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Wisting: from book to screen

The first season of the TV series starring detective William Wisting is under production. For an author, adaptation is a nervous process. Characters from your own head come to life through someone else’s lens and the narrative is modified to tell their story.

The story for the series has come from two of my earlier books, The Caveman and The Hunting Dogs, although the main character Wisting can be seen throughout all my novels, and in my latest, The Katharina Code, the first book in the standalone Cold Case Quartet. Fair-minded, intuitive and all-round team player, Wisting is different to your typical detective – gone is the attractive stubble and drinking habit, and in its place is a much more realistic – and flawed – human.

Wisting TV series

The Wisting TV series starts in the same way as the book: death has come to William Wisting’s neighbourhood. Three doors down from the police investigator’s home, a man has been found dead in front of his TV, left sitting there for four months. While the police can find no evidence of violence, Viggo Hansen’s passing is disquieting in other ways. A man nobody ever noticed, Viggo remains anonymous even in death as the media find other, more eye-catching stories. But one journalist is unable to let go of the case: Line, William Wisting’s daughter. She decides to find out who this nondescript, quiet man really was.

Whereas Line’s research has her digging deep into the past, her father William is fully occupied with the present when the body of a man is found in the forest, where an unusual detail sets off one of the most extensive manhunts in Norwegian police history. The only thing that could stop the police investigation is if the media gets wind of the case. This leaves both father and daughter in a huge predicament – how do they separate their personal and professional relationship?

Filming takes place in my hometown of Larvik, in Norway, where the action also takes place in the books. I have followed the process from a distance, but have also been on the set and seen actor Sven Nordin as William Wisting. He is one of Norway’s most renowned actors and embodies the role very well, and it was incredible to watch my story come to life in front of me.

Part of the action also sees the FBI become involved with the case, leading investigators to the small coastal town, most notably one played by Hollywood actor Carrie-Anne Moss (of The Matrix and Marvel’s Jessica Jones fame). This means that much of the dialogue in the series takes place in English, and therefore is friendly to an international audience.

The series is produced in collaboration between many of the companies behind standout Nordic crime dramas Wallander, Beck and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, and the production is one of the biggest investments in Norwegian TV drama ever!


The series will be shown in the Nordic countries in spring 2019. There is currently no premiere date in UK or the rest of Europe.

If you can’t wait for the TV series, then read The Katharina Code, Wisting’s latest adventure. The first in the standalone Cold Case Quartet, this is a great introduction to Wisting and perfect for anyone looking for a chilling Nordic thriller this autumn.

The Katharina Code

Jørn Lier Horst

William Wisting
William Wisting
Jørn Lier Horst

Having worked as a police officer and head of investigations before becoming a full-time writer, Jørn Lier Horst has established himself as one of the most successful authors to come out of Scandinavia. His books have sold over two million copies in his native Norway alone and he’s published in twenty-six languages. The Wisting series is being adapted for TV by the producers behind Wallander and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. 

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