First broadcast in Italy in 1984, The Octopus (La Piovra) is an international blockbuster, running 18 years and producing nine follow-up series. The title of this classic Mafia thriller says it all, evoking the image of a secret criminal culture extending its tentacles into every layer of society.
After the mafia killed his family, and a number of people who trusted him, Cattani sees a couple of criminals condemned to light sentences only. A DEA team brings him back from the mountain retreat with good monks, to the evil world of a drugs-for-arms deal. Solace comes in the form of new affections for a banker's daughters, who look like his lost wife and daughter.
Cattani uses a TV interview to reveal he found out about one of The Octopus telephone numbers. That is enough to spread havoc in the criminal rang, but the mafia leaves the American investigators no escape.
Cattani falls in love with Giulia, but his inquest does not go far, until Giulia's father dies, and her grandfather takes hold of the family bank again.
The Antinari bank is backing the illegal arms deal, trusted friends and servants may not be what they seem, and Cattani is undecided between personal vendetta and life in a monastery.
Anna Antinari gets hold of documents that are essential for the arms deal, and trusts her life and that of her child daughter Greta to the good monks who were already hosting Cattani. For the mafia in liaison with a member of parliament, monastery walls are no protection against a new massacre.
Cattani meets Giulia again at her mother's funeral, and research and luck bring him up North to Rome, in order to discover the way to the South again, from where a ship will depart with an illegal arms cargo.
Giulia reconciles with her grandfather Nicola, and her second meeting with chief inspector Corrado Cattani is yet a probe for his loyalty to duty. One man ends a life of power tragically; the other hangs desperately to life because, as Giulia says, "He lost; and quite a lot!"