L'impero (2001 TV Mini-Series)
Dario Ferri, an investigator with the Rome anti-Mafia unit visits the dreaded Ma-fia killer Nicolo Panarea in prison. Dario has recently been the one to put him away and has been promoted to detective as a reward. He now hopes to put the cherry on his cake by actually getting Panarea to talk. Hardly is he left alone with Panarea in his cell, when the Mafioso draws a home-made knife and threatens to murder Dario if the prison staff get involved in any way. Then instead of taking Dario hostage and escaping Panarea cuts off his own little finger. This is to dem-onstrate that Dario will never succeed in getting him to break his 'Omerta', his oath of silence. Put to shame Dario leaves. Some time later: Dario has spent the night with his lover Laura Martoni. They are still in bed, having a laugh, when Laura already receives a phone call from her secretary, and friend, Grazia, who wants to go over the day's most important ap-pointments. Laura is a young up and coming politician. Enthusiastically she leads a parliamentary committee on the issues of immigration. For her part Laura takes the liberal approach. She does not wish to stop the growing tide of economic refugees with draconian measures, but believes instead that sensible laws would divert these immigrants into more legal avenues. Laura's political sponsor Canniti supports her ambitious plans, yet the conservative member of parliament Bressan is putting up vehement resistance to any changes in the law. Unexpectedly Laura gets help from an old friend. Her former teacher at 'The London School of Eco-nomics', now living in Switzerland, Professor Dossena. He happens to be in Rome and over dinner he presents Laura with a very unusual plan. Thanks to his insider knowledge Dossena has amassed an immense fortune by speculating on the stock markets. He is prepared to donate this fortune for the purpose of building dwell-ings, social areas and schools for penniless immigrants. The idea is to free the im-migrants from their illegal status and to integrate them in a positive manner in the creation of a united Europe. Laura can help in realising this plan by way of her committee. Enthusiastically she agrees. In the mean time Dario is having to deal with immigration problems on quite another level. Super rich Russian Mafiosi keep buying more and more real estate on the Adriatic coast- at this rate they will soon control a large piece of the tourist industry. Dario's boss Nazzaro tells him that Arkadin one of the most important Russian purchasers has just arrived in Rimini. Dario goes there to tail Arkadin. Arkadin is having a good time at a second rate nightclub belonging to a dodgy pimp, Manin. A beautiful and talented Russian singer, Sonja, is on stage and sings a Russian song for her compatriot Arkadin. Dario is among the crowd. During the song Sonja exchanges a few provocative glances with Dario. Dario is en-thralled, but still keeps his eyes on the joint. Thus he notices two suspicious new arrivals: a shady Italian called Genco and Miro, a Yugoslav hit man. Without warning Miro opens fire on Arkadin. At the same moment Dario identifies himself as police and fires back. This gives Arkadin and his people the chance to leave the club alive. By the time the local police arrive there is no trace of either Genco or Arkadin. The local police are not pleased by Dario's unannounced presence in Rimini or his solo intervention. Systematically the exclude Dario from their investigations. However at least Dario manages to give his card to Sonja. She should give him a call, in case she feels like talking to a trustworthy cop. Back in Rome Dario watches television - Dossena, with Laura as presenter, is pub-licly announcing his plan to all of Italy. One of the discussion group is Bressan. His criticisms are however dismissively dealt with by Dossena with whit and spirit. In future Laura will devote herself entirely to Dossena's project. She knows this will take up a lot of time, this will reduce what little time she and Dario have to-gether even more. That is why she wants Dario to get to know Dossena. Laura wants him to understand her fascination for this project. Dario and Dossena's meeting is not especially auspicious. Dario has his mind on Sonja. It seems she has been threatened in Rimini. Soon after the club owner Manin was murdered, so she has fled head over heels to Rome, and has asked Dario to hide her. First off he had put her in his flat, but this lead to some harsh misunderstandings with Laura. Now Dario finds himself dragged along to some super elegant party at Dossena's villa by Laura. Dossena subjects Dario to his provocative theories as regards com-bating crime. Crime has a particularly strong energy potential, he submits, that should not be fought, but rather be diverted onto a positive, community benefi-cial path. Dario is horrified at Dossena's cynical superiority and leaves the party after a hefty row with