"Every person who has plotted against me will feel the force of my wrath. No one will be left unscathed."
— Mayor Tom Kane
Boss is an American drama series starring Kelsey Grammer that aired on Starz from 2011 to 2012.The series begin when the mayor of Chicago Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) is diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia, a degenerative neurological disease that would eventually kill him. Unwilling to step down from his throne, Kane decides to hide his condition from everyone around him, including his own family. It won't take too long to others to notice that something is wrong: however his closest assistants, Kitty O'Neil and Ezra Stone, are too afraid of him to ask, and his wife Meredith simply doesn't care. As if this wasn't enough, Kane also has trouble trying to reconcile with her ex-addict daughter Emma, and to keep The Chicago Sentinel reporter Sam Miller from digging too deep into the dirt...Eventually the allegiances shift and the political game turns into a fight to the death when everyone else tries to remove Kane from control - and prevent him taking the city down with him.On November 20, 2012, Starz announced the cancellation of the show. It ran for total of 2 Seasons (18 episodes). Against averyfiercecompetence, Kelsey Grammer took home the 2011 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series.
This series contains examples of:
Abusive Parents: The Kanes threw Emma under the bus when she became a liability to their political careers, and keep manipulating her emotionally to further their own agendas.
Ambition Is Evil: One of the motifs of the series. Chicago and to a lesser extent Illinois are full of schemers and corrupt politicians only worried about their own agendas and whose ambitions lead to reprehensible acts time and again.
The Atoner: Subverted with Kane in season 2, he briefly appears to have some regrets about previous misgivings and being set to correct them, but it's all bullshit, as the ones who know him well evaluate.
Badass: A purely political version. Kane always delivers on his promises about destroying anyone who dares to cross him.
Mona Fredricks: People forget a fundamental truth. Tom Kane always finds a way. The further you back him into a corner, the more painful the cuts when he fights his way out.
Badass Boast: Kane has grounds to brag about his political prowess and often does it in an overbearing and commanding way.
Kane: Every person who has plotted against me will feel the force of my wrath. No one will be left unscathed.
Kane: I'm not done yet. I will remove all obstructions. The thugs, criminal and financial, have no idea what is coming; change according to my will.
Bad Boss: Tom Kane. As well as everyone else in a leadership position in the show, more or less.
Being Good Sucks: Things don't turn out well for people with good intentions and goals or with a commitment to the truth in the universe of Boss.
Et Tu, Brute?/The Starscream: Kane prefers to rule through fear rather than through respect, but he's surprised when his underlings or peers become disloyal and betray him. Prominent examples include Meredith, Ezra and Kitty.
When Kane condescendingly chats with Alderman Mata while taking a crap, the mayor stands up, deliberately shakes Mata's hand and only then he washes his own.
Mona Fredricks calls Kane out and accuses him of doing things For the Evulz.
Evil Will Fail: Played with as one of the themes of the series. Mayor Kane is dying and his absolutist style plants the seeds of his own destruction, but his ways are effective and he rides the storms out because he is a master of troubled waters. Underscored in the credits with the song "Satan, your kingdom must come down."
Feed the Mole: When Kane realizes that Kitty is leaking info to his adversaries, he uses it to his own advantage by feigning that he's stepping down.
Mid-Season Twist: At the end of episode 4 it is revealed that absolutely everyone has joined forces to bring Kane down, and that Zajac has been chosen to run against him at the next election for Mayor. Also counts as a Wham Episode.
Necessarily Evil: Discussed by Kane, who also points out that the lesser of two evils is still evil.
New Era Speech: Inverted when Kane rallies his precinct captains before the primary. Instead of promising change, he espouses the necessity of everything remaining the same.
No Party Given: Grammer discusses that they made a conscious decision not to portray Kane as any particular party because both parties are capable of doing the same stuff. He appears to be the second mayor of the city after the mandate of Daley the Elder -it's not clear if the Younger exists in this continuity-, Barack Obama, former Senator from Illinois is the sitting President in Boss and real life Chicago votes heavily Democrat.
Off The Wagon: Emma after Kane gets her arrested for drug dealing.
Only a Model: Literal example with the planned remodelation of Lennox Gardens. It never comes to pass and it's just for show. Meaningfully, two workers are briefly seen taking it away from the mayor's office and it's later replaced by a very feasible Casino.
OOC Is Serious Business: Kane is always second-guessed, and for good reasons, when he abandons his gruffy demeanor. Zajac's wife also sees through her husband's softer moments.
Permanent Elected Official: Kane has been the mayor of Chicago for more than two decades and is not leaving power anytime soon because he dominates the political machine. The governor of Illinois is in his fourth term but is a weaker example as he rules under the shadow of Kane.
Sinister Surveillance: Kane gets an idea after noticing one of the many CCTV public cameras and begins to monitor and spy on the private moments of his right hand in Season 2, sex life and everything.
Slave to PR: Public opinion and finding a way to spin things are the everyday bread and butter to Kane and other high profile figures.
Sleazy Politician/Corrupt Politician: The series is built on these. Officials who try to be honest don't tend to go far. Kane is an spectacularly sordid lynchpin, but alderman Ross, Kane's main foil and leader of the opposition, falls quickly from his apparent high-horse.
Emma Kane, who uses illegal means to get prescription drugs to the church she works for. The drugs are given to those in need but who can't afford them.
Subverted with her father. He certainly fancies himself to be this trope, but when you really get right down to it, the only thing he really cares about is his own personal power, not the greater good.