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    Albert "Chalky" White 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Chalky-White_3216.jpg
"Dis here ma Daddy tools."
Nucky's political connection to and equivalent within Atlantic City's black community, as well as partner in the bootlegging business. He often makes clear how much Nucky owes him and he treats Nucky as an equal rather than his superior. Played by Michael K. Williams.

Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: The prison farm he escaped from was in Maryland.
    • Chalky is also the only main character tied in some way to Baltimore, The Wire's setting. In S2 he sets Baltimore thug Dunn Purnsley for a beating, then offers him a place by his side. In S4, one of his newfound allies claims to go to Baltimore, but instead betrays Chalky to Dr. Narcisse.
  • Advertised Extra: He was deliberately kept at a minimum in the first season, often chaining one One-Scene Wonder after another. His role was later expanded after he had proven to be popular with the audience.
  • Anti-Villain: He's a gangster in order to help his community and is very protective of his employees. He's also revealed in season two to be a loving husband and father, and given the era, it's clear that his upper class life wouldn't be reachable within the law.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit
  • Bad Boss: Subverted, he gets compared to Simon Legree by Nucky during one of their first interactions, but Chalky is not particularly abusive towards his underlings and eventually shows his paternalism.
  • Batter Up!: His method to bust down a drug den in the Northside in "The Old Ship of Zion".
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Daughter Maitland.
  • Berserk Button: Looks like a Bad Boss at first, but touch any of his workers, I dare you!
  • Book Dumb: Chalky is barely literate, and on several occasions is mocked by other lighter-skinned characters (white and black) for his lack of education. However, he is extremely street smart and has risen to a position of respect and influence despite being only one generation removed from slavery.
  • Breakout Character: When you compare his role in the pilot to his role in late season one and season two, you can tell his plot relevance has increased exponentially. By the 4th Season, Chalky is one of the three leads.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Picked on by clueless Dunn Purnsley in "Ourselves Alone".
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Bowties, square-patterned suits, red coat and fedora.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: That's what his Daddy's tools are for.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His father was set up and lynched by racists who were jealous of his talent as a carpenter. After seeing that his family could do nothing about it, the young Chalky left home and has not seen his mother and siblings ever since.
  • Death Glare: Chalky is a master of this.
  • Deuteragonist: In season 4, where only Nucky appears in more episodes and it's arguable that the central conflict with Narcisse is more Chalky's than Nucky's for much of the season.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Despite his obvious talent, he is looked down upon by whites and even faces condescension from lighter-skinned blacks due to his skin color.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: He is relieved that his kids are more intelligent and cultured than him and tries hard to prevent her daughter from dating figures similar to him. He gets absolutely furious when his daughter refuses to marry a stand-up, respectful and brave young doctor, instead yearning for an adventurous life with dangerous, illiterate folk. Chalky makes a point out of it after his daughter sees what he does for a living
    Am I interesting now?
    • When he says goodbye to his daughter with Daughter Maitland, he tells her: "Keep away from men like me."
  • Face Death with Dignity: He shows no fear when he's about to be executed by Narcisse's men. His last words are a calm "all right, then".
  • Foil: Many viewers have pointed that Chalky and Nucky are practically brothers from a different mother, sharing several personality traits and even dressing similarly; in other words, Chalky is who Nucky would be if he had been born black and had to deal with racial discrimination. This is also fitting from a meta point of view: While Chalky's character is fictional, Nucky's basis Enoch Johnson had that same standing among AC's African-American community and did some of Chalky's actions. In a way, both characters are inspired by the same person.
  • Go Out with a Smile
  • Guns Akimbo: In "The Emerald City".
  • Handicapped Badass: In "White Horse Pike," Chalky catches a bullet in his shoulder during the attempted hit on Narcisse. Later, after he and Maitland flee town, he realizes that the deputies driving them are actually planning to kill him. Even with his arm and shoulder trussed up, he's still able to twist one deputy's gun hand around and shoot him with his own service revolver, then strangle and break the neck of the other.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Forgoes his revenge and gives himself up to Narcisse so that Daughter can be free.
  • Ironic Nickname: Overlaps with Ironic Name, as in addition to his nickname, the name Albert also means white.
  • Jive Turkey: 1920s Jive Turkey.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The Grand Cyclops.
  • Knight Templar Parent: He can be remarkably cruel to his family, though he has valid reasons for doing so.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Nucky, who is no stranger to this weakness, points out that his relationship with Daughter Maitland is making him neglect the business and take hasty decisions.
  • Malaproper: "Ain't need to spell it. Just pay for it."
  • Manly Tears: While he holds himself in public, he tears down when Daughter Maitland sings "The Old Ship of Zion" for him - the song they did at his father's funeral.
  • Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: He's a gangster in order to help his community in the first place. For a black man, the underworld seems to be one of the few roads that lead to respect and influence.
  • Never Learned to Read: The second episode of the second season all but says this outright. He doesn't even seem to know that the book his son's given him isn't "Tom Sawyer", it's "David Copperfield".
  • Nouveau Riche: A major part of his character. Chalky is an uneducated, self-made man from a humble background. He has married an educated, light-skinned trophy wife from a wealthier background who gives their children classical educations. He's an outsider in his own family.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His wife is the only person that calls him by his real name.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: His carpenter father was killed by white supremacists, and now he uses his father's tools on them.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    • "I ain't building no bookcase."
    • "How you know I drive a Packard?"
    • "It says... take your finger outta ma face."
    • "How much is he paying you to fuck me?"
  • Punny Name
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The head of the black community and the only associate who sticks with Nicky during his Darkest Hour, even after Nucky (initially) rejects one of Chalky's projects.
  • Scary Black Man: Particularly if you are a Klansman.
  • Screwed by the Network: His S4 subplot, one of the year's heaviest, is rather contrively solved in just a few scenes of S5. Things surely would have been different, had HBO not cancelled the show 2 seasons early and given Winter only 8 episodes to tie everything up.
  • Tranquil Fury: Whether it's shooting back at a Klansman or strangling a bad-mouthed gangster, he's not going to lose his cool.
    • Not So Stoic: His wife refusing to cook hoppin john is a different matter.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Daughter Maitland. They Do. The Slap-Slap-Kiss way.
  • Where Da White Women At?: Downplayed. While he is not actually interested in white women, he is visibly attracted to light-skinned black women.
  • Working on the Chain Gang: Sometime during a Time Skip between season 4 and 5, Chalky ended up being sent to a chain gang.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: He decided this was the case for himself when his father was lynched and his family was powerless to do anything about it.
  • Your Cheating Heart: With Daughter Maitland.

