Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Boardwalk Empire Chicago Gangsters

Go To

Click here to return to the main character page.

    open/close all folders 

Chicago Outfit

    Nelson Kaspar Van Alden A.K.A. George Mueller 

Former BIR Agent Nelson Van Alden A.K.A. George Mueller

Played by: Michael Shannon

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nelson-van-alden-boardwalk-empire-16731108-330-495_309.jpg
Thou hast fulfilled the judgement of the WICKED!
Click here to see George Mueller 
I used to believe in god, but now I don't believe in anything at all.
Originally an overzealous Prohibition agent who vows to bring down Nucky and one of the primary antagonists in the show. As stoic and ruthless in his private life as he is in his professional life, he and his wife are extremely Christian and trying to have children. Secretly lusts after Margaret Schroeder, but finds himself disgusted when she sets up house with Nucky; this, coupled with his failure to bring Nucky to justice because of his graft and the barriers produced by his own superiors sends him in a downward emotional spiral that includes fathering a bastard with Lucy Danzinger, ruining his marriage, killing his corrupt partner and becoming a fugitive when he is exposed as a murderer. Season 3 finds him under an assumed identity in Chicago, just as Al Capone begins his rise to power.

Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Or at least fanatical ones that were the source of his preoccupations:
    • In "A Dangerous Maid", he reveals near total ignorance about the concept of theatre. When questioned about it, he reveals that an aunt once took him to a Christmas pageant, which enraged his fundamentalist parents, who subsequently cut off all contact with her.
    • In "Under God's Power She Flourishes" he reveals that his parents were followers of a fanatical reverend who predicted the Rapture for 1892. His father "gave away" their farm and they lived penniless for two years, waiting for a Rapture that did not come. Apparently, his father somehow blames Nelson for all of this.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Something seems to be wrong with him, given his excessive stoicism.
  • And Call Him "George"!: He kills Sebso while trying to baptize him.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap
  • Badass Boast: "Hit me again, you'll regret it." Says this with a Death Glare.
  • Bad Boss
  • Been There, Shaped History:
    • In Season 3, Van Alden inadvertently saves Dean O'Banion from being beaten (or killed) by Al Capone in New Year's Eve 1922. Months later, Capone's men find him selling bootleg liquor on his own in Capone's territory, fueling Capone's rage against O'Banion.
    • In Season 4, Van Alden gets so sick of Capone's antics that he points a gun at him during the disturbs of election day 1924 in Cicero. Frank Capone sees this and reaches for his own gun, which is in turn seen by a plain clothes police force, and the police kills Frank as a result. Ironically, a few episodes later Van Alden saves the life of Al, getting him out of the line of fire after spotting armed men in the next building.
    • When Torrio orders O'Banion's murder, the Capones grill Van Alden for information and he offers to do it himself for one thousand dollars. He fails and the murder is committed by Frankie Yale and two Sicilian associates as per History; Van Alden ends up as the anonymous employee of O'Banion that was in the shop's back room when the murder happened.
    • Ultimately, even his death becomes one, as Mike Malone, the undercover FBI agent in Capone's crew, shoots him while he's trying to kill Capone, getting himself entrusted with Al's secret ledgers.
  • Boom Head Shot: Makes three consecutive ones in "Marriage and Hunting".
    • Meets this fate himself in "Devil You Know"... where a good chunk of his face get blown off
  • Butt-Monkey/The Chew Toy: Nothing goes right for him. Ever. The weirdest part is that he gets it worse when he actually tries to do the right thing.
  • Character Development: Over three seasons, the tale of his corruption is also that of his humanization.
  • Clean Up the Town: His original aim, before the task breaks him emotionally.
  • The Comically Serious
  • Cowboy Cop: A Knight Templar variant - he's good at his job, just maybe too zealous.
  • Crisis of Faith: The whole series is one for Van Alden. From The Fundamentalist in early Season 1 to Hollywood Atheist Type I by the end of Season 4.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: His attempts to lie low wile on the lam in Chicago make him come across as an inoffensive coward.
