'Fear City: New York vs The Mafia: Release date, plot, cast and all you need to know about Netflix's true crime docuseries

'Fear City: New York vs The Mafia: Release date, plot, cast and all you need to know about Netflix's true crime docuseries
Charles 'Lucky' Luciano (Getty Images)

In the 1970's New York, the city was predominantly ruled by Italian-American organized crime families. Many of these mobsters owned clubs serving unlicensed alcohol, engaged in clan wars and heists, and also maintained control over the construction industry, the longshoremen and the fish market. It was a vertically organized business that began at the turn of the 20th century and went by the Italian term 'La Cosa Nostra' (translated: this thing of ours). Netflix's new true-crime docuseries titled 'Fear City: New York vs The Mafia' looks into the five mafia families that ruled New York with a bloody fist and traces how the authorities took them down. 


Here is everything you need to know about the documentary series.

Release date

'Fear City: New York vs The Mafia' premieres on July 22 on Netflix.


Defendants in Italy's biggest crime trial behind bars as they await trial, Milan, ltaly, 9th February 1985. A series of three trials will see 640 alleged members of the New Organized Camorra accused of drug-trafficking (Getty Images)


The Mafia is a network of organized crime groups based in Italy and the US that engage in underworld operations like drug trafficking, loan-sharking and murder. The American Mafia, in particular, emerged as a separate entity that rose to power during the Prohibition era of the 1920s. It soon began thriving as Italian-American neighborhood gangs blended together to form sophisticated crime enterprises through their success from the discreet and illegal liquor trade. After the Prohibition was abolished in 1933, the American mafia expanded its operations beyond mere bootlegging to a range of other illegal activities and infiltrated labor unions as well as legitimate businesses like construction and the garment industry. New York City notoriously became known as the capital of organized crime and was ruled by five major mafia families.


The illegal activities carried out by these families were all common knowledge to the law enforcement, yet they were unable to stop the Mafia's growth. The mobsters would either pay off public officials and business leaders or bribe and intimidate witnesses and juries. By the late 20th century, anti-racketeering laws and other techniques were in place, which became the downfall of many high-ranking officials. In the 1980s, a group of federal agents began to track down these families and dismantled them. By the 21st century, the Mafia networks had weakened, but were not completely out of business.



Mafia member Joseph Valachi of the notorious American Casa Nostra gang, sitting in the dock giving evidence to the Senate Crime Hearing against his former mob bosses on September 30, 1963 (Getty Images)

The docuseries focuses on the five crime families that once ruled New York City. Known as the 'Five Families', they were formed by Salvatore Maranzano in 1931, who recognized the Italian-American gangs in the NYC neighborhoods. He had them initiated into the Maranzano, Profaci, Mangano, Luciano and Gagliano families at the time, which are presently the Bonnano, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese families. In 1963, Joseph Valachi, a member of the Genovese crime family, publicly disclosed the existence of New York City's Five Families at the Valachi hearings.



We will update this space with the official trailer for 'Fear City: New York vs The Mafia' soon.

If you liked this, you'll love these: 

'This Thing of Ours'

'Inside the American Mob'

'Shooting the Mafia'

'Our Godfather'

'Making of the Mob'

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