Margaret Catherine Sheila Rohan Schroeder Thompson
- Absentee Actor: In the first five episodes of Season 4, as Kelly MacDonald needed time off to give birth and recover.
- Adaptation Expansion: Margaret is inspired by Mary Ill, a woman that appears in the prologue of the non-fiction source book Boardwalk Empire coming to Enoch Johnson's office to ask for help after her husband gambles away the family savings. She was also involved in female organizations where she spoke in support of Johnson.
- A Fool And Her New Money Are Soon Parted: Margaret spends vast ammounts of Nucky's money on dresses, jewellery and donations to charity and the Church, but she makes no use of it or his connections to pursue a career or start a business that could give her some independence. She has not even learned to drive as she nears her second year of marriage, despite considering it months before Nucky proposed to her. The season three finale finds her sleeping with her children in a low class apartment in Brooklyn, in even worse conditions than before she met Nucky, after she decides to break up with him.
- Alcoholic Father: His habit worsened the family's situation back in Ireland, and probably led to his early death.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Nucky is an obvious improvement over Hans, but he's still a mob boss. And then she falls for Owen...
- Armor-Piercing Slap
- Arranged Marriage: To Nucky.
- Betty and Veronica: Betty to Lucy's Veronica.
- Because of the danger that is dating her after she marries Nucky, she is the Veronica to Katy's Betty when it comes to Owen.
- Beware the Nice Ones: A non-violent example. She's way smarter than other people credit her for and has a lot of determination.
- Black Sheep: Was one when she left home, although her younger sisters (too young to remember the reasons anyway) consider her their Cool Big Sis. Her older brother Eamonn is still wary of her.
- Cheating With The Bodyguard
- Cool Big Sis: To her sisters, especially the youngest, Ayllesh.
- Dark and Troubled Past
- Deadpan Snarker: Occasionally.
- Delivery Stork: She makes up a story about one of these getting lost to tell her young children who are confused about her miscarriage.
- Demoted to Extra: In the first three seasons, she appeared on every episode except one ("Two Imposters") and was the actor with the most appearances after Steve Buscemi. After she leaves Nucky at the end of season 3, her role is greatly reduced; in season 4, she only appeared in 4 episodes out of the 12, though Kelly Mac Donald still got second billing. Her role was somewhat larger in season 5 (6 out of 8 episodes) but still reduced compared to the first three seasons.
- Determined Widow
- Domestic Abuse: Suffered this from her drunken, lazy first husband.
- Dry Crusader: At the beginning of the series, she's a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and a supporter of prohibition.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Nucky prefers her to keep her speech Irish-accented and free of Americanisms.
- FaceHeel Turn: Her awesome moment in "Ourselves Alone" probably qualifies as this.
- Fake Irish: Kelly MacDonald is actually Scottish.
- Happy Marriage Charade: To Nucky in the third season.
- Heroic BSoD: In "A Man, A Plan..." when she sees Owen's dead body in a box.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: Kelly McDonald was starting to get heavily pregnant by the end of Season 3 and dressed in extra-loose 20s clothes in order to hide it. Ironically, her character also got pregnant at the same time (though at a later date) and decided to abort.
- Hypocrite: An increasingly prominent aspect of Margaret in the first three seasons, with her disapproving almost everything Nucky does, but being fine with paying the Church (with his money) as an easy way out of her own sins. Eventually, at the end of season 3, she leaves him, and when he tries to give her money, she refuses to accept it.
- In-Series Nickname: Her siblings call her "Peg".
- It's All My Fault: After Emily gets sick in the second season, she gets paranoid thinking that it is nothing but divine punishment directed to her for her "sinful" life.
- Lady Macbeth: Seems to be going in this direction in "Ourselves Alone", but by "Two Boats and a Lifeguard" (after Nucky is shot), pleads with him to leave the gangster life.
- Lie Back and Think of England: While still attached to Nucky, she loses interest in having sex with him as season 2 goes on.
- Mafia Princess: Financial security is one of the reasons she hooks up with Nucky. However, she quickly becomes uncomfortable in the role, and tries to support charity instead of buying pretty things.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: She has a brother and three sisters.
- The Missus and the Ex: Her relation with Lucy is far from amiable. Eventually, Lucy is targeted by a Country Matters Precision F-Strike.
- Morality Pet: She and her children are this to Nucky.
- Morton's Fork: Out-of-universe; while she was with Nucky, fans hated her for acting morally superior to him despite living on his ill-gotten money, a la Carmela Soprano; now that she's left him, they're annoyed that she's shown back up because she doesn't have anything to do with his arc.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Saves the day using this in "Ourselves Alone".
- Oh, Crap!: When encountering Arnold Rothstein in her new job in New York.
- The Obstructive Love Interest: Becomes this for Nucky after suffering a sudden crisis of conscience in mid Season 2.
