The classic Italian Mafia thriller The Octopus (La Piovra) makes its triumphant MHz Choice debut – all 10 seasons!

Now Streaming!

First broadcast in Italy in 1984, The Octopus (La Piovra) was an international phenomenon, running for ten seasons over 18 years. The title of this much-loved series says it all, evoking the image of a secret criminal cabal extending its tentacles into every layer of society. Ultimately filmed on three continents, The Octopus brings scope and sophistication to the story of an age-old battle, and shows the cost men and women pay when they stand up to the injustice of organized crime.

Created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Ennio de Concini (Il Grido, Divorce Italian Style) and director Damiano Damiani (A Bullet for the General), The Octopus was the first Italian TV series to take a realistic look at the Mafia and law enforcement – and the first to present the police in a heroic, if flawed, light. In the first season, police inspector Corrado Cattani (Michele Placido) is transferred to Sicily with his wife and young daughter. As he investigates the assassination of his predecessor, the Mafia strike back. His family soon becomes the target of threats, but nothing will stop Cattani on his single-minded quest for justice…

This initial six-part limited series proved so popular that it spawned nine follow-up seasons – including a pair of prequels – over the next two decades, each one opening up the scope of the story a little more. Taken as a whole, the ten seasons of The Octopus provide a vivid and detailed look at the rise of the Sicilian Mafia, from the 1950s straight through to the 1990s. In scope, it is unparalleled. Despite the age of these productions, the ideas and performances shine through. The plots are endlessly complex and fascinating – as are the characters.

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Michele Placido as Corrado Cattani

Michele Placido won international fame for his role as police inspector Corrado Cattani, a role that brought him icon status throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, where the show was particularly popular. The music, by legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone, was equally iconic. The outstanding international cast included Academy Award-winner Martin Balsam (A Thousand Clowns, 12 Angry Men), Remo Girone (Live By Night, Voice From The Stone), Angelo Infanti (The Godfather), Francisco Rabal (Belle de Jour, Sorcerer), Bruno Cremer (Maigret) and Luca Zingaretti (Detective Montalbano), among notable others.

Beginning with the third season, director Luigi Perelli and screenwriters Sando Petraglia and Stefano Rulli took over creative direction and the show went from strength to strength, culminating with the Season 4 finale, the final episode to feature Michele Placido’s Inspector Cattani, which achieved record viewing figures for Italian broadcaster RAI in 1989.

From the fifth season, Remo Girone’s arch villain Tano Cariddi took on added dimensions and became as iconic in his own right as Placido’s police inspector was. French actress Patricia Millardet and Italian leading man Vittorio Mezzogiorno led the revamped cast, and the series continued its groundbreaking, ripped-from-the-headlines plots – echoing and, in some cases, predating seminal events in the then-contemporary battle against the Sicilian Mafia.

All ten seasons of The Octopus are streaming on MHz Choice and on MHz Choice on DVD.

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