Over a 13-part series, the depraved characters of the US mafia’s darkest villains are exposed In Mafia Greatest Hits.
The American mafia dominated organised crime in the United States from the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, with five families in New York City – Gambino, Lucchese, Genovese, Bonanno and Columbo – ruling the roost.
From this base, the mafia was able to establish itself as a secret, yet terrifying, organisation, which spread across the country right under the noses of the authorities.
The series gets to know some the organisation’s most infamous and powerful criminals, who once ran crime rings in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Florida and Chicago.
The first episode looks at Sam “Mooney” Giancana who in 1961 was the boss of the Chicago organised crime outfit and the heir of Al Capone. He controlled the Las Vegas casinos, and made millions for the mob, but he was also violent and unpredictable and he made a disastrous mistake.
In a deal in part brokered by Frank Sinatra, he helped get John F Kennedy elected President. But instead of giving him favours in return, JFK made his brother Bobby Attorney-General. Bobby then unleashed a fevered campaign against organised crime. For the first time in its history, the Mob was on the run.
Not even the assassination of both Jack and Bobby Kennedy could end the pressure on the Chicago mob. In 1975 Sam Giancana was brought back as a reluctant FBI witness. His former colleagues were waiting for him. He was shot in the head at close range by a friend with a silenced .22 revolver.