Post Mortem: Boardwalk Empire Boss Answers Burning Finale Questions, Previews Season 4

Boardwalk Empire Season 4 SpoilersIf you have yet to watch this week’s Boardwalk Empire finale, avert your eyes now. Everyone else, read on…

And here we thought September’s True Blood finale dropped a lot of hemoglobin. Sunday’s third-season ender of Boardwalk Empire boasted an almost three-figure body count, with the award for most pivotal death going to Bobby Cannavale’s ruthless gangster Gyp Rosetti. There were emotional casualties as well (we’re looking at you Margaret), as well as a handful of cliffhangers — several of which are about to be resolved right now.

In the following Q&A, Boardwalk Empire boss Terence Winter answers all your finale burning questions, including doozies like, Is Gillian dead? Was that Margaret’s final episode? Is there a future for Richard and Julia? And is Nucky 100 percent gangster now?

RELATED | Boardwalk Empire Boss Reveals Why Owen Had to Die

TVLINE | Gyp and Gillian’s big S&M seduction scene – what was that day on the set like?
[Laughs] Very tense. Completely professional. Both of them were at the top of their games. But it was very tense, very cat-and-mousy, very sexy. And it was also fun, too. Even [with] the most tense, dramatic scenes there’s a lot of laughter. We really have a great time doing the show.

TVLINE | Did Gretchen Mol and Bobby Cannavale improv any of that?
No. There’s almost no improvisation on this show.

TVLINE | Are you sad to see that dynamic end so soon after it began?
Absolutely. The temptation is to want to keep things alive, keep taking the same ride over and over again. For us as storytellers, the challenge is to do something different. People couldn’t imagine how we could continue the show without Jimmy Darmody. And that’s our challenge as storytellers. In a way you almost [have to] reboot the series and figure it out. And that’s what we’ll do now that we don’t have Gyp.

TVLINE | For the record, Gillian did not die from that injection, correct?
That’s correct. She’s not dead.

TVLINE | The Richard and Julia romance ended on an unsettlingly ambiguous note. Do you have big plans for them heading into Season 4?
I can’t really say. Certainly, both of them will still be on the show. Where that storyline goes you’ll have to tune in next September.

RELATED | Exclusive: The Boardwalk Empire Death Scene You Didn’t See

TVLINE | Her father really came around. What did seeing Richard standing there all bloodied trigger in him?
That took him back to his own days as a soldier. The one level on which these guys can see eye-to-eye and relate to each other is as soldiers. It awakened in him a newfound respect in Richard. Obviously, [he realized that Richard] has been through some horrific situation involving little [Tommy] and he respected that.

TVLINE | Will Season 4 usher in a new Big Bad to replace Gyp?
All I’ll say is there will be new challenges and new conflicts for Nucky. You don’t want to repeat yourself. It’s not just going to be the “Villain Of the Year.” That said, certainly, the essence of drama is conflict and it’s not going to be easy being Nucky Thompson.

TVLINE | Margaret has always been a guarded character. Will the one-two-three punch of Owen’s murder, her abortion and subsequent break-up with Nucky harden her further?
Again, hard to say. I don’t want to give anything away.

TVLINE | Can you confirm that Kelly Macdonald is still a part of the show?

TVLINE | The tagline going into this season was “You Can’t Be Half a Gangster.” At the end of the finale, where does Nucky fall on the gangster spectrum?
He’s completely crossed the line. He’s full gangster. One of the last things he says to Eli is, “I don’t want anyone coming near us that we don’t already know.” Even the guy on the boardwalk at the end says, “Hey, you’re Nucky Thompson,” and Nucky just sort of stares him down. He gets it. He can’t be the glad-handing public figure anymore. He’s got to go underground. He’s got to keep his distance. I think Nucky has learned that lesson.

TVLINE | Nucky and Eli appear to be a pretty solid team heading into Season 4.
That relationship has been rehabilitated — to the extent it could be rehabilitated, given the fact that Eli tried to have him killed — although Nucky doesn’t really know that Eli was exactly the guy who [did] that. But they are as close as can be given their past.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. aleksa says:

    My heart completely broke for Richard.

