Romanzo criminale – La serie
|Romanzo criminale - La serie|
|Directed by||Stefano Sollima|
|Country of origin||Italy|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Original channel||Sky Cinema 1 (Italy)|
|Original run||November 10, 2008– December 16, 2010|
Romanzo Criminale – La serie (pronounced [roˈmantso krimiˈnale la ˈsɛːrje], meaning "Crime Novel – The Series") - is a television series Italian based on the eponymous novel by judge Giancarlo De Cataldo, and it is the second adaptation of the film Romanzo Criminale (2005) directed by Michele Placido. The first series quickly achieved cult status in Italy.
The series is set in about 1977-89 and follows a criminal gang in Rome that has a near monopoly of the city's heroin trade. Most of the characters use the Romanesco dialect. The gang is led by three old friends, Libanese (Francesco Montanari), Freddo (Vinicio Marchioni) and Dandi (Alessandro Roja).
As well as its internal feuding, the gang has to deal with the Camorra and Sicilian Mafia that both supply its heroin, the police led by Commissioner Scialoja (Marco Bocci) and the Italian secret services. The plotline is partially based on real events concerning the Banda della Magliana of the 1970s-90s.
Series 1, Episode 1
In the district of Magliana in present day Rome, a middle-aged man is beaten and robbed of his wallet by three young thugs. After recovering he goes to a bar and, still bleeding, finds the group's leader and shoots him. After killing him, cries to the neighbourhood "I was with Libanese."
Back to 1977 where Libanese, along with members of his gang, Dandi, Bufalo and Scrocchiazeppi, steal a load of typewriters from a truck. The investigation into the theft is led by Commissioner Scialoja, a willing servant of the state. In a Communist march opposing the police a student, Georgiana Masi, is killed during street clashes. Scialoja is concerned for the life of his sister Sandra, a political activist.
Libanese, instead of splitting the one million earned from theft with his gang, uses it to buy a consignment of weapons from an old rival Terribile. Libanese then visits the race track to meet Satan, a bookmaker, who passes on information regarding the movements of Baron Rosellini, a wealthy landowner who Lebanese intends to kidnap. On leaving the race track he discovers that his car has been stolen with the load of weapons in it.
Libanese informs Dandi and the other two accomplices what has happened and of the need to find the car. The theft was committed by a nephew of Franco, the manager of the bar where the group are usually found. The car is with Fabrizio Soleri, leader of the Testaccio gang which includes Fierolocchio and the Buffoni brothers, Sergio and Roger. Libanese visits Soleri's garage and after a stand-off between himself, Dandi and Soleri is resolved, the car and guns are returned. Libanese tells Soleri what he intends to use the arms for; Soleri tells him that everyone calls him Freddo.
The two gangs work together to kidnap Baron Rosellini. Scialoja, under the direction of the Magistrate Borgia, discovers the stub of a menthol cigarette, which is identical to that found at the theft of typewriters. He concludes that the crime is the work of local thugs, unlike the magistrate who thinks the kidnapping was the work of anonymous Sardinians based in Tuscany.
To reinforce this thesis, Libanese sends Scrocchiazeppi and Fierolocchio to Grosseto in Tuscany to call the Baron’s family. However the two drive straight through a stop sign on a motorbike and are spotted by local police who discover the number plates are of a bike that was stolen in Rome.
The Baron is taken to a house in the country and entrusted to the custody of a family of delinquents known to Lebanese – the brothers Cannizzaro. The ransom is agreed at two billion. One of the brothers Cannizzaro kills the hostage after the Baron sees his face.
Despite the sudden appearance of Gemito brothers – colleagues of Terribile, the batteries manage to collect the money, despite a last-ditch effort by Scialoja. Libanese makes a proposal to the batteries: to only retain twenty million and reinvest the remainder in drugs, in order to take control of trafficking throughout the city, inspired by the methods of the Mafia in Sicily and the Camorra in Naples.
After initial scepticism on the part of Freddo, he accepts with only one condition - the absence of a hierarchical structure in what would eventually become the Magliana gang. Libanese and everyone agree, with the exception of Satan who takes his share immediately.
The remaining two brothers Cannizzaro are killed by Freddo and Fierolocchio to eliminate the last two witnesses to the abduction.
All this does not escape the Secret Service or Scialoja who both started their own investigations.
Series 1, Episode 2
Fierolocchio and Sergio Buffoni are going to bury the dead bodies of the Cannizzaro brothers, but having arrived at the place indicated by the Cold, they see a car stopped and, after waiting, decide to bury them in the pine forest. Unbeknownst to them, Ricotta and Trentadenari, two accomplices of Sardo, boss of Ostia, are "settling an account."
The boys of the two batteries, who continue to be monitored by Groan brothers, want to start spending the money but Libanese reiterates that they cannot as the money is "marked". He advises that the proposed acquisition of drugs is done through Puma, the former boss of EUR, who is able to contact the big suppliers. Freddo organizes the meeting with Sardo through Puma. The meeting, however, does not produce the desired results because Sardo, while making himself available to procure drugs, claims a very high percentage of the revenue, which Libanese refuses.