Laura. Back at home Dario tries to get some information out of Sonja. Sonja is sorry, but she does not know anything of any use about Arkadin. After the death of her father, he had taken care of them, as an old family friend who had suddenly be-come extremely rich. Arkadin had been against her emigrating to Italy. Now Sonja is afraid that she will be sent back to Russia. Sonja and Dario get to know one another better. She tries to seduce the handsome detective. Dario is however able to resist this temptation. The next morning Dario finds out that his colleague Arcuri has been murdered. An individual investigator he had been getting on everyone's nerves at the anti Mafia unit with his 'theory' : he believed that the murderer Panarea - Dario's arch enemy- did not die as is supposed during an inmates uprising at the prison, but instead escaped and was now continuing his murderous business under an assumed identity. Arcuri believed he had found Panarea's trail in Rimini. Pesce, who rents out boats and was once a 'colleague' of Panarea has made con-tact with a certain 'Nico'. 'Nico' was Panarea's nickname. Yet no one wanted to believe Arcuri's theory. Well, now he had been murdered in Rimini. Dario immediately travels to Rimini and interviews Pesce in the presence of the local detective inspector Carla Mori. Despite her protests Dario seriously threat-ens the deceitful crook so that he is quite convinced that Dario is dangerous. Pesce will soon talk- or so Dario thinks. He has however left Genco out of the equation- the second hit man at Manin's club. Under cover of the night Genco meets his client and promises him that despite the small incident in Rimini he will make sure of the only eye witness's silence. Genco's night time chat is with Dossena ! Back in Rome Dario finds out that despite his express instructions to the contrary Sonja has made several phone calls from Dario's flat. Not only this but she has answered calls too, and amongst others has spoken with Laura, who is under-standably not pleased about Sonja's presence in his flat. What is more, Dario must now assume that his invisible opponents now know where Sonja is located. For this reason he takes Sonja to a remote Beach bar near Ostia. He has hidden en-dangered witnesses here on previous occasions. He believes Sonja will be safe here. As he is about to leave her on her own among the dunes she unexpectedly kisses him. Dario does not resist. All the more difficult for Dario when at his next visit he has to stand by helpless and watch Sonja being carried off by a gang of armed men. In the meantime in Rimini Carla Mori is trying to clamp down on people smug-gler Kóvac. Night for night Kóvac and his gang bring boat loads of illegal immi-grants into Italy from Albania - having taken the desperate refugees' last penny first. Caught by the coast guard Kóvac cold bloodedly throws a young child over-board. While the police frantically try to save the child, Kóvac escapes into the night. Soon after, Kóvac is approached by Genco who encourages him to sell his entire refugee trade to a financially powerful partner. Kóvac would loose his independ-ence, but increase his earnings several times over. Kóvac proudly refuses. He has no idea what kind of advisory he is dealing with. Dossena's methods are most effective when it comes to convincing people of something. The way he dealt with Arkadin proves that. To get control of Arkadin's property network, Dossena orders Genco to kill Miro- who had himself attacked Arkadin at Manin's nightclub. Genco is to take Miro's head to Arkadin - as proof of the usefulness and loyalty of his new business partner, and at the same time as a threat. This is how un-wanted competitors are dealt with. Dario happens to get wind of Miro's arrival in Rimini. He is not able to hinder the killers execution but, through a telescope, is able to observe Genco handing Miro's head over to a stunned Arkadin. Looking at the enlarged photos of this hand over Dario recognises the fact that there is a finger missing on Genco's hand. Morphological skull comparisons confirm Dario's suspi-cion: Genco is the 'deceased' Panarea. The search warrant, though immediately applied for comes, to late. Miro's head is indeed found, but Arkadin has already cleared out. He is on his way to Rome, where he meets with Dossena and hands over the greater share of his real estate empire - of course in exchange for the promise of an increase profits. Dossena now seems to have all the strings in his hand. Laura's valiant efforts have even broken the resistance put up by the conservative Bressan and the committee has unanimously decided in favour of Dossena's foundation. With Arkadin's real-estate under his belt Dossena now has the necessary buildings for the project, and his is quite certain that Kóvac will also be making his useful 'infra structure' available to this charitable project. Dossena celebrates with Laura - she has no idea! He invites her to