I remember when I first stumbled across “Devils” in 2020, I ended up binge-watching on all 10 episodes over a day and a half. I was addicted to the show from start to finish.
It boasted such compelling characters in a storyline that was so surreal and, as a bonus, was executed in such a way that you kept guessing the next move in every episode.
It was brilliant and in a class by itself à la “Billions”, “Suits”, “The Newsroom” and “House of Cards”.
Sadly, this series, despite having Patrick Dempsey and uber-talented Italian actor Alessandro Borghi in the lead, got zero fanfare.
In fact, unless you followed the careers of the actors or were spurred on by curiosity, you wouldn’t have known about this show.
That said, I feel like the gross injustice of not promoting the series has, to some degree, been rectified now that it is back for a second instalment. And it doesn’t disappoint, either.
The 8-part offering, which straddles a fine line between world politics and the economy, picks up several years later, with Dominic Morgan (Dempsey) no longer with New York London Investment Bank (NYL) and his protégé Massimo Ruggero (Borghi) now in his seat as the CEO of NYL.
Episode 1 opens with news clips on the impending vote around Brexit, which has serious financial implications, while deals with Chinese investors are at that make-or-break phase.
Technology, especially with the launch of 5G, is also woven into the fabric of the narrative, which is underpinned by a murder.
“Devils”, which is based on the novel of the same title by author Guido Maria Brera, dives right into the mayhem of the trading floor.
In the new season, Dominic tries to sway Massimo to join his company. This time around, he puts a lot of stock into tech companies and social apps.
But Massimo, savvy as he is, is also on the same train of thought. The difference between the two rivals though is that Dominic is all about the bottom line but Massimo is also bound by his morals.
Massimo’s team of Eleanor Bourg (Pia Mechler) and Oliver Harris (Malachi Kirby) rally around him, especially after Kalim Chowdrey’s (Paul Chowdhry) death, which is initially brushed off as a hate crime.
However, Massimo knows there is more to it. Especially after the company, NYL hired to help them gauge how the people are likely to vote ahead of the Brexit announcement, didn’t deliver.
There’s also a cryptic text he received just before Kalim was killed and the strange behaviour of two of the Asian heads at the firm.
Of course, the high-stakes world of our lead characters is offset by their personal lives. Oliver is looking to spread his wings and is conflicted by the decision. Eleanor is feeling stifled on the job and Massimo is determined to get justice for Kalim.
The series, and I will say it again, is brilliant. The storyline dovetails brilliantly with real-life events from speculation around Donald Trump winning the election and his support of Vladamir Putin to oil battles and the powerful tool of social media and hacking.
The Asian representation on the show also deserves to be commended as the writers fleshed out such complex arcs for the characters. In fact, the additional casting is spot on.
“Devils” straddles a fine line between power, ambition and morality. In this world, sabotage, backstabbing and deceit becomes a by-product and it is always hovering.
But the real winner for me is the subterfuge and the acting. It’s a masterclass in power play in the high-stakes and pressurised world of stock markets.
“Devils” 2 is streaming on Showmax.