Scialoja is informed by his subordinate, Inspector Canton, that the Baron was often in contact with Satan and that he might be, if not the inside guy in the seizure, at least involved. Once this information is communicated to Borgia, the magistrate passes the case to the Commissioner Rizzo, an officer well-liked by his superiors. Scialoja does not give up and continues the investigation. Meanwhile, Dandi meets Patrizia, a beautiful prostitute, and he falls in love.
Fierolocchio randomly discovers that the place where they buried the bodies of the Cannizzaro brothers, work is about to begin on the construction of a building complex and he needs to act quickly.
Freddo gives a Vespino (motorbike) to his younger brother Gigio. Fierolocchio is approached by the Groan brothers who remind him of a debt of twenty million owed to the Terrible. The two of them propose a job for the boss in order to redeem the money. Sergio Buffoni buys a Porsche 911 with the ransom money. Libanese, worried about the traceability of the bank notes, organizes a robbery to recover the money quickly and retains the recovered money as punishment. He also orders Sergio to move the corpses, and under no circumstances to keep the car.
Freddo, after talking with Sergio and Fierolocchio, meets with Libanese who does not know how to find drugs to sell and the "society" is dissolved. Scialoja communicates the results of his investigations to Borgia and Rizzo, who believe that the kidnapping was the work of outsiders and leave the case in the hands of Rizzo.
Freddo meets his father at the emergency room as his brother, Gigio, has had an accident. There is evidence of a difficult relationship between them that has its roots in the past. Freddo offers to drive Gigio’s girlfriend Roberta home.
Terribile goes to see Libanese, pointing out the errors in his approach with Sardo, offers to procure the drug with a lower rate of return. Libanese refuses and is joined by Dandi and Freddo who reject the idea of stopping. Recalling the words of Terribile, Libanese finds a way to close the deal with Sardo, the drug load will be three billion with a return rate of one half for the boss. Sardo agrees with the promise that if something goes wrong he will have them all killed.
Once the deal is agreed, Freddo pays Fierolocchio’s debt to Terrible out of his own pocket and tells the Gemito brothers that none of his battery will ever work for Terribile again. Freddo, Libanese and Dandi go to Ostia and leave Sergio’s Porsche Sergio on the waterfront. Once there, they spend a carefree moment relaxing playing football with three other boys they meet on the beach.
Scialoja is informed by Canton that a marked note has been found from the Baron’s kidnap ransom.
Series 1, Episode 3
The first shipment of drugs is available and Libanese decides on the strategy for selling it and taking control of supply in the capital: the city will be divided into zones and each of the gang members will be responsible for taking possession of it, convincing, or "forcing" the various dealers to buy drugs only from the gang and to work for them. Sardo retains the areas of Ostia and Acilia. Cold gets the EUR run by Puma, who wants out of the business. While the area of Centocelle, controlled by the Terribile, is currently excluded from their control. This is in order to avoid a conflict with the boss who is considered still too powerful for the gang.
Canton secretly informs Scialoja that some of the kidnapping notes were spent in a women's clothing shop in the district of the Esquiline. The commissioner believes that they may have been spent by a prostitute after being paid by a member of the gang who wanted to "celebrate". To identify the woman he seeks help from a work colleague who provides catalogued data of the neighbourhood’s known prostitutes over the past two years. He is struck by Patrizia’s details and photo, and, having shown photos of her at the store, he realizes he is on the right track. He starts to stalk Dandi, first in front of his house, then at the racetrack and ultimately, together with Libanese and Freddo, who have called their accomplice to order after having been seen with Patrizia by Bufalo.
The band quickly take control of the agreed areas with the exception of Val Melaina where Shanghai, the local boss, sends word to Libanese with the aid of his accomplices, via the Buffoni brothers, that he who does not intend to give up his activities. The consequences are immediate: after difficult recovering their weapons, which Scrocchiazeppi has hidden in his fiancée Angelina’s house - because of resistance from her father, who threatens him with a hammer – Libanese organizes a punitive strike that will also set an example to any other drug dealers that do not adapt to the new arrangement. Shanghai is almost beaten to death and reduced to begging for his life then dumped in front of a bar, under the eyes of his accomplices.
Bufalo, asked by Libanese to follow Ricotta, discovers that he is in contact with Maurizio Gemito and then attends a meeting between Sardo and Puma. Freddo learns from Puma that he has tried to sell a load of drugs to Sardo. Instead of killing him he agrees to take charge of Puma’s area and remaining drugs. Puma warns him that Sardo is still in contact with a powerful person, perhaps Terribile, to sell drugs. Dandi resolves the issue with the Sardo by threatening to kill him if he also continues to sell drugs to Terribile.
Scialoja avoids informing the judge what he has discovered, as he believes that the evidence at his disposal is still weak. He goes to Patrizia’s apartment, also entering the room adjoining the one where she meets Dandi, discovering it is made up of family photographs and regular clothes. Once she returns, he asks about the person who paid her with notes from the kidnapping. She says that it is Dandi but adds that she will never testify before a magistrate.
The political situation and public order are constantly followed by the secret service. The Andreotti government gets a vote of confidence but with the abstention of the Italian Communist Party. Vecchio, director of services, fears that Aldo Moro intends to launch a Government, which also includes the Communists. He orders his agents, Zeta and Pi, to monitor the evolution of the drug market in order to be able to use the new elements to his advantage. Libanese decides the gang’s weapons are no longer safer in the home of Angelina and brings them to a basement room of a Ministry building in preparation for the clash with Terribile.