In the criminal drama series “Godfather of Harlem,” infamous mafia leader Bumpy Johnson, who has served ten years in jail, tries to retake his throne from the Genovese crime family, which has risen to power during his absence. The 1960s Harlem, New York City setting and the real-life mafia boss Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Johnson served as inspiration for the story. The show has won praise since its 2019 debut for tackling issues including corruption, the negative impacts of drug use on society, the mistreatment of African Americans, and the political aspirations of the time.
It was written and directed by Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein and stars a star-studded ensemble of outstanding actors including Forest Whitaker, Vincent D’Onofrio, Giancarlo Esposito, Paul Sorvino, Nigel Thatch, and Ilfenesh Hadera. The Epix show distinguishes out among the countless programs that became popular as mafia crime dramas for its assured plotlines that make it all the more compelling. Here is a useful list of shows in the genre if you enjoy those that draw you in. The majority of these ‘Godfather of Harlem’-style shows are available on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
Animal Kingdom (2016-2022)
In the movie “Animal Kingdom,” Joshua Cody, 17, is shown as moving in with his grandmother’s family when his mother dies from a heroin overdose. It comes out that the family is not your typical family. It’s a Southern Californian gangster family that commits significant crimes in order to live a life of luxury, and it’s led by Joshua’s grandmother “Smurf.” The show strikes the perfect balance between family relationships and criminal activity, much like “Godfather of Harlem.” It puts a lot of emphasis on how family ties function.
Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)
Boardwalk Empire, a television series created by Emmy winner Terrence Winter, was influenced by Nelson Johnson’s non-fiction book of the same name. The historical crime drama is set in the Prohibition Era of the 1920s and tells the tale of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, a criminal lord who rises to prominence in Atlantic City, New Jersey’s political system. In addition to receiving more than 50 Emmy nominations, the program won the 2011 Golden Globe for Best Television Series-Drama. It is comparable to “Godfather of Harlem” since both historical plays center on ruthless criminals and their way of life.
Gangs of London (2020-)
The power struggle between the several international crime gangs that control London is the basis of the British television series “Gangs of London.” The crime thriller depicts the mayhem that results from the murder of the leader of the most powerful crime family in London. His son Sean Wallace makes every effort to restore order while keeping his family in charge of the city. The TV drama has several crime families engaged in conflict over control of important cities like New York and London, much like “Godfather of Harlem.” The programs all have a classy flair that captivates the audience.
Historia de un Clan (2015)
The criminal actions of the Puccio family are depicted in “Historia de un Clan.” They present themselves to the public as a devout, church-going family, but in reality, they live off of kidnapping, demanding ransom, and killing their prey. Their four kids also take on responsibilities, so everything is done at home. The Luis Ortega-directed television series is based on the actions of the Puccio family in Argentina. The program depicts the impact of a family’s involvement in crime on succeeding generations, much like “Godfather of Harlem.”
A gift for fans of crime drama, “Narcos” offers a detailed look at the real-life tales of the drug lords in charge of Columbia’s cocaine trafficking boom in the late 1980s. The main character is drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), who survives despite efforts made by law enforcement to keep cocaine under control. Chris Brancato, José Padilha, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro worked together to produce the brave and unique series. The protagonists’ ruthless strategies for maintaining their dominance are similar in both programs. They both depict how drug misuse affects the political and social climate of the time.
Peaky Blinders (2010-2014)
Without “Peaky Blinders,” which is set in Birmingham, England in the early 1900s, our list would be lacking. It is a gangster crime drama that centers on the titular criminal organization and its cunning boss Thomas Shelby. When Winston Churchill sends a detective chief inspector from the Royal Irish Constabulary to rid the city of street criminals, he attracts his attention. The story follows Tommy Shelby’s aggressive rise to power as he clears one challenge after another. Similar to “Godfather of Harlem,” the crafty protagonist battles against the odds to rise to the top.
Romanzo Criminale – La Serie (2008-2010)
The book “Romanzo Criminale” chronicles the tale of an Italian criminal named Lebanese, whose life’s goal is to control Rome’s criminal underworld. He accomplishes this by forming a group of ruthless thugs. Together with his associates Freddo and Dandi, Lebanese heads the gang that engages in a variety of criminal operations that were common in Italy from the 1970s to the 1990s. The show follows the ascent of a crime boss over time and the ramifications of his power play on society, much like “Godfather of Harlem” did.
The Sopranos (1999-2007)
The DiMeo family’s underboss, Tony Soprano, visits a therapist to assist him deal with his personal and professional problems in the crime family drama “The Sopranos,” which is a crime family story done correctly. He has severe mental illness and profound depression. The series shares similarities with “Godfather of Harlem” in terms of the struggles a guy with a criminal past faces in juggling his family and career.
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