A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Alex Godman, the protagonist and moral center, sets out to avoid a life in organized crime but ultimately can't help but succumb to it.
Positive Role Models
Godman is driven to protect his family and girlfriend from his involvement in the crime, so that's noble, but there's not much positive beyond that.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent murders and other forms of violence, which are filmed in a fairly straightforward, unglamorous way, including visible blood and wounds.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some simulated sex, and lots of innuendo.
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Very mild cursing: "piss," "ass," "hell," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Well, the show's name is a reference to a fast-food restaurant, and they mention both McDonald's and Burger King in the pilot, but there's little consumerism beyond that and the various depictions of wealthy lifestyles.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking and smoking show up regularly, as many of the show's scenes take place in restaurants and clubs. No drug use in the first couple of episodes, but the world of the show definitely leaves it open to drug-related storylines down the road.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that McMafia is a drama about international crime that follows the son of an exiled Russian mafia boss, Alex Godman (James Norton), as he reluctantly becomes involved in the family business. It's basically a retelling of The Godfather, but set in the world of British hedge funds. The show mostly focuses on the relationships between Alex and his business partners, his ailing father, and his girlfriend, who has no idea that he has gotten involved with crime, but there are also violent murders in each episode, as well as glimpses into mafia practices, such as human trafficking.
Is It Any Good?
Extremely methodical in its world-building, this series starts with a whole lot of exposition and not a lot of conflict. It begins with Godman's family before expanding to the competing crime syndicates he slowly becomes involved with -- this slow pace weighs down even the moments that are supposed to be shocking or thrilling. The incredible David Strathairn is shockingly underutilized in the villain role, while the most charismatic performer in the cast (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy's David Dencik) doesn't even make it all the way through the first episode.
It's undeniable that McMafia is a well-made and ambitious show -- it's filmed beautifully, travels across continents, and digs into some details of organized crime that most depictions ignore -- but is almost entirely absent of compelling characters and actual dramatic conflict. So while the show is nice to look at, it can't seem to nail the most basic things that crime shows need to thrive. For a show that takes it's name from a fast-food franchise, McMafia could use a lot more salt.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.