Bajraktaraj, who also starred in Taken, and Bukvic, who was in The Transporter, will be joined in the 12-part drama by Croatian actor Lana Baric (You Carry Me) and Sebastian Cavazza (Short Circuits).
The series, which is currently in production across south-Eastern Europe, was commissioned by Eastern European broadcast group Antenna and will air on PRVA in Serbia, Planet TV in Slovenia and RTL in Croatia. It is directed by Dusan Lazarevic, a Serbian director who is now based in the UK and has worked on episodes of Misfits and Death In Paradise.
It will tell the story of the Albanian mafia – one of the most secretive and most feared criminal networks in the world. The story centers on Belgrade small businessman Uros, put under pressure by the local crime syndicate to become their hitman and executioner, in order to protect his family.
It was created and executive produced by Hustle and Life on Mars creator Tony Jordan – an unusual step for a high-profile British TV auteur to work in Europe.
Former NBC Universal exec Pete Smith, who is now Director of Antenna Group, said, “Besa breaks in new ground in many ways; Tony Jordan from the UK executive produces the series as well as overseeing the team of local writers and I am particularly proud we have gathered together outstanding talent from across south-east Europe, both cast and crew, who have all worked internationally, making this a first for the region.”
The show will air locally in September and will launch internationally at Mipcom, where it will be distributed by Antenna Group, which is already in discussion with several pan-territorial buyers.
Tatjana Pavlovic, Head of International Distribution at the Antenna Group, added, “There is much interest from international buyers for Besa, and we have great hopes for its international success. We are very proud that this is the first-time talent from across south eastern Europe has been brought together to make a compelling crime series drama, and hopefully set the trend for more multicultural productions from our region.”