McMafia makes chilling TV. But the reality is even worse | Luke …

There are many gripping moments in McMafia, the BBC’s lavish new television drama featuring Russian oligarchs and organised crime. Who knew that a caviar knife could be so deadly? Or that hired killers could run amok in the Home Counties, leaving a bloody message from Moscow all over the tasteful furnishings?

For Russia purists, there are a few quibbles. Would Alex Godman – the British-educated son of a Russian gangster, played by James Norton – really talk to Dad in accent-free English? And where exactly are the bodyguards? They are an obligatory feature of life for any self-respecting Moscow businessman but strangely missing here when their tough-guy skills might come in handy. But the ideas underlying McMafia – taken from the nonfiction book by the journalist Misha Glenny – are surely right. International crime syndicates are able to shift huge sums

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