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Opinion

US police drama Law and Order: Arresting advice

A prominent Wall Street hedge fund manager is busted by the police after it emerges that his fund is no more than a giant Ponzi scheme, in which through charm and his reputation he has persuaded prominent friends and financiers to invest.

"This is all a sham," he says gesturing around his office as he is dragged off in cuffs. So far, so Madoff, you might be thinking – but this is the story of Frederic Matson, as told in lurid detail on the US police drama Law and Order in a March episode entitled "Anchors Away" and viewed, for reporting purposes only, some weeks later by your correspondent in one of Euromoney’s outposts.

Matson’s tale diverges somewhat from his real-life counterpart’s, as a businessman and a reporter are slain for fear that they might divulge the fund’s secret, and suspicion falls on both Matson and a Colombian drug lord (naturally) before the fund manager’s devoted wife Irene is revealed to be the killer. The Law and Order franchises all claim to be fiction but rip their stories from the headlines, and have been referencing the financial crisis with almost obsessive regularity since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

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