McMafia is the BBC’s latest high-profile drama to hit television screens.
The gripping series features a stellar cast, led by War And Peace and Grantchester actor James Norton, who plays Alex Godman, the English-raised son of exiled Russians with past links to organised criminals.
The story has been adapted from the 2008 best-selling non-fiction book, McMafia: Serious Organised Crime, written by Misha Glenny, which looks into the subject of global crime networks.
In the television series directed by James Watkins, the action focuses on Norton’s character Godman who despite his reluctance, becomes drawn ever deeper into the murky world of international crime as he seeks revenge on Russian criminal kingpin Vadim Kalyagindi (Merab Ninidze) for the murder of his uncle, Boris, played by David Dencik.
Watkins, who directed 2012 movie The Woman In Black, joined forces with Oscar-nominated screenwriter Hossein Amini to create the TV series. They have led the writing team, which includes The Night Manager writer David Farr, Doctor Who writer Peter Harness and Me Without You’s Laurence Coriat.
There are eight episodes in McMafia. The opening two episodes of the series aired on BBC One at 9pm on New Year’s Day and at the same time on Tuesday, January 2.
Since then, episodes have been screened at 9pm on Sundays and this is scheduled to be the case for the remaining five instalments, meaning the finale will be on Sunday, February 11.
Each episode becomes available to watch on the BBC’s catch-up service, iPlayer, soon after its initial Sunday night screening and at the culmination of the series, all eight parts will be available to view online again.
What is McMafia about?
McMafia explores the global criminal network and its far-reaching influences, but centres on one Russian family in exile in London.
Lead character Alex Godman has spent his life trying desperately to escape his family’s criminal connections and build a legitimate business for himself and a respectable life with British girlfriend Rebecca.
Alex has been brought up in London as his family are in exile, but when their murderous mafia past returns to threaten them, he is forced to re-evaluate his principles in order to protect the people he loves.
The story starts out as being about survival and revenge, but turns into an epic tale of one man’s struggle against corruption in the modern world and in himself.
McMafia reveals a web of connections that join up money launderers in Dubai to cyber criminals in India, black marketeers in Zagreb to narcos in Colombia, Russian oligarchs in London to Bedouin smugglers in the Negev desert.
Who is behind the series?
McMafia is based on the bestselling 2008 book of the same name by Misha Glenny, with an all-star team signed up to adapt it for the screen.
Screenwriters and directors Hossein Amini and James Watkins lead the project, bringing with them a wealth of experience on hit TV shows and films. Amini’s credits include Drive and Snow White and the Huntsman, while Watkins has worked on The Woman in Black, Eden Lake and Bastille Day.
Their team of writers 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).
Glenny said: “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.”