Family is everything.

When a feared mafia boss loses his daughter in a tragic car accident, he demands retribution from the man he holds responsible.

When an ordinarily family man is involved in a car accident that kills the daughter of an infamous mafia boss, the only way out is to become a killer for the mob.

What binds the two men is besa.

Besa (definition)


Besa (pledge of honour) is a cultural precept from South East Europe, that means “to keep the promise” and “word of honour”.

Story

BESA is an original TV series inspired by true events.

An epic plot that tells the story of two families connected by an unfortunate event which will change their lives forever. The story is set in the complicated everyday life of the Balkans, which has always been ethnically, religiously and culturally diverse. BESA reveals the importance of a given word, and through interesting plots and authentic characters, talks about a deeply universal topic - what a man is ready to do to protect his family.

SEASON 1
Uros Peric (Radivoje Raša Bukvić), an ordinary man from Belgrade, is going on a business trip to Montenegro, where he has a car accident. A young girl, Besiana (Elizabeta Brodić), tragically dies. When Uros wakes up in the hospital, he finds out that she is the daughter of a notorious Balkan "drug boss" Dardan Berisha (Arben Bajraktaraj). This tragic event triggers a chain of plots that will forever change the lives of the main characters in the series. Referring to the old code "blood for blood", Dardan forces Uros to kill 5 people for him. Dardan gives him BESA - a solemn and holy oath - that only after "committing" these five murders will he save his family from revenge. The Interpol team led by Petrit Koci (Milos Timotijevic) is investigating the case of Dardan Berisha, but also the murders committed by Uros Peric, whom the police do not suspect. However, Koci is the fifth and one last murder Uros must commit, to secure his freedom.

SEASON 2
The second season begins three years after the first, in Estonia, where Uros Peric and his family are in the witness protection program after testifying against "drug boss" Dardan Berisha. Uros's testimony took Dardan to prison, and provided Petrit Kocija with a promotion at Interpol, as well as a high position and a comfortable life in Vienna. Dardan is in jail. After the death of the clan's founder, Skender Berisha, Dardan's son Driton returnes to the Balkans with the intention of taking over the "family business". His main motive is to get a revenge on Uros Peric and his family for the death of his sister, but also the betrayal of his father. Upon his return to the Balkans, Driton enters into a serious conflict with his father, because he denounces the tradition and disregards the rules that have been always been a reference, for his father, Dardan. He violates BESA (holy oath) and organizes the assassination of the Peric family in Estonia. Uros is the only survivor, and he returns to the Balkans to avenge the murder of his son and wife.

Video

Trailer

“A smart, intricate crime thriller with a unique story and absolutely stunning production values”
- Tony Jordan, Creator & Writer
“A series that will appeal to local viewers as well as audiences around the world, who will identify with the universal nature of the emotional journeys of the main characters”
- Dusan Lazarevic, Director

Dardan Berisa

Leader of a Kosovo Albanian drug cartel and the most powerful criminal in Southeastern Europe, Darden Berisha is an old-school mafia don. Whilst mercilessly brutal to his enemies, he is not a sadist. In his mind, what he does is all about business and honor. He doesn’t hate his foes, they are merely obstacles to be overcome dispassionately. When his daughter is killed, all hell breaks loose and Darden loses his calm and detached pragmatism. He wants revenge and is hell-bent on destroying anyone connected to her death. As time goes by Dardan is increasingly adamant of not passing down the business to his sons, and does everything in his power to send them away from the criminal milieu. The passing of his uncle Skender Berisha, the lingering wish of his older son, Driton, to avenge the deaths of his mother and sister, finally come to the forefront with Dardan being incapacitated to control him. Driton Berisha returns to the Balkans with the intention of running the Berisha clan, predominantly motivated by revenge. The conflict between father and son escalates when Driton disregards tradition and his fathers’ explicit orders.

Uroš Perić

An ordinary and honest guy whose only goal in life is to provide a comfortable life for his family. He loves his wife Marija, and the family they created together, his children are the center of his universe. After a tragic car accident in Montenegro, where Uros was on a business trip, he wakes up at a hospital to realize a girl was killed in the accident. The girl was the daughter of Dardan Berisha, a Balkan narcobos leader whose life turns into a seething discourse for avenging the death of his daughter. To buy out the lives of his loved ones, Uros must do unspeakable things for Dardan, which include the worst sins known to human kind. Uros transforms from an ordinary law-abiding citizen, into a man who does the unimaginable for the love of his family. He is tormented by the fact that he’s become a killer. Following a twist of fate, Uros now lives in Estonia with his wife and son. He has the status of a protected witness, but he is unhappy and haunted by guilt because of the situation he brought his family into, all with the intention of protecting them. Besa that Dardan had given him, for the buyout of the lives of his loved ones, has been broken. An attempt at the assassination of the Peric family left Uros as the only survivor. His life is hanging by a thread, but he has one aim, and one aim only. Go back home and set things straight.

