winning book by Thomas Pettersson. It detailed a fictional account of what ensued after the Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, was murdered in 1986 and how the inefficiency of the police force, combined with luck, helped the killer evade capture. 

Last year, in 2020, although the murderer has not yet been identified for sure, Stig Engström, who died in 2000, was seen as a likely suspect. 

However, in Netflix’s series, Engström is shown to have committed the murder. Despite the act being botched and the police being on Stig’s tracks, somehow, with unfathomable good luck and temerity, Engström confounded the police force to evade arrest. 

Created by Charlotte Brändström and Simon Kaijser, the programme is based on a screenplay by Wilhelm Behran and Niklas Rockström, adapted from Pettersson’s book. 

An anonymous complaint was lodged against Netflix for defaming and assassinating Engström’s character without any concrete evidence, in line with the Swedish law that treats defaming the dead with great seriousness. 

Ulrika Glaser Rydberg, the daughter of the alleged “arms collector” who was complicit in the murder by using Engström as a pawn to go ahead with the planned assassination of the President, has also sued Netflix. In a brave attempt to speak up for her father, she said, “They made my father into a monster.”

She added, “The portrayal of my dad is anything but true, and very offensive.” She has also supported the report on Engström’s behalf, talking about how it is “very hurtful”. 

“I don’t think I really have a chance, but if the alternative is to walk around with a clenched fist in my pocket, at least I can do something,” she added.

The producers have, however, denied this and emphasised how it has not yet been proven if Engström is the murderer at the beginning of every episode; they have reiterated how it is a fictitious account of the mysterious occurrences of 1986 and the series does not intend to solve the case that, unresolved, is still a sore and controversial spot in Sweden’s judiciary. 

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