Warning: Spoiler for the industry Episode 1 ahead…
Industry on HBO was announced as an ensemble drama focusing on the lives of five new employees of a London investment bank. However, at the end of the first episode of the series, one of these five is dead and suffering from an aneurysm after spending the night.
After a series of nights where the pills work for a long time, Hari (Nabhaan Rizwan) faints in a toilet, and the next thing we know he is taken away in a body bag, a victim of the extremely hard work expected of the newcomers to move forward.
The founders of the industry, Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, spoke at Newsday in Washington about this early shock death that has been at the heart of their idea from the beginning.
“It was pretty early,” said Down, “it wasn’t as cynical as ‘let’s shock the audience’. It was more like… the question that was asked at that moment was, “What does it cost to do this job?”
Although Hari’s death was always at the center of the season, the role he played changed as the industry developed. “There were different versions of it,” said Down. “There were versions where the whole first season was somehow about who was to blame, with internal investigations in the bank, and that was much more a part [of the show].
“But then we wondered what the real, lifelike reaction to something like that was. In reality, there will be pretty superficial changes, lip service is paid, and then somehow it gets swept under the carpet – after that happens, Harper (Myha’la Herrold) still comes to work, makes a deal and feels great about it.
Kay went into more detail about why they didn’t follow this story of internal investigation: “We never really break the POV of the four other characters during the whole show. Having a storyline that shows how the bank reacts to his death through its management structure would simply not do justice to the grammar of the show.
Asked what this death meant for the rest of the season, Kay added: “We never really forget his death as long as it is seen from the perspective of the four remaining graduates.
“The ghost of him returns in a graduate brochure or in a work of art that the bank is financing at the Christmas party. His death hangs over the whole season, but in a way that seems very close to life.
“If one of your colleagues dies, it is of course a great shock to your system, but you still have to go to work, and then a monument is erected to him, and people would deal with the grief of such a thing in a very personal, but often very different way.
“So we tried to keep it as realistic as possible and to make sure that as writers we never forget it, but honor it on a small scale and not in some kind of big macro form”.
Industry broadcasts on Sundays at 22:00 ET on HBO in the USA and at 21:15 GMT on BBC Two in the UK.