'Boardwalk Empire' recap: Clams, Casinos Season 1, Episode 1


Now that Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter's Boardwalk Empire has joined Mad Men on my Sunday night roster, I suspect all my weekends will conclude with an emphasis on drinking, dressing up, and pretending to live in a different time. In the HBO mobster series' premiere, we meet up with our main man Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi), a semi-fictional semi-gangster based on Atlantic City political boss Nucky Johnson. Right away Nucky seems like an unlikely bad guy -- he's considerate, generous, and can't break down a bathroom door even with the help of his fawning manservant Eddie.


"You can't be half a gangster, Nucky. Not anymore," warns his 22-year-old protege Jimmy Darmedy (Michael Pitt a.k.a. Leonardo DiCaprio lite). You want to say "Child, please!" to Jimmy, but he seems to have seen it all, having just returned from fighting, catching some shrapnel, and killing -- a lot -- in the first world war. We also meet real-life gangsters like Charles "Lucky" Luciano (Vincent Piazza), Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg), Al Capone (Stephen Graham), plus Dabney Coleman as a commodore with a huge bear in his office. I have my fingers crossed that one day, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin will pop out of that bear. But this is only the premiere.


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