Airdate: Romanzo Criminale

2013-01-30_0146Showcase screens Romanzo Criminale (Crime Novel), a television series Italian based on the novel by judge Giancarlo De Cataldo, which has previously been a 2005 film directed by Michele Placido.

The series is set from 1977-89 and follows a criminal gang in Rome that has a near monopoly of the city’s heroin trade.

Two seasons were produced from 2008-10 and the first series achieved cult status in Italy.

Rome in the late 70s. The capital of a country torn by ruthless left-wing terrorism and rampant corruption. Political murders, spectacular bombings, high-profile kidnappings. Gut-wrenching times in a city that fosters crime and brutality, yet whose underworld is a patchwork of petty gangs and small-time crooks. One man dreams of rising to the top of the pack. With enough money, men and weapons, he will become Rome’s King of Crime. “The Lebanese” is his name, and his ambition is boundless. With his pal Dandi, he and his fierce little gang rob shops and warehouses.

Then he meets the cool, sharp-minded gang leader “Ice,” and the two gangs join forces. Rome’s warlords bow down to the newcomers. All except “Terrible,” whom the Lebanese hates, but in this line of work, you have to do business with your enemies. And as the Lebanese corners the market for drugs, he makes lots of enemies. He also makes valuable connections among corrupt cops and politicians, and in the Secret Service, which seeks to enlist the gang to destabilise the government and provoke a right-wing coup. But there’s one person who is actively fighting back, the young, idealistic police inspector Nicola Scialoja.

While the Lebanese and his gang continue to stir up Rome’s underworld, they begin to fall prey to fatal attractions such as women, drugs, drink, gambling, fancy cars, night clubs… And they become more and more entangled with powers that will always be greater than themselves: the Mafia and the State. As paranoia takes hold of the Lebanese, and disagreements can’t be resolved without bullets or knives, the fall from grace of Rome’s leading gang is only a matter of time.

Tuesdays from February 5 at 8.30pm.

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