Petrit Koci

Head of Interpol for Europe. He comes from a mixed marriage of a Serb and an Albanian, which marked his life in his youth. He never belonged to any country, and he went through a lot of suffering since his father was killed. Driven primarily by personal revenge, but also by great effort and professional engagement, his whole life was focused on one single goal, the arrest of Dardan Berisha. After succeeding, he accomplished a great thing in his career, was appointed to a senior position, moved to Vienna, and began a quiet family life with Vera, his love from a young age. The assassination of Uros Peric family awakens old ghosts in him, which threaten to destroy him mentally, calling into question everything he has achieved.

Luka Jovanovic

A young criminal from Belgrade, who fought his way up the business ladder through a painful and bloody flight of steps. He grew up in an orphanage, and was adopted by his mentor Mima, who sexually abused him at a young age. At first a decoy, he was used as a bait for Una with an aim to exert extra control on the Peric family, however, Luka succumbed to his emotional side and fell in love with her. After Mima’s death, the strain on their relationship was made easier, and they managed to form a household together. Happily ever after is not the way to describe them, notwithstanding, his love for Una is above everything else. Because of that, on the one hand, he is ruthless and brutal towards his enemies, but on the other hand, he is a caring father and husband, because he wants to give them everything he did not have as a child. Luka is the man of the drug distribution, he is the connective tissue between Iljir Sokolji and the drug market. That comes at a high price, especially as with his promotion, ghosts from the past resurface in his life, seeking answers.

Driton Berisha

Son of Dardan Berisha. He was left mute after an attempt at the assassination of his father, however after a series of complicated surgeries, he managed to regain his speech. Abusive, unscrupulous, reckless…are all understatements in showing the essence of Driton’s character. He is the typical criminal of a new generation who ignores tradition and moral values. He is only interested in power and money. With the help of his new hires, who are ignorant to Dardan’s Berisha clan, but who rather side with Driton, he manages to eliminate his father’s associates and anyone else standing in his way of getting the revenge for the mortal disintegration of his family.

Iljir Sokolji

The son of Agim Sokolji the late leader of the Sokolji clan. Educated at the best colleges in Switzerland, where he was born. Manners of a true gentleman, highly intelligent and multilingual. His serious business network proselytized his influence to an international scope. The other side of him that has been liberated by his father’s death sees a covert sadist, with a strong appeal to sexual kink. His manhood has been growing increasingly accentuated once he took over the Sokolji clan. A nuanced criminal, who sees crime exclusively as a business, engages in business without emotions, with a clear goal of great profits and investments throughout the Balkans. He is a class above all the others in his environment: a superior diplomat, educated, ruthless, emotionless, and an absolute leader. With a penchant for fine things in life, he seeks amusement in the pain of others, namely that of his competition.

Una Peric

The daughter of Uros Peric. In her twenties, she carries immense pain, more than ordinary persons would amass through a lifetime. She is a victim, and a witness of the way her life post reupholstered due to her father’s unfortunate relationship with Dardan Berisha. She was raped, impregnated and beaten, at the same time in the duration of her relationship with Luka. After she loses her mother and brother, she finds the only security in her love with Luka. She blames her father for all the things that happened to her family, and she doesn’t want to see him. In all of the unfortunate circumstances, she transforms from a rebellious teenage girl into a mature in a glimpse of a moment. The ultimate dilemma of her life is the uncertainty who is the father to her son Vid: Luka, or her rapist?

Divna Dukic

Inspector of Interpol, recently Head of operations of the Southeast Balkans. Petrit’s mentorship helped her cement herself as a powerful detective, who is well respected in the police circles. She, however, morally surpasses him, because her approach to her work is not principled in revenge, but in her strong sense for justice. In her personal life, she is a single mother, who raised her nine-year-old daughter Vanja on her own. She is now facing a custody battle with her powerful husband, who is not as interested in the kid, but rather in making Divna’s life worse. She is punctual, intellectually precise, honest, with a strong set of values and an absolute dedication to the system, and her job. She has troubles juggling her private and professional life. When she loses her daughter in court, she becomes suspicious of everything she believed in up to then, and begins to reconsider her life principles. This encourages her to take Uroš’s side in his fight for revenge.

