Netflix’s Swedish-original comedy crime biographical series ‘Clark’ probes into the life of the titular robber and national hero, whose antics gave rise to the term “Stockholm syndrome.” Chronicling Clark’s life since the sixties, the series plunges the audience into the cerebral life of Clark Olofsson. The series breaks down the myth of Clark Olofsson, grounding him through a nuanced character study.
After breaking into the prime minister’s house, Clark hones his skills as a bank robber while toying with the emotions of the women in his life. The limited series showcases Clark as a volatile character struggling to cope with his childhood trauma. As the series claims to have a basis in both truths and lies, it becomes necessary to untangle one from another. Did Clark really face a trauma from his parents? Let us find out! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Who Were Clark Olofsson’s Parents? Did They Abuse Clark?
As the series denotes, the real-life Clark Olofsson was born on February 1, 1947, in a middle-class family in Trollhättan, Sweden. Clark’s mother worked as a cashier, and his father was an asphalt worker. From the beginning of the series, the black-and-white segments often take the viewers to revisit Clark’s childhood. As per the depiction of the series, Clark was vehemently abused at the hands of his parents. The abuse later amounts to much of Clark’s volatile and elusive persona, including the urge to escape and the fear of abandonment.
Also, according to the series, Clark’s alcoholic father left the family of four and disappeared when Clark was merely 11 years old. After the father’s leave, the family falls further into jeopardy. Clark’s protective mother encounters psychological challenges, which results in her heading to a psychiatric institution. History attests to the fact that Clark’s mother indeed ended up at the Lillhagens psychiatric hospital shortly after Clark’s father left the family.
Around this time, Clark and his two sisters (who remain conspicuously absent in the series) find lodging in day care, and Clark starts to mingle with rebellious company on the show. As the series speeds up to Clark’s vandalism in Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander’s house, we do not get to know more about his past, including his real-life counterpart’s nautical adventures at the age of 14. However, from time to time, the series brings back memories of the past, not one of them worth cherishing.
Probing further, we would come to know that the depiction of Clark’s parents in the series is quite accurate to life. Clark’s father indeed had problems with alcoholism, which seemingly resulted in violent eruptions in the household. As per this article by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Alcohol may encourage aggression or violence by disrupting normal brain function.” Therefore, the stories of domestic violence could be grounded in reality, as it also provides a context to Clark’s character.
How Did Clark Olofsson’s Parents Die?
Clark’s parents both die by the end of the series, and Clark gets a chance to move his life behind. Although whether he accepts the opportunity remains subject to debate, his parents’ deaths make him come to better terms with his past. Meanwhile, Clark begins to resemble his father more and more until it roots paranoia in his mind. Towards the end of the story, as Clark obtains a degree in journalism, Tommy Lindstrom heads to Clark’s house to inform him of his father’s demise. Clark’s father died in front of his barn, drunk, partially naked, and with his penis in his hand. Clark attends the funeral, deriving some peace in the process.
Shortly after, as the story limps to the late 80s, Clark heads to the jail once again for a drug-dealing operation. He gets the news of his mother’s ailment and heads to the hospital to meet her in person. While a troubled woman suffering the trauma of a marriage of abuse, Clark’s mother always has faith in her son. Clark may be a criminal in the eyes of the law, but he is still a hero to his mother.
In the end, then, the mother’s death inflicts a more significant wound on Clark’s mind, especially as she dies in his arms. Unlike the father, Clark’s mother dies of natural causes stemming from her old age. However, he cannot head to the funeral since he stays in the isolation ward of a prison. Apart from what the series reveals, there is little information about what happened to Clark’s real parents.