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What is Stockholm syndrome? Condition explored ahead of Netflix's Clark premiere

Netflix's official poster for Clark starring Bill Skarsgård (Image via Netflix)
Netflix's official poster for Clark starring Bill Skarsgård (Image via Netflix)
Shruti Kotiya

Netflix's upcoming biopic crime drama, Clark, is all about Stockholm Syndrome and the infamous criminal who brought the term to life.

Directed by Jonas Åkerlund, the series is based on the life and career of Clark Oloffson from his autobiography, Vafan var det som hände. It will revolve around the life of the Swedish gangster and his robberies.

Here's everything viewers need to know about the series and the syndrome that is credited to the criminal.


Stockholm syndrome and its roots

On 23rd August 1973, Jan-Erik Olsson attempted to rob the Sveriges Kreditbank in Stockholm, taking four hostages with explosives and a sub machine-gun. His former cellmate Clark Olofsson was allowed to join him. After a five day stand off, police raided the bank in Norrmalms… https://t.co/J2fUpl00Rd

According to WebMD reports, Stockholm syndrome is characterized by feelings of sympathy, support, and affection that victims can sometimes feel for their abusers. It is a rather psychological response.

The name of the syndrome was derived from the infamous 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden.

Four employees of Sveriges Kreditbank were held hostage in the bank’s vault for six days. During this period, an unsuitable bond was developed between the captives and the captors.

One of the hostages even told then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme that she fully trusted her captors. She said she feared that her death would occur due to a police assault on the building.

Another infamous example of Stockholm syndrome was when heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped in 1974. After being taken hostage for about 10 weeks by the Symbionese Liberation Army, she helped them rob a California bank.


About Clark Olofsson

A notorious Swedish robber of the 1960s, Clark Olofsson is the person credited for the emergence of the phrase, "Stockhold syndrome."

He and his partner Jan-Erik Olsson carried out the aforementioned 1973 bank robbery at Sveriges Kreditbank in Stockholm, Sweden.

Olofsson was said to be so charismatic that his victims would developed feelings and get attached to him.

After serving jail time on several occasions, Olofsson apparently turned his life around. He has kept a clean record ever since his release from Vorst Prison in Belgium in 2018.


About Netflix's Clark

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Netflix dropped the trailer for Clark last month and featured Bill Skarsgård in the titular role.

The clip featured the criminal's life story in brief, from his abusive childhood to his robberies, with several drug-fueled parties in-between. It also included Olofsson’s early criminal days when he was involved in smaller robberies and petty thefts.

The synopsis for the series reads:

"The fictional drama series Clark follows the man behind the expression 'The Stockholm syndrome' on his life journey as he fooled all of Sweden to fall in love with him, despite several counts of drug trafficking, attempted murder, assault, theft and dozens of bank robberies. Based on the truths and lies revealed in Olofsson’s autobiography and directed by Jonas Åkerlund, the series provides a fictional take on one of the most controversial personalities in contemporary Swedish history."

The series will also star Kolbjörn Skarsgård, Adam Lundgren, Lukas Wetterberg, Sandra Ilar, Vilhelm Blomgren, Peter Viitanen, Hanna Björn, Agnes Lindström Bolmgren, Isabelle Grill, Björn Gustafsson, Malin Levanon, and Sofie Hoflack.

The six-episode series is produced by Birna Paulina Einarsdottir, Gabija Siurbyte, Julia Stannard, Hans Engholm, Börje Hansson, Patrick Sobieski and Jonas Åkerlund.

You can stream the crime thriller on Netflix from May 5, 2022.


Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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