his villa and shows her the treasures of his private antiqui-ties collection. Faced with theses witnesses of the size and glory of the Roman empire, Dossena admits to dreaming of building up a Roman empire again with modern methods, of seeing it blossom, become mighty and subjugate all other peoples. Laura is bothered but also fascinated by Dossena's dark admissions. While at his residence she also meets Haza, mysterious and beautiful and the daughter of a Nigerian chief. Dossena saved her from slavery on one of his trips, and since then she has been his devoted servant, as well as his mistress. Dossena has a certain attraction for Laura too, but she avoids his hidden subtle approaches, partly be-cause of Dario and partly of her growing anxiety at her former mentors megalo-mania. In the mean time Dario is back in Rome. Now that Dario knows that Panarea - alias Genco- is alive, he won't hesitate to get rid of Dario whom he hates, at the first best opportunity. Dario decides to lie low in Laura's flat, despite their re-peated arguments. He no longer feels safe in his own apartment. His fears are justified. Unfortunately Dossena has already told Genco about the link between Laura and Dario. Laura takes Dario in and after a hesitant discussion the two make up. They make passionate love. However when Dario hastily leaves his lovers flat afterwards so as not to put her in danger, Genco is waiting for him. Horrified Laura sees Dario shot down on the road in front of her very eyes. In the light of Dario's serious injuries Laura becomes aware of her deep feelings for him. She even neglects her work so as to be with him. Thanks to her continual presence and her strong feelings Dario gradually re-emerges from his deep coma. Overjoyed Laura realises that she now has the chance of nursing him back to full health. Meanwhile Genco is getting on with his 'business'. He kills the potential stool pi-geon Pesci in Rimini and devotes himself with special care to Kóvac. He has Kóvac's fleet attacked by a heavily armed helicopter, and much of it is destroyed. A lot of Kóvac's people are killed. Now even the Albanian trafficker sees no other possibility other than working with Dossena. Dossena now controls the illegal refugee transport network into Italy. In what little time Laura has left over due to her self-sacrificing devotion to caring for Dario, she continues to work on behalf of the legal side of Dossena's plans. Following the committee's unanimous vote in favour it is now just left to the President to agree to the project. Thanks to Laura's intervention he has a very favourable attitude toward it. Dossena is able to open a model home for refugee children which has been built with funds from his charity amidst loud celebra-tions. While all this is happening Dario has secretly been taken to his former colleague and fatherly friend Vivaldi. It was Vivaldi who picked up the one time petty crook Dario off the streets and introduced him to the police boxing club . Thus turning a one time street yob step by step into a keeper of the law. Vivaldi had later how-ever been fired because of alcoholism. The ex-cop's flat is now the perfect hide away for Dario. None of his advisories is to know that he has survived the attack. In Vivaldi's flat Dario exercises to the edge of his endurance to get back on his feet again. To Laura's joy he is making fantastic progress. Apart from his eyes, these are so badly damaged that a further very risky operation is unavoidable. While Dario is being operated Dossena gets ready for his final strike. By way of shady share dealing he has driven three international gangster bosses to the edge of ruin. One, based in Turkey, functions through out the near east, another rules Africa and third has control of the Chinese triads. Dossena has them all come to Rome. He explains his plan, with his help the three will not only recoup their losses but be able to obtain a share of his, Dossena's, soon to be erected Empire. The three Mafiosi are to gather well chosen people together in their territories who match the needs of the illegal work market in united Europe. They will be smuggled in through transport channels provided by Dossena, thanks to Kóvac. These immigrants will be put up in Arkadin's proper-ties, instructed and then placed in suitable jobs. With his immigrant army Dossena will supply all of boarderless Europe from Hamburg to Athens with all the prostitutes, labourers, rent boys, maids and intel-lectuals it needs. Dossena will use this imported work force to encourage the eco-nomic superiority of Europe and to expand his own power: Europe, a new reborn Roman Empire, and he Dossena , it's Emperor! Meanwhile Dario's eye operation has been successful. Dario is almost back to full strength. He is informed by his superior that Sonja has been seen at Arkadin's Moscow nightclub. Despite Laura's protestations Dario immediately decides to travel to Moscow. His contact their will be