- Critic's Rating - 7.5/107.5/10
McMafia is inspired by journalist Misha Glenny’s best-selling book of the same name. It is the series where the characters have a ever-lasting impact than the actual plot.
Alex Godman, played by James Norton, the English-raised son of an exiled Russian crime family, has spent years trying to evade his family’s past and live on the straight and narrow, running a legitimate business and mapping out a future with his girlfriend Rebecca. As he struggles against the lure of corruption and his family’s former mafia connections, tragedy strikes and he finds himself drawn into the shadowy underworld of international crime, fighting for survival and revenge.
James Norton is suave, looks dapper in suits and has a cooler demeanor about him. He is as cool as cucumber and is outright forthcoming while dealing business transactions with his clients. He doesn’t allow the audience to blink with his deceptive charm and is the gateway to the series, opening the floodgates as to what will happen in the show. His display of emotions are as subtle like a banker that he is, he doesn’t give an air about what’s on his mind and shuffles his cards smoothly. He’s the adept player in a poker table who shows no real emotions but has his eyes fixed on the prize.
With everything going on, he has to deal with his father, sister, mother and his girlfriend who becomes his fiancee later on rather compassionately and not giving into any situation at any point in time. He’s headstrong and his magnetic personality rather channels into the plot as he has deal with enemies who are looking to inflict damage on him as well as his personal life which takes a beating.
This is the story of a white collar guy forced to or rather transformed to do black collar business due to the unsavoury past at the end of the season and whole season plants sub-plots and an array of characters to salivate the process.
Juliet Rylance, who plays James Norton’s girlfriend is the emotional anchor of the series. She charters the territory of emotional convalescence as she’s the person to fall behind when the person she’s with is undergoing a major change while falling in a rabbit hole. She adds the shadow of vulnerability and the pinch element that’s gonna make the audience feel rather tilted towards her. She makes sure that the series gets a personal touch and intimacy when a couple has to get separated and follows up on the emotional bonding and trust that accompanies in a relationship. She projects the woman who is in a sphere of uncertainty while loving her partner and is a little wary when things get suspicious while rowing her life forwards.
Aleksey Serebryakov, who plays James Norton’s father is a picture of a person who’s washed-up and is going nowhere, has no real power or authority that he had in the past. He looks for solace elsewhere and is a broken person now that he’s over who once stood for something. He’s the old ruin that’s looking for someone to hold on to for him able to re-engineer himself and find a purpose.
Oshri Cohen, who plays the bodyguard with a heart and has a keen eye on things is always in action in the middle of things and is an important cog in the wheel for James Norton. He does his job perfectly well both in the series and on the ground level.
McMafia builds up significantly keeping the viewer interested and curious on what’s going to come next and works if you’re in the mood for a plate of fruits that’s cut splendidly.