By David Amoruso for Gangsters Inc.
The United States brought us some of the greatest gangster series ever shown on television. From The Sopranos and The Wire to Breaking Bad and Narcos; American television has gotten audiences hooked on productions so addictive they should be illegal. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is catching on, cooking up new product. Gangsters Inc. compiled a list of the 10 best gangster series created outside the US of A that are available right now.
Top Boy (2011 - ?)
In Top Boy we follow two drug dealers operating in the fictional Summerhouse estate in the very real London borough of Hackney. Dushane (played by Ashley Walters) and Sully (played by Kane Robinson) are friends who share a bond that is thicker than blood. They came up the hard way and won’t bow down to no man or group, whether in England or abroad.
The drug trade is a tricky one, though. Nothing is what it seems and easy money comes with a caveat: selling one’s soul. Get ready for some intricate underworld plotting and violence dipped in a Caribbean flavor set in Great Britain. Top Boy is among the best crime dramas on television. Up there with American shows like The Sopranos and The Wire.
Gomorra (2014 – 2021)
Had enough of the glamorous Mafia stuff on the silver screen? Then come on down to Scampia in Naples, Italy. Here you will find nothing but the nitty gritty and dirty business of the Neapolitan Camorra, one of Italy’s most powerful Mafia groups.
Based on the true crime book by Roberto Saviano, Gomorra takes all the facts and covers them with a fictional layer. Ciro Di Marzio (played by Marco D'Amore) is a lowly soldier in the Savastano clan, led by boss Pietro Savastano (played by Fortunato Cerlino). Ciro navigates a deadly world where a nod is enough to sentence a man to death and backstabbing is the norm. If that weren’t enough of a headache, he also has to teach Savastano’s son, Gennaro (played by Salvatore Esposito), about the ways of the Camorra.
One of the best crime series ever created.
Mocro Maffia (2018 - ?)
The Mocro Mafia currently is the fastest rising group in the European underworld. With crews operating throughout the continent and a steady homebase in Morocco, its bosses have linked up with Italian Mafia groups and South American drug cartels.
Mocro Maffia focuses on the most powerful of these Moroccan factions: the one based in the Netherlands. This multi-ethnic criminal organization operates without a conscience. All that matters is money and the power that comes with it.
Though the series is fictional it is inspired by true events. The story revolves around three main players: Jaouad “Pope” Ancharad (played by Achmed Akkabi), Romano Tevreden (played by Mandela Wee Wee), and Chaouki “Pencil” Chadli (played by Nasrdin Dchar). As the stakes grow ever larger, paranoia and greed influence their every move. All the while, their actions cause death and destruction to countless rivals and innocent families throughout Europe.
The rawness of this series will remind viewers of Gomorra. The writing and acting are on the same level.
Kriger [Warrior] (2018)
Former Special Forces commando CC (played by Dar Salim) returns home to Denmark after fighting in the War on Terror in the Middle East. Circumstances force him back into the fray in a different kind of war. He goes undercover investigating a vicious outlaw motorcycle gang led by Tom (played by Lars Ranthe). If fighting rough bikers and gangsters wasn’t enough, CC also battles against his own demons and traumas.
Peaky Blinders (2013 – ?)
Peaky Blinders takes us way back to the late 1910s where we find a violent family of mixed Irish Traveller and Romani blood operating in the blue-collar neighborhoods of Birmingham, England. The family is the leading faction within a group that calls itself the Peaky Blinders, or – preferably – the Peaky Fucking Blinders.
Their authority figure is Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy), a veteran of the First World War. He isn’t the only one. Several of his brothers, most notably Arthur (played by Paul Anderson), and several of his fellow gang members have fought in the same battles and continue to struggle with the after-effects.
The gang storms Britain with a fury not seen before and chips away at the established underworld powers, which include the Italian Mafia. Viewers are treated to exquisite cinematography and great storytelling in this historic crime drama.
Bedrag [Follow the Money] (2016 – 2019)
Crimes are not confined to the underworld. Those wearing white collars and suits can operate in much the same way as viewers learn in Danish crime series Bedrag (known also by its English title Follow the Money).
A police unit investigates the suspicious death of an immigrant worker who was hired by a renewable energy firm. Though everyone assures investigators it was nothing but an accident, they dig deeper and quickly find themselves covered in dirt. This is a series filled with business meetings, high-paid assassins, drug trafficking, money laundering, and corruption.
Over Water (2018 – 2020)
Disgraced television presenter John Beckers (played by Tom Dewispelaere) has issues. His addictions caused him to lose his job and made him fodder for the Belgian tabloids. Luckily for him, his father-in-law is willing to help him out and offers him work at his company; a shipping company in the port of Antwerp.
Anyone following this site – or the news – knows that the port of Antwerp is one of the premier destinations for cocaine and other narcotics. Last year, authorities there were unable to burn all the coke they confiscated. Not exactly a safe space for a junkie like Beckers. Things escalate quickly, as you can imagine, and come to an explosive conclusion after two tense seasons.
Cocaine has had quite a journey before it ends up in the noses of users. ZeroZeroZero follows one shipment of cocaine and shows us all the different players who have a stake in getting it from point A to point B.
Front and center in this series is the American Lynwood family, who own a prestigious shipping company and function as broker between various drug trafficking groups. The family patriarch, Edward Lynwood (played by Gabriel Byrne), is assisted by his daughter Emma (played by Andrea Riseborough) and son Chris (played by Dane DeHaan). They have close ties to the Calabrian Mafia known as ‘Ndrangheta, in particular to Don Minu La Piana (played by Adriano Chiaramida), the longtime boss of a ‘Ndrangheta clan and buyer of the shipment of coke.
The sellers of the cocaine are Mexican drug lords Enrique and Jacinto Leyra (played by Víctor Huggo Martín and Flavio Medina). These sophisticated kingpins set up a militarized wing to their cartel by enlisting the services of Mexican Army soldier Manuel Contreras (played by Harold Torres) setting the stage for extreme violence.
Spanning several continents and the high seas these players spill blood and tears to get that white powder to its destination.
Braqueurs [Ganglands] (2021 - ?)
Mehdi (played by Sami Bouajila) leads a crew of professional armed robbers operating in Belgium and France. They go in with overwhelming force and precision, steal the loot and leave a trail of dead bodies in their wake. But when Mehdi’s niece and her friend rip off a drug trafficker, Mehdi finds himself being pulled into the world of narcos and their fight for underworld supremacy. Season 2 has just been released as of February 17, 2023.
Fariña details the rise and fall of real life Spanish drug boss Sito Miñanco (played by Javier Rey). It takes place in the 1980s in Galicia, Spain. After fishermen and smugglers in the region realize trafficking cocaine is the fastest way to big riches, they quickly see themselves dining with South American narco kingpins and hauling in untold millions. One man rises to become the biggest of them all: Sito Miñanco. He’s still at it, by the way.
There you have it. Gangsters Inc.’s top 10 best gangster television series outside the United States of America. We hope you enjoy them!
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