McMafia Episode 1 – The DVDfever Review – James Norton


McMafia centres around dodgy Russians, the mafia and money laundering, with James Norton (Flatliners), who’s in a pickle as his business is under threat from rumours about dodgy financial investments, and he’s looking for a non-Russian investor to chip in to quell these rumours. Without that, he’s a bit stuffed.

He’s given an offer he can’t refuse (maybe) from a Russian businessman, played by American David Strathairn doing a dodgy Russian accent. His participation will come at a bigger price than he might expect, but it depends how desperate he is.

The financial stuff didn’t feel like it had much of a story outside anything that wasn’t predictable, the McDonalds/Burger King discussion (to explain the title) didn’t have any bearing on anything, and everyone just seems to be going through the acting motions; and Norton plays the Jewish Alex Godman, who comes across as the least likely to have Russian heritage out of so many actors I could think.

McMafia – Series Trailer – BBC One

At times, it felt a bit sub-James Bond, similar to how they did the same with The Night Manager, but then both Tom Hiddleston and James Norton’s names have been mooted as a successor to Daniel Craig.

Given that Norton was in the Flatliners remake, I figured this be better than that. It wasn’t by much. I’ll give this a second episode – which is on tomorrow night at 9pm – to see where it goes, but it’ll have to improve immensely.

Update: Since I saw episode 2, I’ve made a vlog below, where you can hear additional thoughts about the show. Check it out!

McMafia continues tomorrow on BBC1 at 9pm, then each Sunday at 9pm, and is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of its release on February 26th. If you missed it, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission, and click on the packshot for the full-size version.

McMafia Rant – Fast & Furious or Dull & Confusing? – DVDfever – panDOMonium

Episode 1 Score: 2/10

Director: James Watkins
Producer: Paul Ritchie
Writers: Hossein Amini and James Watkins

Alex Godman: James Norton
Semiyon Kleiman: David Strathairn
Rebecca Harper: Juliet Rylance
Vadim Kalyagin: Merab Ninidze
Dmitri Godman: Aleksey Serebryakov
Oksana Godman: Maria Shukshina
Katya Godman: Faye Marsay
Boris Godman: David Dencik
Joseph: Oshri Cohen
Benny Chopra: Atul Kale
Femi: Clifford Samuel