BBC One announces McMafia, brand new thriller series by Hossein Amini & James Watkins

This is a family drama in the world of global organised crime, which has attracted incredible writing talent to work alongside Hoss and James, to bring this drama to screen. I am very excited to have this on BBC One.Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama
Date: 21.10.2015     Last updated: 21.10.2015 at 09.00
BBC One today announces McMafia - an epic drama series set in the international world of organised crime commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One and Polly Hill, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning.

McMafia is an intimate story set within one family that throws open the doors of the complex world of organised crime, created and written by award-winning screenwriter and film director Hossein Amini (Drive, The Wings of the Dove, Snow White And The Huntsman,) and James Watkins (The Woman in Black, Eden Lake, Bastille Day) and is produced by Cuba Pictures (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Coalition, London Road, Boy A) for BBC One.

The writing team led by Hossein Amini and James Watkins includes David Farr (The Night Manager, Spooks, Troy – Fall of a City), Peter Harness (Doctor Who, Wallander, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell) and Laurence Coriat (Wonderland, Me Without You).

Inspired by Misha Glenny’s 2008 bestselling book McMafia, a hard hitting look at global crime and its far reaching influence, Hossein Amini and James Watkins have created a drama event that centres around one Russian family living in exile in London.

Author Misha Glenny says: “I am a huge fan of The Godfather, The Sopranos and, more recently, Narcos. Hoss and James’s brilliant reworking of McMafia takes this tradition onto a global canvas by revealing the immense possibilities open to an ambitious Russian crime family in an interconnected world.”

Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama, adds: “Hossein Amini and James Watkins have brilliantly reworked Misha Glenny's best-selling book McMafia, into a really exciting and original new drama for BBC One. This is a family drama in the world of global organised crime, which has attracted incredible writing talent to work alongside Hoss and James, to bring this drama to screen. I am very excited to have this on BBC One.”

McMafia reveals a web of connections that join up money launderers in Dubai to cyber criminals in India, black marketeers in Zagreb to narcos in Colombia, Russian oligarchs in London to Bedouin smugglers in the Negev desert. In this world, race, religion, colour and creed present no barriers when it comes to clinching a major deal.

Commenting on his next television project following The Alienist, Hossein Amini says: “I have always been a fan of mob sagas but Misha Glenny’s McMafia is the first book I’ve read that captures the complexity and global reach of organized crime in the 21st century. The lines between gangsters, bankers, politicians and spies has been blurred and the whole world has become a battlefield in this global gang war. I am thrilled to be working with such terrific writers on a series that I hope will be epic, authentic and also intimate in the best traditions of the genre.”

Co-creator and writer James Watkins adds: “The annual turnover of transnational organised crime is estimated at $870 billion. Misha Glenny's brilliant book casts fascinating light on that huge hidden world and shows how terrifyingly close it is to us all. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with such brilliant writers to bring that captivating underworld to BBC One.”

McMafia is a fast-paced thriller that is abstract and personal, glamorous and gritty, global in scale and forensic in detail. It delves into how the criminal world really works and how, driven by the global demand for cheap products, everyone is complicit, in some way.

Nick Marston, CEO, Cuba Pictures, adds: “Cuba Pictures are hugely excited to be making McMafia for BBC One. Inspired by Misha Glenny’s illuminating book, Hossein and James have written a fantastic script. With the depth of talent in the writing team and the invaluable support of the BBC, we look forward to making a series which will have great international resonance.”

McMafia is executively produced by Nick Marston and Dixie Linder for Cuba Pictures and Matthew Read for BBC One.

BBC Worldwide will be managing the show’s international partnerships and will oversee global rights.

Casting will be announced in due course.