Netflix

Is 'Bad Blood' Based On A True Story? This Netflix Series Depicts The Seedy Underbelly Of A Canadian Crime Family

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Netflix has got a brand new crime drama all ready for you, beginning on Dec. 7. The teaser trailer depicts Bad Blood as an alternative to the usual Italian mob tales, with a Canadian angle. Montreal is a major port that brings in a lot of drugs, and beginning in the 1960s, that was mostly under one family, the Rizzutos, who have been the subject of many a news story. Wait, so is Bad Blood based on a true story?

The answer is right there in the description: “This sprawling crime drama follows the true story of the Rizzuto family and its associates, who presided over organized crime in Montreal for decades.” The series is actually primarily based on a book, Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War, which was written by two seasoned authors of the genre, Peter Edwards and Antonio Nicaso. So yup, this is definitely real stuff.

The series stars Anthony LaPaglia as the head honcho, Vito Rizzuto. You may recognize LaPaglia from his starring role on Without a Trace, where he played an FBI agent — so now he’s on the other side of the law. Kim Coates (Tig from Sons of Anarchy) portrays Declan Gardiner, who starts off as Vito’s right-hand man, but steps up when the kingpin is sent to prison. Other major roles are played by Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars) and Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas).

Though it’s only just now coming to Netflix in the U.S. and worldwide, Canadian viewers have seen not just one, but two seasons of the drama. Bad Blood airs on Citytv in Canada, as well as FX Canada. The first season, which was initially intended to just be a one-off miniseries, aired from September to October 2017 for six episodes. Season 2, which was ordered in March, actually just finished its eight-episode arc, airing from Oct. 11 through Nov. 29 of this year. (There's no word anywhere on the status of a possible third season.)

A lot has been written about the family over the years. In 2015, the McGill Tribune’s Wyatt Fine-Gagné published a detailed history of the Rizzutos beginning with their origins in Montreal through the operation’s current state without a pronounced lead figure. And there continue to be stories to draw from: Just this year, in February, Vito’s son Leonardo Rizzuto was released from prison after spending two years on lockdown on charges of gangsterism and conspiracy to traffic cocaine.

Netflix has certainly been upping the ante with its original content, both that which it picked up from the beginning or those, like Bad Blood, which it has exclusive international rights to stream. So if you've already made your way through all of the true crime offerings the service has available, or if you're just looking for a break from all of the cheery holiday content, Bad Blood might be just the gritty epic for you.

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