  2. DanielleZ says:

    The season finale was good and I’m happy about the way things ended. Some great scenes tonight–Gillian/Gyp, Eli/Nucky, Chalky/Capone, Richard tearing down the house, Gpy at the end. Excellent.

    • DanielleZ says:

      And also the scene you mentioned about Richard with Tommy at Julia’s house. Glad about her father’s reaction to him and the situation.

  3. WTactualF says:

    It’s interesting to see what will happen to some of these characters and if what actually happened to them in a real historical sense will impact the show. Luciano, Masseria, Rothstein etc.

    I was a bit disappointed in Margaret’s decision, but I respect her and still think she is a very strong woman for enduring so much and still having dignity and pride.

    I thought the finale was great! I had a feeling Richard was going to swarm in and save Tommy. Can’t wait for next season.

  4. dani says:

    please don’t kill richard off we need him

  5. typo alert says:

    typo — you say season 5 in one of the questions. should be 4.

  6. Murphy Kaye says:

    That show was excellent tonight. Can’t wait for the next season.

  7. Murphy Kaye says:

    The show was excellent tonight. I can’t wait for the next season.

  8. Murphy Kaye says:

    Please don’t kill Richard, maybe he and Julia can get together. Margret and Nucky can rekindle their marriage. What happened to Rothstein?

  9. Darth Pablo says:

    Richard is the man!!! Best scene of the series!!!

    • I couldn’t agree more, when Richard was pulling together all his guns at the end of ep 11 & squealed with delight because I knew he was going to storm the house! I was grinning like an idiot the whole time he was blowing everyone away, the only thing that could have made it better was if he had been the one to take out Gip, I really wanted that to happen but I am content that Gip bit it. I don’t think I could have handled any more of that psychopath & his belt.

  10. Lori P says:

    I’m so glad Gyp RosettI died. Bobby Carnnavale Is such a great actor that I hated him(Gyp). I actually clapped when he was killed.. Sorry, Bobby.
    Withdrawals until next season.

  11. Lea says:

    Richard Harrow was amazing tonight! Loved how he came in and rescued Tommy!

  12. Crystal says:

    I think its going to be an interesting face off next season Julia vs Gillian! That Julia is no weak woman! Looking forward to that.

  13. Becca says:

    Really loved tonight’s episode. Best scene had to be when Richard stormed into the house and took everyone out. Richard is the man!!!
    And Nucky really showed everyone that he is not to be messed with.

  14. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Hmm, my thoughts on season 3. Started off with a bang, lagged in the middle, pulled it together for an amazing final few episodes. Despite it being uneven, I still think this was its best season and was pretty incredible.
    They could have had Chalkie in more episodes. I got to a point where I actually forgot he was on the show, and then one day, there he was, and I was like, oh yeah…Chalkie exists. I was nervous because they weren’t using Richard much in the middle,and then they used him a lot towards the end, so I’m glad for that. I think it was a total mistake to have Van Alden be a character on this show this year. They should have just ended things with him after he ran off with the Swedish nanny. His storylines this year were kind of pointless, but I did enjoy seeing him iron that total ass’s face at his workplace.
    I’m starting to hate Nucky just a little more thanks to his condescending “I forgive you” he gave Margaret about her relationship with Owen. How big of you, Nucky. How big of you. I could do without Eli on the show, he does nothing for me. I wish Gillian had died. I’d like to see Chalkie’s henchman get the boot, because that guy puts off a majorly creepy rapey vibe. Richard broke my heart just a little more. He seems to believe he’s a monster because of his face and the fact he’s a killer, and won’t let himself have a normal relationship with this nice girl who likes him.
    Now for Gyp…yes, I know I’m the only person who’s going to miss Gyp. I just prefer my antagonists to be insane, charismatic, funny, and wildly unpredictable. Those kinds of villains are just fun to have around. I knew he would die though. Too much had happened in his war with Nucky. Those kinds of sins must be paid for with blood in Nucky’s eyes. Bobby Canavalle did so great, I really hope he gets himself an Emmy nomination. Jack Huston would be great too to get nominated. Bone for tuna on your season 4, Boardwalk Empire! (I’m never going to get tired of saying that little gem.)

  15. Scribe says:

    So many awesome things with this episode.

