A Preview Guide to World's Most Wanted on Netflix
Netflix may have finally outdone itself after huge letdowns with the final seasons of Bloodline and House of Cards. Netflix made some productions that were well worth the watch and in many cases the binge-watch early on but slacked off in their various attempts as well. This can be expected from a streaming service and as a frequently Netflix fiend it is enjoyable when a new series comes on and you have nothing better to do than to watch it. Well, that day came in recent days because Netflix finally put something up that was worth watching again. No, it's not a continuation of Making of a Murderer or Cocaine Cowboys it's much better. The show World’s Most Wanted was placed on Netflix roughly a week ago and having spent time watching all five episodes in it's opening season it is a show that can honestly go in many different directions providing it has a second season. We will today look at the show itself, it's 5 stories and how Netflix made a "crime-documentary" that brings up a lot more questions that answers in some cases. It should also be noted that there will be no spoilers so feel free to read further if you wish.
World’s Most Wanted is about 5 unique criminal masterminds who have managed to escape international prosecution. Each individual has done their own illegal activity which has often included murder and other vices in order to stay on the run. However, it is unclear how they have managed to stay away from authorities for such an extended period of time. The individuals mentioned are “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, Felicien Kabuga, Financer of the Rwandan Genocide, Samantha Lewthwaite, Husband to the 7/7 Bomber, Semion Mogilevich, Russia Mafia Boss, and Matteo Messina Denaro, Boss of Cosa Nostra. Each has their own story to tell in this documentary and each of the individuals who speak in the documentary are those that have tried to either catch them or have at least worked with them, many informants appeared in these episodes as well providing insight into the people that were being looked for.
So without going into an intense amount of detail regarding the people, the 5 mentioned are accused of doing things that many would consider unspeakable in the Western World but they have managed to escape capture. At the end of each episode, which seems quite insulting to the documentary, a disclaimer reads that the individuals are not guilty until proven so which could lead to many believing that they could be innocent entirely. That is not the case for several though as eyewitnesses have pointed them out specifically, all that needs to be done it to catch them. In a simple breakdown we will look into each individual person titled in this documentary.
The first is “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia. He is known for running one of the most powerful criminal enterprises in the world. The Sinaloa Cartel is run by “El Mayo” and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman who is the more famous of the two. His organization thrived when all of the territories in Mexico were controlled by the drug traffickers. Each trafficker had a specific territory in Mexico and Garcia particularly controlled the Mid-Western Portion of Mexico. Sinaloa became the most powerful drug operation in the world with the assistance of longtime boss Miguel Felix Gallardo who was captured in 1989. Gallardo figured out how to unite the criminals as one which makes it hard to take them all down at once. Gallardo was betrayed though which led to his capture. Eventually, the various cartels formed new alliances and promised not to interfere with each other’s business. Garcia was one of the leaders along with “El Chapo.” Following 1989, Chapo and Mayo were both on the run and have been ever since. “El Chapo” was captured in recent years but his capture has not deterred the cartel from continuing business and it is assumed that Mayo runs the entire cartel know. For those who are fans of Narcos: Mexico this episode opens the door and fills the holes that the show may have left.
Episode #2 features Felician Kabuga, a well-known financer in the international community. Kabuga is a native Rwandan and grew his wealth by investing in many companies at the right time. His largest investment as owning tea farms which gave him a wealth well over $100 million. Kabuga grew up in Northern Rwandan a poor young man and decided that he wanted to better himself and his community by any means necessary. Instead of helping the problems of poverty and starvation Kabuga became a part of the problem. He had relationships with various African War Lords and dictators who were ruthless in their business dealings. He also had connections with many import and export companies even in the United States, that is the amount of influence he had. He managed to remain undercover though and not attract attention to himself. In 1994, Rwanda went through the darkest 100 days in its history. The Hutu Tribe was the predominate group in Rwanda and its leaders sought to get rid of opposition. Well, with technology they were able to do just that as radio broadcast controlled by the Hutu’s asked for an uprising and extermination of the Tutsi’s. The Tutsi’s were then exterminated by means that hard to even write about including shooting, disembowelment, slicing of limbs, amongst other ways. It was unclear where an impoverished country could get weapons and just exterminate, well Felician Kabuga was believed to be that answer as he supposedly provided weapons for the Hutu rebels. After the attempted genocide that took place in 1994, Kabuga along with other leaders left the country immediately. Kabuga used his many connections in various European countries to help him hide.
