Wickedly funny and totally addictive, SMALL TIME GANGSTER follows the journey of Tony Piccolo, an average Aussie bloke who works hard to support his wife and two kids. They think he’s a whizz at cleaning carpets – but Tony’s real profession, as a brutal standover man, takes ‘cleaning’ to a whole new level. When his two worlds collide, he’s going to need a damn sight more than cleaning fluid to clear up the mess.
Tony is looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home, until he gets a text from work advising him that he's got a job. At the pub, which is "Ground Zero" for Tony and the rest of the crew, Darlene — Tony's connection to the criminal world — needs him to collect from a lowlife bum behind in his payments. Tony is shocked to discover the "bum" is his good friend Artie. Tony tries to calm Artie — he wants to help — but Artie panics and bolts... only to be run over by an ice cream truck playing "Jingle Bells". Artie dies and Tony is devastated... and left with a body to dispose of. Later, everyone at a gangland Christmas party thinks Tony intentionally killed Artie — and he's given kudos by gangland supremo, Barry. Barry asks Tony to play mentor to his wild-eyed son, Charlie. Desperately trying to keep all the pieces of his life separate, Tony reluctantly says "yes". As the first thread starts to fray, he returns to his "real" family and jumps fully clothed into his swimming pool, sinking to the bottom, quiet as the grave, in the throes of a fullblown melt down. Merry Christmas!
Still distracted by visions of Artie's bloody demise, Tony struggles to make love to Cathy. He meets Charlie, his new apprentice, to show him the ropes. Tony needs to tool up at Gary the Gunsmith's shop and Charlie is thrilled by the hardware. Ordering Charlie to stay back, Tony moves onto his next target, a sleazy porn dealer named Darren, only to again find he can't do the job. He's officially got the yips! To make things worse, Darren grabs Tony's taser and is about to use it when Charlie shoots him dead with a gun stolen from Gary. Meanwhile, Cathy meets Brent the new guy next door and they bond. He encourages her to follow her dreams. Mel is scathing and starts to wonder if her Mum is a sexually starved, alcoholic, pill popping repressed housewife. Tony decides to work solo — and tells Charlie. Tony is summoned to see Barry and is on a knife edge until Barry reveals Charlie's told him a fictitious version of the story that makes it seem like Tony encouraged Charlie to make his first kill — and Barry is thrilled. Charlie will be Tony's apprentice! Tony comes home and is stunned to find Charlie at his house — with his family, flirting with his daughter. The pendulum of power has swung from him to his dangerous apprentice.
Tony decides to get back in the game: by dangling a degenerate gambler named Weasel off the roof of a car park. Weasel starts blubbing excuses about why he can't repay Barry — and Tony again finds himself cracking under the pressure, letting him go. Jesus! Charlie uses his day off to catch up with Mel. She likes the fact that he's a bad boy. During yoga, Brent reassures Cathy about her situation — seeing her as a woman of real ability, brains and beauty, and Cathy finds herself drawn to him. Later, Tony and Cathy argue about Brent and Tony confronts their neighbour — only to find Brent has a partner, Jeremy. Cathy emerges to find Brent at the BBQ laughing and chatting with Tony, striking up a genuine friendship. Tony drags Cathy inside and makes love to her. Everything's seemingly back to normal. But as the episode ends, we see a bottle of Viagra in Tony's workbag — he's managed to paper over the ever-increasing cracks in his life... for now.
A rocket launcher has been stolen. Depressed and unmotivated, Tony has to attend a wedding with Cathy. He's acting strangely, being short with the kids, and she's getting suspicious. Tony tells Charlie he's got to make a choice — it's either Mel or working with him. Cathy finds a bottle of distinctive little blue pills in Tony's pockets. She follows him to the pub and sees him with Darlene. Cathy confronts them. What the hell's going on? Darlene leaves. Pushed to the limit, Tony confesses — he has been keeping a secret. He's an enforcer for a criminal gang. Cathy's stunned. Then she scoffs, you expect me to believe that? Putting on brave faces, Cathy and Tony attend the wedding. Tony gets a call — Darlene needs him back on the trail of the rocket launcher. Tony brings a disbelieving Cathy with him. They end up in the middle of a Mexican stand-off with Steve, Charlie and Gary the Gunsmith. Cathy sees a totally different side to the impotent husband she's become used to lately — especially when Tony saves the day. The RPG goes off, blowing up a nearby factory. After the wedding, at home, Mel is freaking. Realising her life with Tony is a lie, Cathy kicks him out. A Hummer pulls up. Charlie opens the door. He's made his choice. That's why Mel's upset. Tony gets into the Hummer and they drive away.
