To put it simply, the story is about a prodigal son who is back to change the fate of his family, and his methods to solve the problems just create one hot mess after the other. It is a story I have seen before, and I know will keep getting told on screen a lot more times. But what makes this unique is the perspective of the Jewish community in these dealings. It took me a while to see that, and I only gleaned in the last three episodes that it was the values of the Jewish community that was powering the sentiments behind the dealings. Yet, it does not change the fact that the series itself is not as engaging as it could have been. It is just an idea we are throwing out there, but what if the prodigal son had been the prodigal daughter? Wouldn’t it have added a lot more depth to the narrative? But this was nothing more than a missed opportunity, and “Rough Diamonds” is some more generic fare. This is how it goes.
How Does Noah Solve The Problems Created By Yanki?
Noah comes back to his family after 15 years for the funeral of his cousin Yanki. Noah receives a lukewarm welcome, as everyone is angry with him for abandoning his family and turning away from his faith. But Noah is not worried about that as much as he wants to solve their family’s current crisis. Yanki incurred heavy gambling debts, and the family is in no position to repay them since the diamond business is dwindling, and they don’t have the funds. Noah is a little rougher around the edges than his family and has no qualms about getting his fists dirty. He settles the matter by roughhousing the creditor and giving him Yanki’s diamond-encrusted watch, telling him to drop the matter right there. But the problem is far deeper than either of them could have imagined. Yanki had started trading diamonds with an individual in Dubai without the knowledge of either Adina or Eli. The last time Yanki had sold diamonds to the man, they had not paid him the owed sum of 1.5 million euros. Currently, the supplier, Fogel, is at the Wolfsons’ throats to pay up the money to him.
Fogel has traded with the Wolfsons for a long time, and both their families go way back. This is the reason he has been patient and generous with the Wolfsons, agreeing to keep the matter under wraps and away from the ears of Ezra Wolfson, the patriarch of the Wolfson family. During the arbitration, where the parties are trying to figure out a payment plan due to the sinking diamond business and the lack of footing of the Wolfson family in it, they are given a time period of 14 days to settle the debt. Fogel doesn’t trust that the family will have a business in a few years, and trusting them with a long-term payment plan would adversely affect him. The only option left for the Wofsons is to liquidate their assets to clear their debt. Noah tries to solve this the way he had done previously. The man who bought the diamonds was Salman Karim. Noah warns him to pay up even though Salma claims that his hands are tied because his own client hasn’t paid up. His client is the Albanian Mafia, and even Noah can’t reach them.
Meanwhile, Eli messes up the situation in an attempt to fix it. He tells the person heading the yeshiva that Fogel’s son was watching videos of an explicit nature, and that leads to him getting suspended. Now, only Eli can fix the situation due to the pull he and his family have with the yeshiva. Eli assumes this would force Fogel to accept the payment on their terms. But Fogel turns the tables and donates a rather significant item to the yeshiva, which places him and his family back in their good books. This situation has taken out any dredge of sympathy Fogel might have for the Wolfsons, and he tells Eli that he only has until Monday to pay off the debt. This leg of the problem is solved through Kerra, the grandmother of Noah’s son. She runs a crime syndicate that controls South London and wants Noah to come back to their business instead of working for his family. Through her, he negotiates a deal with the Albanians. This negotiation solves their problem temporarily but becomes the basis for all their future crises. The arrangement that they make is that Kerra will pay them the money for the drugs upfront, which will be laundered through the diamonds. Once that is done, the drugs will be transported to London. There is a money manager, Matthias Dumont, in Antwerp at a private bank who deals with the Albanians. He helps negotiate the deal with them through Bujar, who is the right-hand man of the mafia head, Mr. Tahiri.