Episode #3 tells the story of Samantha Lewthwaite, “The White Widow”. Lewthwaite was put on the World’s Most Wanted list as of 2003 after he husband committed one of the most brutal terrorist acts in the 21st century. Lewthwaite, a native of the UK, lived in London for many years and became engrained in Muslim culture which led her to delve into extremist culture. This is not to say that the Muslim religion is responsible for this. Lewthwaite ended up in the wrong crowd and raises her children on the run from international law enforcement. Lewthwaite’s husband was responsible for the 7/7 bombing which took place on the London Tube killing and wounding hundreds. Lewthwaite since the 7/7 explosion has been under investigation and has been sited in several African Nations ever since. She is currently wanted for murders and heist that took place. She is a leader of a small sect and not a large group of terrorist. Her cell was responsible for multiple heists and killings that took place in Kenya. Her current location is currently unknown but sources have tracked her to Kenya and Somalia.
In Episode #4 organized crime takes a much larger turn that we are used to. After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s the Russian Mafia took over as a sort of anarchy in which they controlled everything on the streets and the highest levels of government were influenced by gangsters. One of the many Russian gangsters believed to have been behind this new rule was Semion Mogilevich. Born in 1946, Mogilevich was born into a Post-World War II world which was very different in other places than it was in the Soviet Union. Mogilevich was struggling and needed a way to make money. He began doing hits and organizing money laundering schemes as he had a knack for finances. Eventually, Mogilevich exterminated all of his enemies and became supreme ruler of the Eastern Bloc Mafia. He took control after the fall of the Soviet Union and his schemes like Kabuga existed all over the world. He grew to be too greedy though and felt that the United States was to be the hottest target for him to make even more money than he already had. One of his companies located their was raided by the FBI and from their his name became synonymous with the most wanted list. He joined the list in the 2000s but was wanted since roughly 1993. Mogilevich was always under surveillance but was never captured because he had many political connections. His track record of criminal activity is longer than most rap sheets and deserves a step back for what he achieved. Mogilevich had even been connected to Vladimir Putin in recent years which puts Putin in a negative light associating with organized criminal types.
Lastly, we have Matteo Messina Denaro, leader of Cosa Nostra. Now unlike the American Mafia referred to as La Cosa Nostra, the “thing of ours” in Sicily is much more brutal and will stop at nothing to seek control. Ever since it's formation in the late 1800s the Sicilian Mafia has controlled every aspect of life and performed acts that would even scare a small country. At the top of it all during the 1990s was Matteo Messina Denaro. Denaro’s father was a well-known member of the mafia and Denaro followed head-first into his father’s business. Matteo was committing racketeering as young as 16 and hits at 18. Denaro is estimated to have committed 50 murders himself but ordering hundreds more. In 1992 and 1993, two bombs went off killing enemies of the mafia in the Italian government. This caused much uproar against Denaro and he was then hunted throughout Sicily. His known location is Sicily but exactly where is unknown. Law Enforcement squeezed his associates and the people turning against him did not help his situation either. This has not stopped him though as he is still considered to be running the entire organization.
Is it worth it?
Well, Netflix as has been explained has failed to produce anything of substance in the last several years as far as television shows. Yes, Narcos: Mexico is one of the better series but it is not a documentary whereas World’s Most Wanted is a documentary that has some substance. It is worth a glance if you are a fan of crime documentaries then this show is quite good. If you decide to binge this series I would highly recommend against it because each show inspires more fear rather than a simple watch one and remove what you just watched from your memory. Netflix shifted its focus from scripted series to documentary series. It is also important to note that although he series is in English, the show was produced in France which makes for a good analysis if that is your thing.