Since Cathy kicked him out, the sexual tension between Tony and Darlene has been simmering. Tony is assigned a collection job — but can't do it — his yips are in full bloom. Les blames Cathy for Tony's departure. He accuses Cathy of being a hypocrite. A strange man turns up at the house — he wants money from Cathy. It's Weasel, the gambler that Tony let go. Cathy grapples with Weasel herself and fights him off — with the help of Les and the kids. Tony's furious, realising his own problems have put his family in danger. Feeling the pressure from Barry, Darlene confronts Tony — why can't you do your job? I thought we had something? Tony returns to the job site and gets the punter to pay up — dangling him and his car from a thirty-foot crane! He gets the money. Darlene offers herself to Tony — they can have it all. Cathy realises she can cope without Tony, no problem. But she misses him. Tony turns up at her door. He will abandon the gangster life — for her and the kids — she takes him back. At the pub, Darlene's in bed, spurned by Tony, Steve beside her. Tony has just created two new adversaries. Meanwhile, Barry is starting to get jumpy about the money he's owed. His paranoia kicks in, only to be exacerbated when Charlie comes to Tony's defence. Watch out Tony!
Tony has decided to go straight. He starts going to real carpet cleaning jobs with Dean, much to Charlie's disgust. Les confronts Tony, arguing that it's impossible to go straight and escape the criminal life — Tony knows where too many bodies are buried and Barry won't let him go. Tony wants out. He just needs enough money to get away and he and Les part company without resolve. Tony tries unsuccessfully to connect with Matt like a "normal Dad" but he ends up in a fight with one of the parents from Matt's soccer team. It's not easy being normal. Cathy sees Tony acting tough — and finds it turns her on! Les changes his mind and decides to help Tony and the family escape. He rips off half a million of Barry's money from Darlene and Steve and leaves the money for Matt in his locker at the soccer club. Meanwhile, Mel and Charlie rekindle their romance. Darlene enlists Tony to find Les and the money before Barry finds out. Les savours what could be his last meal at a local RSL — he's given Tony and the family a chance to escape!
With the pressure from Barry mounting, Tony and Darlene accept a dangerous job from Sydney, acting as security for an exchange of cash for drugs. The only problem is the crew buying the drugs is renowned for being cowboys — but Tony has no choice. If he can get the money to Barry, he might be able to save Les. Thanks to the beating he took, Steve is furious with Les. He also wonders if he and Darlene could get away clean, stealing the money from the exchange. Steve intimates that he's prepared to kill Tony to get the money — underneath is a simmering jealousy that's pricked whenever he sees Tony and Darlene together. Barry sends Charlie to get the money — and when Tony fobs him off, Charlie reports back to Barry that there's a problem. Barry decides it's time to take control. Tony and Steve, with tension between them at an all time high, arrive to make the exchange. Barry and Charlie,wearing balaclavas and fully tooled up with automatic weapons, crash the party, killing two of the rival crew. Barry is furious with Tony, accusing him of treachery and ready to put him down. The remaining member of the rival crew grabs an automatic weapon and drops Steve. Police sirens are heard in the distance. Tony grabs Steve and they make their escape, momentarily avoiding Barry's wrath. Steve is dropped off at a hospital. Under pressure, Darlene leaves town. At the pub, Barry, still amped with the buzz of the hijacking and despite a heartfelt plea from Tony, puts a price on Les's head. He's a dead man. And Mel and Charlie have a secret that will bring the two families together.
Tony searches for Les without success. When he returns home, Brent pays him a visit and reveals to Tony that Les is dead — and that he knows about Tony's secret double life. Brent is a cop! He tells them he can get them out, give them new lives and give Tony everything he wants — as long as Tony testifies against Barry. Matt shows a shocked Tony the money he found. Les stole the money so they could get away clean — and he paid for it with his life. Tony is devastated. Tony tells Brent to stick his offer — he's never heard of Barry Donald. Tony tells Cathy — we're leaving, this is our chance. Cathy turns on him — how could let the scum that did this get off, without paying for what they did to Les? Isn't he supposed to be a tough guy? Tony realises she's right. Time to get a little payback and Barry's in the firing line. Tony goes to get a weapon from Gary. Meanwhile, Charlie lets it slip that Mel's pregnant — and that Tony has a family. Barry arrives at Tony's house. Tony returns home to face his worst nightmare — his family is gone! Tony confronts Barry — where are they? Barry smiles, cold and callous. He wants his money — but more importantly, he wants to tell Tony about Mel and the baby! They're going to be family! Big Jack, the boss, arrives from Sydney with Brent as his bodyguard. We learn that Brent is a crooked cop in the employ of Big Jack and that Les is alive and well, thanks to a last minute reprieve from Jack who wants Tony to take over the crew. Barry is appalled — but Jack won't take no for an answer. Cathy tells Tony, we'll bide our time and deal with Barry when things have quietened down. Barry isn't finished with this yet either — and we end with him eyeing Tony, the tension palpable. At the poolside BBQ, Tony stares in disbelief as his two families become one. Tony is trapped — he's still got the yips — but Jack just made him a rich man. They drink a toast to family — this isn't over yet!