McMafia is a British crime drama television series created by Hossein Amini and James Watkins, and directed by Watkins. It is inspired by the book McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by journalist Misha Glenny (2008). The series stars James Norton as Alex Godman, the British-raised son of a Russian mafia boss living in London whose father is trying to escape from the world of organised crime. It is co-produced by BBC, AMC Networks, and Cuba Pictures. It premiered in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 1 January 2018, and in the United States on AMC on 26 February 2018.
|Created by||Hossein Amini|
|Based on||McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld|
|Directed by||James Watkins|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Executive producers||Nick Marston|
|Production company||Cuba Pictures|
|Distributor||BBC Worldwide (UK)|
AMC Networks (U.S.)
|Original network||BBC One (UK)|
|Picture format||16:9 1080i|
|Original release||1 January 2018 –|
- James Norton as Alex Godman
- David Strathairn as Semiyon Kleiman, Russian-Israeli businessman
- Juliet Rylance as Rebecca Harper, Alex's fiancée
- Merab Ninidze as Vadim Kalyagin, powerful member of the Russian mafia
- Aleksey Serebryakov as Dimitri Godman, Alex's father
- Maria Shukshina as Oksana Godman, Alex's mother
- Faye Marsay as Katya Godman, Alex's sister
- David Dencik as Boris Godman, Alex's uncle
- Oshri Cohen as Joseph, Israeli bodyguard
- Sofia Lebedeva as Lyudmilla Nikolayeva, beauty therapist
- Caio Blat as Antonio Mendez
- Kirill Pirogov as Ilya Fedorov
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Dilly Mahmood, Indian business partner
- Karel Roden as Karel Benes
- Yuval Scharf as Tanya
- Anna Levanova as Natasha
- Clifford Samuel as Femi
- Maria Mashkova as Masha
- Kemi-Bo Jacobs as Karin
- Atul Kale as Benny Chopra
- Evgeni Golan as Marat
- Eve Parmiter as Jennifer
- Tim Ahern as Sydney Bloom
- Ellie Piercy as Sandrine
- Danila Kozlovsky as Grigory Mishin
- Alexander Dyachenko as Oleg
- Fernando Cayo as Guillermo Alegre
- Sofia Lebedeva as Lyudmila
- Lidiya Fedoseyeva-Shukshina as Vadim Kalyagin's mother
McMafia was inspired by journalist Misha Glenny's non-fiction book McMafia: Seriously Organised Crime, published in 2008. The series took a few stories from Glenny's book, which documents various mafia organisations thriving around the world today. The series was created by Hossein Amini and James Watkins, and is a co-production of the BBC, AMC, and Cuba Pictures, in association with Twickenham Studios.
The BBC announced the series in October 2015. In April 2016, it was announced that James Norton had been cast in the lead role of Alex Godman and that co-creator Watkins would direct all eight episodes. Additional casting, including Maria Shukshina and Aleksey Serebryakov as Alex's parents, and David Strathairn as a shady Israeli businessman, was announced in November 2016. In addition to Amini and Watkins, David Farr, Peter Harness, and Laurence Coriat co-wrote the series.
