Three season drama centred around hi-tech in and around Miami and, in seasons one and two, the emergence of GenCoin and controversial digital currency. It’s fast, it’s snappy and, whilst it outstays its welcome by the end of season three, StartUp is an immersive thrill as uncertainty and risk remain the name of the game.

As a hacker with a written code that looks to change the very notion of finance and movement of money, Izzy Morales (Otmara Marrero) finds herself on the margins of legitimate business (think in terms of the suspicions around the early days of Bitcoin). But when banker Nick Talman (Adam Brody) finds himself in desperate need to launder money stolen by his father, legitimate does not seem quite so important. With the arrival of Haitian-American gang lord Ronnie Dacey (Edi Gathegi) looking for his money, answers need to be found – and quickly. And just to complicate things, crooked FBI agent Phil Rask (Martin Freeman) was looking to a little blackmail of Talman Senior. And that’s all in the first episode!

What unravels over the first 20 episodes is a drama that flits between hi-tech wealth and struggling Cuban-migrant homelife, from street gangs claiming territories to Russian mafia controlling movement of drugs as well as legitimate business. It’s about lives spiralling out of control as the true value of digital currency is recognised, evolving (in season three) into the dark web and Araknet, where the target of 100 million users worldwide becomes the target. Suddenly, Ronnie, Nick and eventually Izzy (no spoilers) find themselves in a very different corporate world to the earlier seasons – even if events in the ‘hood still come to haunt Ronnie and Nick still carries bagage from his now-dead father’s actions. Business entrepreneur Ron Perlman and his shady background now calls the shots.

It’s fast, it’s furious peppered with violence and sex: Gathegi in particular a standout throughout (Martin Freeman, playing totally against type, is memorable in the first two seasons) but, as Izzy, Otmara Marrero is too one-dimensional with her ever-present frown. Nick Talman is a classic superficial poseur, a complete ‘dick’ who carries no weight. Yet the dialogue is sharp, the narrative immersive as the American Dream is played out.

Rating: 67%

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