Boardwalk Empire | Lifestyle | KenyaBuzz

Boardwalk Empire

13 Feb 2013 | By Andrew Onyango

Boardwalk Empire is a HBO crime drama about the 1920’s Prohibition Era and how “honest businessmen” conducted their “business”.

“If you want to be a gangster in my town then you will pay me for the privilege”, these are strong words from Enoch “Nucky” Thompson. Nucky is a corrupt Atlantic County Treasurer who seems to have his fingers in anything in the city with the word “deal” on it. He controls the money and as a result he controls the city.

Nucky can start a union strike with a whisper, ignite a gang war with a well-placed sentence and calm down tempers in a room with a joke. Combine this compelling anti-hero with Steve Buscemi’s awkwardly good acting style and Boardwalk Empire becomes a series to look out for.

Boardwalk Empire is a HBO crime drama about the 1920’s Prohibition Era and how “honest businessmen” conducted their “business”. They have a secret conglomerate where they plan their activities and quash disagreements. They are the mafia of the day. The show revolves around an era when racism was still tolerable and gangsters wore suits. Like Mad Men, it returns to an era where things were physically simpler but psychologically perplexing.

Nucky’s rule is corrupt but fair. He understands that for the elite to thrive then the “non-elite” should have some successes as well. But some of the conglomerate members do not agree with his rule. They would rather have someone more “them” in charge. Some of them even believe control is their birth right. Some like Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt). He is the son of The Commodore and future Commodore himself.

The Commodore was Nucky’s boss and the original town villain. He raped Jimmy’s mother when she was 13 and abandoned her. It was Nucky’s mercy which saw him take the boy and his mother in and raise them both as his own. He even sent Jimmy to Princeton to make something out of him. It was Nucky’s wish that Jimmy would someday take an active role in the organization but not as the competition.


Jimmy and Nucky’s dance of power has an almost Shakespearean tragedy feel around it. On one hand, Nucky is reluctant to harm his adopted son. In addition, the other members of their conglomerate seem to be pro-Jimmy because it works for them.

But on the other hand Jimmy’s anger issues towards his biological father compiled with the shame of a drunken one night stand with his own mother makes him an unstable force to be reckoned with. Even his own people are not safe. Their war is one which lasts for two seasons but has an epic ending.

Boardwalk Empire has received 30 Emmy Award nominations since it premiered and has won twelve including best actor for Steve Buscemi. It has also won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series and is currently in its third season. It is definitely worth checking out.

By Andrew Onyango

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