Today at Slate: Showrunner Terence Winter on Why He Chose to End Boardwalk Empire That Way
Warning: Spoilers ahead for the series finale of Boardwalk Empire.
No Sopranos-style ambiguity here: Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) didn’t survive Boardwalk Empire‘s series finale. The disgraced Atlantic City mob boss was gunned down by Tommy Darmody, son of Jimmy (Michael Pitt), whom Nucky had shot dead, and grandson of Jillian (Gretchen Mol), whom Nucky betrayed decades earlier—as depicted in flashbacks throughout the fifth and final season. Creator Terence Winter breaks down the decision to whack Nucky.
How long ago did you know how you wanted the show to end?
We knew definitively somewhere in the middle of Season 4 that Nucky would die. We ran the different versions of how it might end. We had talked about him going off to a life of obscurity after he gave everything up. In some ways, that felt like a punishment, too—not that we were necessarily trying to punish him. But this felt like a more powerful and dramatic ending.
Have you kept up with Boardwalk Empire? Now that you know it won’t have a lousy ending like Dexter or The Sopranos where its criminal protagonist gets off the hook for his crimes, are you more likely to give it another shot? Binge-watching on streaming at some point, maybe?
Which of the HBO or Showtime shows do you like? Have a favorite?