The Firm (EastEnders)

The Firm is a fictional gangland organisation in the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders, probably inspired by the notorious real-life criminal gang run by the Krays. The Firm, aka "Walford Investments", was first introduced to the show in 1988, and was represented by the sharp-suited Gregory Mantel, the lackeys Brad Williams and Joanne Francis, and the elusive boss Mr. Vinnicombe. The Firm owned Strokes wine bar, a front for illegal gambling, which was reluctantly managed by Den Watts. It was thought by Mantel that Den, a well-known local publican, would not attract any suspicion to the illegal goings-on at the bar. The Firm was also responsible for a protection racket involving the bar's rival, The Dagmar, which they financially ruined when the bar's owner James Willmott-Brown refused to let them buy into the place. When Den wanted revenge on Willmot-Brown for raping his best friend's wife, he persuaded The Firm's Brad Williams to burn the place to the ground. This enraged The Firm's bosses, as it drew attention to the illegal gambling going on at Strokes. Den was forced to take the blame for the fire at The Dagmar, and was remanded in custody, awaiting trial. The Firm mistakenly believed that Den had grassed them up to the police while in prison, and so wanted him out of the way permanently. They captured him on the way to his trial with the intention of killing him. Den, with Brad's help, managed to escape, but was tracked down to the Walford canal by Mantel. A Firm hitman shot Den with a gun hidden in a bunch of daffodils, however he survived and went on the run to Spain. The Firm later discovered this, and Vinnicombe was killed and his body was dumped in the canal to look like Den's (his teeth were bricked out to prevent identification). Vinnicombe's body was later recovered and, owing to some lazy police work (and false evidence planted by The Firm in order to save face), buried as Den's. This would be the last storyline involving The Firm for 13 years.

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