With all the hype surrounding the return of AMC’s Breaking Bad, it would be acceptable for fans to forget about the return of Boardwalk Empire. HBO, a typically superior network has brought us some huge shows over the past few decades and Terence Winter (of The Sopranos) has not failed to entertain with this prohibition era drama.
For those of you who don’t know, Boardwalk Empire follows the life of Atlantic City treasurer, Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), as he struggles to keep power over the city he controls. Along his path are historical characters and criminals such as Al Capone (Stephen Graham), Lucky Luciano (Vincent Plaza), Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) and many more.
Going into season 3, many fans were sceptic as to whether or not the show would hold up without James Darmody (Michael Pitt). Such an integral character’s death wasn’t the easy choice for Terrence Winter and co., but as he admitted himself, to be true to the characters and the story, one must be ruthless with the writing. The void of Jimmy wasn’t replaced as such, rather the weight was distributed among other characters. Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) was introduced with a bang in season 3 and the progress of Al Capone, Luciano and Meyer Lansky up the ranks offered some compelling stories, too.
As season 3 finished with a corpse pile up of nearly 100, Nucky regained control of Atlantic City and vowed to his brother Eli (Shea Whingham) to keep a closer circle in his future dealings, given the bloodshed and betrayal that occurred throughout season 2 and 3. Al Capone took over from Torrio in Chicago and Chalkey White (Michael Kenneth Williams) ensured progress for the black community, after attaining a club on the boardwalk, where Bebette's was bombed.
Of course, there are still some questions that need answered after the season 3 finale: the fate of Gillian Darmody, the future of Richard Harrow and the return of Margaret Thompson. Winter has already revealed that Gillian survives her heroin overdose and that Margaret will return in season 4. He also revealed that Nucky has become a full gangster now, rather than a half gangster as James Darmody used to say.
As for where the story will go in season 4, we do know that it will be set in 1924, a year on from the season 3 finale, also known as ‘the jazz era.' As the show has always loosely followed the history of these real life characters, we will see Al Capone become a more prominent figure in the show with his brothers in Chicago as will Luciano with his pal Meyer, as one of the world’s biggest peddlers of heroin. Nucky has a new foe in the form of Harlem’s Dr. Narcisse (Jeffery Wright) and is very much exiled from his previous lifestyle, living alone at the end of the boardwalk. With potential danger from Masseria and Rothstein in New York still on the horizon, season 4 promises to offer more violence and compelling drama.
Watch this trailer and join me in looking forward to the return of the king, September 8th on HBO.