Madoff: the biggest con man in stock market history

The coincidences of life make coincidences open unexpected doors, as happened to me two weeks ago when I was watching the miniseries ‘Madoff’, which I had finally achieved, when an alert came to my mobile about the death of the real character Bernie Madoff at the the same time that the miniseries was about to end.

My initial intention was to write about it due to the importance that this character had in the 2008 banking crisis that dragged many banks and exposed all the shame of his fraudulent pyramid scheme, but his death has made him current and relevant again. makes this analysis much more current.

Bernie Madoff has inspired books and even movies with Robert de Niro playing the protagonist, but this time I am going to talk exclusively about the miniseries played by another great actor like Richard Dreyfuss that focuses on the last two years before exploiting the case and analyzes the subsequent consequences for the protagonist and for his family and professional environment.

File: Madoff 2 episodios 90 m Feb 2016 ABC (USA) -Amazon Prime (E)

Synopsis: A chronicle of the last two years of Bernie Madoff’s mutual fund before the billion dollar scam he had been running for the past forty years came to light, His business was to promise investment returns well above the market, when It was running a straightforward pyramid scheme with the new capital inflows paying the interests of the older investors.

His fraud shook New York high society and especially the powerful Jewish elite who fully trusted one of their own to entrust their investments to him, unaware of the high-caliber scam that he had been running for decades, without his family knowing anything about it. he was doing until the bomb went off in late 2008.


Brian Ross is a multi-award-winning investigative television reporter for ABC who was among the first to dig deep into the Bernie Madoff story after his downfall and as a result published a book just a year after the scandal, titled ‘The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth ‘, which was a best seller.

Years later and with a perspective of the judicial and family consequences of those involved, the ABC chain itself decided that a miniseries based on that book by its reporter could be a great way to compile the story five years later.

The chosen one was a documentary filmmaker Ben Robbins, specialized in writing biographies with a detached tone and who gladly accepted the translation of the investigative book into a miniseries format.

Robbins was based on the material in the book, but was also able to take advantage of the large amount of information that the case had generated to make an option of distancing himself from the character, leaving him to be the narrator from the present, halfway between the shame of what he committed and the pride of having deceived so many people for so long.

The approach was quite curious as he was a rather abject character, reinforced by the directorial presence of Raymond de Felitta, an independent filmmaker on his first and only television foray.

Both Robbins and the ABC network were very clear that they needed a great star to embody the protagonist and they got Richard Dreyfuss who accepted the challenge delighted, with the great success of putting a great actress like Blythe Danner as his wife Ruth. The result was to have a strong partner as the center of the family nucleus before its decomposition almost overnight.

The premiere was made as a special event on two consecutive nights in February 2016, coinciding with the start of the very long electoral campaign that brought Donald Trump to the presidency and was promoted with the following initial video.

The plot: ‘Madoff’ focuses on the two years prior to the outbreak of the scandal in 2008 and has three very different parts, in the first section he introduces us to the character and especially his seduction techniques to get the most important millionaires on the planet to entrust him with their money in exchange for having returns well above the usual market.

This aspect is very important because his wealthy clients were not mindundis, but very distrustful people who had made real fortunes by relying on their murderous instinct that was completely dismantled by Bernie Madoff’s cajoling techniques.

Madoff played very cleverly to offer them entry into a secret club where few mortals could have access in exchange for great benefits, playing a lot with that image of exclusivity and elitism, flattering the pride of those people so that they continued to consider themselves much smarter than him. rest of mortals.

At the same time, we see how it dodges legal inspections and the suspicions of some people who cannot understand how it can generate so many benefits in a rather opaque way, without stock investments in sight.

The stock market and investment fund controllers do not fare very well, being unable to do their job, which is none other than defending investors, pirates and financial buccaneers like Madoff, failing miserably in their work, something that the Madoff himself boasts from his position as voice-over narrator.

After this long presentation of his methods and ways of working, the second part focuses on the days before his crash, with his desperate attempts with his few accomplices to save his chiringuito in a desperate forward flight.

Finally we have his free fall after acknowledging all his goings-on before the securities commission itself with the coldness that they can see in the next cut, where he confesses until he has killed Manolete.

In that free fall, they pay special attention to his wife Ruth and their two children Mark and Andrew who are completely caught in the middle of the subsequent tsunami, but with the thesis that none of the three was aware of Bernie’s shenanigans, something that we can believe it or not.

To reinforce that point, the following video shows the most tense moment of the miniseries, which is when Bernie Madoff confesses everything for the first time in front of his family, but when it is too late and his downfall is imminent.

I quite liked Madoff’s miniseries approach, without trying to whitewash the character by presenting him as a con man aware of what he was doing at all times, but leaving his family aside.

Interesting is the way to derive responsibilities both to some investors who considered themselves smarter than others when finding a bargain available only to the chosen ones, as well as to the controlling authorities for letting Madoff roam free for forty years. I have only found to lack a certain empathy towards the injured on the street, often indirectly by having their money or pensions in funds that decided to join what was finally revealed as the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Madoff works perfectly as the chronicle of the biggest hit in history that makes our great local pyramid scandals pale, but shows us similar mechanisms for raising capital, which is always most useful information.


Richard Dreyfuss is imperial as Bernie Madoff (right), enjoying as never before playing a character with such cold blood that he was about to destroy that maxim that you cannot fool everyone all the time.

Dreyfuss has captured very well the psychopathic character of Madoff, capable of living a double life as a great philanthropist and member of New York high society, as he robbed money at the hands of the door in a secret basement of his corporate building, hiding everything from his family.

Richard Dreyfuss’s time of glory as an actor was in numerous films of the seventies and eighties starting with ‘Tiburon’ and continuing with his Oscar-winning ‘The Girl with Goodbye’.

With the new century he focused more on television starring in a cursed miniseries like ‘The Education of Max Bickford’ while he continued to appear in movies but increasingly in more secondary roles, but he is still very active today both in film and television.

The choice of Blythe Danner for the character of his wife Ruth, has been a great choice to make very credible the innocence she had in front of her husband’s activities, but with whom she did not hesitate to collaborate to attract some investors in certain environments of New York high society.

Danner is a fabulous actress who is much less well known than she should despite having two Emmys for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Huff’ and a Tony for Best Actress, but who continues to work at full capacity on shows like ‘Patrick Melrose’ or ‘American Gods’ always leaving an imprint of its class, without the need to always mention it in relation to its megapopular daughter Gwyneth Paltrow.


Investigating I have currently found the miniseries ‘Madoff’ available on Amazon Prime, but upon payment and in an English version, so it is not easy to view legally.

Anyway, and since the death of the real character has brought up his infamous story again, I am going to leave you with the trailer of an ideal miniseries to know in depth the greatest white-collar thief in history.

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Lorenzo Mejino