  • Death Glare: He has a really good one when he's trying (with varying degrees of success) to keep his temper under control.
  • Deconstruction: Of the implacable Cowboy Cop with his own strong moral code who comes to the new city to clean it of organized crime. While having this goal and believing in it fervently, Van Alden is as far from a Knight in Shining Armor as he can get.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: In Season 1. Upon arriving in Atlantic City, he opens an investigation into Nucky Thompson with the intent to bring him down at all costs. Despite initially presenting a substantial threat to Nucky and his associates, Van Alden becomes increasingly distracted by suspicions of corruption within his own department before ultimately morally compromising himself to the point that he can no longer effectively carry on his crusade against organized crime.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In "The Pony", when he presses a hot iron to the face of one of his co-workers after being the constant subject of their jokes
  • Double Agent: Much to his chagrin, Capone and O'Banion use Van Alden to spy on each other.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Gets tired of O'Banion's prankster attitude towards him and complains about it to the Capones, who are interested in recruiting him.
  • Dying as Yourself: Suddenly morphs back into Agent Van Alden (after being gangster "George Mueller" for roughly ten years) before being shot in the head.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Punches Capone in the face and throttles him while invoking hell-fire and righteous vengeance right before he's shot dead.
  • Expy:
    • A Holier Than Thou Hero Antagonist with a secretly vicious and sinful nature, who flagellates himself over his inappropriate desires for a red-headed woman? Hi there, Justin.
    • He looks like the iconic portrayal of Eliot Ness in his first appearances, but the trope is quickly subverted. Even Michael Shannon thought he was cast as the prototypical heroic white knight.
  • Facial Horror: He has a face to rival Richard Harrow's after being shot in the head, with the exit wound through his eye.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: He becomes a not very successful door-to-door salesman in Cicero after his law enforcement days are over. He's offered an ambiguous job in the gangster industry, becoming a bootlegger, enforcer and flower delivery boy.
  • Family Values Villain: Originally. He abandons family values over the course of the series.
  • The Fundamentalist: In the first two seasons. By season 3, his religiosity seems to have faded away. In the season 4 episode "Marriage and Hunting", he outright says that he used to believe in God, but he no longer believes in anything. He returns to religion in the moment of his death, saying while he attacks Capone: "And I swear by Jesus our lord justice will rain down upon you!"
  • Genre Blind: While working for O'Bannion he decides to sell a few bottles alcohol on the side without O'Bannion's knowledge or permission. Even worse, he does so in Capone's territory. When Capone's men grab him, he thinks they are Prohibition agents. Despite his various dealing with gangsters and bootleggers he clearly still does not understand how the illegal booze business works.
  • Give Me a Sign: At the end of the first season he decides to leave Atlantic City unless God gives him a sign. Then Lucy shows up pregnant.
  • Good People Have Good Sex:
    • Inverted. Van Alden is shown to be sexually repressed, which is the cause of some of his corruption. He has a stiff relationship with his bland wife and has to go through some pretty extraordinary lengths to get them both in the mood.
    • The sex with Lucy was quite wild, but felt just wrong.
    • Inverted again after deciding to be evil. He goes home and has what is presumably the first enjoyable sexual encounter of his life.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: His hot-bloodedness frequently contrasts to Nucky and Rothstein's more cool, collected natures.
    • Inverted in season 3 when he has to restrain himself as he's keeping a low profile, but his stoicism gets broken anyway.
    • Does so again in season 4 when involved in a gangster attack upon a political rally, where he's initially refuses to attack anyone, but breaks out in berserker rage when someone hits him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He saves Eli from a slow, torturous death by attacking Capone and acting as if he was an undercover fed the whole time.
