Gang­ster gift op­tions

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

SOME PEO­PLE’S ideas of a gift are not yours or mine. I wouldn’t, for ex­am­ple, of­fer you a badly beaten up and chained in­di­vid­ual and of­fer him as a present in ex­change for a word in some­one else’s shell-like.

Nev­er­the­less, that was the goodie of­fered to Alex God­man (James Nor­ton) and his ever-flash­ing cheek­bones. in episode three of the BBC’s fast-mov­ing thriller, Mc­Mafia.

The of­fer was made by a new el­e­ment in the multi-stranded world of big crime, the Mex­i­can An­to­nio Men­dez, who has en­tered the feud be­tween God­man’s im­prob­a­ble fam­ily of Rus­sian Jewish gang­sters and the deeply evil Vadim Klimov, who had ruth­lessly dis­patched Alex’s Un­cle Boris last week.

Well, I say Klimov had dis­patched Boris — with a caviar knife, if peo­ple are pay­ing at­ten­tion. But ac­tu­ally, Klimov did what most gang­sters who have made a ton of money usu­ally do, and sent two of his choic­est heav­ies to get rid of Boris.

Nev­er­the­less, we view­ers needed to un­der­stand quite how vile Klimov is, and thus we were treated to a nasty lit­tle vi­gnette in which, while sup­pos­edly in Prague with his beloved daugh­ter, he took time off from be­ing a tourist in or­der to sys­tem­at­i­cally beat to death a Czech po­lice­man.

This is go­ing to spell trou­ble for re­tired cop Karel Benes, who has taken over the dark side of gang­ster­hood in the Czech cap­i­tal in the wake of the death of Klimov’s man, who was thrown out of his apart­ment build­ing. Three months later, Klimov’s un­der­world busi­ness in Prague is go­ing to pot — al­most lit­er­ally.

Mean­while in Lon­don, Alex’s fa­ther Dmitri the De­pressed, who flung him­self out of his own apart­ment build­ing, is mak­ing a croak­ing re­cov­ery and ex­plain­ing, rather un­con­vinc­ingly, to Masha, his mis­tress, that the rea­son he has no tat­toos is be­cause he is a Jew. Mrs Dmitri is thor­oughly fed up with him and con­fronts the mis­tress, paint­ing a charm­less pic­ture of their fu­ture life to­gether, where Masha is des­tined to be his nurse­maid and un­der­car­riage wipe­rup­per, rather than liv­ing in ro­man­tic bliss.

De­spite Alex’s re­peated at­tempt to tell Men­dez (who claims to have at­tended Har­vard with Alex, a lie so bla­tant only Alex’s dim girl­friend could have fallen for it) that he can’t do any­thing for him, An­to­nio of­fers him the “gift” of one of Boris’s killers in ex­change for Alex hav­ing a swift word with the Is­raeli Mr Big, Se­meyon Kleiman (the de­li­cious David Strathairn). An­to­nio wants a piece of Kleiman’s ac­tion. Alex says noth­ing, but flashes his cheek­bones. No con­test on the gift front.

Dmitri says he has no tat­toos be­cause he is Jewish

‘Mc­Mafia’ is on BBC1, Sun­day 9pm

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