Pop culture recommendations from six managing partners

We asked some of Toronto’s top lawyers to tell us what they enjoyed watching, reading and listening to over the last year of partial lockdown
Scene from the film Schmigadoon! featuring Starring Keegan- Michael Key and Cecily Strong, standing with backpacks on talking to a group of people
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Cover image of the book "The Bomber Mafia" by Malcom Gladwell

A history book that reads like a thriller

The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell 
Recommended by Allan Ritchie, managing partner at Loopstra Nixon LLP 

Headshot of Allan Ritchie

“I’m a sucker for anything that Malcolm Gladwell writes. This is an awesome WWII account of the development of the Allies’ aerial-bombing strategy. I love books that combine a new take on history with a compelling adventure narrative. This one kept me up way too late trying to pack in a few more pages.” 

Scene from the film Schmigadoon! featuring Starring Keegan- Michael Key and Cecily Strong, standing with backpacks on talking to a group of people

A musical that satirizes itself

Schmigadoon! 
Recommended by Dominique Hussey, vice chair and Toronto managing partner at Bennett Jones LLP 

Headshot of Dominique Hussey

“In this series, two Grey’s Anatomy-type doctors seek help for their stale relationship at a couples retreat but get stuck in a live musical. Starring Keegan-Michael Key and SNL’s Cecily Strong, Schmigadoon! is a send-up of and homage to classic musicals like Oklahoma, The Music Man, Brigadoon (obviously) and many more. The show is campy, self-aware and delightful — if you enjoy medical drama, appreciate the Lorne Michaels oeuvre and have been missing Broadway musicals to a point that feels physical. If that does not sound like your thing, consider this: in the three hours it takes to watch the entire series, you will be either too engrossed or cringing too hard to think about work even once. Worth it. 

image of Naomi Osaka from the Netflix docuseries. Naomi is sitting on the sidelines of the tennis court looking upwards.

A candid look at the darker side of sports fame

Naomi Osaka 
Recommended by Kimberly Whaley, founding partner at WEL Partners 

Kimberly Whaley headshot

“I’m hardly an expert on tennis (if you saw me play, you would know what I mean), but when I saw the Naomi Osaka docuseries pop up on my Netflix suggestions, I was intrigued to learn more about the young woman who defeated Serena Williams. The series is raw, honest and intensely personal, with some of the scenes shot by Osaka herself. Though Osaka is a champion who has thrived in high-pressure environments, she has also struggled with adversity off the court. Her story makes it clear that sacrificing one’s mental health is not an acceptable cost of winning.” 

Image from the series Tehran featuring a crowd of people gathering in the street

A bingeworthy tale of espionage

Tehran 
Recommended by Brian Temins, managing partner at Minden Gross LLP 

“This spell-binding series captivated me from the start. The show centres on Tamar, a Jewish-Israeli woman with family roots in Iran, who is also a member of the Mossad. She infiltrates Tehran on a secret mission to disable the power grid in advance of an Israeli air assault. Thanks to a steady flow of plot twists, I never left the edge of my seat. The first season has eight episodes, making it the perfect series to watch in one weekend, which is exactly what I did.” 

Album cover art for Head Above the Waters by DijahSB. A blue water background with a cartoon person with a pink face keeping their head above water.

A rap album by an artist on the cusp of greatness

Head Above the Waters by DijahSB 
Recommended by Rob Centa, managing partner at Paliare Roland 

Rob Centa headshot

“The challenges faced by a Black, non-binary rapper remain daunting, but this artist is about to take their career to a completely different level. In mid-2021, DijahSB released Head Above the Waters, which was shortlisted for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize. The album pays meticulous attention to the groove. Fat bass, spare guitar and bright synths evoke an earlier, more danceable age. DijahSB settles comfortably into the pocket and drops lyrics full of humour, vibrant imagery, and deep-cut sneaker and basketball references. You will love it.” 

Scene from Game of Thrones, three characters sit on a wooden stage

A world-famous fantasy epic

Game of Thrones 
Recommended by Maria Scarfo, managing partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP 

Maria Scarfo headshot

“The pandemic added a lot of stress, but it also cut down on my evening and weekend commitments. I’ve spent this newfound downtime consuming television shows that I’d missed out on over the past decade. Case in point: I finally watched Game of Thrones. To be honest, I’ve forgotten a huge portion of the complicated plot. But I was thoroughly entertained. The sweeping fantasy series was a thrilling time-waster during the lockdown.” 

This story is from our Winter 2021 Issue

Game of Thrones photo courtesy of HBO, Album cover courtesy of DijahSB.