"Empire" is set in 1920 at the dawn of Prohibition and chronicles the life and times of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), the undisputed ruler of Atlantic City, who was equal parts politician and gangster. Pilot directed by Martin Scorsese.
In the Martin Scorsese-directed premiere of this drama set in Atlantic City at the dawn of Prohibition, political boss Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi) brokers a sale of illegal booze for visiting New York gangster Arnold Rothstein, and takes an interest in a local housewife with an abusive husband. Meanwhile, World War I veteran and Thompson protégé Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) meets a hoodlum from Chicago named Al Capone.
This series channels the vibrancy and energy of the era, but also the dark reality of the business which it chronicles. Written with a strong, poignant storyline and a cast of unique characters which you can only find in the world of organized crime. This show kept me interested all series, but truly enraptured me in the last season which was extremely satisfying.
This show does a wonderful job of making the 20's seem more attractive and glamorous than ever. The contrast between the glitz and glamour of 20's Atlantic City and the dark nature of the business that keeps it that way is brilliantly captured. Steve Buscemi portrayal of Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson shows what a powerhouse he truly is. The show's plot can sometimes have too many strands but the writers always manage to tie them back together towards the end of each season. The last season was truly spectacular, running parallel story lines showcasing Nucky's present day troubles and his struggles as a young boy/man. These story lines manage to come together in the series finale which definitely does the show and characters justice.
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