Mob Queens: this thrilling true crime podcast is being adapted into a HBO series starring Ruth Wilson and written by Lena Dunham
Entertainment

Mob Queens: this thrilling true crime podcast is being adapted into a HBO series starring Ruth Wilson and written by Lena Dunham

If your true crime senses are tingling for a new series to sink your teeth into, look no further. HBO is bringing one of our favourite podcasts, Mob Queens, to life in a new series with Ruth Wilson and Lena Dunham.

One of our favourite deep-dive podcasts being turned into an exciting new TV series is always music to our true crime-obsessed ears – and we’re in luck.

As Variety announced, Ruth Wilson will take on the role of “The Godmother” Anna Genovese is a new HBO true crime series, Mob Queens, about the famed mafia mother.

Written by Lena Dunham and directed by The Wire and Boardwalk Empire’s Dennis Lehane, the limited series centres on Genovese, the second wife of infamous New York crime boss Vito Genovese and is based on the popular Stitcher podcast of the same name, hosted by Michael Seligman and Jessica Bendinger. 

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What is the plot of Mob Queens?

Mob Queens will focus on Anna Genovese (Wilson) who was a fixture in the glittering drag bars of New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1930s.

Amid Prohibition and the Great Depression, Genovese became the head of the Genovese crime family after her husband was exiled on a murder charge. However, after decades of power, struggles with sexual identity and abuse at the hands of Vito, she became famous for breaking Cosa Nostra law when she spilled the illegal dealings of her husband in divorce hearings.

As both the series and podcast uncover, so often mob stories are always all about the guys – but not this one.

It already sounds like we’re in for a Pose meets House Of Gucci, by way of The Great Gatsby, and honestly, we’re into it. 

The Affair’s Ruth Wilson will play Anna Genovese in HBO’s Mob Queens
The Affair’s Ruth Wilson will play Anna Genovese in HBO’s Mob Queens

What is the true story behind Mob Queens?

In 1932, Anna Genovese married Vito Genovese of the Genovese crime family and the Costello crime syndicate, a notorious New York mafia boss.

Two years into their marriage, Vito murdered gangster Ferdinand “The Shadow” Boccia, a rival, and was placed under investigation in 1937 when Boccia’s body was pulled from the Hudson River and a hitman hired for the job told police that the commission had come from Vito.

Standing accused of the Boccia murder and other crimes, such as racketeering, Vito decided to flee the US, leaving Anna to run his businesses and keep the crime family afloat during the Great Depression.

While Prohibition was also being repealed at this time, it was replaced by an institutionalised “Gay Prohibition,” during which it became common practice for law enforcement officers to stalk, harass, entrap, and arrest people in – or suspected to be in –the LGBTQ+ community. Bars could even lose their liquor licenses for serving gay patrons. However, after getting involved into business with a string of drag bars in New York’s Greenwich Village, Anna used the power and influence of the mob to block police efforts to persecute the LGBTQ+ community.

Anna also ran nightclubs and gay and drag bars in Lower Manhattan, whose profits she siphoned to the crime syndicate and Vito, exiled in Italy, who invested in Benito Mussolini’s fascist party and cocaine for Mussolini’s son.

Anna’s club career ended in 1940, when Vito was extradited back to the US after seven years in Italy. He remained on trial for the murder of Ferdinand Boccia, but was released after two key witnesses were found dead.

However, Anna walked out on Vito in 1950, citing domestic violence and coercive control. In 1953, during their divorce proceedings, Anna testified against Vito in open court, an unheard-of move for any mob wife.

She testified that the crime family had been involved in narcotics trafficking, casinos, labour rackets, dog and horse-racing, and other criminal activities, and that she managed gambling ventures which generated an income of $30,000 per week.

In counter-testimony, Vito’s witnesses attempted to discredit Anna’s character as an “untrustworthy, hot-tempered” woman who slept with other women.

Anna died in 1982, and was buried alongside Vito in the Genovese family vault in New York.

When will Mob Queens be available to watch?

Filming has yet to begin on the screen adaptation. However, if you’re fascinated by Anna’s story, you can listen to the twelve episode podcast series for all your true crime cravings. 

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