“Rough Diamonds”

Rough Diamonds (Netflix) is a well acted crime thriller/drama set in the diamond district of Antwerp. It’s pretty binge worthy. Subtitles are necessary for the non-polylingual (Flemish, French, Yiddish, Albanian, Dutch) At the heart of it are the Wolfsons, a Hasidic diamond dealer dynasty struggling to keep up with the vicissitudes of a faltering market–by any means necessary. If The Sopranos and Shtisel had a baby it might come out something like this eight episode series. Albanian Mafia figures prominently in the plot as does a loving but vicious British shiksa gangster grandmother (oy vey, don’t ask!) For the Wolfsons, the needs of the mishpacha supersede those of the civil law. The mishpacha must survive at any cost. As you can imagine, some bad stuff happens. The show has a constantly shifting moral compass (not so much for the Albanians–they’re consistently evil). But the complexity of the other characters makes it hard decide if we are rooting for them. The motives are in constant question: e.g. the investigating prosecutor–is her need to catch the corrupted perps using any means motivated by ego or is she sincerely motivated by principle? But the biggest moral dilemma is never addressed. Let’s face it, diamond mining is an atrocious dangerous industry that exploits its workers–often children– and has a devastating impact on the environment. Maybe the writers intend the series to be metaphorical? Regardless, it’s definitely worth a watch and you can come to your own conclusions. In case you are not familiar with “mishpacha here is an episode from Sesame Street that will inform and amuse you. And as usual, Dear Readers, I consider you all mishpacha, so nu??? you couldn’t write?


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