The Italian mafia and all the violent, yet charismatic gangsters that fill its hierarchical structure have translated to countless big-screen films. Some of the most talented names in Hollywood have portrayed crime-bosses from the various decades of the mob’s operations. But those were always fictional retelling’s. “Fear City: New York vs The Mafia” offers up the true story of a crime-ridden city that the mob controlled without opposition for years until their downfall in the mid-80s.
With this docuseries Netflix provides viewers a detailed, inside-look at the endless reach of the mob’s power in the 70s-80s. In three episodes it explores a lawless Manhattan where organized-crime controlled construction, garbage unions, gambling, prostitution, restaurant’s, and so much more to pull in staggering amounts of money. It explores how the FBI had to wrap their head around the scope of what the mafia was pulling off right under their noses. Criminal activity that involved the corruption of local police and other influential figures.
It was fascinating to see this series evolve and to see how the FBI was able to uncover this massive tree of names and ranks. Seeing how agents were able to use wiretaps and old-school surveillance was compelling. This series also includes tons of archival footage in the form of stakeout and crime-scene photos and videos. Something that was effective in pulling you back into the era to grasp the scope of this operation the FBI wanted to pull off. As well as capturing the danger they put themselves in by even trying to do so against a criminal organization with the power the mafia had at the time.
As the days and months pass and the hours of wiretaps are sifted through, they recreated the hierarchy of the mafia. It was like watching a puzzle being put together, and while the progression of this series was on the side of traditional, that never hindered the intrigue of the information being delivered. The FBI was able to establish that five families controlled the mafia and from their it was decided that a case of unprecedented intricacy would be attempted. Bringing down the heads of the five-families at the same time.