Roush Review: Swimming Upstream in ‘Industry’s Sexy Shark Tank

Industry HBO

The shark tank churns nonstop in HBO’s Industry, a slick and sexy drama of hotshot upstarts angling to make a bold first impression in the cutthroat, high-stakes world of finance.

First among oppressed non-equals is Harper (Myha’la Herrold), who might as well be auditioning for a future season of Billions. She’s a cool and calculating American in London, fudging a shady college résumé to become part of a class of recruits called “graduates.” Her fellow grads run the gamut from well-off “princess” Yasmin (Marisa Abela), who despite her beauty and privilege is marginalized to making lunch runs, and working-class Robert (Harry Lawtey), who’s mocked for his off-the-rack suits, and later told to his face by one of the more arrogant bosses, “How do you hope to sell financial products if you sound like a miner?” Ouch.

HBO's 'Industry' Dives Into the World of London's Hard-Partying Hotshot BankersSee Also

HBO's 'Industry' Dives Into the World of London's Hard-Partying Hotshot Bankers

Up-and-coming financial whiz kids compete, canoodle and at times conspire in this soapy drama set at a prestigious investment firm.

GirlsLena Dunham directs the fast-paced pilot, which sets a dizzying tone of debauchery amid the deal-making as Industry welcomes its new class of grads, each hoping to survive a six-month probationary period at a ruthless investment firm where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Channeling Wall Street‘s Gordon Gekko, Harper’s bat-wielding mentor Eric (Ken Leung) lays down the law: “Act like an owner. Enrich your clients, enrich us, enrich yourselves.” But breaking through the rigid, sexist and class-conscious workplace hierarchy is easier said than done.

Indsutry HBO

(Credit: HBO)

Forget earning respect. They’re lucky if anyone lets them speak, not that laymen are likely to understand much of the financial gibberish everyone sputters. Little wonder that when these well-tailored wonks blow off steam, this show gets steamy. And then some. As hard and as late as they work, they party harder and later into the wee hours in a cauldron of sex, drugs and profit margins.

Not recommended for those who prefer their TV heroes to be especially likable, Industry is a heady, raunchy rush of unchecked ambition and avarice.

Industry, Series Premiere, Monday, November 9, 10/9c, HBO