Pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air -

Ro­manzo Crim­i­nale Mon­day, 11pm, SBS Who bet­ter to write a tele­vi­sion drama about Italy’s no­to­ri­ous crim­i­nals than a judge who dealt with them reg­u­larly? Gian­carlo De Cataldo is a lead­ing crim­i­nal judge in Rome and one of the coun­try’s most pop­u­lar crime writ­ers. His knowl­edge of the grubby world of mur­der, drugs and stan­dover men has been the ba­sis of sev­eral best­selling nov­els. This se­ries fol­lows three friends — Libanese (Francesco Mon­ta­nari), Freddo (Vini­cio Mar­chioni) and Dandi (Alessan­dro Roja) — who are de­ter­mined to be­come the crime em­per­ors of Rome. It’s set in the 1970s and 80s when the real-life Banda della Magliana gang un­leashed drug-fu­elled chaos on Rome in what be­came known as Anni di Piombo (Years of Lead). Here, sea­son two picks up the story in the early 80s. Libanese is the sneer­ing, streets­mart leader; Freddo is the cun­ning strate­gist and Dandi lives up to his name — he’s out for a good time: par­ties, fast cars and hot chicks. They don’t al­ways work as a team and, when they’re not fight­ing each other, they’re deal­ing with the Camorra and Si­cil­ian Mafia who own the heroin sup­ply, the po­lice led by Com­mis­sioner Scialoja (Marco Bocci) and the Ital­ian se­cret ser­vices. Be­sides the char­ac­ters and the ten­sion, what makes this thriller so good is the at­ten­tion to pe­riod de­tail. The fash­ions and hair­cuts paint a won­der­ful por­trait of the times.

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