The TV shows on this list shed light on the dishonest strategies used by individuals, cartels, and organized crime groups to channel their illicit gains through a web of respectable companies, fake subsidiaries, and complex financial schemes.
These shows are not only entertaining, but they also provide an understanding of the serious repercussions and moral minefields that surround the world of money laundering.
Their compelling storylines are woven around intense cat-and-mouse chases and moral dilemmas while taking us on an exciting exploration of the covert financial underbelly, ranging from the suspense-filled exploits of the scheme’s masterminds to the relentless pursuit of justice by law enforcement organizations.
So, without further ado, here are our top TV shows about money laundering!
Ozark, Netflix (2017 – 2022)
The first show on our list immediately plunges viewers into the hands of a dangerous cartel.
Ozark is a Netflix original, and it gained high praise – including multiple accolades – throughout its run, particularly for tone, production, and performance.
The series follows financial planner Marty Byrde as he moves his family from Chicago to the isolated Ozarks in Missouri after getting caught up in a risky money laundering scheme with a Mexican drug cartel.
Marty navigates the dangerous waters of criminal activity and local politics while trying to keep his family safe and laundering millions of dollars to placate the cartel. On top of that, he also has to deal with his associates’ unpredictable personalities and the locals of the Ozark neighborhood.
An exciting story of survival, deceit, and moral compromise in the face of increasing danger results from the Byrde family’s forced adaptation to their new, dangerous surroundings.
Good Girls, NBC (2018 – 2021)
Sometimes (probably most of the time, to be honest), a person’s entry into a life of crime is born out of a desperate bid for a better life. In Good Girls, we meet Beth, Annie, and Ruby, three suburban mothers who resort to robbing a nearby grocery store because they are in desperate need of money.
They unintentionally become entangled in a complicated web of criminal activity as a result of their initial heist, attracting the attention of a dangerous gang and pushing them further into the world of money laundering and illegal schemes.
The trio must balance the demands of their daily lives with their criminal activities while weighing the moral ramifications of their actions. They also must keep their criminal activities a secret from the authorities and their loved ones.
Good Girls is a thrilling narrative that blurs the lines between right and wrong in their quest for financial stability.
The Mechanism, Netflix (2018 – 2019)
A small team of investigators is determined to uncover the complex web of corruption and money laundering within Brazil’s political and corporate landscape in the Brazilian television series The Mechanism (O Mecanismo in Portuguese), which was loosely based on actual events.
The team sets out on a relentless quest for justice, led by the fiercely committed federal agent Marco Ruffo, and dismantles a complicated web of bribery, kickbacks, and illegal financial transactions that involve prominent politicians, businessmen, and influential figures from all over the nation.
While navigating the complex dynamics of power and influence that permeate every aspect of Brazilian society, the team must confront dangerous adversaries and ongoing threats to their safety and integrity as the investigation progresses.
O Mecanismo illuminates the pervasiveness of corruption and the difficult obstacles faced by those determined to expose it.
Get Shorty, Epix (2017 – 2019)
In the dark comedy-drama series Get Shorty, Miles Daly, a former enforcer for a Nevada crime ring, enters the Hollywood film industry to smuggle cash for his boss.
Under the guise of making a film, Miles soon discovers that the glamor of the film business comes with its own set of difficulties and dubious characters.
He runs into a variety of eccentric characters while navigating the competitive world of show business, including struggling actors, producers, and filmmakers, all the while attempting to hide his criminal activities from both his friends and the authorities.
The series combines elements of crime, humor, and Hollywood satire as Miles’s dual life and the difficulties of his newly discovered career in the film industry result in a number of captivating and frequently dangerous situations.
Power, Starz (2014 – 2020)
Power follows James St. Patrick, known as Ghost, a powerful drug dealer and wealthy nightclub owner in New York City.
Ghost is caught up in a high-stakes money laundering scheme with a vicious drug cartel despite wanting to leave that world behind and working to establish a legitimate business. As he negotiates complicated relationships with his family, including his wife Tasha and his former love interest Angela, an Assistant United States Attorney, balancing his dual life becomes continually more challenging.
Ghost struggles to keep up the appearance that he is a respected businessman while defending his illegal empire as law enforcement agencies and rival criminal organizations close in.
BMF, Starz (2021 – present)
Starz brings yet another hit series to the table with BMF, a crime drama that premiered in 2021.
The series is inspired by real-life events and chronicles the rise of the Black Mafia Family, a notorious drug trafficking organization founded by the Flenory brothers in Detroit during the late 1980s.
Demetrius and Terry navigate the perilous worlds of drug dealing and money laundering, quickly rising to become one of the most powerful criminal organizations in American history. They encounter significant difficulties as they expand their operations to Atlanta, where both competing gangs and law enforcement organizations determined to topple their empire pose a serious threat.
The brothers must deal with internal power struggles and the difficulties of upholding their familial ties while navigating the competitive drug trade environment.
Dough, SVT (2021)
Adding to the list of foreign language shows is Sweden’s Dough (Deg, in Swedish), a crime drama that aired over one season.
It follows the stories of two women, Liana and Malou, who seem to come from opposite worlds when you look at them on the surface.
