Aug 1, 2022 - Economy & Business

“Industry” returns, with finance, drama and COVID

Photo: Simon Ridgeway/HBO

Nearly two years after its premiere, HBOs "Industry" is back with a second season, following a cast of young traders at an elite bank in London as they make their post-pandemic return to the office.

Why it matters: The show follows the ups and downs among a group of young finance professionals at the fictional Pierpoint & Co. And like "Succession" (that other popular HBO business drama), "Industry" tackles universal workplace issues and current events — with lots of sex and drama in between.

The big picture: The show's Gen Z protagonists Harper (Myha’la Herrold) and Yasmin (Marisa Abela), and their bosses and colleagues, are coming back to the office after over a year of weathering the global Covid-19 pandemic in their individual ways.

  • “The pandemic was the only thing anyone only talked about,“ show co-creator Mickey Down tells Axios.
  • “The other thing is that it’s a workplace show so we felt like we would do a disservice of not including the biggest workplace shift… so let’s allow [the pandemic] to inform he show but not allow it to overpower the show,” he adds.

Zooming in: This season features new characters (big and small), changing relationships between colleagues, and the continued exploration of gender, race, and class.

  • It examines how characters approach, and are affected by, challenges and opportunities.

Between the lines: “One of the big things in the show… is the cost of ambition… the cost of devoting your life to an institution,” writer and executive producer Jami O’Brien tells Axios. It's a larger truth the young characters wrestle with, now that they’ve been at the fictional Pierpoint bank for some time.

  • Without giving too much away, a central issue this season is sexual harassment — its power dynamics, what to do about it, and the associated costs.
  • “Can they change an institution, or does the institution change them?” the characters asks themselves, adds O’Brien.

Our thought bubble: The narrative shifts into a higher gear this season, moving beyond initial introductions and set-pieces. The show is more relatable in how it tackles both workplace and personal drama, while at times raising pointed questions about the status quo.

Go deeper: HBO's "Industry" puts a Gen Z spin on the finance workplace

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