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First Look: McMafia

McMafia is a new fast-paced thriller and epic drama series set in the international world of organised crime, coming to BBC One with a distinguished international cast including James Norton (War & Peace, Happy Valley), Juliet Rylance (The Knick, Frances Ha) and Caio Blat (Side by Side, Shades of Sin).

McMafia tells the story of Alex Godman (Norton) who is the English-raised son of Russian exiles with a mafia history, and has spent his life trying to escape the shadow of that criminal past, building his own legitimate business and forging a life with his girlfriend Rebecca (Rylance). But when his family’s past returns to threaten them, Alex is forced to confront his values to protect those he loves.

What starts out as a story of survival and revenge becomes an epic tale of a man’s struggle against the lures of corruption in the modern world and in himself. McMafia is impressive and intimate, glamorous and gritty, global in scale and forensic in detail.

Created by Hossein Amini (Drive) and James Watkins (The Woman In Black), the series has been inspired by Misha Glenny’s bestselling book which takes a hard-hitting look at global crime and its far-reaching influence.

Misha Glenny commented, “I am a huge fan of The Godfather, The Sopranos and, more recently, Narcos. Hoss and James’s brilliant reworking of McMafia takes this tradition onto a global canvas by revealing the immense possibilities open to an ambitious Russian crime family in an interconnected world.”

Further cast includes David Strathairn (The Bourne Ultimatum, Good Night and Good Luck) playing Semiyon Kleiman, a well-connected Israeli businessman with a twinkle in his eye that betrays deeper secrets, Faye Marsay (Love, Nina, Game Of Thrones) portraying Katya, Alex’s sister, Aleksey Serebryakov (The Method, Leviathan) as Dimitri, Alex’s father and the exiled head of the Russian mafia, and Maria Shukshina (Yolki 3, Terrorist Ivanona) as Oksana, Alex’s socialite mother.

The writing team is led by Hossein Amini and James Watkins includes David Farr (The Night Manager, Spooks, Troy – Fall Of A City), Peter Harness (Doctor Who, Wallander, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell) and Laurence Coriat (Wonderland, Me Without You). James Watkins has confirmed he will direct all episodes for the eight-part series.

Don’t miss the first episode of McMafia on 1 December at 9pm on BBC One – and read an extract from the book now.


Misha Glenny

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