Watching Clark on Netflix, you may be inclined to believe it is pure fantasy, with its abundance of plot twists and ludicrous jail-breaks - however, it's actually based on real events.


The six-part series, which was released today, charts the life of Clark Olofsson, a Swedish criminal who gained celebrity status across the 1960s, '70s and '80s, particularly for his bank robberies.

He also inspired the term Stockholm Syndrome, which is now an acknowledged condition worldwide.

But just which parts of the series are true, and which are fictional? Read on to find out more about the true story behind Netflix's Clark.

Clark true story: Who is Clark Olofsson?

Bill Skarsgård in Clark
Bill Skarsgård in Clark Eric Broms / Netflix

Clark Olofsson, whose life inspired the new Netflix series, was born in 1947 in Sweden. He was first placed in a young offenders institute at 16 for petty crimes. It was from here that he made his first prison break, later getting sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting two police officers in 1966.

He escaped later that year, and was involved in a burglary in which his friend, Gunnar Norgren, shot dead a police officer. Olofsson was sentenced to eight years in prison for his involvement, following a wide-scale manhunt.

Multiple other robberies and escapes throughout the series that are dramatised are also based on real events, most notably the Norrmalmstorg robbery.

The series is described as "a fictional take on one of the most controversial personalities in contemporary Swedish history", so it's clear that we're not meant to take everything at face value.

Major events in Clark's life, including several relationships such as with Madou and with his wife Marike, are real, but exactly how they transpired and the surrounding events have been fictionalised.

What really happened at the Norrmalmstorg robbery?

Clark at the Norrmalmstorg robbery
Clark at the Norrmalmstorg robbery Netflix / Eric Broms

In 1973, Jan-Erik (Janne) Olsson took three people (later four) hostage in a bank, after disguising himself in a wig, make-up and sunglasses, and firing shots at the ceiling from a submachine gun.

He demanded three million Swedish krona and for Olofsson, who he had met in prison, to be brought to the bank.

Police complied with the latter request, letting Olofsson out of jail and bringing him to Olsson. The ensuing crisis lasted six days, yet by the end, when Olsson and Olofsson were gassed out of the bank's vault by police and the hostages freed, several of the hostages defended the pair. One of them, Kristin Enmark, even had a brief relationship with Olofsson.

Swedish criminologist Nils Bejerot subsequently coined the term Norrmalamstrong Syndrome (referred to as Stockholm Syndrome globally) to describe hostages who sympathise with their captors.

The ordeal is recorded and explained in David King's book Six Days in August: The Story of Stockholm Syndrome.

Is Clark based on a book?

The series synopsis states that the show is "based on the truths and lies revealed in Clark Olofsson’s autobiography".

This autobiography, entitled Vafan var det som hände? (What the hell happened?), was released in 2015. Meanwhile Olofsson's first book, Rättvisans lotteri (The lottery of justice), was released in 1986.

Where is Clark Olofsson now?

Bill Skarsgård in Clark
Bill Skarsgård in Clark Eric Broms / Netflix

Olofsson is now 75 years old, and was freed from his latest prison stretch, which he was sentenced to for drug smuggling, in 2018.

Clark is available to stream on Netflix now. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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