Episode 2 sees the FBI wise up in another intriguing chapter that is a natural middle chapter to the series.
This recap of Netflix documentary series Fear City: New York vs The Mafia episode 2, “The Godfather Tapes” contains episodic information.
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How does Fear City: New York vs The Mafia episode 2, “The Godfather Tapes” open?
Episode 2 opens up with the statement that the mob enjoyed a golden era in the 80s. They have infiltrated every fabric of society; they had put their tentacles in legitimate areas in society including hospital, judges, ports — the mafia families were a big corporation. The Netflix series demonstrates how organised crime can be deeply embedded in society, impacting normal lives.
Developing RICO cases
The FBI had decided to tap all five family squads and develop a RICO case against each of them — essentially, collecting information. The documentary flits the attention to Gennaro Langella, the acting boss of the Colombo family — he regularly attended a restaurant every Friday; that’s where the meetings took place with the Colombo family. The FBI needed to bug the restaurant. Episode 2 brings a strange mission where the FBI needs to sedate a guard dog in order to place the bugs.
Cutting the wire
The FBI did not account for how loud a restaurant is and two mob guys see the wire and feel it doesn’t belong there so they cut it. The mob had cottoned on that bugs were everywhere.
In 1981, the FBI was asked to investigate the Lucchese crime family’s influence in the garbage collection industry on Long Island. Tony “Ducks” Corallo was the boss. Ducks rose through the ranks and took over the crime family. He got the name by having the ability to duck subpoenas. Using informants and wiretaps, the FBI identified Sal Avellino who was a soldier in the family; he was the industry specialist for garbage in the family and he chauffered Tony Corallo everywhere.
Needing a warrant
The FBI needed a warrant to put a bug in their car and needed a probable cause from the courts. They asked an informant to confirm that Ducks and Sal Avellino discuss organized crime. Episode 2 sees the FBI timing themselves on an identical car to see how quickly they can bug it and kept practicing.
Draining the battery
Fear City: New York vs The Mafia episode 2 then shows us car games and how there was a lot of psychological games when following a mob car. Both the FBI and the mob had ways to counter each other. One day, the mob car battery was drained due to the bug — so when the car was taken away, they planned a cop car to pull it over to take out the bug. The FBI then slyly re-bugged the car. We then learn how much the mob controlled the garbage industry — if you didn’t cooperate, you were killed. The tapings were good enough to take down the crime family.
The FBI started looking at Fat Tony in 1983 — from their perspective, looking at the Genovese family and Fat Tony Salerno was the ultimate target. He spent a lot of time in the Palma Boys Social Club. The documentary explains how it was The Godfather with people getting shuttled in and shuttled out — he was seen as a fixer. Fat Tony was meeting people from various unions discussing different organized crime.
December 12th, 1984 was a big day for the investigation as we reach the embers of the second episode; Tony “Ducks” Corallo was meeting Fat Tony at the club; two families meeting up and it was all on tape. The boss of the Buffalo family met Tony as well. The FBI realized that the families were meeting each other more than they realized. The FBI learned about The Commission that controlled how the families worked — it was made up of the five bosses of New York, to set up the rules for all the families because disputes were bad for business.
How does Fear City: New York vs The Mafia episode 2, “The Godfather Tapes” end?
Episode 2, “The Godfather” shows us a news excerpt on Rudolph Giuliani, who was appointed US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Rudolph could have easily become one of the mob guys but he had a passion for justice and hated the mafia — he felt like they exploited Italian immigrants. Rudolph wanted to bring down The Commission; he sent in superstars Michael Chertoff, John Savarese, and Gil Childers as the lead Federal Prosecutors. As a team, they wanted to use RICO like never before — indict all the crime bosses at the same time for all five families. They needed to show that the individuals were connected and interlinked for underlying crimes.
In one of the tapes, you are hearing plenty of names being thrown out. The bosses were all discussing the construction industry and the projects — this is the big leagues; it’s now a billion-dollar operation. Episode 2 sees the FBI wise up in another intriguing chapter that is a natural middle chapter to the series.