Scottish Daily Mail

McMad, bad ... and a hero who looked like he wouldn’t hurt a fly in his borscht


IT’S been an eight-week audition to play 007 – and after starting the series in a Bond-style tuxedo, McMafia star James Norton ended it as an executione­r. His character Alex Godman – the son of a Russian oligarch – completed his transforma­tion from City financier to cold-blooded killer as he shot the man who ordered his uncle’s murder. Here JAN MOIR reviews the gripping finale...

Sometimes it was mad, occasional­ly it was bad, but in the end i came to love mcmafia (BBC1) and everyone in it, including the unlucky uncle who was killed with a caviar knife and even evil Colonel Federov (Kirill Pirogov) who may have been bad, but was forgiven because he looked so much like a man who once played bass for an eighties boyband, perhaps A Flock of seagullski.

Half the time it was impossible to work out what was going on, and what didn’t help was that James Norton’s character Alex Godman barely changed expression for hours of slow burn tension mixed with bursts of terrifying violence. ‘You can be humble when it suits you, but you are ruthless, too,’ someone helpfully pointed out last night. thanks for the tip!

the eight-part series ended last night, with a bang, a whimper and the kind of gritty swagger surely intended to pave the way for a second series.

Alex had arrived in moscow ready to do business, unaware that his daft dolt of a dad Dimitri (Aleksey serebryako­v) had only gone and accidental­ly had the daughter of the family’s arch rival killed.

As we had previously seen mafioso boss Vadim (merab Ninidze) travel across a continent just to beat an adversary until his head resembled plum jam, we knew his rage would be awful to behold, and his lust for revenge unquenchab­le.

A thrilling chase on foot through the service tunnels for the moscow undergroun­d soon followed, with Vadim proving that he could hear a man whimpering with fear a thousand yards away.

After a lifetime of brutality, his cruel ears were forever cocked for suffering. Alex escaped with only his shirt tail flapping, his expression as impenetrab­le as ever, even his neat cap of (possibly bearskin?) hair was untouched by terror. Later, in the final showdown between the two, one of them had to die. A gunshot rang out, but did it herald the end of Alex, or merely the end of his innocence?

mcmafia has divided viewers. many complained about the confusing storylines and the fact that so much of the dialogue was in Russian, with english subtitles.

While it had its faults, this drama deserves credit for tackling such a byzantine subject as the corrosive, internatio­nal reach of the Russian mafia with style and no little energy.

Fans who stayed the course were rewarded with a rich and complex series; the last two episodes in particular were terrific. the action switched from banks to boardrooms, from safe houses to dimly lit interrogat­ion rooms, deployment of stubble was a reliable indicator of badness.

this did not apply to the female head of smeRsH or whoever she was (told you it was confusing), who looked more like a Russian supermodel and quite possibly spent a lot of time swapping eyelash curling tips with Alex’s paleeyed bodyguard Joseph (oshri Cohen) between takes.

much of the action was motivated by power and suppressed rage. Vadim’s hand twitched when the coffin lid was closed on his daughter’s face. Alex had a cheek muscle spasm that depicted his interior turmoil, along with a lot of fiddling about with the jacket buttons of one of his perfect suits.

His immaculate tailoring was a reflection of his zipped up nature – but what had been unleashed inside? Vadim told Alex him that to be a successful mobster he had to forget love, friendship and intimacy, surely no great loss given that his girlfriend was such a drip?

in the last scene Alex marches towards the camera, lantern jaw set, looking the very picture of an elegant, modern, civilised businessma­n, someone who wouldn’t hurt a fly if it landed in his borscht. We know he has been corrupted, but how deep does the rot go? And will we find out in another series?

 ??  ?? Revenge: Alex Godman gets even in the series finale
Revenge: Alex Godman gets even in the series finale
 ??  ?? Arch rival: Mafioso boss Vadim, left, clutches a bloody stomach wound
Arch rival: Mafioso boss Vadim, left, clutches a bloody stomach wound
 ??  ?? So far, so 007: Engaged Alex only just resists the charms of another woman earlier in the series, right
So far, so 007: Engaged Alex only just resists the charms of another woman earlier in the series, right
 ??  ??

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