Where and When Does The Regime Take Place?

Image Credit: Miya Mizuno/HBO

HBO’s ‘The Regime’ transports the audience into a country ruled by a volatile Chancellor who gets more unpredictable with the minute. Kate Winslet plays the role of Elena Vernham, who is celebrating the seventh year since she won the free and fair elections of her democratic nation. While she is convinced that the country is doing much better now than it was before her, the people of her country are not so sure.

But Elena wouldn’t know what the people are going through or want because she never leaves her lavish palace, and with every episode of the show, she starts to cocoon herself more and more into the building while the nation is in a state of unrest. Considering the political nature of the show, one is bound to wonder which country is at the center of the story. SPOILERS AHEAD

Which Country is The Regime Set In?

Image Credit: Miya Mizuno/HBO

While Elena Vernham repeatedly expresses her love for her country and its people, she never really speaks the name of her great nation. Neither does any other minister in her cabinet or the people close to her. This was an intentional choice by the creators of the show, who didn’t want to limit the scope and impact of the story by putting a name on it.

‘The Regime’ is a fictional show created by Will Tracy and imagines its own country with its own government. We know that the story is set somewhere in “Middle Europe,” but there is nothing that gives the audience any hints as to which country has been specifically referred to in the show. The names of places like Westgate and Rinburg are dropped, but these are made up too. We know that Elena’s country is rich in cobalt, and it is one of the things that gives it its power while also being the same thing that leads to protests from the locals. In Europe, most of the cobalt comes from countries like Finland and Sweden. Considering that we see snow-capped mountains in the background of Elena’s palace, we can assume that her country is located somewhere in the Nordic region but more towards the eastern end of the continent.

While there is a lot of room for speculation, the creators of ‘The Regime’ don’t fret too much about the location. The fact that they have mentioned that the place is somewhere in central Europe is enough to build context, and they immediately move on from that, putting more focus on the story. Tracy said that he was in favor of a fictional country rather than a real one because then the country’s entire history would have to be considered while plotting the course of Elena’s story, and that would only distract from what he wanted the show to be.

Image Credit: Miya Mizuno/HBO

To give it a central European feel, the series was shot in Vienna, with the Schönbrunn Palace used to film the scenes inside the palace. As for the country’s story, Tracy and his team delved into intensive research, especially of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships, as well as the geopolitical context in central Europe. In fact, the idea for the show had come to Tracy after reading ‘The Emperor,’ which is about the final days of the reign of the last Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie. What interested him wasn’t just the fall of the empire but the small things about the emperor’s daily life, told from the perspective of the servants and other people on his beck and call.

Further, to make the country feel more real, he also added specific details about the place’s general history, culture, politics, and economy, with even its fake GDP at some point. However, the factor of anonymity had to remain to make the story more impactful. For this, the actors were allowed to choose their own accents because the degree of differences in the way they spoke would confuse the audience, and they wouldn’t be able to pin it down to a specific location. Tracy did all this because he wanted the audience to relate to the story, no matter which aspect of it. The nameless country could then become a mirror for viewers from different countries, which would then force them to look at the real thing more closely. And that’s the point of the show.

Read More: HBO’s The Regime: Where is the Political Satire Filmed?