TREHOLT-THE SPY PART 1 – Line Alsaker – NRK – Norway

subtitled video | 34 min

Episode one of a six-part series

Series Synopsis

On January 24, 1984, Arne Treholt, a well-known Norwegian career diplomat and politician leaves the Foreign Ministry in Oslo, on his way to the airport to catch a flight to Vienna.
Hours later he is sitting in a police interrogation room, under arrest, charged with spying for the Soviet Union.

Charismatic and well connected, Treholt, a former journalist, was widely considered a/the rising star of Norwegian politics.
As the son of a prominent politician and married to a television celebrity, he was a familiar face from Norwegian newspapers and television.

Treholt’s arrest became the most sensational Norwegian news story of its time – every day a new, almost unbelievable front-page. Clandestine meetings in European capitals with KGB and Iraqi intelligence officers. Briefcases of dirty money and suitcases of plutonium.
Soviet double agents and undercover FBI agents.
Coded telephone conversations and a carefully planned but badly executed escape from prison.

Regarded one of the 10 most dangerous Cold War spies the KGB had in the West, Treholt was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Many claimed he was the victim of a vendetta against the Labour Party and branded the trial the most serious miscarriage of justice in Norwegian legal history.
But if he was a spy, what led him to do what he did? How did he end up in the pocket of the Soviets?
And how did he get away with it for so long?

Produced by

Line Alsaker


6 thoughts on “TREHOLT-THE SPY PART 1 – Line Alsaker – NRK – Norway


    Hi all.
    I wanted to start the discussion with some questions and prompts to open up the discussion.
    Be both critical and constructive – looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

    Furtive rendezvous on the streets of Vienna, exchanges of secret documents, a guilty man frog-marched down long police corridors – the programme aims to turn the story into a cinematic Cold War thriller.
    Does it succeed?
    Does the programme have the pace and tension you needed to keep you hooked?

    The script alights on small details to build up a picture of the locations and main protagonists – such as the style of someone’s glasses and their physical build.
    What did you think of the quality of the writing?

    Did the choice of interviewees make you feel you were hearing from the people at the heart of the story?
    Was the journalism original and bringing us something new?

    The sound design and fx are distinctive – analogue technology, typewriters and magnetic tapes rewinding, a muffled pop song from the 1980s.
    Did this evoke the era for you?

    How do you feel about the way in which the programme uses uncertainty over Treholt’s guilt as a dramatic device – is episode two unmissable?

  2. I really enjoyed this episode and as a Swede I have the luxury to be able to listen to the rest of the series. I think the writing and narration is really compelling, and the details work very well for me, painting pictures that feel alive and encouraging my own imagination. I also think the seamless transitions from background information we need to know to understand the story, to the scenes that are more alive, are impressive. I am looking forward to listening to the rest of the episodes.

  3. A very thrilling story! I also think the quality of the writing was excellent, created striking pictures. F.e. “a man crying in the interrogtion room, wearing an elegant suit”, I was hooked from the first minute.

  4. I am really glad I gave this one a listen. Exciting and very attention-grabbing.

    I enjoyed everything from a calming voice of the narrator and fitting background noises to use of those exclusive materials. I’ve felt curious throughout the whole episode. Definitely an interesting take on darker part of a modern norwegian history.
    Thank you for broading my horizons.

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