McMillions is a True Crime series from HBO, premiering on February 3, 2020. The story focuses on the infamous scheme to defraud The McDonald's Corporation's popular Monopoly promotion out of its million-dollar prizes between 1989 and 2001.
The show comprises seven episodes, with a bonus retrospective episode added on April 12 after the show's surprise success. In or around May 2020, the series was made available on Hulu at no extra charge to those subscribed to it. However, not long afterwards it was locked down only to those who have HBO as a separate add-on, though a free trial option is available.
McMillions provides examples of:
- Always Someone Better: (In this case, Ratings-wise.) The trial of the McDonald's Monopoly fraud was obscured by the impending news of 9/11.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The first episode shows a McDonald's commercial featuring Jerry Colombo and his fraudulently won Dodge Viper, before Colombo becomes a person of interest in the next episode.
- Lucky Charms Title: According to the title, it's actually McMillion$.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. The two central figures of the scheme, Jerome Jacobson and Gennaro Colombo, both go by the nickname "Jerry". One of the investigators interviewed lampshades this by referring to them as "the two Jerrys".
- The Reveal:
- The informant that started it all was Ma Colombo.
- "Uncle Jerry" was able to rig the contest because had received by mistake an envelope loaded with a set of the seals used on the prize envelopes. Therefore, he was able to open the envelopes and then replace the seal, making it look as if they had never been tampered with.
- Shell Game: The official website for the series posted one of these. In the first two rounds it operates like a fair version of the game in which you're shown the game piece and then it's hidden and you try to follow it as it moves around the screen. If you pick wrong, you get to try again until you get it right. In the third round, however, you pick three times and are told every time that you didn't win, the moral being "Some games you just can't win."
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lee Cassano believes herself to be this, reporting the scheme to the IRS in an attempt to avoid taxes on the prize money and shocked to discover it went to the FBI. (According to the FBI, however, that was not how they discovered the plan.)