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Heero Yuy

The Mafia with Trevor McDonald ITV - 9pm

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was gonna put this in the TV thread but deserves better breathing space.

Heres a snippet of what to expect

The Mafia with Trevor McDonald

“We’re brothers. This is the whole thing. We kiss each other on the lips, we kiss each other on both cheeks, we give each other hugs, we baptise each other’s kids. And the next day they’re shooting you in the back of the head. As crazy as it seems, I love the life. Along with a lot of other people who accepted those rules and lost love ones.” Mikey Scars

Trevor McDonald embarks on an eye-opening journey inside the secretive world of the American Mafia, gaining unprecedented access to people who have experienced first-hand, the money, glamour and violence of the United States’ most famous organised crime network.

In this two-part documentary series, Trevor delves into the lives of people with a fascinating story to tell, some of whom have never appeared on television before. Trevor reveals a new and unique picture of a world that has often been glamorised in both film and TV drama.

After spending three months travelling across New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Southern California, Trevor hears detailed accounts of life in the Mafia as he meets major figures at home, at work and in bars, as well as on the streets where they operated which, for some of them, were the scene of shocking acts of violence. But, as Trevor learns from those closest to them, huge wealth and notoriety have come at a cost to their families.

Trevor begins his journey in Queens, New York, where he meets John Alite, widely known as “The Sheriff”. John grew up in the neighbourhood and became a killer in an area nicknamed Death Haven.

He says: “There were constant murders here, constant rivalries between different guys in the streets, different mob families. So we would kill almost at will, as someone given a beating.”

The mafia was built on fear and intimidation. For a man like John rising up through the ranks would depend on a willingness to carry out orders, however brutal. In the 1980s and 1990s Alite worked for John Gotti Senior, who was the Godfather of the Gambino crime family, the most powerful and feared mobsters in America.

John’s first hit was to kill a local drug dealer and he explains to Trevor how he lured him into a car and shot him in the back of the head twice.

John says: “I don’t like to use the word pride, but at the time that’s what I was thinking. I’m going to take pride in what I do and I’m going to do it good. We wanted the public and more so, the street guys and his brother-in-law to understand. You do something you’re not told and you disobey our laws and our rules, there is no negotiating. You’re going to be killed.”

The godfathers maintain their control by relying on men like John to kill on command. But their loyalty often turns into betrayal with gangsters doing deals with the FBI and testifying against their bosses to avoid long prison sentences. John’s boss John Gotti Senior appeared invincible in the 80s, until his most trusted lieutenant broke the code of silence.

Trevor then meets Michael Di Leonardo, also known as Mikey Scars, a former high-ranking member of the Gambino crime family. Mikey has single-handedly inflicted more damage on the mafia than anyone else in recent times, testifying against the men he worked with, to save himself from a life behind bars. His evidence consigned 80 of them to prison and he knows only too well the mob, known to its members as Cosa Nostra, will never forgive him.

Mikey lives in permanent fear of attack and until recently was in the US Government’s witness protection programme. However, after months of persuasion, he meets Trevor at a hotel in Miami to speak publicly for the first time.

He says of his fears: “Death for myself, but death for my family, that would be paramount. I have a son and a wife here now and some of these people, they may not take in to consideration who is sitting in the car with me, or who is walking in the street, or in my house, if they kick my door in and kill everyone in the house. That’s my biggest fear. My biggest concern and what keeps me up at night.”

“I don’t sleep. I sleep an hour, two hours, three/four hours tops, but I’m up every night for the last twelve years. I don’t get a good night’s sleep ever. My conscience bothers me.”

“It’s not if. When. I accept that this is my life. I’m never out of it. It’s their job to find me and kill me. I chose this. I know the consequences and that’s it.”

Trevor sees first-hand how betraying his past has put Mikey’s life in jeopardy to this day. As they drive through the streets of his old neighbourhood in Little Italy, New York, Mikey recognises two mafia members sitting at a table outside a bar and swiftly turns his head to avoid being recognised.

Trevor meets up with John Alite again, this time at his former home, an hour’s drive from New York. Alite amassed considerable wealth from his life as an enforcer, owning ten properties, before the FBI caught up with him.

John says: “I had access to so much cash on a regular basis that you lose perspective of what money and cash is. It’s like you’re almost printing it.”

But his life of guns and shoot-outs ended when John agreed to testify against other senior mafia figures. He was given a reduced sentence of 10 years and was let out in 2012. Alite gives Trevor a tour of his former vast estate, including the room where he kept his collection of weapons and recalls the brutal incidents in which he used them at the property.

Trevor meets one of the most successful mobsters in history, Michael Franzese, who posed

as a major Hollywood film producer so he could launder large amounts of stolen money. His brilliance for inventing sophisticated scams made the mafia over a billion dollars, until he was indicted on 65 counts of tax evasion, racketeering and grand theft. He struck a deal with the FBI and served seven years in prison.

Today Michael is trying to build a new life with his family in California. He has denounced the mafia but his father is still a major figure in the Columbo crime family in New York. Trevor is keen to understand whether it is ever possible to be a member of the mob and have a happy, family life.

Michael says: “You know people have got to understand the mob is not a business, it’s a way of life. It’s a whole subculture from everything else that affects our families, our friends, people we do business with. It’s part of who we are and I have never, never seen any family, of any member of that life, that hasn’t gone through tremendous challenges and struggles as a result of that personal membership in that life. It’s just not normal. I would tell mob guys, ‘Stay single, don’t bring this in to your home. Don’t create a home with the mob life around it. It’s just not good, it’s not conducive to good family life.’”

Michael’s father is one of the most notorious mafia figures of all time. Today, he is the oldest federal prisoner in the entire US, at the age of 93. Trevor meets Michael’s wife, Cammy, who explains she didn’t know he was in the mafia until after they were married and that in the past she had fears Michael may be killed

Cammy says: “I’ve lived with this man 29 years. I sleep next to him, I see him wrestling in his sleep. You know, he says, ‘I still have remorse and I still feel pain about some of the things I’ve done in my life. And I guess when I’m asleep and I’m having these fits and these…’ Cos sometimes I’ll just be like, ‘What was going on last night?’ and he’ll be like, ‘Well, I guess that’s when it comes out.’ It’s just not sleeping peacefully; he’s dealing with all his demons from the past.”

Trevor learns more about how the mafia survives today, by travelling to Miami to meet a low level street enforcer for the Bonnano crime family in Miami, whose identity is concealed. He has been in and out of prison all his life and explains his view that the Mafia has changed, with members now more likely than in the past to break their code of silence and testify against each other.

He says: “You can trust a dead man, it’s the only person you can trust, that’s my motto. I don’t trust nobody except my mother. You can’t even trust the boss no more, because they turn around and rat on you.”

Trevor’s final encounter with Mikey Scars is at a cemetery where his elder brother is buried. He was killed by the mafia in 1981.

Mikey says: “This is the life we choose, this is the life he chose, the path, and this is part of the end result. When you do something wrong in that life or are alleged to do something wrong in that life, your life is not your own. You’re property of this entity, this Cosa Nostra that goes back hundreds of years. Now when you get involved, you know what can happen. He killed people, he was involved in murders and ultimately he paid the price that he doled out to others.”

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Spotted Michael Franzese on that trailer. Seen him in a few documentaries, his dad's the oldest still active member in La Cosa Nostra I think. Got arrested a few years back at like age 93 lol.

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