Boardwalk Empire Season Finale Post Mortem: EP Terence Winter Reveals Why [Spoiler] Had to Die and Who Will (and Won't) Be Back for Season 5

Harrow under the boardwalkIf you have yet to watch Sunday’s Season 4 finale of Boardwalk Empire, hit the nearest exit. Everyone else, read on…

Well, that was a total bummer.

Boardwalk Empire whacked arguably its most beloved character — Jack Huston’s Richard Harrow — in Sunday’s Season 4 climax, and series creator Terence Winter is here to explain why the legendary sharpshooter’s time was up.

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It’s one of several burning finale questions Winter tackles in the following post mortem, which, as luck would have it, also includes a healthy preview of the drama’s forthcoming fifth season (with specific attention paid to who will be back).

TVLINE | First off, Richard did die, correct?
He is dead, yes. I’m sorry to say.

TVLINE | Why, creatively, was it his time to go?
We felt like we took his storyline as far as we could. By the end of the last season, he essentially felt unworthy, having picked up the guns again after getting away from that life and then going into a downward spiral; he basically felt that that was all he was good for. After he went home [this season] and had his moment with his sister where he says he doesn’t want any more of it and buries the guns, we just felt that if we ever do bring him back out of that — to the point where he’s gonna pick up a gun again — we can’t keep going back to that well. There had to be some conclusion to his story. The events of this year really brought him full circle as a man. He ultimately got what he always dreamed of, a family and a life and somebody who loved him, but [it ended in] a very tragic, unexpected way.

TVLINE | The sequence where we see him walking home without his mask on and his face is no longer disfigured was very powerful. And heartbreaking.
There was a lot of discussion about how to portray that, and how much to let on that, “Are you watching reality? Are you watching his dream? Are you watching the moment of his death?” Certainly, the idea of seeing him without the mask in that one shot is him Richardimagining what his perfect life is… and it’s clear at that point that this is not actually happening.

TVLINE | You’ve killed off a lot of characters over the past four seasons. Where does this one rank in terms of personal difficulty?
Creatively, it wasn’t difficult at all. It was difficult in the sense that we love Jack Huston, and we love that character. So that was really hard. But I really felt like this was the right ending for this character at the right time.

POLL | Boardwalk Empire: Grade the Season 4 Finale

TVLINE | Did you ever consider giving him, God forbid, a happy ending?
[Laughs] We did. We even laughed about it ourselves, “Come on, does anyone get out of here alive and happy?” But Richard had a lot of sins — not that we were trying to punish him. I lost count of how many people he’s killed. People forgive him for anything, because he’s so inherently likable and lovable. I used to laugh about that with Jack, “You really can get away with murder.” People just want to take him home like he’s a puppy. You’ve seen him do some unbelievably horrific things. And, again, not that we were saying Richard can’t have a happy ending because he’s done these bad things. It just felt, from a dramatic standpoint, it just felt much more weighty and, for me, satisfying.

TVLINE | Speaking of unhappy endings, as I was watching Gillian’s redemptive arc unfold this season I had a bad feeling it wasn’t going to end well.
[Laughs] Right.

TVLINE | This was the first season I actually felt sympathy for her. Talk to me about the decision to pull back those layers at this point in her story.
[We wanted to] get to the core of why she became who she was. And when the hammer did fall you wanted people to feel something for her. Or at least understand that character. If anybody has bad things coming to them, certainly Gillian has done some horrible things. I wanted to paint a more complete picture of who she was, and remind people that this is not somebody who was just born evil. She’s had a horrible life herself and is an extremely complicated, sad person. It also made things more complicated for Roy Phillips [Ron Livingston] doing his job. I think he really did truly care for her, whether or not it was love I don’t know. Certainly, when he says, “You’re a very strong woman,” [it’s clear] he really does respect her. And has grown to at least understand her. But he’s extremely principled and had a job to do; and he did the job.

TVLINE | You put a lot of emphasis this season on Gillian’s year-old murder of one-night-stand Roger, while so gillian boardwalk empiremany other murders — the majority committed by male characters — rarely get as much attention. What was different about this particular crime?
This guy was completely innocent. A lot of the people who get killed on this show are criminals themselves — not that that’s a justification for murder. Roger [was killed] merely so Gillian could move the chess pieces around. The worst you could accuse this kid of is greed… maybe he was thinking he was getting a good deal with this woman. He certainly didn’t deserve to be killed for it.

TVLINE | Is this the end of Gillian’s story?
No. She’s a terrific character and Gretchen is a joy to work with. We will certainly see more of her in Season 5.

TVLINE | Will all the progress she’s made be undone now that she’s been hurt and betrayed like this?
Remains to be seen. It will be a new chapter in Gillian’s story. We’ll learn more about who Gillian is and what makes her tick as Season 5 progresses.

