With ‘The Minister,’ TVO brings a timely political drama from Iceland to Ontario audiences

Centred on a flawed, populist leader, this hot series will appeal to viewers hungry for a drama relevant to today’s political climate

Think politics can’t possibly get any more controversial? Then you haven’t met Benedikt Ríkardsson—dreamer, radical, newly elected prime minister of Iceland.

The central character in TVO’s recently acquired series The Minister, Ríkardsson is masterfully portrayed by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Trapped, True Detective, The Missing). Swept into power for his populist approach, the charismatic, big-hearted Ríkardsson vows to listen to the people and change society for the better. There’s only one problem: he suffers from an underlying bipolar disorder—and the nation has no idea.

As the stress of Ríkardsson’s new role builds and his health gradually deteriorates, the tension and drama escalate. The prime minister’s team struggles to keep his condition under wraps while keeping the government, and their personal lives, from falling apart; and his rivals use his illness against him, threatening to expose his secret. Whether friend or foe, everyone—Ríkardsson included—is forced to grapple with an uncomfortable but inevitable question: Are his ideas those of a brilliant democratic revolutionary or a man whose mental illness is taking over?

“We’re excited to introduce The Minister to TVO viewers,” says John Ferri, Vice President of current affairs and documentaries at TVO. “With its nuanced portrayal of bipolar disorder and its razor-smart, unconventional point of view on populism, The Minister is a unique drama that’s highly relevant in today’s world.”

Produced by Sagafilm and distributed by Cineflix Rights, the 8×60 series was recently nominated in the TV Fiction category at the Prix Europa and by the Venice TV Awards for Best TV Series. The Minister is a must-see series. It will especially appeal to viewers who loved Borgen or Trapped.

The Minister is available for streaming on tvo.org and TVO’s YouTube Channel.