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Television’s Bad New World – July 23, 2018

The Characters We Just Can’t Hate

by Scott Ellis | The Sydney Morning Herald | July 23, 2018

Not too long ago, things were simple. The forces of good on our screens stood tall, always did the right thing and battled the forces of evil wherever they found them. But then everything started to change. Just like in the real world, the criminals were sometimes shown to be ordinary people who simply made a bad decision, someone who found themselves breaking the law just to get by or someone pushed too far.

And the cops … well let’s just say they weren’t always who you’d want to call when trouble started.
It’s given us a crime genre rich in shades of grey, where anyone could be the hero and anyone the villain and a world where telling one from the other can be almost impossible. When the criminals are as cool as these, the line between what’s right and wrong becomes beautifully blurred.

The story: In the world of ultra-high finance, the sharks who make fortunes have to be focused, relentless and thanks to the work of US attorneys like Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) squeaky clean in everything they do. Making money isn’t a crime, as long as they obey the law, but some just can’t resist the temptation to bend those laws and make a lot more.

Who’s the “good” baddie?: Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), an ambitious fund manager who built his career from a working class beginning, survived the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and pays the children’s school fees of his colleagues who died that day. He’s talented, handsome and charming but also a white-collar criminal pulling in millions of dollars each year through insider trading and exploiting legal loopholes. Does that make him as bad as the murderers who walk free while Rhoades spends his time chasing a paper trail? That’s exactly the question Bobby wants everyone to ask themselves.

Read the rest of the original article at The Sydney Morning Herald