McMafia (2018, James Norton, Juliet Rylance)

 BBC One’s ground-breaking international thriller McMafia is inspired by Misha Glenny’s best-selling book of the same name.

It charts Alex Godman’s (James Norton) journey as he is drawn deeper and deeper into the world of organised crime.

As the English-raised son of Russian exiles with a mafia history, Alex 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 (Juliet 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.

James Norton said of his prep for the role: ‘I did this bizarre thing where I spent time as Alex doing really mundane stuff, such as buying milk or brushing my teeth, in his headspace with his demons, his conflicts, desires and passions. It meant when I was on set and they called action, the headspace became quickly familiar to me. I think it freaked people out when I walked about as a schizophrenic Russian banker and then would go back to being me but that’s my process!’

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production details
UK / BBC One / 8×55 minutes / Broadcast 1 January – 11 February 2018

Creators: Hossein Amini, James Watkins
Novel: Misha Glenny

James Norton as Alex Godman
Juliet Rylance as Rebecca Harper
Merab Ninidze as Vadim Kalyagin
Aleksey Serebryakov as Dmitri Godman
Mariya Shukshina as Oksana Godman
Faye Marsay as Katya Godman
David Dencik as Boris
Oshri Cohen as Joseph
David Strathairn as Semiyon Kleinman

Episode 1 | Airdate: 2018-01-01
After a tragic event, Russian exile Alex Godman is drawn into the murky world of global crime as he tries to protect his family from their dark past.

Episode 2 | Airdate: 2018-01-02
Semiyon convinces Alex into a venture designed to harm Vadim’s business in Prague. Meanwhile, a young girl is taken on a very different journey.

Episode 3 | Airdate: 2018-01-07
With the help of Semiyon’s investment, Benes has grown his operation, leaving Vadim concerned and confused. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Vadim arrives in Prague determined to get answers – by whatever means necessary.

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Episode 4 | Airdate: 2018-01-14
Alex unlocks a way to attack Benny Chopra and Vadim in Mumbai. He and Rebecca announce their engagement, but she starts to think he is hiding something.

Episode 5 | Airdate: 2018-01-21
Semiyon awakes to an awful accusation. Alex is convinced he’s innocent and sets out to try to expose his accusers. Meanwhile Katya unravels a shocking secret.

Episode 6 | Airdate: 2018-01-28
Alex fears his family are under threat when Vadim learns the truth about him. His fears appear to be founded when he discovers evidence of a surveillance operation against him – but his paranoid reaction drives a wedge between him and Rebecca, while an unexpected betrayal has devastating consequences. Masha receives an ultimatum, and Joseph seeks an ally in his bid to help Lyudmilla.

Episode 7 | Airdate: 2018-02-04
Vadim is convinced to broker peace in Istanbul. Alex learns the dreadful price of his actions, and Dmitri makes a decision that endangers them all.

Episode 8 | Airdate: 2018-02-11
Alex arrives in Moscow ready to do business, but he’s unaware of the devastation that Dmitri’s actions have caused – and the danger that he faces. Alex must play the only card he has left to try and save himself, before facing a final showdown with Vadim.

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.