Noah tells Adina and Eli that they have to help the Albanians launder money, but just this one time. They would pay 1.5 million euros in exchange for another deal for 5 million euros. They would give the payment upfront, and it would happen without a hassle; however, the illegality of it isn’t sitting well with Adina and Eli, though they come on board soon enough. But the problem for the Wolfsons is that they have no supplier for their diamonds. Fogel refuses to work with them, considering the underhanded methods Eli used to get to him. There is also no trust left towards the Wolfsons in the rest of the market. Desperate, Adina approaches Bahran Chatur, another supplier that the Wolfsons have never worked with. He agrees to supply them with the diamonds when Adina tells him that they will vote for him in the election to select the next president of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse. This deal solves the problem, and the Wolfsons are in the clear, financially.
Adina comes to know the exact extent of the deal when Noah is forced by Kerra to ensure the smooth delivery of the drugs to London. Additionally, the members of the Jewish community come to know that Adina and Eli have voted for Bahran instead of one of their own. This causes a bit of a furor, which adversely affects Ezra’s health. He passes away soon, and the next conflict for the siblings to resolve is that of the property and who gets what. Sarah, Ezra’s widow, decides to split the property three ways between the siblings, but certain events force her to change her mind. Benny Feldman, their cousin, tries to play Eli into taking control of the whole business for his own profit. Eli is taken in by Benny’s scheme—that is, until Adina points out the flaw in the plan and makes him see reason. But this whole thing convinces Sarah to make Adina the sole owner of the company. Adina declares that she can’t run the company by herself and that she needs her brothers’ help to restore it all to its former glory. That changes Sarah’s mind, and she agrees with Adina’s decision.
Why Does Noah Get Further Involved With The Albanian Mafia?
With their personal issues sorted for the moment, the siblings’ next aim is global expansion. After jumping through hoops to get to the Brazilian delegation, Noah finds that the Albanian Mafia is still not done with him. They want him to arrange a meeting between the Brazilian delegation and Matthias Dumont. The Mafia has money stuck in Brazil, which they are hoping to launder with the help of the delegation. Noah reluctantly agrees but makes it clear that this would be the last time the Mafia would contact him or his family. Also, the Mafia’s dealings with Kerra McCabe should continue as usual. It’s a deal and Noah’s next challenge.
Meanwhile, a prosecutor in the government, Jo Smets, is on the heels of the Wolfson family. She suspects that they are involved with the Albanian Mafia and are probably responsible for laundering money for them. She approaches Eli with this information, wanting him to be her eyes and ears. The leverage she has on him is that she knows that it was he who negotiated the deals that started it all, not Yanki. Eli finds that he has no choice but to cooperate with her, as her target is mainly the bank that does it all.
Eli’s conscience as a Jew is affected, and he pulls out of their deal soon enough and also tells Adina and Noah what he has been up to. But this is a problem for a later date. Currently, the more pressing issue is that Noah refuses to help facilitate the deal between the Mafia and the Brazilian delegation. This causes the Albanians to enforce a new deal with the Wolfsons. They must continue laundering money, and they will be paid 10% less than before. The Wolfsons cannot get on board with this, as it means that they will be running into losses. But they have no option but to take this deal for the time being. Meanwhile, due to Eli pulling out of the arrangement, the police raid Wolfson’s office, and the news of this reaches Mr. Tahiri. Matthius speaks to Noah, and they agree that the investigation must be stopped completely to contain the situation. The measures for this are put in place, though this infuriates Jo, whose morals are offended. She cannot stop the terms of the agreement, which are that the diamond district pays up a certain amount of money to law enforcement to quiet this down once and for all. The prosecution pulls the settlement when Jo Smets interferes, as, according to her, this is against justice. Now that the diamond district is going to trial, the Albanians are worried as they can’t risk it all. That is when Noah comes up with a plan. During the Jewish New Year, the entire diamond trading industry would be shut down for two days, and at that time, they would rob a diamond mining company. Noah has the alarm codes due to his proximity to Marie, and the diamonds they would steal would help him escape from Antwerp and find his future in London.
The gist of the plan is that Noah would steal the diamonds from the mining company, which amount to about 50–60 million euros. It would be divided three ways: between the Wolfsons, the Mafia, and Kerra. The Wolfsons’ cut would remain with the Mafia until further notice, and they would also be responsible for making the diamonds disappear, leaving no trace of them. With this, the parties agree that all the conflict between them must come to an end.
