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Docuseries

Kingpins

A new 3-part series from ZANDLAND, airing on Channel 4.

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THE SERIES

Kingpins is a tense and pulsating series that investigates the lives of the world’s most notorious criminals. In each episode, Ben Zand comes face-to-face with a kingpin who dominates the illegal trade in their town. The series provides an unprecedented look at the life of a criminal kingpin — from their million-dollar mansions, to their love lives, to the brutality of their vast criminal enterprises. In each episode Ben challenges them on their actions, and seeks to understand what could stop their life of crime for good.

EPISODE ONE: Mexico’s Tiger King

Ben travels to Mexico to meet a prominent drug lord of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel. Gaining extraordinary access, Ben enters the drug lord’s private world, from his lavish estate complete with pet tigers to intimate moments like purchasing flowers for a girlfriend. This episode explores the dangerous allure of the cartel life and the high stakes involved, providing insights into why cartel members continue to engage in this perilous trade despite the immense consequences.

EPISODE TWO: The Arms Dealer of Lebanon

In Lebanon, Ben encounters a high-level arms dealer affiliated. Amid the backdrop of political instability, Ben navigates through secretive locales revealing hidden gun stashes and opulent homes, and even finds himself in the middle of a live bank robbery. This intense episode uncovers the dangerous world of arms trading in a country marred by conflict, providing a never-before-seen look into the operations and impacts of arms dealing.

UK: The Crack-Cocaine Gangs

This episode takes us to the heart of Northern England, where working-class gangs dominate the crack-cocaine trade. Ben Zand gets up close with the gang members, uncovering the inner workings of their operations, including drug-labs and weapon caches. The episode offers a raw look at the impacts on the community, victims’ stories, and the motivations behind the gang members’ descent into crime, challenging their justifications and choices.

“The series seeks to understand why people enter a life of crime and the impact that has on the societies around them. I wanted to understand what could be done to stop people becoming criminals in the first place. Beyond the money and the feeling of power, it’s a lifestyle that has constant threats of prison, violence and death and this series is an honest portrayal of that.”

Filmmaker Ben Zand

Series Producer

Lucy Johnstone

Executive Producers

Benjamin Zand
Joshua Reynolds

Shooting Producer

Flaminia Giambalvo

Editors

Sariel Heseltine
Rory Murphy

Production Manager

Fiona Clark

Production Coordinator

Grace Evans

Distributed by

BBC STUDIOS

  • CHANNEL 4
  • RELEASED MAY 2024
  • 3 EPISODES