Liana is a single mother facing a personal crisis after her boyfriend is arrested for a robbery. On the other hand, Malou is a successful woman living in a fancy suburb in Stockholm, but this act is slipping and about to collapse.
When Malou accidentally comes across a huge sum of stolen money, she decides to open up a bakery business as a front to launder the money.
Unbeknownst to her, that money was stolen by Liana’s boyfriend, who is now in prison, and the hunt for the money puts the two women into each other’s paths.
Follow the Money, DR1 (2016 – 2019)
Denmark adds another show to the list with Follow the Money (or Bedrag in Danish), which centers on the intricate world of economic crime and money laundering in the country.
The narrative follows a committed and persistent police detective named Mads as he gets entangled in a complex investigation involving a well-known energy company named Energreen.
Mads discovers a web of dishonesty, corporate negligence, and manipulation that goes far beyond simple white-collar crime as he investigates the company’s complex financial operations.
The show also delves into the lives of a number of characters, such as Nicky, a young mechanic who unintentionally gets mixed up in the illicit activities of Energreen, and Claudia, the company’s ambitious CEO.
Though financial operations are the central theme of the series, it’s the third (and last) season that focuses mainly on money laundering.
Snabba Cash, Netflix (2021)
Sweden seems to favor this genre and topic quite a bit as the country adds its second show to the list: Snabba Cash.
The series is based on Jens Lapidus’ Stockholm Noir trilogy series and takes place ten years after the events in the films that were adapted from the books as well.
The main characters are a young businessman named Tim, an ambitious woman named Leya, and a side hustler named Ravy.
Leya is working to build her respective tech startups, while Tim is attempting to establish financial stability. As their paths cross with Ravy’s, they are drawn into the dangerous world of drug trafficking and money laundering in Stockholm.
The characters become entangled in a perilous web of criminal activity due to the characters’ relentless pursuit of wealth and success, which pushes their moral boundaries and their aspirations to the breaking point.
Breaking Bad, AMC (2008 – 2013)
Breaking Bad is a cult classic TV series that follows Walter White’s transformation from high school chemistry teacher to methamphetamine producer after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis. Walter teams up with his former student Jesse Pinkman to manufacture and sell premium blue meth, motivated by a desire to safeguard his family’s financial future.
Walter’s alter ego, “Heisenberg,” emerges as they navigate the perilous world of drug production, distribution, and money laundering, sending him down a path of moral degradation and into a struggle with rival drug dealers and law enforcement.
The show delves deeply into the intricacies of the black market drug trade while also examining the psychological and emotional toll that Walter’s descent into crime took on him and how that affected his relationships with his family and friends.
Narcos, Netflix (2015 – 2017)
The TV show Narcos tells the true tales of infamous drug lords and the efforts of the law to bring down their empires.
The biographical crime series, which is primarily set in Colombia, begins by concentrating on the ascent and downfall of the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, tracing his rise from modest beginnings to becoming one of the wealthiest and most powerful criminals in history.
As the story progresses, it explores the complexities of the illegal drug trade, the intricate webs of money laundering, and the violent clashes between rival cartels and the authorities.
Later seasons of the program shift their attention to other well-known drug trafficking organizations, highlighting the difficulties that the drug lords and the law enforcement agencies face in their relentless quest for control and justice.
The Gold, BBC One/Paramount+ (2023)
The amount of crime that transpires within the financial industry is astounding, and many major national crimes end up inspiration for works of fiction. One of these events is the Brink’s-Mat robbery in 1983, one of the largest robberies in British history.
The group who had planned the heist walked away with £26 million (close to £100 million today) in gold, diamonds, and cash.
The kicker? They robbed the warehouse thinking they would be taking just £1 million, but the gold had been stored there for transfer the night before the robbery. What a stroke of luck!
The events surrounding this robbery are dramatized in BBC One’s The Gold, as well as the aftermath in the decade that followed.
Riviera, Sky Atlantic (2017 – 2020)
Riviera centers on Georgina Clios, an art curator thrust into the complex world of high-stakes financial fraud and money laundering after her billionaire husband, Constantine, passes away unexpectedly.
Georgina finds herself in the rich and cunning world of the French Riviera’s elite, a maze of secrets and betrayal as she digs deeper into her husband’s shady business dealings.
Her stepchildren, who are involved in their own devious schemes, complicate her search for the truth even more.
Georgina has to make her way through a dangerous world full of men, shady businesses, and illegal organizations in order to keep her family safe and honor her late husband’s legacy.
Dirty Money, Netflix (2018 – 2020)
Lastly, we have Dirty Money, a Netflix documentary series that delves into various cases of corporate corruption, financial fraud, and unethical practices within the global business world.
Each episode investigates a unique case, revealing the intricate particulars of intricate financial schemes, fraudulent activities, and the negative effects of greed on both individuals and society at large.
The series exposes the deceptive methods used by businesses and people to take advantage of legal loopholes and mislead the public for their own gain through in-depth investigations and interviews with key players and whistleblowers.
Dirty Money offers a thorough and critical analysis of the pervasive influence of money and power in influencing the ethical landscape of the modern business environment.