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Who Are The Five Families From Netflix's 'Fear City: New York Vs. The Mafia'?

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Who Are The Five Families From Netflix's 'Fear City: New York Vs. The Mafia'?

True crime is definitely having a moment right now but amid all the documentaries that have been released about high -profile murders and cults, there's one area that has remained a mystery to many of us: The Mafia. Of course, that's part of how the Mafia continues to exist, even in 2020 but now, Netflix is dropping a new look at some of the most powerful organized crime groups of all time. 

Fear City: New York vs. The Mafia is already streaming, giving us a fascinating peek into the world of the Five Families and how they work. 

Who are the Five Famiiles from Netflix's Fear City: New York vs. The Mafia? 

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Fear City began streaming July 22, 2020. 

The docuseries takes a look at the Five Families of the New York Mafia and how they were in their prime in the '70s and '80s. But at the same time, it also shows the way FBI agents attempted to investigate their criminal activity and get them shut down, so seeing both sides of the story is definitely interesting here — especially for those of us who weren't aware of just how powerful these families can be. They each have their own territories in New York, and sometimes, they even work together as allies — not just with each other but with Mafia groups in other areas of the country, too.

The Gambino Family may be the most powerful.

Dating back well over 100 years, the Gambino family is one that many people are probably familiar with, since it's the one that the late John Gotti happened to be a part of (until he was arrested and imprisoned on murder charges, anyway). They are still active today, and as recently as December 2019, multiple members of the family were arrested for racketeering. 

The Colombo Family is known as the weakest. 

Not only is the Colombo family the youngest of the Five Families, but they're also known as the weakest because of the three wars that happened among members of the family — the third of which left 12 members dead. After boss Carmine Persico died last year of complications from diabetes at 85 while serving out a prison sentence based on his activity in the Colombo family, there's no word if the family is still in operation ... or any official confirmation of who the new boss is. 

The Bonanno Family has a rocky past.

Another one of the Five Families is the Bonanno family, though they've had a lot of ups and downs and run-ins with federal agents. In fact, in 1981, an FBI agent named Joseph Pistone infiltrated the family by posing as a man named Donnie Brasco (who was played by Johnny Depp in a movie of the same name), which led to over 100 arrests of active members, and former boss Joseph Massino turned on the family as an FBI informant. He was arrested and then released from prison in 2013 because of the help he offered authorities.

RELATED: Who Is Colombo Mafia Family From Netflix's 'Fear City: New York Vs. The Mafia'?

The Lucchese Family is known for being peaceful. 

Of course, the peace hasn't lasted for the Lucchese Family — many of its members and leaders have also become police informants, including Alphonse D'Arco, who died last year. He was the first Mafia boss to become an informant, inspiring many others after him to do the same and he was in the witness protection program when he died. The family is known for committing crimes including racketeering, assault, murder, theft, and many others.

The Genovese Family is the most mysterious.

Of all the Five Families, the Genovese Family is the one who flies under the radar most often — but that doesn't mean they escape punishment. As recently as last month, one of the members, Frank Giovinco, was sentenced to four years in prison on extortion and racketeering charges. The Genovese Family is still active, though it's a toss up if they or the Gambino Family is currently more powerful. 

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.