Even though more than $11 billion has been recovered for scammed investors who put their cash in Bernie Madoff’s elaborate Ponzi scheme, and Madoff was sentenced to 150 years behind bars, the true drama behind this American saga has yet to be told on the small screen. And while hinted at, it certainly isn’t told in ABC’s miniseries Madoff, which, nearly eight years after the shock and pain of the Great Recession hit America, is an opportunity lost.

deadline-review-badge-dominic-pattenThe two-part, four-hour Madoff debuts February 3 and runs the next night too. Maybe they could have gone the limited series route and given the mini starring Richard Dreyfuss and a rather great Blythe Danner more time. But they didn’t, and, as my video review above says, this Madoff neglects the bigger picture in this very big scam.

Based on ABC News correspondent Brian Ross’ book The Madoff Chronicles, the miniseries created and written by Ben Robbins puts so much emphasis on Dreyfuss’ Madoff that you find yourself growing wrongly sympathetic to the crook – even as he lies to and steals from his clients, many of whom are not rich and famous. Add to that all the fat and flourishes of Raymond De Felitta’s direction, plus the side characters who appear and disappear for no reason, and it’s sometimes almost as hard to wade through the tale as it must have been to make sense of Madoff’s claims that he generated assets of up to $68 billion for his clients.

We’ll see more Madoff on TV eventually when HBO’s Barry Levinson-helmed The Wizard Of Lies project starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer debuts later this year. Until then, this Madoff is just skimming the surface of the crime and the criminal.

Check out the review and tell us what you think. Will you be watching Madoff on Wednesday and Thursday nights?