Boardwalk Empire

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I have been enamored with this Prohibition-era television series from the beginning. What has struck me most about the show is not its portrayal of government (as thoroughly corrupt on every level, from the city up to the very heights of the federal) but that as such, it has seen the light of day—and been produced by no less than HBO. I recommend it wholeheartedly to all. I’ll leave you with an exchange from the most recent episode, between Andrew W. Mellon, billionaire industrialist and current Secretary of the Treasury (James Cromwell), and Enoch Thompson (Steve Buscemi), the protagonist of the series and a big time Atlantic City bootlegger who is being sold down the river by Harry Daugherty, the Attorney General:

Thompson: We have an enemy in common, Harry Daugherty.

Mellon: You’re not a member of this club.

Thompson: I’m not a member of any club. My name is Enoch Thompson; you may have heard of me…in any case, the Attorney General and I have had dealings, but those dealings have come to an end.

Mellon: And the nature of these dealings would be?

Thompson: Circumvention of the Volstead Act.

Should I continue? [Mellon nods for him to sit down next to him]

I make no excuses for myself; I’m a businessman, a small businessman, and I am sure you can understand that. But for Harry Daugherty, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States to be involved with, to in fact be the head of a large criminal conspiracy…something is wrong with the country, Mr. Secretary. Something is very wrong.

Mellon: Your sense of patriotism is offended, Mr.Thompson?

Thompson: Isn’t yours?

Mellon: Daugherty’s nothing but a shabby little huckster, the whole lot of them are. That’s what democracy gets you, bandits, fighting over a cut of the loot—

Thompson: The income tax—

Mellon: Sanctioned robbery, with no Constitutional basis.

Thompson: And…prohibition…

Mellon: A child’s idea of morality.

The conversation continues with Thompson offering to run Mellon’s distillery should he help take down the Attorney General.

The series is now in its third season. You can buy season one and season two from Amazon.

1:24 pm on November 7, 2012