Netflix’s action-packed French drama, Ganglands (Braqueurs in French), follows elite mercenaries who get involved in a turf war to protect their loved ones. Created by Hamid Hlioua and Julien Leclercq, the action series depicts two rival drug lords operating at the heart of the Belgium capital, Brussels. As the drama unfolds, the chaos pulls in innocent lives, leading to inevitable death and destruction.
Ganglands (Braqueurs) flaunts extremely realistic and breathtaking gunfight sequences. A special mention for its long list of stuntmen/women and action directors for such a thrilling presentation.
‘Ganglands’ Season 1: Plot Summary
An elite mercenary gang headed by Mehdi Belhadj (Sami Bouajila) loots gold bricks from an anonymous gang. In a concurrent scene, Mehdi’s niece, Shainez, and her lover, Liana, sneak into Hotel Stanhope disguised as escorts to steal cash from a client but end up looting coke.
Liana assures Shainez that she will convert it into hard cash without any conflict. Liana brings the drugs to her friend, Modi, who lives near her trailer car inside a secluded warehouse. Modi contacts his cousins who deal in drugs and to get the work done.
In the meantime, the man from the hotel informs the Moroccan Drug Lord, Saber, that two escort girls stole his 8 kilos of coke. Saber threatens the dealer to get back his consignment at all costs. Soon later, a few masked men abduct Shainez from her house. In a panic, Shainez’s mother, Anissa, blames Mehdi for the attack and kidnap of her daughter. Mehdi had already been instrumental in the death of their beloved brother, Ilyes Belhadj, in 2011, and Anissa believes that Mehdi created this mess.
Mehdi catches Saber’s drug dealer lurking outside Anissa’s house, and through him, gets in touch with Saber. He agrees to leave Shainez in exchange for his 8 kilos of stolen coke. However, Modi, who would sell off the drugs, gets looted by his treacherous cousins. Mehdi checks Shainez’s cellphone and catches Liana at her warehouse, where Modi’s cousins ambush them.
While Mehdi deals with two gangs, another drug lord, Chris de Wit, informs Saber’s adopted cousin, Sofia, about Saber illegally dealing coke in his territory. While Mehdi tries to save his young niece, a dispute between the rival groups leads to turf wars, inviting Mehdi to fight in an inevitable turf war.
Entering the Turf War
After the mess, Chris threatened Sofia to warn Saber to stay out of his territory and not deal coke near the Antwerp area. In a panic, Sofia informed her uncle (Saber’s father), Hassan Djebli, about Saber’s greedy act. Hassan tried to contact Saber, but he didn’t pick up his calls nor talk to his father. Since childhood, Saber shared a conflicted relationship with his father and thus wanted to start his chain of command.
Saber greedily demanded Mehdi to steal 300 kilos of coke arriving at Antwerp port in exchange for his niece. Reluctantly, Mehdi agreed and contacted his gang to commit the dangerous heist.
In the meantime, Hassan arrived in Brussels to put a leash on his son’s greedy act. However, it was revealed that Hassan was convicted in Belgium and could face 10 years in prison if arrested. Despite such danger, he came to see Saber. He warned Saber to understand the gravity of the situation. But Saber didn’t bat an eye.
After a massive battle, Mehdi and his elite gang of mercenaries stole Chris de Wit’s 300 kilos of coke and contacted Saber for delivery. During the exchange, Saber’s right-hand tries to shoot Mehdi. The mercenaries end up killing Saber’s men, yet true to their words, they deliver the consignment to Saber. Mehdi rescues his niece and takes her back to his safe house in the woods.
An enraged Chris threatened Sofia to terminate Saber if he didn’t get back his coke. Hassan got the same news from a friend in narcotics who interrogated Modi, captured by Chris during the heist. Hassan decided to return Chris’s consignment, but Sofia had another sinister plan in her mind that would further complicate the drama.
Sofia’s Act of Vengeance
Saber was addicted to coke and used to assault his wife, Coralie. To protect herself and her kid from the abuse, Coralie decided to get rid of Saber and run to a suburb in Paris. But before leaving, she revealed to Sofia a dark secret from the past that would decide the future course of events.
