Is Savi Mahabir Based on a Real Guyanese Crime Boss?

Image Credit: Sarah Shatz / Max

Max’s ‘Full Circle’ is a crime drama that follows the interconnected stories of people who seem to be worlds apart. It begins with the botched kidnapping of a boy named Jared Browne. He is targeted by a Guyanese criminal gang in New York run by a woman called Savi Mahabir. After a tragedy in her family, she is convinced that the only way to break the cycle of bad things happening to them is by balancing the scales that were upended almost two decades ago.

Over six episodes, the series presents a convoluted mix of stories where every character is keeping a secret that becomes crucial to the events that follow the kidnapping. Things get more challenging for Ms. Mahabir, who suddenly has a joint task force looking into the matter, which brings a much greater threat to her family. Played by CCH Pounder, Savi Mahabir is an intimidating figure who turns toward her religious and cultural beliefs while running a criminal empire. This adds a realistic touch to her character, which might make you wonder if she is based on a real person. Let’s find out.

Is Savi Mahabir Based on a Real Person?

Image Credit: Sarah Shatz / Max

‘Full Circle’ is an original story written by Ed Solomon, who was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s ‘High and Low.’ In the movie, a botched kidnapping leads a wealthy man to decide whether he wants to save the boy, who is not his responsibility. Solomon saw the opportunity to expand the scope of the story and add more elements to it. Director Steven Soderbergh revealed: “[Solomon] described his desire to blend a story that he’d read 20 years ago in the paper about an insurance scheme that was happening out in Queens here in New York, where people were being murdered for insurance premiums, with a variation on the premise of the Kurosawa film.”

The piece about the insurance scam found its way into the story and fit perfectly to create the conflict that drives the plot of the story. As the head of this criminal enterprise, Solomon created the character of Savi Mahabir. He sketched her as a complicated character that handles the delicate task of keeping the business running where one wrong move can lead to the whole thing unraveling. Instead of making her the usual crime boss we see in movies and TV shows, Solomon grounded Mahabir into her cultural beliefs, so much so that she is moved to make decisions based on things that might seem superstitious to others.

The idea of the kidnapping stems from the belief that a curse was placed upon her family two decades ago due to something involving her husband, who died around the same time. Mahabir is so sure about the next course of action that she doesn’t want anyone to question her, so she reveals the plan in parts, lest someone doubts her and spoils the whole thing. This establishes the core of her character, giving Mahabir a more human aura and making her a more relatable person. This allows her beliefs to seep into the audience, and they start to wonder if the curse is real. Through this, the creators of the show ensure that despite being a fictional character, Mahabir feels real to the audience, inviting more investment from them in the story.

Read More: Is Full Circle Based on a True Story?