Sky Atlantic's new gang feud saga, Gangs of London, exploded onto our screens last week, and saw the killing of Finn Wallace, the patriarch of London’s most powerful crime family, send shockwaves across the city’s multicultural gangland.
Finn's death leaves a vast power vacuum that his son Sean and allied family, the Dumanis, attempt to fill. But as they search for Finn’s killer while catering to the vested interests of all the gangs of London, the threat of all-out war between them lingers.
Here’s what we know so far:
The Wallace Family
Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney)
Finn emigrated from Ireland at the age of 12 to London, a ‘city of closed doors’ given its unwritten social policy. It was there that he met Edward Dumani on the city streets and together they built a criminal empire. He led, Ed followed.
Finn was assassinated by Darren of the Travellers’ gang in Albanian territory, and as of yet we do not know what he was doing there with all that money, nor who gave the orders to kill him.
Sean Wallace (Joe Cole)
Son and heir to Finn’s throne, Sean is hot-headed and hell-bent on avenging his father’s death. So much so that he undoes Ed’s attempts to stabilise the battlefield by calling for a halt to all criminal dealings. There will be no money laundered and no grams sold until the killer is named, shamed, and probably tortured to death by Sean himself.
He wants nothing more than to live up to his father’s name, but his outbursts hint at a deeper insecurity that may prove costly in episodes to come. “A boy like him would burn cities just to convince the world he’s a man,” says Tarik (Neb Basani), Luan’s right hand man.
Marian Wallace (Michelle Fairley)
Finn’s widow and Wallace matriarch, the watchful Marian’s main focus is on maintaining family unity, but she’s just as revengeful as her son Sean and thus endorses his aggressive measures.
Billy Wallace (Brian Vernel)
Youngest son of Finn and Marian and closest sibling to Sean, Billy is a recovering heroin addict and isn’t much involved in the family business.
Jackie Robinson (Valene Kane)
Sean’s pregnant sister Jackie has distanced herself from her family seemingly for the safety of her unborn child.
Perhaps as a peace offering, Marian offers Jackie a copy of the children’s book, The Secret Garden, during Finn’s funeral. She accepts.
The Dumani Family
Ed Dumani (Lucian Msamati)
As the nominal head of the empire he built alongside Finn, Ed calls the shots… but only until Sean enters the room.
Him and his son Alex suggest to Sean that they first prevent all out war by convincing the other gangs that business can function as normal, with the docks reopening to allow illicit trade to continue. Or else, they warn, Finn’s killer will never be found.
But it’s after making this proposition to the gang leaders that Sean storms in to declare and enforce his opposite approach as he lacks Ed’s rationality. Despite their differences Ed still regards the Wallaces as family, saying as much in his eulogy for Finn. It was Finn and Marian who he leant on for support when he lost his wife Ayana.
Meanwhile Ed clearly knows where the bodies are buried and will go to great lengths to keep them that way, as he kills Jack and frames his death as a suicide to keep Finn’s activities a secret ‘for the good of the family.’ They evidently pose a much greater threat to them than any of the usual occupational hazards.
Mid-killing, Ed admits to Jack that he hasn’t got his hands bloody in years, suggesting that he had until recently stepped back from such dirty work, and that these desperate times have reawakened his cold blooded streak.
Alex Dumani (Paapa Essiedu)
Arguably the brains of the business, Edward Dumani’s son Alex is more pragmatic and level-headed than Sean.
A numbers man, Alex proposes that they find Finn’s killer by observing who stands to profit from his murder.
Shannon Dumani (Pippa Bennett-Warner)
Single mother to Danny and daughter of Ed Dumani, Shannon appears to disapprove of the family business (especially her brother Alex’s involvement), but there are times when she knows she has to toe the line.
She also shares several knowing glances with Elliot, hinting at either an existent relationship or one to come.
Luan Dushaj (Orli Shuka)
As leader of the Albanian mafia, Luan attends Finn’s funeral to assure the Dumanis and Wallaces that they played no part in Finn’s assassination, despite it taking place on their territory.
To prove his loyalty, Luan shoots his minion Besmir with no hesitation once he discovers he kidnapped Jack at the scene of Finn’s murder, and asks Elliot to relay this information back to the Wallaces when he rescues and returns Jack to the family.
Asif Afridi (Asif Raza Mir)
A Pakistani heroin kingpin who receives special treatment from the Wallaces and whose trade deal with Finn is honoured by Alex.
Nasir Afridi (Parth Thakerar)
The son of Asif who’s present at the big meeting but who claims to want no part in his father’s business.
Lale (Narges Rashidi)
Lale is a fierce Kurdish PKK militant who imports and oversees the selling of heroin in parts of London.
After an enforcer informs her of Asif’s deal with Alex to secure his trade routes and permission to import, she gives an order to round up her troops for a potential retaliation: “I want my girls ready.”
Kinney Edwards (Mark Lewis Jones)
The ruthless leader of the Welsh travellers who tracks down his son, Darren, through Patrick, the brother of Darren’s friend and accomplice in Finn’s murder, Ioan.
He sends his son West to his contact, Edie, in order to evade the consequent manhunt, and asks his lieutenant Mal (Richard Harrington) to watch over him.
Elliot Finch (Sope Dirisu)
Elliot was introduced as a Wallace foot soldier reporting to an older and longer serving henchman Jim (David Bradley). He is not the first to suspect Albanian involvement in Finn’s death, but he’s the first to find proof as he spots Besmir’s (one of Luan’s minions) van in the CCTV footage of the crime scene.
His pugilistic prowess is on full display in the fight sequence that ensues, marked by a resourcefulness to rival Jason Bourne as he uses darts and ashtrays to thrash the living daylights out of his eight opponents.
He is also seen to provide for his father, and still hasn’t dealt with the death of Naomi, a family member we are yet to hear more of.
The first major twist saw Elliot reveal his true blue colours when he reports to Detective Inspector Vicky Chung (Jing Lusi) as an undercover officer. She has been ordered to withdraw Elliot, but given his long awaited newfound access to the heart of the organisation, he refuses to give up now.
Charlie Carter (Jude Akuwudike)
Given that Elliot’s father Charlie is an ex-boxer, pugilism seemingly runs in the blood. For reasons unknown although potentially related to his career, he is now partially disabled. He needs a carer (Sally) and relies on Elliot to win the bread.
Gangs of London is currently airing Thursdays at 9.00pm on Sky Atlantic.