    Dunn Purnsley 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dunn_purnsley_suit_791.jpg
"What I don't like 'bout you?"

A large and intimidating Baltimore criminal that Chalky meets in jail. After being on the receiving end of a beatdown from Chalky and his men, he becomes Chalky's Number Two. Played by Eric LaRay Harvey.

Tropes:

  • Angry Black Man: The 1920's version thereof.
  • Ascended Extra: Was supposed to only be in "Ourselves Alone", but the creative team loved Harvey's performance so much that they brought him back as Chalky's new Number Two.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: As he moves up on Chalky's gang, he gets to wear some really awesome suits.
  • Bash Brothers: Displays a perfect compenetration with Chalky during life-and-death situations during a Mob War.
  • Berserk Button: Dunn really does not like arrogant white men bossing him around.
  • Blood Is the New Black: In "New York Sour", following a burst of Unstoppable Rage.
  • Book-Ends: His first and last meeting with Chalky consists of Dunn recieving a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from him.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • To Chalky in "Ourselves Alone". He learns his lesson.
    • And done to Dunn himself in "New York Sour". See The Dog Bites Back.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gets a few zingers in "Two Impostors".
  • Death Glare: Gives one to Chalky when he burns the drugs Dunn had been peddling for Dr. Narcisse.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After Chalky gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown (without even lifting a finger), he becomes deferential to him. Deconstructed in that his new loyalty becomes frail and eventually wanes.
  • Didn't See That Coming: He's supremely confused when Narcisse's Honey Trap Daughter Maitland sides with Chalky and stabs Dunn.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • In Season 2, he deliberately stages a rebellion among the berated black kitchen staff in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel as part of Nucky's plans to regain power in Atlantic City.
    • In Season 4, Dunn is tricked and humiliated by a racist white couple who nonetheless have an interracial cuckold fetish. The two have been likely doing that with other black men for years, but Dunn snaps back and kills the man with a broken bottle.
    • In "The Old Ship of Zion", Narcisse gives Dunn the order to kill Chalky. During the ensuing fight, Dunn takes time to make clear that he hated having to say "yes sir" to Chalky after he had Dunn's face kicked in.
  • The Dragon: To Chalky.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In "Erlkönig" Gillian, hitting rock bottom, comes to buy heroin from Dunn short of money - and suggests that she can pay in some other way if he prefers. Dunn takes the money.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: For some reason Dunn is more than eager to start a fight with his fly or pants down.
  • Facial Horror: As if having his face kicked in his debut episode (losing at least two teeth as a result) wasn't enough, he has his cheek pierced - from the inside out - in "The Old Ship of Zion". Fittingly enough, Dunn's send away episode.
  • The Gadfly: While part of it is his political convictions, he also just seems to enjoy aggravating people.
  • Gold Tooth: As a gesture of good-will, Chalky paid for a nice set of gold teeth to replace the ones kicked out during the aforementioned No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: He kills a man with it in "New York Sour".
  • He Knows Too Much: In "The Old Ship of Zion", Dunn kills Moses, his assistant in the heroin dealing business, to keep Chalky from interrogating him.
  • Hidden Depths: He can play the piano.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • In the Back: Attempts to assassinate Chalky under orders from Dr. Narcisse and winds up getting stabbed in the back by Daughter Maitland pulling a High-Heel–Face Turn.
  • Jive Turkey
  • Killed Mid-Sentence:
    What the Hell... kind of mischief... you...
  • Knife Nut
  • The Mole: Planted in the kitchen of the Ritz to kickstart a strike among its black workers.
  • Never Learned to Read: An ambiguous case. In "Ourselves Alone", he guesses correctly that Chalky can't read and keeps trying to get him to admit it, but doesn't correct Chalky when he says the title of the book (Tom Sawyer, when he has a copy of David Copperfield) or the plot (a story Chalky completely makes up, based on a picture). In "Erlkönig" he is seen handling a newspaper at a barbershop, but he doesn't overturn the pages either and could be looking at the pictures or using it to feign literacy like Chalky did.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • On the receiving end of one in "Ourselves Alone".
    • On the giving end in "Spaghetti and Coffee".
  • Ruthless Out-of-Town Gangster: He tries to show himself as this in his first appearance - and it fails spectacularly. Nevertheless, Chalky is impressed enough to hire him.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: In punishment for killing a man Chalky had deals with, Chalky orders him to get rid of the body and witness himself, and demotes him from staff manager of The Onyx to moving the furniture.
  • Scary Black Man
  • The Starscream: His relation with Chalky sours in Season 4, which Narcisse takes advantage of to make his way in Atlantic City.
  • Third-Person Person: Occasionally.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Seen in "New York Sour".
  • Where Da White Women At?: One catches his attention in "New York Sour".
  • You Shall Not Pass!: In "Georgia Peaches". Didn't work, but he tried his best.
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    Samuel Crawford 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/SamCrawford_7712.jpg
"I'm just a medical student!"
A medical student and suitor to Chalky White's daughter Maybelle. Played by Ty Robinson.