- Overly Long Name
- Precision F-Strike and C Strike: Margaret generally never swears, which makes the moments she does significant, as Lucy finds out.
- Put on a Bus: Along with her children, she leaves at the end of the third season for Brooklyn.
- The Bus Came Back: Nucky contacts her after Eddie kills himself.
- Raised Catholic
- Rags to Riches: Becomes Riches to Rags at the end of the third season.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Margaret and her brother give each other one in "Peg of Old".
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: To Lucy, in two different occasions.
- Silk Hiding Steel: A morally ambiguous example.
- Soapbox Sadie: Margaret is a less hamfisted example than usual: she usually fights against injustices she has genuinely suffered herself. In Season 1 she campaigns for female suffrage, she being an immigrant from a country (Ireland) where women can vote to one (America) where they can't; she supports Prohibition because her abusive husband gets even more violent when he drinks, rather than because she thinks that alcohol is intrinsically immoral (and she drinks herself with moderation); and in Season 3 her main struggle is to open a clinic that teaches women to take better care of themselves during pregnancy, she having already suffered two miscarriages before 30 herself. The one time she considered fighting for a hopeless cause (bringing Nucky's criminal empire down, which is the basis of her own wealth and status to boot) was one time that she was stressed and not thinking rationally because of her daughter being sick and she blaming herself for it.
- Someone to Remember Him By: "A Man, A Plan..." reveals that she is pregnant with Owen's child only after he is killed. Subverted when she has an abortion two episodes later.
- Teen Pregnancy: Revealed in "Family Limitation". Her immigration file notes that she was 16 and pregnant when she sailed from Ireland, but lost the child on arrival.
- The Teetotaler: Begins the series as one, but abandons it as she is corrupted by the good life.
- Token Wholesome: Enforced. Rumors say that Kelly Mac Donald demanded a non-nudity clause in her contract (she declared her unwillingness to do nude scenes after the birth of her first child).
- Though the character - through a Body Double - did have a topless scene in season 1.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- In "Ourselves Alone", when she steals Nucky's ledger from under the police and again in "Gimcrack and Bunkum" when she breaks up the fight between Nucky and Eli by frog-marching Eli out with a shotgun to the head.
- In "Bone For Tuna" she takes another level by playing Dr. Landau and the bishop against each other in order to get the pre-natal care program she wants at the hospital. She may not love Nucky anymore but it seems like she's taken some of his Manipulative Bastard traits.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: She's pretty mean to her maids in the second season, although it's presented as somewhat understandable in light of her own background in service and continued feeling of uncertainty about her family's future and her place in society.
- Too Soon: Her first encounter with Nucky after their breakup doesn't go too well.
- Wanting Is Better Than Having
- Your Cheating Heart: She's attracted to Owen from the start, and ends up sleeping with him in season 2 in a moment of weakness. In season 3, after she finds out about Nucky's infidelity, she starts an affair with Owen, and plans to leave Nucky for him.
Theodore "Teddy" Thompson, born Schroeder
- Abusive Parents: Alcoholic Parent and Domestic Abuser Hans Schroeder was a real piece of work.
- Creepy Child / Troubling Unchildhood Behavior: As a result of his deadpan delivery, the way he asked if his little sister was going to die without seeming worried about it, how he feigned being crippled himself to draw Margaret's attention, or the fact that he always knows more than he seems, in no small part because he actively spies on other people. And then he is also a:
- Green-Eyed Monster: He is jealous of his sister receiving more attention.
- Happily Adopted: All things considered, the kids lot in life is greatly improved by Nucky and they genuinely love him.
- Morality Pet: Nucky also loves and cares for them.
- Obliviously Evil: Possibly on the way to become this. Teddy is after all just a kid, but nobody ever bothers to sit down and explain him why the things he does are bad.
- Parental Neglect: Though Nucky is a very decent parent, living temporarily in a hotel suite / criminal HQ is not the best environment for raising kids.
- Margaret devotes most of her time to Emily after she gets polio, neglecting Teddy, and his isolation only gets worse when she gets angry with Nucky and tries to keep him from contacting them. What makes Margaret's choice worse is that Teddy clearly yearns for a father figure.
- Parental Substitute: Nucky Thompson goes from Honorary Uncle to parent.
- Primal Fear: Teddy fears "the gypsy", a bagman whose very name sounds like Gyp Rosetti.
- Unknown Rival: The poor guy really exists and is just a bum. Let's hope Teddy never finds him.
- Rags to Riches: Zigzagged Trope.
- Turn Out Like His Father: Margaret fears that Teddy will grow up to be an abuser like Hans.
- The Unfavorite
Emily Thompson, born Schroeder
- Abusive Parents: Hans.
- Afraid of Needles
- Break the Cutie: In Season 2.
- Children Are Innocent
- Happily Adopted: By Nucky.
- Ill Girl: She is paralyzed with polio in Season 2 and forced to walk on crutches.
