The 5 Best Episodes from the Ultimate Organized Crime History Podcast
Crime historian's Scott Burnstein and James Buccellato have been hosting the Original Gangsters podcast from their home base in Detroit since 2019. The roughly hour long, advertisement-free show is structured in the conversational style format. Each week the pair dissect Mob lore, or discuss fresh ongoing drama within the OC world where they are often times accompanied by real life notorious gangsters, subject matters expert and journalists.
Burnstein is a best selling true crime author, law school graduate, and one of the nation's premier organized crime expert. He is frequently tapped by various production companies to consult on documentaries, and more recently the Showtime smash hit "BMF".
Burstein knows his shit when it comes to American organized (and disorganized) crime. The breadth of knowledge extend beyond LCN too, whether it's black, Irish, Italian or fictitious (see: the sopranos episode ), Burney has a unique ability spit out random factoids on just about any crime family that's existed in the past century with such precise detail its mind-boggling at time. Burnstein's cohost is no schlub either, Buccellato, a professor of criminology at Wayne State is not nearly as outspoken as his counterpart, but provides the perfect balance to Burnstein's staccato and abrupt commentary.
In no particular order - here's what I consider the 5 best episodes:
#5 Mafia Wars: Montreal, Hamilton and Beyond
Description: In this episode we discuss the rise and fall of the Rizzuto crime family in Montreal, Canada. We also analyze the Mafia violence that has spread from Quebec to Ontario."
CD: Much of the episode focuses on a Hamilton area real estate agent who was gunned down in 2018 shortly after reportedly becoming a made-man at a ceremony in Palm Springs that was officiated by LA crime figure Tommy Gambino. Its a wild story that involving the Buffalo Mob, hit men, just absolute bat-shit crazy stuff. Bernstein actually put together a really good article on his website the gangster report that covers this exact story.
#4 Buffalo Mafia: Past, Present, and Future
Description: We examine the past, present, and future of the Magaddino crime family in upstate New York. Other crime families like the Chicago Outfit, Bonanno crime family, Rizzuto crime family, Cleveland mob, and Los Angeles Mafia are also part of the conversation."
CD: Reputed Buffalo Mob Boss Joe Todaro has found himself in the media much more these days than in the past and it's not just for inviting Dave Portnoy to see his weird mirror covered closet at his La Nova restaurant. The Buffalo News recently asked if the Buffalo Mafia was Back? You be the judge.
#3 Tiger King's 'Scarface' & More Back Burner Mob Movies To Watch
Description: The mob connection to Tiger King revealed, plus now that you've seen the classics, what mob movies should you watch that are on the back burner?
CD: Sometimes documentaries are harder to believe than movies. The coke dealer from Tiger King might be the least interesting person mentioned in this episode. I don't want to spoil too much, but you''ll hear a lot of interesting history about Florida Senator Marco Rubio, along with Bill Clinton's brother and his connections to the figures in the criminal underworld.
#2 Reporter Stephanie Barry Talks Organized Crime In Massachusetts
Description: Since 2010, Barry’s reporting has focused on Springfield organized crime and white-collar crime including the Genovese crime family.
CD: Much of the episode focuses on Michael Cecchetelli, an Italian guy from with families ties to the mafia, who became a high ranking members of the Latin Kings street gang.
#1 Operation Motor City Mafia: What Brought Down The Biggest Drug Org In The US
Description: On this episode of Original Gangsters, the hosts talk to Frank Scartozzi, a federal agent and key investigator in the Operation Motor City Mafia case that brought down the Black Mafia Family in October of 2005. It was the biggest bust of a domestic drug organization in American history."
The BMF episode. Scott has mentioned on the show that he has consulted on the Showtime Series"BMF" and maintains a close relationship with Big Meech himself. I'd also recommend checking out the update on BMF the OG pod put out a couple weeks later, as well as the interview with Layton "The Beast" Simon, who inspired the on screen character Lamar.
Bonus: New England Mafia: Past, Present, and Future
Description: We're examining the past, present, and future of the Patriarca crime family in New England with Providence, RI investigative reporter Tim White. We discuss Raymond Patriarca, the Angiulo Brothers, Whitey Bulger, Steve Flemmi, Frank Salemme, Luigi Manocchio, Carmen DiNunzio and more!!"
CD: The OG hosts invite WPRI's Tim White to speak on the current role the Patriarcha Crime family. If you liked the first season of Crime Town that dived deep into the history of the Patriarcha crime family and their reign of terror over Providence in the 70s and 80s --you should definitely check out the video below produced by the OG guest Tim White. It centers around the first and only time the FBI had a front row seat at mafia induction ceremony.
Having scoured the internet over the past few years for fresh content on organized crime, no where else have I found a source whose creators hold as impressive credentials and maintain as wide a breadth of knowledge as these two. This truly is the ultimate mafia podcast. It's an absolute treat that these two guys spend time together nearly every week to give it's listeners such a great show (with no ads btw). It is truly one of my all time favorite podcasts and I eagerly await each Wednesday to see if a new episode has dropped.