Grantchester and Happy Valley actor James Norton plays the son of a Russian exile in a gripping new BBC1 drama

Happy Valley and Grantchester actor James Norton is to star in a gripping new thriller McMafia which sees him play the son of a former Russian “Godfather”.

The eight-part series, inspired by the best-selling book of the same name by author Misha Glenny, sees the popular actor play businessman Alex Goodman, who is trying to follow a straighter path than his criminal parents.

However, as this tense new trailer, which has just been released shows, Alex is drawn deeper and deeper into the world of organised crime.


As the English-raised son of Russian exiles with a mafia history, Alex has spent his life trying to escape the shadow of that criminal past, building his own legitimate business and forging a life with his girlfriend Rebecca, played by Juliet Rylance.

Another chance to see Tolstoy’s epic story brought to exquisite life by screenwriter Andrew Davies and a stellar cast including Gillian Anderson, Jim Broadbent, Lily James, Paul Dano, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Rea and James Norton.

James Norton in War and Peace as  Prince Andrei with co stars Lily James and Paul Dano

However, when his family’s past returns to threaten them, Alex is forced to protect his loved ones.

A BBC statement said:  “What starts out as a story of survival and revenge becomes an epic tale of a man’s struggle against the lures of corruption in the modern world and in himself. It charts Alex’s journey through a terrifying labyrinth of international criminals, money launderers, corrupt politicians and ruthless intelligence agencies.”

McMafia is 32-year old Norton’s second big Russian drama following his role as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky in War and Peace.

McMafia will air on BBC1 this winter