James Norton to star in new BBC1 crime drama McMafia

The Grantchester, War and Peace and Happy Valley star will play the son of Russian exiles with a mafia past

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James Norton has been cast as the lead in new BBC1 drama McMafia. And before you ask, you can’t have fries with that.

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McMafia has nothing to do with a certain fast food chain. Inspired by Misha Glenny’s novel of the same name, it is instead a “hard-hitting look at global crime and its far reaching influence” that centres round one family in London, a “fast-paced thriller [which] is epic and intimate, glamorous and gritty, global in scale and forensic in detail.”

Norton, who is known for roles in War & Peace, Grantchester and Happy Valley, will star as Alex Godman, “the English-raised son of Russian exiles with a mafia past.” 

He’s built his own legitimate business and a life with his girlfriend Rebecca, but when his family’s past returns to threaten them he is drawn back into the criminal underworld, which stretches from London to Moscow, Dubai, Mumbai, Mexico and Africa. 

Directors and screenwriters Hossien Amini and James Watkins led a writing team made up of The Night Manager writer David Farr, Doctor Who’s Peter Harness and Wonderland’s Laurence Coriat.

Watkins, who directed Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black, is also signed on to direct the eight-part series. 

“James Norton is at the top of his game and I know he will do justice to the riveting McMafia created by Hoss Amini and James Watkins,” says director of BBC content Charlotte Moore. 

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The series is produced by Cuba Pictures for BBC1.