ATLANTIC CROSSING On MASTERPIECE
Stream or tune in April 4 - May 23, 2021 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV
A friendship forged in war is beautifully portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan (TWIN PEAKS) as U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Swedish star Sofia Helin (THE BRIDGE) as Norwegian Crown Princess Martha in ATLANTIC CROSSING, based on a true story of passion and politics, airing in eight episodes on MASTERPIECE, Sundays, April 4 - May 23, 2021 on PBS.
Airing during MASTERPIECE's 50th season, ATLANTIC CROSSING ranges back and forth across the North Atlantic throughout World War II, depicting momentous events in the changing fortunes of Norway, Great Britain and the United States.
Also starring in this international co-production are Tobias Santelmann ("Kon Tiki") as Martha’s husband, Norwegian Crown Prince Olav; Søren Pilmark ("Downsizing") as Olav’s father, King Haakon VII; Harriet Sansom Harris (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; Lucy Russell (WOLF HALL) as presidential secretary Missy LeHand; Daniel Betts (THE CROWN) as foreign policy advisor Harry Hopkins; and Suzanne Bertish ("The Wife") as American diplomat Florence Harriman.
Probing deeply into the rarely told story of Norway’s struggle against Nazi invasion and occupation, ATLANTIC CROSSING features a supporting cast of acclaimed Norwegian actors, including Anneke von der Lippe ("Pan"), Stig R. Amdam ("Acquitted"), Trond Teigen ("Occupied"), and Maria Annette Tanderø Berglyd ("Totally True Love").
ATLANTIC CROSSING opens in 1939 with a goodwill visit by Olav (Santelmann) and Martha (Helin) to the United States where they befriend the president (MacLachlan) and first lady (Harris). Months later, Norway is fighting for survival as Nazi Germany invades the neutral country with the goal of seizing its strategic ports and securing access to iron ore mines for steel production.
During the assault, German troops try to capture the Norwegian royal family for use as bargaining chips, but the King (Pilmark) and Olav manage to escape to England where they set up a government-in-exile. Meanwhile Martha and the three children make their hazardous way to America where they are taken in at the White House by President Roosevelt.
This sets the stage for an epic drama that mixes war and diplomacy, desire and jealousy. At the outset, America is officially neutral. It would be political suicide if Roosevelt defies the strong isolationist sentiment in the U.S., yet Martha urges him to find a way to help Norway in the fight against Germany. Meanwhile across the ocean, Olav grows increasingly suspicious of Martha’s close ties to the president. Is it friendship or something more?
The relationship also tries the patience of the first lady and Roosevelt’s closest advisors: Harry Hopkins (Betts) and the president’s rumored paramour Missy LeHand (Russell). For Martha, the whole experience is an education like no other, as the shy and beautiful crown princess must play the roles of public figure, confidante, statesman, and single mother, while she anxiously awaits the outcome of a war that may unalterably transform her nation.
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Episode 1 “The Attack” airs Sunday, April 4 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - Norwegian Crown Princess Martha and her husband Prince Olav visit U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. A year later, they must flee the Nazi invasion of their country.
Episode 2: “The Throne” airs Sunday, April 11 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - Olav and the king plan their escape. Meanwhile, Martha and the children take refuge with her Swedish royal relatives. But the Nazis threaten the king if he harbors the crown princess.
Episode 3: “Crossing The Atlantic” airs Sunday, April 18 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - While bombs fall on Olav and the king in London, Martha and the children are in the U.S., where President Roosevelt extends a special invitation.
Episode 4 airs Sunday, April 25 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - Martha is pressured to exploit her friendship with the president, who defies isolationists to push the Lend-Lease Act. Martha and the children get a surprise Christmas present.
Episode 5 airs Sunday, May 2 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - Martha uses dinner-table tactics to help Norway. The first lady gives Martha unusual lessons in public speaking. The president gets on dangerous ground with Martha.
Episode 6 airs Sunday, May 9 at 9 p.m. - America enters the war, and Olav arrives from England. Missy grows suspicious of ties between Roosevelt and Martha, as does Olav. Meanwhile, a dastardly Nazi plot unfolds.
Episode 7 airs Sunday, May 16 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - A Nazi agent slips through the cracks, putting the children at risk. Martha travels to England and gets a shock. A Norwegian war hero meets a tragic fate.
Episode 8 airs Sunday, May 23 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV - With the war almost over, the president’s health takes a bad turn. Olav tries to keep Norway out of the clutches of the Soviets. He also faces rocky relations with Martha.
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From Cinenord in co-production with Beta Film for NRK and MASTERPIECE. The series is created and directed by Alexander Eik. The co-director is Janic Heen. The writers are Alexander Eik and Linda May Kallestein. The executive producers are Tone Rønning, Justus Riesenkampff, Friedemann Goez, Sofia Helin, Anni Faurbye Fernandez, James Cabourne and Sofie Wanting Hassing. The executive producer for MASTERPIECE is Susanne Simpson. The producer is Silje Hopland Eik.