(...) What you need is your new favourite Netflix series, Suburra. It’s a drama, set in contemporary Rome (see how cunningly I themed this week’s review), which people are calling the Italian answer to Narcos. Just as in real life, every stratum of society, from the church and the political class downwards, is rancid with corruption and simmering violence, yet redeemed, somehow — almost — by the vestiges of style, glamour and a classical aura with which everyone is imbued in the Eternal City.
You’re straight in there (plot spoiler alert): an influential cardinal, noted for his probity and self-flagellating piety, is caught with his trousers down at an orgy so stupendously lush and inviting it could almost have been shot by Paolo Sorrentino. The cardinal’s fixer bills it as ‘carefree time’ — a wonderful euphemism, which I hope will become part of all our vocabularies. (‘Darling, the boys have asked me on a jaunt to Amsterdam next weekend for a spot of carefree time. Would you mind awfully?’)