Anna Sundell

9 maj 2022 | 17:30

Who the f*ck is Clark? What's true and what's not in Netflix's latest hit show

A more unreliable narrator than Clark Olofsson, brilliantly played by Bill Skarsgård in Netflix's new whirlwind of a show "Clark", is difficult to find.
Netflix’ new original series “Clark” is based on the true life story of infamous Swedish bank robber and career criminal Clark Olofsson. The oftentimes crazy events of the show are, however, presented as told by the title character himself. And as it is made clear from the start, this is a character who has a, well, let’s call it non-monogamous relationship with the truth. The show even spells it out, right after the (very memorable) opening scene - "Clark" is "based on truths and lies".
So which is which in this over the top mini-series, chock-full of crazy and unlikely events? To sort this out for you, I turned to the deepest and finest source of wisdom known to mankind, and left no stone unturned in my quest for knowledge. In other words, I googled it for you. Sometimes I even ventured into the vast unknown territory that lies beyond the first page of hits. Honestly, if this doesn't get me that Pulitzer, I don't know what will. 
Spoilers for "Clark" below. (And anyway, it's more fun to read this article after watching). 

Did the term Stockholm syndrome really originate from Clark Olofsson?

Yes, it was coined after the Norrmalmstorg robbery, as depicted in the show. The behavior of the hostages during and after the kidnapping was perceived to be sympathetic with and loyal to the hostage takers, whereas they seemed skeptical or even afraid of the police. (Although, if only half of the incompetence shown by the police in the show has a grain of truth to it, who could blame them.) Clark does hoard most of the credit for Stockholm syndroming the hostages in the Netflix show, but in reality, the same kind of relationship was also observed between the hostages and the other bank robber (Janne Olsson).

Did they really dance to Sweet and have the police send in sangria during the Norrmalmstorg robbery?

Presumably no, at least there doesn’t seem to be any sources online that can verify this. It makes for wonderful tv though.

Did one of the hostages talk the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme during the robbery, defending Clark and Janne?

Yup, two calls took place between the people in the bank (both robbers and hostages) and Prime Minister Olof Palme. One of the calls, with young hostage Kristin Enmark (who is also shown talking to the Prime Minister on the show), was actually broadcasted live on radio. A curious fact is that 20 minutes of the recording from the call that wasn't broadcasted is mysteriously missing, opening up for conspiracy theories. Not least because several people have attested that Palme during this call asked hostage Kristin Enmark if it wouldn’t be nice to die on her post. Charming.

Did Clark and Janne actually put rolls of money where the sun don’t shine to smuggle it out of the bank?

There is a rumor that Clark Olofsson managed to smuggle out a large sum of money from the Norrmalmstorg robbery (and Janne Olsson has stated that he saw him stuff up some bills in in his nether regions), but it has been never been confirmed. Clark himself has claimed that he did indeed manage to get a significant amount of money from the robbery, but wouldn’t say how. Other theories than the sun-don't-shine version are that Clark had rented a safe deposit box in the vault in advance and put some money there during the robbery, or that he simply put envelopes with money in the outgoing mail. In short, no one expect Clark Olofsson really knows, and honestly, maybe that’s for the best. It's kind of a TMI situation. 

Did Clark really accidentally go stumbling into the greenhouse of Tage Erlander (the Swedish Prime Minister before Olof Palme) and was chased off at gun point?

Yes and no. It is true that Clark and a merry band of buddies once ended up in a greenhouse belonging to Tage Erlander, snacking on the Prime Minister’s grapes, cucumbers and tomatoes. But it was the gardener, not the prime minister himself, who caught them and ran them off. Not as good of a story though, so presumably they wanted to spice it up for the show. 

Did Clark actually once rob a bank with no weapons at all besides his charm, reputation and a glass bottle in his pocket? 

Yeah, this seems to be true, director Jonas Åkerlund has stated it in a couple of different interviews. It must have been so much easier to be spontaneous as a bank robber in the 60’s. 

Did the police really dress up as joggers to arrest Clark when he was meeting with his girlfriend while on the run?

Yep, they did. A surprising amount of the weird antics of the police in “Clark” seem to be somewhat based on truth. You kind of get the sense that the police back then had a little too much time on their hands and watched too many Hollywood movies. 

Did Clark actually meet his Dutch wife while hiding from the conductor in a train?

Well, whether or not he was hiding from the conductor at the time is not clear, but he did meet his would-be wife, 19 year old Marijke Demuynck, while on a train and on the run from the police. They were married between 1976 and 1999. 

That one time when Clark almost hit a moose with the car, did the moose really say "oh shit"? 

What did you think about Netflix' "Clark"? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 
| 9 maj 2022 17:30 |