    Richard just walking in and taking all of Gyps man is the absolute highlight for sure but am I the only person that applauded when James Cromwell called that DA woman about Rothstein? Nicely done Nucky! Nicely done!

  16. GLORIA CLARK says:


  17. NancyCleary says:

    we cannot locate broadwayempire finale on tv any help

  18. Ncooke says:

    Where was NELSON !!

  19. Holly says:

    I’m happy Esther Randolph returned in the season finale. I hope she has a bigger role next season. On a related note, the Feds came out of nowhere in last weeks episode. As everything fit into place in the finale, their role with Nucky, Mellon and Rothstein caught me off guard. I was also happy to see Mickey Doyle again. I’ve grown accustomed to his laugh.

  20. Jess says:

    Richard in the club! ’nuff said

  21. Aj Hewitt says:

    I was devastated seeing Mr. Slater in the crate in Ep 11 then to see Margaret’s choice to abort twisted the knife! I was however proud of her for not returning to Nucky. Super glad Gyp is gone, he was an awesome villain though. Super excited for Season 4, it cannot come soon enough!!

  22. Rosey says:

    Where is Van Alden?! Am I the only one who loves that crazy psycho? I’m hoping he becomes a full on gangster soon.

  23. Thremnir Balchin says:

    Great season finale.
    People must remember this is a series about gangsters, and there are seldom Happy Endings for them at the end of it all. There are often no Happy Endings in life, period. Just a series of scenes and phases whereby we emerge simply unscathed – few things are guaranteed to us — less so of “gangsters “.

    Happy to see Nucky and Eli reconciled. Prison time seemed to make Eli grow up, made him more thoughtful. Nucky has grown too, I think he understands now the value of money as it relates to “friendship “. I think he fully expected Chalky to give him up to Gyp. Nucky also realized that he knew next to nothing about his servant /secretary Eddie, and Eddie ready to stand by Nucky to the death.

    I’m very happy The Tin Man pulled through and survived the season ! He is a complex, regal presence, and Jack Huston is a great actor. My favorite character on the show, next to Knucky. Now that Knucky’s irishman is kaput, I can see Richard as “Knucky’s Tin Man “. Maybe Richard will have an epiphany and realize “he is what he is “, and be okay with that.

  24. I don’t think Margaret had the abortion, because she looked kind of surprised seeing the blood when she was in bed with her children, and then so calm when she came out of the bathroom.

    • magicdancer says:

      Uhmm….is confused. Do you mean you think she had a miscarriage and didn’t need to have an abortion?

      • cravin_wallace says:

        I’m wondering if she DIDN’T have an abortion OR a miscarriage and is somewhere else completely still pregnant with Owen’s baby. I guess we’ll find out now that the new season’s begun. I cannot WAIT!

  25. magicdancer says:

    Uhmm….is confused. Do you mean you mean you think she had a miscarriage and didn’t need to have an abortion after all?

  26. J. Caulfield says:

    Miss you Gyp, def one of the greatest villians of all time, Max Cady (Robert De Niro), Officer Stansfield (Gary Oldman), Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson), Brick Top (Alan Ford), Tommy De Vito (Joe Pesci) and now i can happily add Guiseppi Colombano Rossetti (Bobby Cannavale) To my all time Greatest Villians. It will be a crime if Booby doesn`t get an award for that role. Well done Bob.

  27. steve hughes says:

    “ive been on the road for 18 hours, i need a bath,some chow and then you and me sit down and we talk about who dies……AGH” Stephen Graham plays an excellent al capone and i would like to see more of him in season 4

  28. Kym says:

    We never did find out who else nucky’s girlfriend Billie was seeing as well as nucky?

    • Tee says:

      They alluded to Joe Kennedy”Bootlegger Joe/”Spider of Wall Street” the guy with the wire rim glasses Billie was flirting with in the speakeasy scene with her friend Vi and Nucky. Joseph P. Kennedy was JFK’s dad.

  29. Val says:

    I thought I’d be the last person to enjoy a “gangster” show. But I have to say that I LOVED the character development. Bravo…for creating a show of bad guys we can actually love (Jimmy/Owen/Richard–and even Nucky), those we pity (Gillian especially) and those that just make our skin crawl (good riddance Gyp; RIP).

