TV Picks: Pivot’s “Fortitude” Gives The Chills, Jan. 29 VIDEOS

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In Fortitude, it’s not just the cold that kills.

TV Must-See Picks: Pivot’s “Fortitude” is the first original scripted drama that will premiere Thursday, January 29 at 10:00 pm ET with a special two-hour television event.

Fortitude is a place like nowhere else. Surrounded by the savage beauty of the frozen landscape, the small town in the Arctic Circle is one of the safest towns on earth. There has never been a violent crime here. Until now. In this close-knit community, a murder touches everyone and the unsettling horror of the crime threatens the future of the town itself.

The 12-part one-hour series airs Thursdays at 10:00 pm with encores every Friday at 10:00pm ET.

“Fortitude” is a powerful, psychological thriller. Set on a remote island in the Arctic Circle, the savage beauty of the landscape plays an important role in the show, and rising temperatures have a catastrophic effect on the town and its citizens. There’s never been a violent crime in this close knit community until a brutal murder shocks the town.

“Fortitude” is fictional, but it’s based on real places and grounded in science, brought to life through the voice of the show’s creator, Simon Donald. His unexpected approach highlights the ways a changing climate might impact our lives. Pivot has teamed up with EcoHealth Alliance and are launching webisodes on takepart.com that dive deeper into the science behind the show.

The dark drama series set in the melting Arctic, featuring psychological and thriller elements, tells the story of the small idyllic town of Fortitude, whose peaceful existence is shattered after a brutal and shocking murder. Above-average temperatures lead to a record ice melt revealing secrets long since hidden beneath the frozen landscape.

Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) leads the investigation and is forced to work alongside DCI Morton (Stanley Tucci), a detective who has flown into town from the mainland to contribute his forensic expertise. As the search for the killer progresses, their list of suspects – and suspicions of each other– grows.

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Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon,  Christopher Eccleston, Sofie Gråbøl, Richard Dormer,  Jessica Raine, Luke Treadaway, Nicholas Pinnock, Verónica Echegui and Johnny Harris star in the series, which was co-produced with Sky Atlantic and filmed in Iceland and the UK.

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“Fortitude” spins a dramatic thriller around the unique characters who are drawn to this Arctic community, and a complex story around the potential unintended consequences of man’s impact on the environment. Actor Richard Dormer was on panel at the recent winter TCA press tour in Pasadena and spoke about his character.

“I play Sheriff Dan Anderssen. He’s a kind of enigmatic kind of character. And I think right from the off, we don’t know is he a good sheriff or is he a bad sheriff. He’s never had to deal with a crime before like this. We know that something terrible happens, and Dan really has to dig deep into himself to solve this crime. I think he’s an incredibly good sheriff. He cares deeply about this town. It’s like his soul is in this place, and he would do anything to protect the town and its inhabitants.”

Also on panel was EP Simon Donald, who said,

“It was important that the story took place somewhere believable and realistic. And one of the first things we did, there were certain ingredients in the story that needed certain things in the location. An important one was we needed permafrost. We needed to find a place where hidden things could emerge from the past and come into the present in a convincing, scientific way. So we looked at all the communities north and south that gave us as many of these ingredients as we could find.

And we could really only find one place where the story was going to work, and that’s the archipelago of Svalbard, which is halfway between the north of Norway and the North Pole. Polar bears is the other thing we really wanted. Svalbard’s got more polar bears per acre than anywhere else on the planet, 3,000 polar bears to 2,000 people. And there’s a town there called Longyearbyen, which is the model for Fortitude. And it had extra ingredients when we went and explored it and started doing research there that became really important in the show. It has a very small population, so a very small one horse town, but it has a university. There are four departments in this university for arctic science, and they bring researchers from all over the world. That gave us a scientific it gave us access to scientists who could bring to life some of the issues that are in the show. And it gave us a multinational community.

Also, Longyearbyen, the place that we visited, has a coal industry that’s just about to die. The place was originally set up by an American entrepreneur called William Longyear. And since about 1901, they’ve been mining coal in Svalbard and they’ve just about finished. It’s just about mined out. And that became a really important ingredient in the story as well, the idea that the industry that sustained this place for 100 years is now fading and they need to find some way to make the place viable. Tourism and scientific research play into that world. So [Fortitude] is based very much on a real place.”