01/01/2018 22:00 GMT

'McMafia' Review: The Questions We're Asking After Episode One Of James Norton's New BBC Drama

It's a real change of pace from the TV we've been watching in the last few days.


After a week of period dramas, Christmas films and feel-good TV, the BBC switched things up on New Year’s Day with the arrival of new gangster drama ‘McMafia’.

James Norton takes the lead in the big-budget eight-parter, playing Alex Godman - a young man raised by Russian exiles with a mafia history, but who has spent his life trying to escape the shadow of that criminal past. 

However, we saw him forced to re-enter the gangster world in a bid to protect his family and avenge his uncle’s death, who was brutally murdered after making an attempt on a member of the Russian mafia’s life. 

Based on the 2008 novel by Misha Glenny, it is perfect for those who enjoyed Tom Hiddleston’s ‘The Night Manager’, setting the world of organised crime against a backdrop of wealth and opulence. 

Admittedly, with all the shots of him in sharp suits, it does feel like a bit of a Bond audition for James - just like ‘The Night Manager’ felt for Tom - but we’re intrigued to see where he takes ‘McMafia’ next, particularly after bombshells that dropped throughout this first episode. 

Here’s the questions it left us asking...

Are we looking at a future Bond?

Who was the woman to attempted to kill Vadim in the Arabian Peninsula?

Prior to her attaching the bomb to the car, it looked like Vadim knew who she was as they shared a smile. 

Who were the people who killed Boris?

Boris obviously knew the heavies who killed him, having had them over to his mansion to discuss making a move of Vadim. But we’ve been lead to believe they were actually members of Vadim’s crew and they turned on him.

However, our question is in what capacity had Boris known them, and how had they managed to hide who they were really working for?

Boris met a grisly end

Why were the panic alarms in Alex’s parents house not working?

Were they disabled by the gang attempting to murder Dimitri and Oksana? Or had they just failed to keep on top of the electrics?

Was Joseph threatening Alex?

When he turned up at Boris’s funeral, Joesph appeared to make a chilling threat against Alex and his family before handing him his business card. We know that he works with Semiyon, but what were they prepared to do if Alex didn’t co-operate?

Is Alex going to cheat on Rebecca?

Alex certainly looked tempted by the woman (Tanya) he met at the club in Tel Aviv, who later turned up at the funeral. She then also lied to Rebecca about how she knew Alex, perhaps hinting there could be unfinished business between them. 

Will something happen between Alex and Tanya?

Is Semiyon to be trusted?

Semiyon seemed to have a lot of answers when Alex went to visit him, telling him Boris promised he could use Alex’s fund to move money around, explaining why his uncle was the one who had spread the rumours about Alex’s firm’s dodgy dealings. 

He then went on to claim Vadim had Boris killed, after Boris was revealed as the one who instructed the attempt on his life. It then transpired that Vadim was responsible for kicking Alex’s family out of Russia taking over their business interests, as well as Semiyon’s. Their attack on Vadim was one to simply “take back what was theirs”.  

However, something tells us things may not be that straight forward, as this is just the word of one man, speaking on behalf of a dead one, who also has a vested interest in Alex’s fund. Speaking of which...

Is there more to Semiyon?

Why was Boris promising Semiyon the use of Alex’s fund?

We know (or have at least been told) that Boris was working with Semiyon to bring down Vadim, but why was Boris making promises to him about Alex’s fund? Was it a simple business arrangement? Or is there more to it than that?

‘McMafia’ continues on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One.