Filming locations included London, Zagreb, Split, Opatija, Qatar, Mumbai, Prague, Cairo, Belgrade, Belize, Istanbul, Moscow and Tel Aviv. The budget was several million pounds per episode.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|1||"Episode 1"||James Watkins||Hossein Amini and James Watkins||1 January 2018||9.82|
|An attempt on the life of Russian businessman Vadim Kalyagin leads to retaliation against English investment fund manager Alex Godman's uncle drawing him into a power battle between the Russian and Israeli criminal underworld, a world Alex has up to now been able to keep his investment company out of despite his own father's past interests in the Russian underworld.|
|2||"Episode 2"||James Watkins||Hossein Amini and James Watkins||2 January 2018||8.67|
|A young woman, Lyudmilla, arrives in Cairo to take up a job as a beautician, only to find she has been deceived and kidnapped by human traffickers. Semiyon seeks to take control of Mumbai from Vadim and needs allies requiring money. He uses Alex Godman to transfer the money through his investment company which Alex does concealing the facts from his staff. Lyudmilla held with three other girls discovers the ruthlessness of the traffickers. Alex is called to Prague by Semiyon who is trying to unseat Vadim from his smuggling operations. Alex's father attempts suicide. Lyudmilla is passed to traffickers in Israel and selected by Semiyon's personal assistant Tanya.|
|3||"Episode 3"||James Watkins||David Farr and Hossein Amini||7 January 2018||7.46|
|Semiyon grows his business empire in Prague and Mumbai and a concerned Vadim goes to Prague looking for answers. Semiyon also has plans for a high class casino ship in Israeli waters and Tanya coaches Ludymilla to use her sexuality to discover secrets from Semiyon's prospective business partners. Rebecca, Alex's girlfriend, is approached by Antonio Mendez claiming to be Alex's old friend from university. Mendez phones Alex, who does not know him, and arranges a meeting at his villa in the South of France which he accepts taking Rebecca, as requested, with him to find out what the man wants. Mendez wants to use Semiyon's ships to bring drugs into Europe. Alex proposes to Rebecca.|
|4||"Episode 4"||James Watkins||David Farr and Hossein Amini||14 January 2018||6.74|
|Semiyon advises Alex not to do business with the Mexican cartel. Alex employs a computer expert to conceal his dealings with Semiyon from his staff. Rebecca is concerned about Alex when she discovers he has a second phone, which he lies about, she takes her concern to his father. Semiyon uses his contacts to discover the whereabouts of Vadim's drugs in Mumbai. Semiyon leaves the decision to steal the drugs to Alex warning him there will be repercussions. Rebecca confronts Alex about his dealings with Semiyon, but unknown to her he has authorised the theft.|
|5||"Episode 5"||James Watkins||Laurence Coriat and Hossein Amini||21 January 2018||6.49|
|Alex and Semiyon disagree on how to keep the pressure on Vadim. Semiyon is arrested for homosexual rape and Lyudmilla sees a way to escape Semiyon's employment; but she needs Alex as a go-between. Rebecca meets Antonio for advice about Alex's business dealings. Masha confides to Katya, Alex's sister, that she is pregnant by Dimitri. To have the charges dropped, Alex blackmails Semiyon to allow his ships to smuggle Antonio's drugs and release Lyudmilla. He agrees to the former but not the latter.|
|6||"Episode 6"||James Watkins||Laurence Coriat and Hossein Amini||28 January 2018||6.33|
|Alex poaches Semiyon's employee to organise a bodyguard team in London to protect his parents and sister. Furthermore Alex provokes a temporary split with his unsuspecting fiancée Rebecca, who moves into a separate apartment. The idea is to remove her from the threat posed by Vadim's thugs, but the ruse is exposed by visiting Benes who has been pressed into Vadim's service. Rebecca is shot in the stomach, but is saved by Alex's bodyguard arriving in time to kill the assassin.|
|7||"Episode 7"||James Watkins||Peter Harness and Hossein Amini||4 February 2018||6.15|
|Alex confesses to his family his mafia entanglements. His hospitalised fiancée, Rebecca, has lost Alex's baby and disowns him. His father insists on protecting the family using old Russian contacts, leading to two outcomes. First, Alex meets Vadim and Semiyon in Istanbul to sue for peace with Vadim. Alex nevertheless does not trust Vadim and forges an alliance with Antonio and his Mexican mafioso colleague. Secondly, hitmen targeting Vadim in Russia accidentally kill Vadim's cherished daughter Natasha instead.|
|8||"Episode 8"||James Watkins||Peter Harness and Hossein Amini||11 February 2018||6.31|
|Alex flies to Moscow unaware of his father's actions and is detained by Ilya's agents. He escapes and is protected by his bodyguard and Lyudmilla, now reunited with her grateful parents. Meanwhile Ilya's boss at the Russian secret service criticises Ilya's loyalty to Vadim. In a business meeting with Mexican and Russian drug oligarchs, Alex secures his position as a powerful mafioso, even cutting out Antonio. Secret service agents shoot and wound Vadim who escapes to an apartment and then faces Alex in a final confrontation.|
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