  • Henpecked Husband: During Season 4, Sigrid is thoroughly fed up with their poorly assembled pre-fab house and lack of money, and makes sure he knows it. As before, he puts up with it without too much complaint, until the various disasters in his job with O'Bannion cause his temper to fray. After killing three of his former coworkers when they attack him, and taking the credit for killing O'Bannion, he lets her know in no uncertain terms that this situation is going to change.
  • Hero Antagonist: Briefly, although he soon becomes just a Knight Templar.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: See above. For additional irony, he becomes a petty bootlegger in season 3.
  • Holier Than Thou
  • Hollywood Atheist: As a result of all the awful things that happened to him, Van Alden loses his faith and his moral code along with it, becoming more unhinged and dangerous than he ever was.
  • Hookers and Booze: "The Emerald City".
  • Humiliation Conga: "A Return to Normalcy", "The Age of Reason", "Under God's Power She Flourishes", "Resolution", "Bone for Tuna" "A Man, A Plan"... Van Alden doesn't really get Humiliation Congas from time to time, he lives in one.
  • In the Back: How he finally meets his end, but not before putting the fear of death in Capone.
  • I Warned You: In Season 4, things once again conspire to drive him to his Rage Breaking Point, but unlike his eruption in Season 3, he sees it coming and warns his various tormentors to stop. He says this trope's exact words to his burned former coworker when he and two friends come looking for revenge, and they don't listen to him when he warns them to stop. His next words are his Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Done in such a way that it borders on Kick the Dog territory.
    • In the third episode he tortures a wounded and moribund witness to get information. His dark side mostly goes downhill from there.
    • The drowning of Agent Sebso. Is he genuinely trying to forcibly baptise his (Jewish) colleague in the hope that he'll see the light and confess his crimes, and getting a bit carried away? Or is he just trying to torture the truth out of him? Either way, he probably didn't intend to kill him.
  • Jerkass
  • Karma Houdini: Two victims after, in "Under God’s Power She Flourishes" his karma seems to catch up to him and he is charged with murder... but he escapes in the last second and starts a new life under a secret identity in the Midwest, where he quickly gets a third (if accidental) victim, and his second Prohi.
    • In Season 4, he murders three people in broad daylight. They are in a back alley and the shots are covered by a passing train, so when Van Alden goes to the place again by midnight the bodies are still there, covered in flies.
    • All this finally does catch up with him as he's killed right when he starts to reassert himself as a lawman.
  • Kavorka Man: He is not ugly, but his personality would alienate everyone. Nevertheless, the current count is of one different sex partner per season.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: "And I swear by Jesus our lord justice will rain down upon you if it is my last-"
  • Knight Templar: In seasons 1 and 2. By season 3, he abandons the pursuit of justice, and is only concerned with preserving himself.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: From self-righteous federal agent to fugitive wanted for murder. He also becomes a bootlegger and later a gangster under Al Capone's wing.
  • Laughably Evil: Both his extreme stoicism and fits of insane anger both tend towards being extremely entertaining, even if the people immediately next to him aren't laughing.
  • Mugging the Monster: Every single one of his new coworkers provoke him, constantly, everyday, unaware of who he really is. They finally get a glimpse of it in "The Pony".
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: He announces his full name while attacking Al Capone.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In "Under God's Power She Flourishes" Mickey Doyle offers Van Alden to give the date and place where Luciano, Lansky and Capone will meet to divide their profits from selling a batch of illegal liquor; Van Alden would arrest them and the money be divided between him and Mickey. Nelson refuses and instead goes to work to continue the prosecution against Nucky Thompson, discovering that the witnesses of Sebso's murder have decided to talk forcing him to become a fugitive. Season 3 finds him living in near-poverty with his new family. Had he decided to take the money, they would live a lot better.