‘Rough Diamonds’ Season 1 Ending Explained: How Did Eli Protect The Wolfson Family?
The robbery goes smoothly enough with the help of a French thief named Gillaume, except that he tells Noah that he wants a share of the diamonds. Though Noah agrees to it beforehand, Gillaume is impatient, and he wants his cut even before they can reach a safe space after the robbery. Noah and Gillaume break out into a fight, which results in the latter falling to his death from the building. Noah rushes back to his office, and Gillaume’s body is discovered the next day, along with the robbery. Noah sends the diamonds on their way with Matthias, and ideally, that should have been the end of it. But Noah has a few more plans up his sleeve. He calls the prosecutor, Jo Smets, for the next part. He and Eli meet her, and Noah tells her to accept the settlement in return for the information he is about to give her. He offers to lead her to the place where the Albanians keep the money and the stolen diamonds. But as lucrative as it sounds, Jo doesn’t agree, as it goes against her principles. She is still confident about winning the case in court, and Benny Feldman has agreed to testify against Wolfson Diamonds. Things in the diamond district are not okay, as the people believe that the trial is still on. Mr. Goldman makes it clear that he would reveal everybody’s misdeeds if this went to court. Adina tries to assure him that they are still trying to work on the settlement, and Mr. Goldman listens to her, but he is impatient.
The Wolfsons decide to speak with Benny, seeking his forgiveness even though he was the one to backstab them. But Benny, who finally has the upper hand, is in no mood to listen. The Wolfsons are left with no choice but to circumvent this problem with some clever sleight of hand. Adina approaches the matchmaker, who had been dealing with Gila, with an excuse and covertly recorded her talking about the rumors that Benny’s son is gay. This could spell disaster for Benny’s family, and he has no choice but to step back from the case and Jo Smets. This decision of Benny, along with a conversation Jo has with her father about the danger of holding on to things due to sheer stubbornness, changes her mind, and she decides to take the deal with the Wolfsons.
On another note, Marie tells Noah that the company is going to be closed down and that their team has been fired. Noah offers to help her with another job, but Marie wants to leave the diamond business altogether. I believe she may even make plans to leave the city. But the real problem is that when Jo tries to trace the diamonds, she finds that they are not where Noah told her they would be. Noah panics and rushes to meet Mr. Tahiri, who tells him that a tip from inside the force helped them move the diamonds in time. They still have them and will give the Wolfsons their cut in time. Noah is stuck, as this goes against his entire plan. When he steps out, he is arrested by the police.
At the end of “Rough Diamonds” Season 1, to save himself, Noah gives up Kerra’s location in London. Kerra has her share of the diamonds, and if the police can get to that, it would place Noah and his family in the clear. It is a compromise he has to make for the protection of the Wolfsons. Kerra is arrested, and Jo agrees to the settlement, which ultimately saves the Wolfson family. I believe that Noah also gave them Matthias’ name, or Kerra might have done it during the investigation. Matthias turns a state witness, but that causes him to be shot down by the Albanian Mafia. We see a news item on the screen saying that the stolen diamonds were recovered in Antwerp and London, but this means that Noah has opened a whole hornet’s nest, which he will have to deal with in “Rough Diamonds” Season 2.
What Doesn’t Work For ‘Rough Diamonds’ Season 1?
It might have seemed like a good story on paper, but it could have benefited more from a shorter runtime. As moving as Gila’s story was, they could have done away with it if they were only going to victimize her. Additionally, patriarchy seemed to be a huge problem in the Wolfson family, but that was conveniently brushed away, despite characters like Adina and Gila having a lot to say. But I don’t prefer to dwell on it too much. The point remains that it was a good story, but it doesn’t pique your interest due to its generic nature. We are not sure what could have saved it. Maybe it could have been shorter, or perhaps a different perspective could have added something. But right now, “Rough Diamonds” lacks the factor that would encourage anyone to commit 8 hours to it.