November 30, 2020

CABLE | Sex, Drugs, and High Finance – Selling 'Industry' on HBO

"I think this is the closest thing to a meritocracy there is."
Myha'la Herrold Mickey Down Konrad Kay | Industry BBC HBO
BBC / Bad Wolf
Created by ex-London bankers Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, HBO's new British drama series Industry focuses on the insular world of high finance. It follows well-groomed recent university graduates working coveted but fairly entry-level jobs at the fictional London financial firm Pierpoint & Co. as they compete against each other for a limited amount of permanent positions.

Starring Myha'la Herrold as a New York transplant without the same privileged background as most other colleagues, her Harper makes for a natural vessel as a young African-American woman and inherent outsider in an inherently cutthroat world. She fronts a talented cast of mostly unknown British young actors as their characters live a fast-charged life of long hours, hard drugs, and casual sex.

With a slickly produced pilot directed by Girls creator Lena Dunham, Down and Kay ask how far can youth and ambition take you in a privileged environment like international finance. Anchored by character actor Ken Leung as a senior manager, the diverse yet refined sense of characters mirrors the fast-paced industries it dramatizes well as the HBO show enhances certain dramatic tendencies for maximum entertainment.

Industry's somewhat unique setting in London instead of the typical financial centre of Manhattan makes its familiar themes like blind ambition feel particularly fresher. Its young cast of up-and-comers and high drama mixed with drab office-type locations make its contrast of sex appeal with the dryness of investing all the more intriguing. This is a pleasurable show to watch about young people of various backgrounds going out and getting it for themselves.

Industry's first eight-episode season is available to stream on Crave.


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