Igi

Luka’s back street kid who made it in the business. He started off as his street informant, uncovering the identities of the men who raped Una. Securing his position in Luka’s life, his power grows with the drug business advance. Igi meets Ana Sokolji, who hooks him on coke and sex. In parallel, the police get on him, and pressure him into taking a side, Igi becomes a slave to his anxiety, emotions, and the dilemma whether he should rat Luka out to the police and protect himself, or remain loyal to the man who made him?

Ana Cimilji

Jon's sister, officially a gallerist. In reality, she is the front woman for the Sokolji clan in Belgrade, She has an expensive taste, and a penchant for young men, a vacancy Igi fills out to ’upgrade’ her time in Belgrade. She is dominant, and determind to find out who killed her brother, Jon. Ana is willing to do anything humanly possible to find the murderer and avenge his death. Known for: Three Days in September, Besa, M and Kaymak.

Lara Pirsch

Head of Internal Control at Interpol. While on the one hand she is dealing with a complaint filed against Divna Dukić by her ex-husband, on the other, she is dealing with an information leak which resulted in the death of the Peric family, who had a protected witness status. Among the people she interviews is Petrit Koci, with whom she once had an ‘unfinished’ love affair, that gets refreshed by the circumstances in which their lives collide once again.

Vera Koci

Vera is a successful and independent woman, a professional banker, who’s been living in Vienna, with her husband, Petrit Koci. She is kind and caring and deeply in love with him, her loyalty to their marriage is rock solid and consistent, and although they had many difficulties in keeping their relationship harmonious, she always managed to go beyond their differences and focus on the love between them. Even so, with his work becoming increasingly complicated, Vera becomes lonely, distrustful and worried that his dark side is once again at the forefront of their relationship. Notwithstanding, they are trying to have a baby, and when they finally manage to get pregnant, a twist of fate steps in…

Writers

Tony Jordan - Writer
Tony is an award winning writer and British TV giant, listed as the number one television screen writer in the UK by Broadcast magazine in 2008 and among British broadcasting's top twenty in The Stage in 2009. Tony is known for his work on Life on Mars, Hustle, The Vanishing Man, Thief Takers, Minder and Dickensian among others. Tony was described in The Guardian newspaper by TV critic Mark Lawson as “one of TV’s most inventive writers”.

Igor Stoimenov - Writer
Igor has been an industry professional for more than 20 years. His most notable work includes Crni Gruja, a beloved TV format he created, wrote and directed; TV series Supermarket, as well as numerous feature documentaries, namely “Partisan film”; “New Wave” and “White Button”. Prior to creating TV series Besa, Igor wrote and directed feature movie “Equals” produced by Absinthe production. From 2016 - 2018, he served as Program Director & Head of Production at Planet TV Slovenia, preceded by his work for Antenna Group Serbia as the Head of Production & Entertainment. Igor was a guest professor at Columbia University, Harriman Institute for Russian and East European Studies.

Serial Besa performance - key takeaways

Live airings of serial Besa was #1 top performing program on Superstar TV in the entire year 2021 with the largest ratings on their buying target audience All 18-49

Growing popularity - more than doubled average rating of Season 2 (+111%) when comparing it to Season 1 on Superstar TV and +34% on Prva TV on general population

Season 2 outperformed average viewership of its airing time slot (21:00-22:00) on Superstar TV by more than 3.4x and 1.2x on Prva TV in (22:00-23:00) on general population

Serial Besa was #4 top-performing program on TV Prva during Season 2 airing period (01.12.-30.12.2021.) on their buying target audience All 18-50

Stable ratings on both commissioned channels of Season 2 with average of 454k viewers per episode on Prva TV and 278k viewers on Superstar TV

Stable coverage across the releases; Season 1 reached app 54% and season 2 app 51% of general population or more than 3.5 mio viewers per season.

Source: Nielsen
Ratings live+7, Season 1 release 2019, Season 2 release 2021, Commissioned channels: TV Prva and Superstar TV
Superstar TV (Sat-Sun) 21:00 – 22:00, TV Prva (Wed-Thu) 22:00 – 23:00

Series Comps

Besa is a production by Adrenalin and Red Planet Pictures   Season 1: 10 x 60 episodes Season 2: 10 x 60 episodes (currently in pre-production)   Directed by: Dušan Lazarević, Igor Stoimenov, Milan Toki Todorović, Nikola Ljuca   Language: Serbo-Croatian-Albanian   Originating broadcasters: Telekom Serbia, PRVA Serbia, RTL Croatia, Planet TV Slovenia   IMDB rating: 8.9

Family is everything.