First look at James Norton in new BBC thriller McMafia

The Happy Valley and War & Peace star is set to enter the world of gangsters

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If you’ve been desperate for a James Norton fix since the Grantchester Christmas special, never fear – we’re finally getting a peek at his next project McMafia, which will see the War & Peace star play another character with some Russian roots (and we’re not just talking about his reversion to the brown-haired look). 

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In a first-look image released by the BBC we meet Norton’s character Alex Godman, the English-raised son of Russian exiles trying to escape his family’s mafia ties by going into legitimate business.

Unfortunately for him (though probably fortunately for viewers) this doesn’t exactly work out, and Godman finds himself drawn back into the world of organised crime as some of his family’s past returns to threaten their safety.

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A summary of the series also released by the BBC reads: 

As the English-raised son of Russian exiles with a mafia history, Alex has spent his life trying to escape the shadow of that criminal past, building his own legitimate business and forging a life with his girlfriend Rebecca (Juliet Rylance).

What starts out as a story of survival and revenge becomes an epic tale of a man’s struggle against the lures of corruption in the modern world and in himself.

Joining Norton in the first-look image is Maria Shukshina as his mother Oksana, with the pair apparently attending a family funeral; other cast members in the series will include Doctor Who’s Faye Marsay, David Strathairn, Juliet Rylance and Aleksey Serebryakov. 

The series (created by Hossein Amini and James Watkins) is based on Misha Glenny’s 2008 non-fiction book of the same name, and is co-produced by US network AMC (known for Breaking Bad, Mad Men and also co-producing Channel 4’s Humans) as well as Cuba Pictures.

The series is currently shooting in London before moving production to Croatia, so it’ll be a good old while until we see it hit screens, but hey – any sign of a returning James Norton is always welcome news. 

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McMafia will air on BBC1 at a later date