- Mafia Princess
- Morality Pet: To Nucky, and all things considered, to Teddy.
- Parental Neglect: See Teddy above. Of the two she is the one that gets more attention, however.
- Parental Substitute: Nucky.
- Rags to Riches: Zigzagged Trope.
- Acceptable Ethnic Targets: His German heritage makes him an easy scapegoat in post-World War I America.Nucky: A hun, you believe that? But is it really all that surprising, the level of brutality?
- Asshole Victim: He is a violent, abusive alcoholic bastard who hits and mistreats his children and beats his pregnant wife so viciously she suffers a miscarriage. After accusing her of being a whore. And taking the nest egg he'd found out she had, and going off to drink and gamble it away. He's bad enough that Nucky personally signs off a hit on him, at a time when Nucky was basically just a grafting politician, not a gangster, and definitely not a killer.
- Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: He's made the fall guy for the Woods Massacre.
- Domestic Abuse: Beats Margaret repeatedly during the pilot. Season 2 confirms that he also beat the children.
- The Gambling Addict
- Hate Sink: An abusive father and a wife-beating scumbag with no redeeming qualities.
- Karmic Death: After he beats Margaret so hard she miscarries, Nucky orders Eli to beat him to death without even telling him why.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: His death ain't precisely pretty.
- Sacrificial Lamb: You don't actually expect Nucky to whack him in the pilot.
Margaret's estranged older brother, now working as a subway digger in Brooklyn.
- Aloof Big Brother: To Margaret. He outright says to her: "I don't feel much about you at all."
- Fake Irish: Like MacDonald, Curran is also Scottish.
- Fiery Redhead: Averted. Eamoinn always accepts authority and has no ambition besides working to survive and provide for his sisters.
- Demoted to Extra: Eamoinn was likely slated to return in Season 4 when Season 2 was written, but Margaret's drastically reduced screentime (in part because of Kelly Macdonald's Real Life pregnancy) meant that any part he had was scrapped. His feet are still visible in one scene, obviously from an extra, showing the cramped conditions Margaret and her children sleep in after they leave Nucky to live with the Rohans.
- Jerkass: He is not even one time nice to Margaret when she comes back home.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Though he is harsh in his dealings with Margaret, he calls her out on several of her less than upstanding actions and tendencies that we observe during the course of the series. Among these are her accusing a boy of rape to obscure a relationship out of wedlock, her theft of her family's money, and her It's All About Me attitudes as noted in his page quote. Not to mention her tendency to attach herself to virtually any man for her own gain. While she was trying to avoid a hard life, the conditions that she would have found herself in were par for the course for women of the time.
- Parental Substitute: To his younger sisters, particularly Aylesh.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He unleashes one on Margaret in "Peg of Old". Of course, since this is a show with Black and Gray Morality, Eamoinn's reasons to hate Margaret is that she does not blindly follow authority while that he always does, even when that meant condemning a teenage Margaret to a life of slavery in a Magdalene Laundry. 12 years later, he still does not regret his position and holds her escape against her.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: He initially takes the money when Margaret attempts to return what she stole from the family back in Ireland, but returns it to her and tells her to not come back when he believes that she is going to 'corrupt' Aylesh.
- Thicker Than Water: Despite his dislike for Margaret, he still lets her to live in his apartment when she leaves Nucky and has nowhere to go.
Margaret's oldest sister and the third Rohan child overall. She works as a seamtress.
- All There in the Manual: Some fans mistook her for Eamoinn's wife.
- Foil: To Eamoinn. She welcomes Margaret back and helds nothing against her, and has no problem with Margaret spending her money as she likes, regardless of how she obtained it.
- Nice Girl: "You've a good heart, Nuala."
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations:Margaret: Eamoinn... thank you for replying to my letter.Nuala (to Margaret, smiling): Couldn't leave you wandering out there, so far from home. (turns back to Eamoinn, serious) Could we?
- Parental Substitute: To Beth and Aylesh. Presumably, to Margaret's kids later, as Margaret mentions that her sisters helped raising them.
Bethany "Beth" Rohan
Margaret's youngest sister and the only one who has lost her Irish accent after moving to America. She was a newborn when Margaret left and has no memory of her.
- All Girls Like Ponies: She tells Margaret to send her books about horses. When Margaret brings her one personally and Aylesh is in a sad mood, she asks if the horse dies because she "wouldn't like that".
- Bilingual Bonus: She welcomes Margaret with a toast in Gaelic that goes untranslated. Additionally, the toast is given entirely in an American accent, serving to present Aylesh's character.Sláinte chuig na fír, agus go mairfidh na mna go deo!Transl.
- Cheerful Child: Most of the time, at least.
- Fiery Redhead
- If Only You Knew: Her imaginative description of Nucky nails him completely.
- Missing Mom: Aylesh barely remembers hers.
- You Read Too Much Books