Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

TV discovers Lancaster's 'Amish Mafia'

Maybe if the Amish would just get television sets, "reality" television producers -- who apparently think of life without the electronic hearth as endlessly exotic -- would get out of their business.

TV discovers Lancaster's 'Amish Mafia'

Maybe if the Amish would just get television sets, "reality" television producers -- who apparently think of life without the electronic hearth as endlessly exotic -- would get out of their business.

Or at least stop following them around with cameras.

The latest assault on the buggy-driving Anabaptists: "Amish Mafia," which is scheduled to premiere on the Discovery Channel Dec. 11 before moving in to its regular time slot the following night. And, no, it's not exactly the kind of Mafia we have in the big city. (If. you know, such a thing even existed.)

Here's how Discovery describes the show:

"Untrusting of outside law enforcement, some Amish in Lancaster County, Pa., have for many years regularly turned to a small organized group of men for protection and justice...The 2006 school shootings in Lancaster County during which five young Amish girls were killed and five more seriously injured by a non-Amish milk truck driver, brought to the nation’s attention the vulnerabilities of the Amish community, and their need for continued protection. 

 "When you think of the Amish, buggies, bonnets, peace and simplicity come to mind. In the historic Amish settlement of Lancaster, protection and 'peace' can come at a price. Lebanon Levi is the Amish insider who holds the power and serves as protector of the community for a price. He exists above the law and occupies the role of police, judge and jury. Levi’s team engages in a life outside of Amish and non-Amish community codes as he quietly exerts his influence and control. Levi’s brand of order is precise as he seeks to keep outside forces from infiltrating the Amish community, while keeping the principles and morality within the community in check."

Levi apparently has a posse, some of whose members aren't Amish, according to Discovery, which says that "this is a side of Amish society that exists under the radar, and the Amish church denies the group’s existence. 'Amish Mafia' provides eyewitness accounts of the incidents, misdeeds and wrongdoings within the Amish community, as well as a rare look at Levi and his team members who work together to maintain harmony. To protect participants and their family members, some identifying information and property has been changed. Some scenes have been re-enacted."

 So what's all the fuss about the Amish, anyway?

Discovery sister channel TLC reported Tuesday that its  series "Breaking Amish" has become its top-rated freshman series ever among total viewers and women 18-34. The season finale of the show, which follows the fortune of a group of men and women raised either Amish or Mennonite who've left their homes and families behind, averaged 3.9 million viewers.

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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