TVLINE | Let’s say Will doesn’t walk into that room, does Nucky pull the trigger and kill Eli?
Absolutely. Will showing up saved Eli’s life.

TVLINE | This isn’t the end of Eli’s story either, is it?

TVLINE | Where does the Eli-Nucky dynamic go from here?
They will continue to have a relationship and they have things in common in their extended family. And they certainly have business interests in common. They will continue to be in each other’s worlds. How [what transpired in the finale] affects them emotionally and what the real feelings are remains to be seen.

TVLINE | Kelly Macdonald is essentially the female lead on the show, but Margaret wasn’t seen until roughly the midway point of this season. Why delay her reintroduction?
Boardwalk Empire MargaretFirst and foremost for this show, it’s got to make sense for the characters. I don’t want to wedge people into stories that don’t necessarily feel like they belong there, and [Margaret] was a great example. By the end of last season when she and Nucky were estranged, it made perfect sense for us not to see her for a while. She rejected him and she rejected his money. I knew her reintroduction would happen at a time when it organically made sense for the show. And in the wake of Eddie’s suicide, I said, OK, this is when Nucky would probably reach out to Margaret. I also wanted there to be an air of mystery [to her absence] – for the audience and for Nucky as well. He had no idea what she was doing. The idea that she had a job, and had her hair cut, we all got to find that out at the same time. And I thought that was the stronger way to tell that story.

TVLINE | Will she get more airtime in Season 5 than she did in Season 4?
Probably, yes.

TVLINE | She got a bit of a happy ending.
She did, yes. She got the apartment she was promised from Arnold Rothstein, although I understand it’s rather drafty in there and the neighbors are very noisy. [Laughs] Margaret is one of the people who came out of the season with a fairly happy ending, or at least the best version of that that we do on Boardwalk Empire.

TVLINE | The fight scene between Eli and Agent Knox was epic even by Boardwalk standards. Was anyone hurt while it was being shot?
Luckily, we had the master of all fight scenes directing that, Tim Van Patten. He’s just done some incredible action and fight scenes over the course of his career, and certainly on our show. Shea Whigham and Brian Geraghty just really went for it. They both said to each other, “Look, I love you. But we’re going to really hurt rach other here.” And they went as far as they could without actually physically assaulting each other. And, even then, Shea showed me some bruises on his leg afterwards that he didn’t even know had. He was so pumped with adrenaline that [he got] hurt without even knowing, which is why you need a really well-qualified stunt coordinator, you need some actors who are comfortable with the physicality, and you need a director at the helm who’s not letting it go beyond anything that needs to be put on film.

TVLINE | How long did it take to shoot?
That was shot over two days. It was a long, brutal scene.

Chalky and NarcisseTVLINE | The rivalry between Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) and Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) was one for the ages. That must have been a thrill for you to watch.
Working with Jeffrey Wright has been a dream of mine for so many years. He’s an amazing actor and a terrific guy. And then adding Michael to the equation… putting those guys opposite each other was like putting two electric wires together and watching the sparks fly. It was just magic.

TVLINE | Will Jeffrey be back next season?
Yes. We will see Narcisse back next season. That storyline has not concluded.

Harrow under the boardwalk

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  1. Jack Huston’s character (Richard Harrow) was my favorite :(

    • JAC says:

      I know I will not be watching the show after killing him off. He was the one character that gave the show meaning & the acting was incredible.

      • noelani says:

        That’s exactly how I feel about it! They made it so that Richard could finally have the happy life that Jimmy talked to him about, in season two. For him to make it back to the family farm would be SO important, to the baby and it’s mother, to Tommy and, of course, Julia and Paul. I was thrilled that they were going to get out of there and be able to live in peace. Even if they dropped the characters after that and just made us think that they were living a normal life, it wouldn’t have been too bad. I know it’s not a happy ending show, in general, but can’t SOMEONE from it have some happiness? I didn’t even make it through the whole ending. It was just too painful. I rarely get attached to a character like this, but I did with wanting richard and Julia,

        • Juliet says:

          Wah, wah, wah. I hold the opinion that the vast majority of those claiming, “I won’t be back” after their favorite character is killed off will be back, and if they don’t return out of stubbornness, they’re simply cutting of their nose to spite their face. That is, of course, each individual’s prerogative; however, it’s also their loss. Boardwalk Empire speaks to those viewers who understand that not only is life unfair; it’s brutal when men who have power become corrupt. As Lord Acton put it: “Power has the tendency to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And while this show takes place in another era, the same holds true today and is being played out before everyone’s eyes all around the world, and right here in the good old US of A. Try looking at it from that angle, and then get involved to change it! The 1% comes to mind. You can live in fairy land and doing nothing only so long before it comes round to bite you in the ass. “My favorite character,” indeed; what nonsense to actually get bent out of shape about.