Tropes:

  • Ascended Extra: Appears in a couple scenes centering around Chalky's family early in Season 2. In Season 3 he gets a great deal of Character Development and eventually plays a pivotal role in the central storyline.
  • But Not Too Black: Deliberately invoked. It appears that this is a requirement to court Chalky White's daughter, whether she likes it or not.
  • Chekhov's Skill: His medical training ends up saving Eddie Kessler's life.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Gets a light scar on his cheek after an incident during a date with Maybelle.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Non-violent example in "Two Imposters". He is called in to perform an impromptu surgery on Eddie, and calmly takes control of the situation.
  • The Medic
  • Nice Guy: After some hood slashes his face in a club and is in turn beaten senseless by Dunn Purnsley, Samuel still considers it his duty to treat the man.

    Lenore White 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Lenore-White_1595.jpg
"Albert, you have a family waiting that loves you."
Chalky's wife, a highly-educated and well-spoken woman. She tries her best to "civilize" him and further the educations of their three children. Played by Natalie Wachen.

Tropes:

    Lester White 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_maxdmqlomj1qc01jno1_500_4837.png
"You're asking Daddy?"
Chalky's first child and the only son. Played by Justiin A. Davis.

Tropes:

  • Deadpan Snarker
  • I Am Not My Father: He is an accomplished piano player and a good student who is going to Morehouse College. He also seems to be aware that Chalky is illiterate and often mocks him for it, even sending him a Door Stopper book when Chalky was in jail.
  • JerkAss

    Maybelle Ann White 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maybelle_white_5438.png
"I'll write a poem about it!"
Chalky's second child and his oldest daughter, as well as girlfriend and later fiancée of Samuel. Played by Christina Jackson.

Tropes:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Her father calls her "babygirl".
  • Daddy's Girl
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Played with. In Samuel's first Season 2 appearance, it seems that Chalky disapproves of his daughter dating a high-yellow "domesticated" type, and he drunkenly lashes out at the dinner table. However, by Season 3 Chalky has had a change of heart and decides that it's best for his daughter to have that kind of stability in her life. In turn, Maybelle has apparently lost interest in Samuel, longing for a "bad-boy" type like her father. Chalky will have none of this, and decides that Maybelle will marry Samuel. Maybelle does eventually come around after witnessing a violent confrontation in a negro club, and Samuel's altruistic behavior during this incident.
  • Mafia Princess: Unlike most examples, she knows what her father does for a living and is okay with it. At least, until she sees an example first hand in "Spaghetti and Coffee".
  • Murder by Mistake: Richard is set up to shoot Narcisse, but takes just long enough to steady himself that she walks into the shot.

    Adeline "Addi" White 

Chalky's youngest child. Played by Skai Jackson and Dominique Swift.

Tropes:

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