According to Coralie, 30 years ago, Hassan Djebli was arrested for drug trafficking and spent only six months in prison. The authorities failed to procure substantial evidence against him because the prominent witnesses were tracked and killed by Hassan. These witnesses were Sofia’s parents, and Saber knew about the murder. However, to protect Sofia from threats and hatred, he held back the information.
Later, Sofia discovered that she was pregnant with a daughter and thus decided that she wouldn’t let her daughter grow up in a world with Hassan Djebli. She orchestrated a plan to turn Chris against Hassan and get rid of the monster for once and all.
When Hassan decided to return Chris’s consignment, Sofia cunningly convinced him not to return it but sell it at half price in France. Hassan bought Sofia’s schemes and thus commanded his hitman, Danique, to get rid of Laina and Modi, the prime suspects in the heist, so that no one would connect them to the drug robbery.
The Turf War
Hassan tried to send Saber away to Morocco for his safety, but Saber refused to run like a coward. In revenge, he ratted on his father and informed the authorities about Hassan’s whereabouts. The police arrested Hassan and threw him into prison.
However, it wasn’t what Sofia had intended. She wanted Hassan dead. She contacted Mehdi to break Hassan out before his last appearance in court and kill him. Mehdi agreed to take Hassan out but refused to kill him in exchange for 8 million dollars in cash and the safety of his sister, niece, and Liana. Hence, to get rid of her uncle, Sofia contacted Chris to finish the job. But Chris wanted to end it all, and thus, sent shooters to kill Saber, Hassan Djebli, Mehdi, Mehdi’s gang, Mehdi’s family, and Liana.
‘Ganglands’ Season 1: Ending Explained
Chris’ minions shot down Shainez and Anissa and abducted Liana. Concurrently, Hassan’s financial advisor, Thierry, called Saber to his office, where a masked hitman tried to kill Saber. However, Saber survived the attack and ran for his father’s rescue. At the exchange point, Chris’ shooters opened fire on Mehdi and Hassan. Saber rescued his father, but during their escape, a shooter shot Hassan. Hassan refused to go to the hospital because the authorities would find out and send him to prison again. However, it led to an argument between Hassan and Saber, and in hatred for his spiteful father, Saber shot Hassan.
Mehdi infiltrated Chris’ drug lab and ruined his perfect setup in revenge for his fallen gang and family members. Chris and two faithful men escorted him out of the facility while Liana and Tony brought Mehdi to the hospital.
Sofia came to Saber’s apartment on her hunt for Hassan, where Saber revealed that he shot down his father for their benefit. The two distant cousins embraced each other and headed towards a brighter future.
Chris lost 300 kilos of coke that he had already sold, and thus to safeguard his family from the tyrannous debtors, his wife persuaded him to sell off his father’s hotel. On the outside, Liana and Tony decided to steal the hotel deal money from Chris and inform the authorities about his involvement in drug trafficking. In the end, Liana, Tony, and their punk gang invaded Chris’ hotel room and threatened him to stay away from the business. Soon after Liana left, the police infiltrated Chris’ hotel and probably would have arrested him.
Liana probably considered herself the new drug lord of the territory, but the upcoming turn of events would translate better.
‘Ganglands’ Season 2: Expectations
Ganglands closing sequences capture the events that happened 5 months after the turf war. An associate from Morocco visits the new gang leader, Saber, who runs the business with his cousin, Sofia. The friendly ally invites Saber to Morocco to join his community and become a part of it. However, after his departure, Sofia convinces Saber to forget Morocco and prepare an army to take over Antwerp docks. From the strategic harbor, they will be able to expand their business to the whole of Europe. However, the ambitious plan means that they will commence a war with other drug lords.
Before fading out, a scene visualizes a masked Liana entering the hospital and threatening the people with a gun. She rescues and handcuffs Mehdi, probably to seek his help to rule the territory left by Chris. However, Sofia and Saber will be coming to seize the same location, and hence their common ambitions will lead to further conflict between the two parties. Will Mehdi and Tony help Liana in taking over the Brussels Drug Syndicate? Ganglands Season 2 will translate better.
Ganglands is a 2021 French Action Drama Television Series created by Hamid Hlioua and Julien Leclercq. It is streaming on Netflix.