      • Juliet says:

        There’s much more meaning to the show than simply the Harrow’s character that has to do with many social ills still present in today’s society.

    • SOFIAN says:


    • Shirley says:

      I also hoped for 1 character (Harrow) to have a happy life and was disappointed he died. I’d also like to remind Mr. Winter that a lot of women watch the show for the characters and the story- he could ease up on the violence some and focus more on the relationships and history!

      • flora says:

        i don’t agree..we have plenty of series(most of them) that are focused on relationships.

        • Lisa says:

          I think there has been enough “romance” scenes in this, and just about all of HBO’S Series. I wish they’d bring back Jimmy and have him take out Nucky as the finale.

      • theREALstarbuck says:

        if he backed off the violence the majority of veiwers would drop, its the major reason we watch these shows. Its the closest thing to the sheild, well this and Justfied and Sons of Anarchy. If anything I was disapointed in the lack of gang fights as opposed to the last two seasons. They spent too much time on Gillian and Chaulky’s past. The ratings certainly reflected the overall disapproval of wasting this shows potential on backstory.

      • bridgebury says:

        As a woman, I’d simply prefer to see some female characters take part in the main action instead of being victims and love interests who run screaming as soon as the action starts up

        • Juliet says:

          Margaret and Gillian are main female characters that contrast nicely, I think. Margaret displays a woman who does her best to honestly work around and avoid the insanity of the men in her life, while Gillian tends to play along with it. The insanity, of course, is the sexism that abounded – and still does – with prostitution as a means of self-support (because women were paid so little for non-prostitution work and never allowed well-paying jobs or good educations), along with murder to ruthlessly attain greedy power. Nucky, for example, is based on real-life sheriff-turned-county-treasurer Nucky Johnson, who eventually spent four years in prison for tax evasion, although the real Nucky didn’t order hits on anyone. I view this show as an example of “Power has the tendency to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Margaret is free, while Gillian is imprisoned. Sally Wheet is a new female character I would like to see more of who doesn’t “run screaming as soon as the action starts up.” But the vast majority of women in the 20s hardly had much power to do little else. The women fighting for suffrage didn’t run, as we saw in Season 1, even when men beat them and incarcerated them and forced feeding tubes down their throats when those women went on hunger strikes. Let it not be forgotten, however, that men write this program, and they know that sex and violence sell.

        • Juliet says:

          Margaret and the new woman character in Florida (cannot recall her name at present) are the two main female characters with power: Margaret through standing as firm as she can as she works to remain free of male dominance, and the Florida character, who’s tough as nails (she’s my favorite!). But during the 20s, women had far less personal agency than they do now, even though today it is still terribly (and unlawfully) little. This is one of the good things in the show; it points out the powerlessness women of the 20s had that can be extrapolated to the justice of equality that today’s women still seek.

  2. love all says:

    Watched every season until this one. I don’t know why but it just feels like a chore to watch it. I was going to watch the whole season on hbo go over the long weekend, but if they killed Half Face, Im out.

    • 3 kids under 4 years says:

      LOL–your comment just killed me!…thanks for making my night!

    • StupidPeopleShutUp says:

      Another genius alerting the world as to his inconsequential decision. Make sure you let us know when you next have a bowel movement.

    • Benington says:

      So perfectly said. This year did really feel like a chore to watch and I am not quite sure why. I think it was possibly the huge screen time given to characters such as Narcisse and his storyline and focusing less on my favorites like Margaret and Harrow. I loved the Richard Harrow character and he always reminded me of the horrific disfigurements that occurred in WWI. His face always brought back the memory of the superb and haunting movie ” Johnny Got His Gun”. You know had this not occurred that Harrow would not have ended up a killer for hire. Rest in peace Richard Harrow.

  3. What?! says:

    “The sequence where we see him walking home without his mask on” was beautifully shot. Harrows last scenes were amazing. Hope to see Huston again soon!… “She’s a terrific character and Gretchen is a joy to work with. We will certainly see more of her in Season 5”, really? Gretchen is a great actress but I’d rather see more of Margaret! Knox vs. Eli was brutal, two days to shoot? Wow. Great season!

    • Juliet says:

      I like Margaret, Gillian, and especially the newest female character from Florida (cannot remember the character’s name) – she’s a great addition! She pairs so well with Nucky; both are tough as nails and well-suited; I hope to see some more battles royale with them – very entertaining if she wins; typical if she loses.

  4. Leon Ward says:

    I have to say I want to be finished with the show as well. It is a difficult decision for me, since this show is fantastic and I like many of the characters, but it was foolish to kill of the best character on the show (to me anyway). Next to die is Nelson Van Alden lol. He is my second favorite.

    I’m still waiting for his viciousness to reveal itself. Maybe I will keep watching, but I’m telling you Mr Winter…this was not a wise decision in my opinion. It’s not just important for people to watch the show…it’s important to know WHY they watch the show.

