Netflix’s ‘The Lørenskog Disappearance’ is a true-crime drama that uses the technique of shifting perspectives to follow the unfolding of a complicated investigation. It begins with the disappearance of a woman named Anne-Elisabeth Hagen. One day, her husband, Tom Hagen, calls the police telling them about his missing wife and a ransom note from the kidnappers. The cops are forced to carry out the investigation in secret, in the fear that the kidnappers might hurt Anne-Elisabeth if they found out that the police were involved. This makes an already difficult situation more complicated.
Police officer Jorunn Lakke spearheads the investigation and finds herself in a position that requires her to make some very difficult decisions. Any wrong move on her part could break the entire investigation. She starts to feel the pressure of this responsibility, while also going through some difficult personal times. If you are wondering whether the cops who investigated the case in real life had similar struggles, then here’s what you should know.
Is Jorunn Lakke Based on a Real Cop?
The creators of ‘The Lørenskog Disappearance’ have made great efforts to portray the details of the crime and its investigation as accurately as possible. They have kept the real names of Anne-Elisabeth and Tom Hagen, as well as their lawyer, Svein Holden. The same, however, is not true for Jorunn Lakke. She is not a real-life person, though it seems like the show is loosely inspired by the real police officer who worked on the case, Ida Melbo Øystese.
The Police Chief of the Eastern Police District, Øystese has been a part of the team that has been handling the Hagen case since the beginning. The investigation is headed by Tommy Brøske, whose name also appears as is in the show. At the beginning of the investigation, the cops made the decision to be secretive about it. Later, however, they found that this made their task much more difficult and might also have hampered the course of the investigation. “We can’t rule that out. It’s been one of the issues that was difficult to evaluate. Our leads could have gone cold, deteriorated, or disappeared,” said Brøske, while explaining that “this is an extremely special and demanding case” and tough decisions needed to be made.
Since Anne-Elisabeth’s disappearance in October 2018, a lot of time has passed and it might make some people think that the cops have given up on the investigation. They would be wrong. Some administrative changes have been made in the team that is now on the case, however, Øystese says that finding Anne-Elisabeth is still a high priority. “We would never have made the choices we are making now if we thought it could weaken the chance of an explanation,” she said. Because a case such as this requires the expenditure of a lot of resources, the police have become more careful about their allocation, though not compromising the effectiveness of their work.
Øystese believes that the case can still be solved. “I am confident that at one point or another we will clear up the matter. We are going to find out what happened to Anne-Elisabeth Hagen. And someone knows, it may be that the answers are in the material we already have, but the timing of when this might happen is difficult to say anything about. We are prepared to stand in this case for a long time. We hope that the puzzle piece we are missing will suddenly be there,” she said. She is also aware of the fact that all this time not knowing what has happened to Anne-Elisabeth weighs heavy on her family. “I can only imagine the contours of the pain for them not knowing what has happened to their loved ones,” Øystese said, adding that the cops will continue to do everything they can to bring justice to Anne-Elisabeth.
In contrast to Øystese, Jorunn Lakke becomes more and more pessimistic about the investigation by the end. While her colleague is still hopeful that they are very close to cracking it, Lakke becomes unsure of their findings, wondering if they will ever lead anywhere. The creators of the show have given her a different mindset to drive home the unsettling inconclusiveness and uncertainty surrounding the case. This departure from the real-life police chief’s character shows that Jorunn Lakke is very loosely, if at all, based on Ida Melbo Øystese.
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