Ganging up on London
Gangs of London, Sky Atlantic, series one, directed by Gareth Evans and Matt Flannery, 2020, reviewed by AR Kneen
‘You could build an empire; you could be a king’ – so Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney) informs his young son Sean during a ‘hands on tutorial’. Finn is trying to get Sean to shoot a man buried up to his neck in the ground. This formative episode haunted Sean throughout his life; perhaps not least because he could not pull the trigger, and instead his younger brother Billy shot the man dead. But if a king does not inherit his title, then he has to obtain it via conquest – conquest of a land and of its people.
Gangs of London tells the story of the various immigrant groups who have come to London and of their struggles to attain power, profit and glory – largely through the heroin trade. The plot revolves around the Wallace family – headed by Finn Wallace, who immigrated to London from Ireland, aged 12. A major part of Finn’s crime business is laundering the profits from heroin, through property and construction, for a number of drug lords. There are the Albanians, headed by ruthless and murdering Luan. Mosi leads the Nigerians who specialise in machete attacks. Asif is the Pakistani crime boss and heroin-importer, the father of Nasir – Nasir eventually becoming the Mayor of London, after his father bankrolls his political campaign. Lale is a female Kurdish PKK member who imports heroin and runs the Kurdish criminal gang. The elderly, reserved and bespectacled Li runs the Chinese. There are also the Welsh travellers, the leader of whom is Kinney Edwards, father of Danny, although the travellers are the one group not involved with the heroin trade. Continue reading