Ljubka Vassilova somewhat unreliable former KGB agent who is now on the Italian payroll. Laura tries everything in her power to stop Dario from going. She even threatens to leave him. However Dario still flies to Moscow to meet Sonja and Arkadin, and perhaps unmask the man behind it all with their help. He does not realise that he is leaving Laura behind unprotected in that very man's clutches..... To his surprise Dario finds Sonja waiting for him in his Moscow hotel room. De-spite now being engaged to Arkadin, the marriage is imminent, her love still be-longs to Dario. This time Dario can not resist her. They have passionate sex. Dario must already return to Rome the next morning. He has in the men time found out what he wanted to know. Thanks to Ljubka Vassilova he has been able to follow up the movements of money acquired from Arkadin's Italian businesses, and so has been able to make the connection between the Russian Mafioso and Dossena. But Arkadin's spies are doing their job well. Arkadin already knows about Sonja's passionate escapade with Dario that night. Furious he is about to kick her out. Then however he is informed by double agent Ljubka, what Dario has found out with her help. At this Arkadin makes out that he wants a reconciliation. He is prepared to forgive Sonja and to continue to protect her; in return however she is going to have to prove her loyalty to Arkadin by going back to Italy once more and finding out Dario's location, so that the killer Genco can have another chance! To make sure she doesn't do any thing else 'stupid' he takes her mother hostage. Dario, by now back in Rome, has been able to convince his boss of Dossena's dark dealings. At a meeting with Laura Dario assures himself that she really does not know anything about Dossena's criminal plans; she believes she is working for a good cause. Before Dario is able to inform Laura about his investigations Dossena is told by Arkadin that Dario is dangerously well informed - Dossena goes on the offensive. He tells Laura about Dario's investigation himself and puts it all in the light of a dirty political campaign that is being waged against their project. Laura is horri-fied. She does not want to hear Dario's arguments anymore and believes herself bitterly betrayed. Sonja arrives in Rome and asks Dario for another night together. She hopes she can fool Arkadin if she meets Dario secretly. Later she will make out that she could not find Dario and that's why she has returned to Moscow empty handed. Then Genco shows up, bugs her powder compact with a transmitter and finally warns Sonja not to disappoint Arkadin again. Genco's plan work: Sonja is so frightened that she rushes to Dario head over heels and warns him, thus unwittingly leading Genco to his victim. Thanks to Sonja's selfless actions Dario is able to escape Gencos bullets and manages to turn the situation around . Genco however takes Sonja hostage, escapes Dario and promptly shoots Sonja in cold blood: from Russia with love ! Sonja dies in Dario's arms. After this cold blooded murder Dario can see only one way of stopping Dossena before his organisation gets final recognition from the Italian state and thus gain-ing immunity. Dario has to mobilise Laura against Dossena. This seems even more difficult as since Laura's indignation at Dario's investigation she has given in to Dossena's advances. She there for believes his accusations are those of a jealous lover. Only when she is told of Sonja's murder does her conviction start to waiver. She confronts Dossena. He is so certain of her devotion that he bluntly divulges his plan in all its cynical megalomania. Laura is desperate. Using all her strength she maintains her composure and keeps Dossena in the belief that he can rely on her silence. In truth, she has made up her mind against him. Meanwhile Dario, together with Carla Mori, is in Rimini observing the first refu-gee village run by Dossena's charity. They notice that among the official immi-grants many illegal ones are brought into the hermetically sealed housing estate, including a number of under age girls. Armed with this information it is easy for Dario to convince Laura to join the fight against Dossena. While the police storm the camp in Rimini and free the refugees, many of whom have been kept in awful conditions by Dossena's criminal hench-men, Laura steps in front of the assembled parliament and publicly makes her accusations against Dossena at the last minute. Dossena realises that the game is over, he lets Genco and Kóvac talk him into flee-ing. After his fall from power the arrogant professor is really just a mill stone around the necks of these professional crooks. As soon as they are out at sea they dump their powerless leader. The Mafia has once again suffer a defeat but but have not been overcomed. Dario and Laura decide to start a new beginning, to-gether...- Written by Anonymous
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