  30. les says:

    excellent show , story line well put together from facts…I always thought there could never be a series to better the ” sopranos ” . but this blew my mind , riveting stuff….

  31. Lauren says:

    UGH!!! I just want Margaret and Nucky to be together!!!!!!!!!!

  32. noelani says:

    I am still holding out a bit of hope about Margaret’s pregnancy, too. If someone had just had either an abortion or a miscarriage, she would be bleeding quite heavily. She would have been wearing rags or one of the new Kotex sanitary napkins that were shown a few episodes earlier. Now, maybe the writers don’t know all that, but I also think there is some possibility that she changed her mind about it. I guess we’ll see!

    As far as Richard and Julia, if I could make just one request of the writers, it would be to allow Richard and Julia to have some happiness together! For anything horrible to happen to either of them might just be enough for me to decide that being a Boardwalk Empire fan is more painful than it is worth!

  33. i think gillian survived because gyp didn’t inject ALL of the heroin into her, i think just some. just enough for her to be in a weakened state. cuz it showed him injecting some into her but not all of it. and he had a soft spot for her and understood why she did it. ya she tried to kill him but maybe he felt like it was uneccessary for her to die cuz she’s not worth it and she’s not really a threat anymore… cuz if he injected that entire thing into her, she’d definitely be dead like that jimmy look a like…

  34. chalky is probably nucky’s only true friend in their business and someone he can actually trust… he could have sold nucky out multiple times but didn’t and chose to stick by him. not even eli should be trusted. i can’t wait until nucky somehow finds out that it was eli’s idea to have his brother killed. idk why he forgave eli but killed jimmy… :/ the guilt he will feel… nucky believed his brother when he said that it was all jimmy too smh

  35. Punica says:

    All those different caracters just perfect. Cant wait to see more.

  36. Mike says:

    Hope it brings other gangsters moving into atlantic city and nucky having them killed

    • Lola says:

      I loved the craziness of Gyp. Bobby Carnavale is fantastic! I am sad to see him go but thankful for the constant amusement Gyp brought to the story line. I would like to see Maragret and Nucky back together. I think they need each other for different reasons. I also like Van Alden going gangster I enjoy watching him and his wife’s antics. Thanks to all and keep up the good work. I am looking forward to season 4

  37. Cheryl Norman says:

    when does the new season begin?

  38. StupidPeopleShutUp says:

    Superb, superb finale. I’ll just echo most of the prevailing opinions here and say it was extraordinary, with the biggest props to Huston for a performance that was EPIC.

  39. Deb says:

    Anyone know when the new season begins?

  40. Marie says:

    Best think on T.V since the Sopranos

  41. Daniel says:

    I think Nucky is a dumb ass for believing Eli when he pinned the idea for Nucky’s murder on Jimmy. Obviously, Capone is a dick so we knew he’d subscribe to the idea but I was a bit shocked when Eli pushed that they should kill Nucky. Eli is a rat and I don’t trust him. R.I.P. Jimmy best character on the show…. aside from Richard who was also my favorite. I’m glad that Richard is still around.

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  43. Sweet Lou says:

    Gyp was great as a gangster and I really liked the way he played dumb whenever somebody tried to correct him (that almost always was the last thing they ever did!)…but as all great gangsters did before and after…he “had to go” and the way he “went” was a
    classic move, as all these guys usually “get it” by someone they think they can trust.
    The real-life Al Capone would have had him ‘wacked’ a lot faster than Nucky did,but then we all wouldn’t have seen what a psycho narcissist is capable of, right?
    Of all the characters to date, Richard (Jack Huston) is the most genuine and believable so far…He fears nothing or no one…the producers will keep him on because he has proved to be a “staple” by being able to fill any role they throw his way,
    and he can make it happen at any time or place they need him in….director John Huston
    would have been proud of him…he is a strong actor and a perfect fit for “Boardwalk”!
    If I were Nucky, he would work along with “Eddie” at this point…as he’s proved to be
    more than capable of handling any situation that comes his way…whether it’s sweet or sour….and I think Nucky went through some “growing-pains” as well as Eli did!
    Looking forward to another great season this week….gotta go now,It’s Labor Day and
    I have to meet some friends down at the “Boardwalk” folks!…Enjoy your day!