A group of graduates start at investment bank Pierpoint & Co. But who will win a full-time job?

Episodes viewed: 4 of 8

It takes a lot to make the impenetrable world of financial services sexy but Industry pulls it off with ease. Ex bankers Konrad Kay and Mickey Down’s smart show follows the new graduate intake at an investment bank as they try to win over bosses and clients to secure an all-important permanent position. It has its DNA in a lot of other things — from Skins to This Life to The Social Network — but brilliantly evokes both an alien, inhospitable environment (the bank’s trading floor) and the excitement and uncertainty of starting a first proper job, with all the hope, stresses and opportunities that provides.

Industry

The show revolves around a group of interns jostling for position at London investment bank Pierpoint & Co. So we get Robert (Harry Lawter), a typical banker boy; Yasmin (Marisa Abela), a rich girl under pressure from her family to do more than just fetch lunch; Gus (David Jonsson), who plays “third fiddle in his mother’s life to Jesus Christ and Margaret Thatcher” and has designs on being PM by 55; Hari (Nabhaan Rizwan), who responds to the pressure of the job by never leaving the office; and Harper (Myha’la Herrold, terrific), the show’s nominal central character, an American graduate who arrives in London with a sharp brain but a shady bunch of qualifications.

Far more addictive than anything about equity rates has a right to be.

The series opener was directed by Lena Dunham (it’s an HBO show in the US) and Industry as a whole has the hallmarks of her best work: young people trying to find their feet in the world, mucho nudity, hot-button topics (it’s great on gender and identity politics in the work place) and pop culture (look out for a discussion about the friends in The Devil Wears Prada). The workplace scenes, chock-full of unfathomable financial argot, deliver tangible pressure (episode 4 focuses on Harper’s attempts to rescue a mistake that costs a fortune) as the graduates struggle to live up to their mentors (Ken Leung as Harper’s boss Eric, wielding wisdom while toying with a baseball bat, is a standout).

As you’d imagine in such a pressure-cooker environment, the gang need to cut loose, and there are bountiful scenes of hedonism, highlighting interesting dynamics between the group; Gus has a moving closeted relationship with a co-worker who is married; Harper and Yas move in with each other while still battling at work; and Yas and Robert have a will they-won’t they relationship to rival This Life’s Anna and Miles, but with a kinky twist. Sometimes the show is a bit try-hard in its attempts to feel cutting edge, but overall Industry is fresh and fast fun. Get in on the ground floor.

Industry is a fast, fizzy cocktail of drugs, sex, office politics and sharp dialogue, all played by an engaging young cast. The result is far more addictive than anything about equity rates has a right to be.

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