There wasn't anything in ITV documentary The Mafia with Trevor McDonald that you couldn't also have learned in a more enjoyable hour spent with The Sopranos box set. The Mafia is a family business that ends up ripping families apart... there's nothing personal about murder... the old ways were the best etc etc. Bada bing, bada boom.
Still, it was something to hear all this direct from the mouths of real-life mobsters. John "The Sheriff" Alite, a former associate of the "Teflon Don" John Gotti, gave McDonald a tour of the Queens neighbourhood where he grew up and also the upstate mansion where he once stored his guns (there were a lot of guns). FBI informant Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo was just out of witness protection when he met up with McDonald in a Miami hotel to discuss a life of looking over his shoulder ("I don't sleep… I've been up every night for the last 12 years).
Of them all, it was Michael Franzese, a former capo in the Colombo family, who seemed most content. Franzese attributes this to the fact that he's renounced crime. A cynic might suggest that his continued life of luxury in sunny California also has something to do with it.
How does Sir Trev get access to such high-ranking Mafia figures? It's nothing to do with his finesse as an interviewer, that's for sure. McDonald was just as reserved and incurious as in his other documentaries. It seems more likely that mafioso-turned-snitches are just a naturally loquacious bunch. After all, talking too much is what got them into this mess and they're pretty good at it, too.
These interviews were full of lines that were either nicked from the script for Scorsese's last gangster flick or ought to be written into his next one. When asked if his enemies would ever forget how he'd wronged them, Mikey Scars looked off into the middle distance: "Cosa Nostra is one long memory."Reuse content