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"Boardwalk Empire," Season 1, Episode 7

Season 1, Episode 7

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Every now and then “Boardwalk Empire” reminds me of a film I’ve never actually seen. In 1990, Mobsters imitated the brat-pack Western Young Guns by casting pretty boy actors as 1920s gangsters of New York, including Christian Slater as Lucky Luciano, Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey as Meyer Lansky and Richard Grieco as Bugsy Siegel. The premise and reviews made Mobsters sound like a "Muppet Babies" version of a gangster movie, but apparently the young Al Capone made an appearance, played by Titus Welliver, a.k.a. the Man in Black from “Lost.”

Last night’s “Boardwalk Empire” episode, titled “Home,” introduced another pipsqueak version of a historic gangster with “Michael Lewis,” the snappy-talking young sharpie who tries to make a deal with Chalky White on behalf of the New York mob. We find out later that Michael Lewis is an alias for Meyer Lansky, a real person who becomes a major figure in organizing America’s crime syndicate. Here, he comes across as exactly the kind of hyper-verbal wiseguy the young Steve Buscemi played all the time.

Chalky, perhaps unimpressed by Lansky’s youth or Manhattan references in his spiel, sends him packing, assuming that he’s an agent of Nucky sent to test Chalky’s loyalty. In a subsequent scene, we see that Lansky serves as both frontman and sidekick to Luciano (who’s torn himself away from Gillian’s bed this week). Luciano officially teams up with Doyle and the young Italian gang, and gives them a tip to knock over Nucky’s casino, a heist which will apparently happen next week.



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