  • No Sense of Humor: Even if he claims otherwise.
  • Oh, Crap!: Michael Shannon turns these into a form of art, but the golden award goes to the scene where Van Alden sees that Deacon Cuffy has brought Sebso's belongings to the post office in "Under God's Power She Flourishes".
  • Perverted Sniffing: The first time he meets Margaret he steals her hair ribbon and is later seen sniffing it in his room.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In season 1, he contradicts his wife when she says her infertility means she's not a real woman.
    • He's somewhat humanized in "A Dangerous Maid" and does something nice for Lucy. He also shows his wife a nice evening in "21", although besides her, no one else would probably find his behavior very sympathetic.
    • The scene where he first holds his infant daughter and names her Abigail - after asking the infant's own opinion on various names - is tremendously humanizing for him.
    • He's a decent husband to Sigrid.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Is shown to have some pretty racist attitudes towards Jews, and refers to Nucky's black supporters as "darkies". Plus, he considers Chinese food "filth" without even tasting it.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I am relaxed".
  • Rage Breaking Point: He puts with a lot of abuse from his new coworkers in the third season since he wants to stay under the radar, until he finally erupts in "The Pony". Torrio's description of Pompeii in the same episode is a perfect analogy to Van Alden at the work place.
    "The people. They live for generations next to this mountain, not knowing that it is a volcano. Then the eruption happens. The lava covers everything."
  • Redemption Equals Death: Attacks Capone, knowing there's only one way it could possibly end for him, giving Eli a chance at life, keeping the case against Capone afloat, and putting a little fear in Al.
  • Relative Button: In "The Pony". Van Alden swallows all kind of insults, Dude, Not Funny! jokes and laughs at his expense during the third season. Then the office clown decides to make a leud comment about his wife.
    Coworker: Are you maaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrriiiied? (cue Unstoppable Rage)
  • Secret Identity: George Mueller, a Cicero salesman.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny
  • Slasher Smile: In season 1, when he's told that a witness has been found who can identify Jimmy as having been in the woods the night of the massacre.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Towards Margaret in season 1.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: The other Prohibition agents working in Atlantic City don't seem very competent and Van Alden does not really trust them. He even walks in on two of them wrestling on the office floor during business hours. When Prohibition started the government was not picky when it came to hiring agents and the low pay did not attract many competent candidates.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Subverted in a meta-sense, much to Shannon's surprise, who expected to play a straight up guy. He looks like an Eliot Ness's expy at first and tries to uphold the law against some dangerous criminals, but his behavior quickly shows that he's crooked.
  • A Taste of the Lash: His back is completely scarred because he used to whip himself when he had impure thoughts.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: In "Marriage and Hunting," he gets fed up with being bullied by both the Capones and O'Bannion and embraces his psychotic tendencies, as well as killing his former coworkers in cold blood when they try to jump him.
  • Tranquil Fury: When he's repressing his rage and hatred, the explosions come under Unstoppable Rage, but late in Season 4, once he embraces his willingness to kill, well... he really means the Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
  • The Unsmile: Done when he tries to "seduce" Margaret in Season 1, and again in Season 3, when Sigrid presses him to smile.
  • Unstoppable Rage: "The Pony".
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Not that Van Alden really laughs, but his psychotic smirk after he gets himself fired in "The Pony" is a clear quivalent of this.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: He is proven to be a murderer, divorced by his wife, and becomes a fugitive at the end of Season 2.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Oh, you would really not.
Advertisement:

    Alphonse "Al" Capone 

Al Capone

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Al_Capone_2_5206.jpg
"We've been on the road for 18 hours. I need a bath, some chow... then you and me sit down, and we talk about who dies. Huh?"
Introduced as a low-ranking thug, he will soon become a notorious crime boss. He develops an odd friendship with Jimmy and is Torrio's right-hand man. Played by Stephen Graham.

Tropes:

  • Affably Evil: He may be a ruthless criminal with a temper to boot, but so long as you don't give him shit, he's a pretty amiable guy and has shown to be capable of compassion, such as his relationship with Sonny, his deaf son.
  • Ax-Crazy: Has fully become this by 1931 due to the effects of cocaine and syphilis on his brain.
  • Bad Boss: By season 5, he has turned into this. He beats one of his underlings to death, just because the poor guy laughed at a joke Luciano made at Al's expense.
  • Berserk Button: Mocking or hurting his deaf son. Sometimes ("Blue Bell Boy") a "surrogate" of his son will do too.
    (while kicking O'Banion's mook to death) You like to pick on people who can't defend themselves?!
  • Big Damn Heroes / The Cavalry: At the end of Season 3's penultimate episode, "Two Imposters", after Nucky has lost control of Atlantic City to Rosetti and spent the entire episode on the run, Eli returns from Chicago with Capone and his gang pledged as backup.
    Al: We've been on the road for 18 hours. I need a bath, some chow... then you and me sit down, and we talk about who dies. Huh?
  • Blood Knight: Al is a thug at heart who loves the violence and the thrill of the action, the business-like aspects and benefits of the profession are of secondary importance.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Loud, tough and fun-loving when his psychopathy doesn't get in the way.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Mentioned in "Anastasia".
    Pearl: That fella Al he can be really scary sometimes.
    Jimmy: He's all right. He's just from Brooklyn, that's all.
  • Bully Hunter: Slips into this in "Blue Bell Boy".
  • Cigar Chomper
  • Dawson Casting: Capone is supposed to be 21 in the pilot, Graham is in his 30's.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Al never thinks too far ahead, and as we see time and again, it comes back to haunt him.
  • The Dragon: To Torrio, though History tells us he's likely a Dragon with an Agenda.
  • Dude Where Is My Respect: When a journalist writes a chronicle of his crimes, Al is incensed that the guy 1) portrayed him as a mere underling of Torrio and 2) misspelled his name.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A loving father, husband, brother, and son, but do not cross Al.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: When Al is about to be arrested, he tells his son to concentrate on his studies and "be a good boy".
  • Friendly Enemy: With Luciano. He can't seem to resist winding "Sal" up.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The major gimmick of his portrayal. His first scene just has him standing besides Torrio while he is introduced to Arnold Rothstein and Lucky Luciano; he doesn't speak and neither the camera nor the characters adknowledge him more than a random extra. His following introductory scene features him as a lowly driver having a friendly chat with Jimmy, where we only learn at the end that he's the most famous gangster in history.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Speaks it fluently, being from an old-country family.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: By season 5, he swings wildly and unpredictably between gregarious and murderous.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Stephen Graham is rather cute. The real Al was not.
  • Historical Person Punchline: His introduction during the Pilot.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • The Hyena
  • It's Personal: Frank's death.
    Every fucking thing that crawls is gonna pay.
  • Kick the Dog: He speaks very ill of Angela after she dies and casually abandons Jimmy in the season 2 finale. Even Mickey Doyle, who was pretty much responsible for Ange's death, is a bit disturbed by it.
  • Large Ham: Rules his empire in such a way that everybody in town can hear that he's bigger and larger than a movie star.
  • Leeroy Jenkins
  • Morality Pet: His deaf son is one for him.
  • The Napoleon: Because of Graham's cast, the character has shades of this. The real Al Capone was a bigger guy.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • He unleashes two in the first season, first on a clueless reporter who wanted his help on incriminating Torrio in Big Jim's murder, and then on a poor Greek bartender who wouldn't pay protection rackets to Torrio because he was already paying to a different mobster.
    • In the third season he actually kills the target - a thug of O'Banion who had attacked one of his collectors, Jake Guzik.
    • He gives yet another one in Season 5. He beats one of his own men to death, simply because he didn't like the guy for some reason and was looking for an excuse to kill him.
  • Pet the Dog: There's a scene in Season 3 where he tries to teach his son to fight back against a bully. His son, scared, starts crying, and Al hugs him and comforts him. It's heartwarming, even more so when he later plays the guitar and sings to his son by putting Al Jr's hands on his vocal chords.
  • Phony Veteran: Although he stops such claims after being called on it by Jimmy.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He's like a big kid who loves practical jokes. A pretty violent kid, but a kid.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red, to Jimmy's and Torrio's Blue.
  • Spiteful Spit: Does one before Chalky in "Margate Sands".
  • Took a Level in Badass: This and his Character Development is signaled by his trading a newsboy cap for a stylish fedora.
  • Trigger Happy: Al's solution to everything is generally a combination of Kill It With Bullets and Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?.
  • Young Future Famous People: When we first meet him in season 1, he's just a lowly driver.

    Giovanni "Johnny" Torrio 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/johnny-torrio-BE_4974.jpg
"Let's say the whole thing was an unfortunate series of misunderstandings."
The Italian crime boss of Chicago during the early 20s, he was the Number Two to Big Jim Colosimo before he made the error of not getting into the illegal alcohol business and was forcibly retired. Torrio is, however, far from being ruthless and always tries to use diplomacy first when dealing with other gangsters. Played by Greg Antonacci.

Tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Easily the nicest mafioso seen in the series.
  • Benevolent Boss: For a mob boss, he's pretty nice to his employees. He treats the girls at the bordello well, and takes Al under his wing.
  • Dawson Casting: Either this or Playing Hamlet since his age is left vague, but the real Torrio was only 38 in 1920.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Is one to Colosimo, and Al also will become his.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: He wanted to get in the alcohol business. Big Jim didn't. So now there is no more Big Jim.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Tells it often to Capone in the first season.
    What's this "Johnny" shit?
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Torrio was Neapolitan and his criminal gang was run like a Camorra as opposed to a Sicilian Mafia. He makes no distinction between Italians and Irish in his gang, and at some point invites Al to respect the Jews and learn from them.
  • Evil Mentor: To Al. And now to Luciano and Lansky.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Occasional, although some dubs exaggerate it.
    • After returning from the mother country, basically all of Torrio's dialogue is related to Italy in some way.
  • It's Personal: The Sieben Brewery raid, one minute after O'Banion sells him the place. It makes Torrio give in to Capone's belligerance and order O'Banion's murder.
  • Kick the Dog: His hasty dismissal of Pearl. Admittedly it was a business decision.
    Jimmy: I can cover for her.
    Torrio: A hundred dollars a day?
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: As shocking as it is, he does suggest this to Nucky. When Nucky asks Torrio and Rothstein what he should do about Jimmy, Torrio immediately snaps "kill the prick". Doubly surprising because Torrio likes Jimmy too.
  • Non-Action Guy
  • Passing the Torch: To Al in the Season 4 finale.
    It's yours, Al, This is a young man's game. Take it. The whole operation. You win, kid. I'm out of your way. It's Europe for me.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He accepts Jimmy's advice while conducting the war against Sheridan when he could easily blame losses on him and Al.
  • Retired Badass/Know When to Fold 'Em: Played with:
    • After returning from Italy with a new perspective on life, Johnny Torrio decides to quit while he's ahead and largely withdraws from his criminal enterprise, unofficially handing over the reins to Al Capone, who seems to be thinking about redundancy in the reaction shots.
    • In Season 4 Torrio has to reiterate that he's not retiring and gets angry when Capone implies the contrary but finally calls it quits after an attempt on his life, and advises Nucky to do the same.
    • In Season 5, this gets subverted as it's revealed that he joined Luciano's syndicate and set Nucky up to get assassinated.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In "The Pony" a furious O'Banion sets a meeting with Torrio to demand that he punish Al for killing one of O'Banion's men. Before he can say anything, Torrio just tells him that life is short, that he doesn't give a shit about the incident, and that if O'banion has a problem with Al he should discuss it with Al.
  • The Syndicate: Torrio's group operated as a large scale illegal business in control of vice rackets throughout Chicago. Torrio organized various rackets into an illegal monopoly which was supported by political influence, union tampering, bribery, and violence.
  • Team Switzerland: Frequently.
    • In season one, he spent most of his time mediating between New York (Rothstein and Luciano), Philadelphia (the D'Alessios), and Atlantic City (Nucky).
    • In season two, he stayed out of things entirely until Nucky asked for his advice. Even then, Torrio does not act directly, just advises Nucky. The Young Turks also seem regard him as less of a threat than Nucky or Rothstein - probably due to Capone's protectiveness.
    • In season three, after a holiday in Naples, he decides to appreciate life and take things slowly, largely avoids the gangster business, makes it known that O'Banion needs to go through Al, and turns Nucky's request for help down flat.
    • Seems like it's played straight in season 4 with Capone's increasing hostility with O'Bannion. But after Deanie goes one step too far and gets Torrio arrested, Torrio changes his stance.
    Torrio:Kill that Irish fuck!
    • In Season 5 he brokers a meeting between Maranzano and Nucky. He's exploiting his conciliatory reputation to catch them off guard and kill them, as Torrio is secretly in league with Lanski and Luciano.
  • Visionary Villain

    Giacomo "Big Jim" Colosimo 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Colosimo-BE_2474.png
"You should all come to my restaurant. If you like to eat, you eat. If you don't like to eat... uh-hu-hu."
The leader of a criminal vice ring in Chicago till he retired in early 1920 on account of a bullet to his head. Played by Frank Crudele.

Tropes:

    Jake Guzik 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/BE-Jake-Guzik_2736.png
"As long as it's not Kugel, the wife is off my back."
A Chicago pimp, brewer and bribe collector for Johnny Torrio with some serious metabolism problems. Played by Joe Caniano.

Tropes:

    Ralph "Bottles" Capone 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ralph_capone_be_6126.jpg
"I usually handle the more executive angle of things."
One of Al Capone's older brothers. Played by Domenick Lombardozzi.

Tropes:

Advertisement:

    Frank Capone 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/frank_capone_be_672.jpg
"Enjoy your work boys, but... leave 'em so they can talk."
Another of Al Capone's brothers. Played by Morgan Spector.

Tropes:

North Side Gang

    Charles Dean O'Banion 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/BE-Dean-Obanion_1508.png
"You've been a bad boy, Alphonse."
Introduced in season three as a new rival for Capone, O'Banion's Irish gang runs Chicago's North Side. He's recently started edging into Jake Guzik and Capone's territory, though. Played by Arron Shiver.

