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The crimes of 'Little Finland'

Marja Pyykkö will direct the Nordic noir series The Paradise.
Marja Pyykkö will direct the Nordic noir series The Paradise. / YLE
  • A new Nordic noir series, The Paradise, is set to begin production this year

Since it was announced at the end of 2016, the series The Paradise has caused great excitement due to its crime drama theme with a Nordic noir twist, centred around the largest community of Scandinavians outside of northern Europe: sunny Fuengirola, also known as 'Little Finland'.

Spanish producer Mediapro and the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) have confirmed the filming of the series, which will have a female lead character and will begin filming in the Costa del Sol this coming November.

It is estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 Scandinavians live in Malaga province, with the majority residing in Fuengirola, which many resdients consider a holiday paradise, as referenced in the title of the series.

The Finns have established themselves on the Costa del Sol with their own schools, supermarkets, businesses, clinics and by promoting their language.

The disappearance of a Scandinavian family in Fuengirola will kickstart the plot of the series, which is due to span eight episodes and whose lead character will be portrayed by the actress Riitta Havukainen.

The veteran performer will bring life to Hilkka Mäntymäki, a 60-year-old police officer from Oulu who is sent to Malaga to determine the location of several of her compatriots, who have disappeared. Upon arrival, the detective will discover that the case is related to several retirees who have died under mysterious circumstances.

This Mediapro production is the first international dramatised series produced by the company, which owns significant stake in the broadcasting rights to La Liga. The company has decided that The Paradise will be directed by the Finn Marja Pyykkö, who has directed several Nordic noir series, including Hooked and Black Windows, while the script will be produced by Matti Laine, author of several novels and writer of popular series like Bordertown and Bullets.

Forget the past

The producers have still not released details on the cast members who will accompany the Finnish lead in this international production, which has been developed by the executive producer of Homeland, Ram Tellem, now working for Mediapro to further develop this brand of television drama. “The Paradise is a story about memory, about those who are trying to forget a difficult past and live in the present, and about those who won't let them,” explains Tellem.

The original idea for the series came from David Troncoso, who has also produced other television dramas such as 'Olmos y Robles' y 'El chiringuito de Pepe'.

“Fuengirola is more than a place where people take shelter from bad weather and darkness, because there are more than 15,000 Finns,” said the producer who, alongside Tellem and Laine, visited the town last year to get a feel of the series' setting.

This Nordic noir will exchange the coldness of the genre for murder on the sunny Costa del Sol.