Why Aren’t More People Talking About HBO’s ‘Industry’?
— Updated on 9 March 2023

Why Aren’t More People Talking About HBO’s ‘Industry’?

— Updated on 9 March 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Any series that shares a stable with the likes of Succession, Euphoria, White Lotus, and a bloody Game of Thrones prequel will inevitably take a backseat. It also doesn’t help when the sheer volume of prestige content being produced these days has only made the eyeball economy that much more competitive (a consequence of television’s second golden era). But after one of the most impressive sophomore seasons to date, HBO’s Industry can no longer fly under the radar. This, we’ve decided, is elite viewing.

Once the initial hype surrounding a drama series about investment banking died down – hype fanned by the likes of this very publication with comparisons such as Mad Men meets Billions; since revised to Euphoria meets Mad Men meets Billions – season 1 sort of came and went. That isn’t to say it wasn’t quality entertainment. It simply hadn’t hit its stride yet, and much like the ensemble of young graduates the story focused upon, it felt as though the series as a whole hadn’t found its feet.

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Still, there was something there. Hints of a premise brimming with potential, deliciously nuanced onscreen performances, and writing that was already far superior to the hackneyed and honky inauthenticities of Billions (in fact it’s a better finance drama than Billions in every conceivable way). That’s because where the creators behind the latter have only ever been spectators in the world of finance – from The New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin to Hollywood writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien – Industry co-creators Konrad Kay and Mickey Down possess the all-important element of lived experience. And it shows.

There’s no Bobby Axelrod here. No cliche billionaire revenge fantasies. Nor even a defined character you’re meant to back. There are just anxiety-ridden levels of realism we’ve since verified with a handful of finance workers – some of whom were actually based in London, similar to the fictitious Pierpoint & Co – and an endlessly fascinating examination of human behaviour. Oh and sex. Plenty of it. Pretty graphic depictions too, from flaccid full-frontal to cumshots. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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hbo industry review

“The best thing about it is that it presents a world that is sometimes nasty and really kind of ugly,” co-creator Mickey Down told The Guardian.

“When it was first commissioned, HBO [the series is a co-production with the BBC] said that we had an opportunity, as new writers, to do something that was pretty against the grain – and they told us to lean into that.”

Downs added: “Hopefully, we’ll get to write this show for a while. Which will mean we can show how and why these people have suppressed so much of what is good in them.”

“Selfishness and self-destruction are human qualities and everybody has the capacity for both, even if they don’t like to see that reflected back at them.”

The greatest testament to what Kay and Down have achieved, however, is best exemplified by a key scene featured within Industry season 2; which involves nothing more than forcing the audience to be a party to a phone call in real-time and the mere concept of money on the line. Not even physical cash to visually experience.

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hbo industry review

Without giving too much away, on the recommendation of ambitious Pierpoint & Co employee Harper Stern (Myha’la Herrold), billionaire client Jesse Bloom (Jay Duplass) has decided to short a struggling brick-and-mortal drug store chain. At first, it appears to be a career-defining stratagem for Harper and quite a profitable position for Jesse. Only Jesse now finds himself on the wrong end of a short squeeze thanks to Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets and he’s bleeding out. Fast.

It reaches a point where all 19 million shares need to be offloaded yesterday. But avarice gets the better of Harper. Rather than eat the loss and move on, she sniffs out an opportunity to once again secure a place in Jesse’s good books. Harper baits fellow Pierpoint employee, acid-tongued market maker Rishi Ramdani (Sagar Radia), into quoting an inflated price under the pretence Jesse is looking to purchase more shit stock; later exploiting the binding verbal agreement to sucker Rishi, into taking them off his hands, effectively rendering the multi-million-dollar loss Pierpoint’s probelm.

We’ll leave the outcome/ensuing fallout for you to personally discover but suffice it to say, if you can somehow make a phone call the most compelling part of a drama series rich with substance abuse, gut-wrenching emotional violence, and of course, pornographic levels of sexual content… you’re clearly doing something very right.

HBO’s Industry season 1 & 2 is now streaming via domestic platforms Binge and Foxtel GO.

HBO Industry synopsis:

The show follows a group of young graduates competing for permanent positions at Pierpoint & Co, a prestigious investment bank in London.

HBO Industry cast:

  • Marisa Abela as Yasmin Kara-Hanani
    An ambitious graduate from a wealthy background, fluent in Arabic, Italian, Spanish, and French, assigned to the Foreign Exchange Sales (FX) desk at Pierpoint
  • Myha’la Herrold as Harper Stern
    An underrated yet super intelligent and hyper talented young woman from New York, assigned to the Cross Product Sales (CPS) desk at Pierpoint
  • David Jonsson as Gus Sackey
    A black, gay graduate of literae humaniores at Eton and Oxford, initially assigned to the Investment Banking Division (IBD) desk at Pierpoint, then the CPS desk
  • Harry Lawtey as Robert Spearing
    A graduate of Oxford from a working-class Welsh background, assigned to the CPS desk at Pierpoint
  • Ken Leung as Eric Tao
    The CPS Managing Director who takes Harper under his wing
  • Andrew Buchan as Felim Bichan
    A fund manager and Pierpoint’s biggest client
  • Nicholas Bishop as Maxim Alonso
    Yasmin’s family friend and one of Pierpoint’s potential clients
  • Katrine De Candole as Celeste Pacquet
    One of Pierpoint’s Private Wealth Managers
  • Sagar Radia as Rishi Ramdani
    An associate and market maker on the CPS desk
  • Trevor White as Bill Adler
    The global head of FICC at Pierpoint
  • Jay Duplass as Jesse Bloom
    Harper’s primary client, a hedge fund manager who capitalised greatly off the pandemic

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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