Tropes:

  • Asshole Victim: His death at the hands of Frankie Yale's men.
  • Bad Boss: He does not treat his employees with much respect. He plays a prank on one of them by rigging a shotgun to backfire. When the man complains that he could have been blinded, O'Banion finds it hilarious - and tells the man to not make him find it unfunny.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Encroaching on Torrio's territory is a bad idea to begin with, but then O'Banion also starts making fun of Al Capone's deaf son.
    • In season 4 he has the brilliant idea of selling a brewery to Torrio and then, with the ink on the signature still wet, he has cops bust in and arrest Torrio for owning a brewery. The double cross is so blatant that as soon as Torrio makes bail, he orders Al Capone to kill O'Banion in retaliation.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Foregone Conclusion: Those familiar with the history of the era will know that Van Alden's attempt to assassinate him has to fail, because in real life, he was killed by two gunmen led by Frankie Yale. * Historical Domain Character:
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Idiot Ball / Conflict Ball: Not only is the encroaching in others territory and the brewery parts true, the show also leaves out multiple instances of O'Banion stealing liquor from other bootleggers, hijacking trucks while en route, trying to frame Torrio and Capone for a murder, or simply "trolling" the Genna brothers, a Sicilian gang affiliated with the Outfit, for no apparent practical reason. The week before his murder, O'Banion conned Angelo Genna out of a large sum of money, which apparently was the final nail on his coffin.
  • Indy Ploy: He is in his flower shop about to be killed by Capone when a salesman walks in. Thinking on his feet, he makes Capone think that the salesman is O'Banion's bodyguard and has a gun in his travel case. Capone backs off.
  • The Irish Mob
  • Jerkass: Makes a deaf joke about Al's son.
  • Pet the Dog: Gives Van Alden a free boutique of flowers for his wife and buys two dozen of his irons as a sign of gratitude for saving his life from Al Capone.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: While discussing the Leopold and Loeb case with Hymie Weiss, O'Banion claims that they abducted the boy to rape him and when "he wouldn't bend over" they killed him. Weiss points out that they sent a ransom note first, to which O'Banion responds that as Jews, they wouldn't do anything for free.
  • The Rival: For Capone, in Real Life too.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He hits Capone's Berserk Button several times on purpose, blatantly betrays Johnny Torrio which nearly lands Torrio in jail. And Torrio didn't even want to kill him in the beginning. And it's Truth in Television too, as the real O'Banion alienated and pissed off quite a lot of other people as well.
  • Troll
  • Villains Out Shopping: O'Banion is a florist. And it's not a cover for bootlegging and other criminal enterprises. He really owns and works at a flower shop and can be found there tidying up bouquets.[[labelnote:In real life...:]]The real O'Banion originally took up the florist job as a money-laundering scheme, but found that he liked doing it.

    Henry Earl J. "Hymie Weiss" Wojciechowski 

An associate of Dean O'Banion. Played by Will Janowitz.

Tropes:

Advertisement:

Sheridan Gang

    Charlie Sheridan 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Charlie-Sheridan_6694.png
"You New York fellas make me laugh. You come here from Brooklyn or wherever the fuck you are and act like you own the town."
An Irish gangster who comes into conflict with Jimmy Darmody and Al Capone in Chicago. Played by Frank Shattuck.

Tropes

    Liam 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Boardwalk-Empire_Liam_3609.png
"Jesus... You are like a fuckin' angel!"
One of Charlie Sheridan's goons, responsible for Pearl's mutilation. Played by Sean Weil.

Tropes:

  • Asshole Victim
  • Boom, Headshot!: Sniped by Harrow from across the street, who nails him under the eye.
  • Dirty Coward: Notably absent from Jimmy's meeting with Sheridan after Pearl's disfigurement (though this may have been a tactical move on Sheridan's part). Also a chickenhawk.
  • The Dragon: To Sheridan.
  • First-Name Basis
  • Hope Spot: For a few seconds it looked like Jimmy might actually spare him.
  • Jerkass
  • Karmic Death: Killed by a suicidal disfigured man after disfiguring a woman and driving her to suicide.
  • Kick the Dog: Carving up the resident Hooker with a Heart of Gold didn't do much for audience sympathy towards Liam.
  • Mistaken for Gay: A given when you visit a brothel and ask for two men in a row...
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He and Sheridan both argue that he qualifies, and we don't see enough characterization to know for sure, but he seemed to take some sadistic pleasure in cutting open Pearl's face.

Return to Boardwalk Empire Characters

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report