It's the biggest scam that you don't remember hearing about. But in HBO's new six-part docu-series, "McMillion$" (debuting on HBO on Monday, February 3rd), the plastic tab is ripped back to uncover one of the most shocking, stranger-than-fiction crime stories in American history, involving our country's #1 fast-food chain and its incredibly popular annual Monopoly Game promotion.
You can't make this stuff up. From 1989 until 2001, a massive fraud was occurring right under our Happy Meals. Is there anybody on the planet who isn't at least peripherally aware of the McDonald's Monopoly Game promotion? If you happen to have recently beamed down to our planet, this promotion is one of the fast-food chains most popular and recognizable, where a customer can collect "game pieces" for their Monopoly Game board, and win any number of prizes, from a free hamburger to a new car, to the Grand Prize of One Million Dollars. The need to "collect" is inherently part of our human DNA, and it's as American as apple pie to dream about "winning big" when it comes to any sort of "game."
To think then, that millions of Americans never had a chance. As revealed - layer-by-layer - in the fascinating, edge-of-your-seat, true-crime docu-series, "McMillion$," the Monopoly Game was rigged from the get-go. 24 million dollars in all was stolen from the game in the 90s, and this series exposes what happened in all of its Mc-Glory.
And there's no need to spoil the fun. In the six-part series' first three episodes which were made available for review, we meet the players on both sides of the scandal, from the colorful FBI agents who were tipped off that something wasn't right, to the mysterious "Uncle Jerry" character that seemed to be the mastermind behind it all. As the first "winner," Marvin Braun, tells us in an interview, don't believe any of this. It really is an incredible story that - at least through the first three episodes - is never short on new twists and turns, and has more than a few surprises thrown in to boot.
If the story itself makes you shake your head in disbelief, its made accessible and even fun when told by a group of FBI Agents that are clowns themselves (in the best sense of the word), especially FBI Agent Doug Mathews - a rookie back in 2001 - who helps blow the lid off the whole thing. Mathews himself is so charismatic and hilarious, he could read you the nutritional facts off of the McDonald's website and it'd be worth making it into a six-part series.
So how does nobody remember the details of this mind-blowing story? If you consider that it wrapped up on September 10th, 2001, there was obviously bigger news stories about to hit the news cycle.
Like the food itself, "McMillion$" leaves you craving more and more, in the most delicious of ways. And make sure you don't just "drive-thru," because this is a series that you're going to want to sit down and savor from start to finish.
"McMillion$" is a six-part series that debuts on HBO on Monday, February 3rd, with a new episode each Monday.
It's Executive Produced by Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Archie Gips, with Writer/Director/Executive Producers James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte.
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