“People are our capital,” the new arrivals are told as part of their orientation at Pierpoint & Co., along with warnings that “Half of you won’t be here in six months,” and if the objective is to stick around, “Just make yourselves indispensable.”
Yet as is traditionally true in the world of high finance — and especially dramatic presentations of it — the perks and trappings associated with success must be won by enduring what amounts to fraternity hazing, just in finer attire. They’re told it’s a meritocracy, but the inequities in power with those situated on higher rungs of the corporate ladder linger, despite this seemingly more enlightened age.
The new graduates, meanwhile, do what anyone would under these pressure-packed circumstances — namely, drink and carouse and use sex (this being HBO, starkly depicted) as a form of aggressive stress relief. Of course, the danger of coercion also rears its head when those situations involve superiors or clients, and even the peer-to-peer encounters come with an element of risk.
“Industry” doesn’t break a lot of new ground, but the series captures how the entrenched practices of an enterprise like Pierpoint — and its win-at-all-costs culture — aren’t easily eradicated by diverse talent pools and human-resources departments. The show also depicts the toll that exacts, starting with Hari (Nabhaan Rizwan), who sees working around the clock as the only way to keep pace.
While “Industry” doesn’t posse the artillery of many high-profile premium dramas, it shines primarily based on sharp execution. In that sense, like its hungry characters, it’s the sort of overachiever that appears to have a bright future.
“Industry” premieres Nov. 9 at 10 p.m. on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.