  5. Debbie Dow says:

    You had to kill my fave! Richard! :(

  6. Laura Chytra says:

    I really want Arnold Rothstein and Margaret to have a thing.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      Now that would be an interesting thing. Would she go for it though? She takes so much pride in being independent and not being cared for by a man..particularly when that man is a criminal.

      • Laura Chytra says:

        She earned the apartment. Anything she does with AR will be because she wants to, not because she owes him or wants things from him, which I like. He’s a criminal but he’s honest about it,

    • Linda Parry says:

      Me too. I thought of that also. They are good together, although, I really like Nucky and Margaret together.

    • Mizoo says:

      Isn’t Rothstein supposed to be gay? When he said to Margaret he had a wife, she replied ‘you’re married!?’ and nearly choked on her tea! We never ever see him with women like Nucky or Capone.

  7. David Scott says:

    I wish harrow wouldn’t have died. but I see winters point. where else could they go with him? I suppose becoming nuckys hit man/ or seeking revenge against nucky for jimmy? albeit, either would’ve been cheesy. r.I.p. harrow!

    • Lo says:

      It wouldn’t have felt organic if they’d done either story. One of the most defining moments between Nucky and Richard is after Jimmy’s murder, he went to Nucky and said that Jimmy was a soldier, he knew what he had signed on for and so he wouldn’t seek revenge on Nucky for that, but Richard wanted Manny, who had killed Angela, because she was innocent. And becoming an enforcer for the man who killed his best friend just wouldn’t have seemed right either :( RIP Richard

    • matt says:

      WHO CARES where they go with him at this point? Sea. 5 Pilot: Wakes up with a nice art deco chandelier coming into focus in the Albatross. Near death experience. Get him to CICERO. And stop in at Freddy’s on 16th st. from some nice gnocci in vodka sauce. Keep him doing pickups with Nelson & Eli, all over the south side. Close to Wisconsin. Nice! Go Sox. Cubs suck.

    • Sirius33 says:

      I thought it was absolutely brilliant on Nucky’s part to leverage Harrow while sinking Gillian. What a Machiavellian b*st*rd! A thing of pure beauty.

  8. Aleksa says:

    The fact that everyone is so upset by Richard’s death (myself included) is a real testament to how good an actor Jack Huston is. I hope to see him in many other roles.

  9. i really hope that HBO is not reading these comments, regarding the ones about being “done” with the show. i’m sad that harrow died too, but the fact that they’re willing to kill off major characters is in part what makes the show so engaging. you truly do not know what’s going to happen. i’m so bummed to have to wait til next fall to see more.

    • Lou says:

      Every show these days kills off major characters. It’s a sensastionalistic plot device, not good storytelling.

    • jean R. Rusell says:

      I’m with you! I can’t remember being so involved with a show….I’m sick that season 5 will be the last. The one thing I’m waiting for is to see Narsisse get his. I hope it’s long and drawn-out. What a maddening guy! I’ll miss the whole show – mostly nucky. Jean R. Russell

    • Linda Parry says:

      I have been an avid Boardwalk Empire fan. We always looked so forward to 9:00 P.M. Sunday so we could watch this show. I had to make myself watch season 4. It was so disappointing. Margaret had little to no part in the show. Margaret is the stability to Boardwalk Empire. Watching all the new characters was confusing, to say the least, and quite boring. Killing Richard off the show did for me. He could have had a great life withTommy and his new wife-they could have built alot around that. I am not sure I will continue to watch Season 5 it Margaret isn’t in this season, I am done watching. I am not excited about Patirica Arquette being Nucky’s new love. Basically, season 4 ruined Boardwalk Empire.

  10. CBWBDK1 says:

    Why Richard?? He was the best character! I was hoping That idiot dr would die! I’m sick of his libyan BS!!

    • Mike says:

      Very good point! Here’s my take: the show, characters and story is about men, mobsters and their doings. So why are they putting up with Narcisee BS? Any “made” man would have seen that and kill him. Chalky needs to do it. Nucky does not have the , you-know-what. Personally, I’m sick of him.

      • Sirius33 says:

        Ah…but Nucky hired Harrow to kill Narcisse. So he does have the you-know-what. I think we are going to see some serious sparks fly between Nucky and Narcisse.

  11. Cory says:

    Devastated that Richard died..I loved the character and he was a big reason why I love this show. Congrats to Jack Huston for bringing him to life and for giving us SOMEONE to cheer for..hope to see him in something else soon.

  12. Jim says:

    Rothstein is my favourite character!! I need more rothsten and lucky luciano

  13. Joel Hart says:

    This season and the finale really sucked I certainly hope next season is much better! To me it seems the producers are just holding onto some of these characters way too long.

  14. D D says:

    Richard, our favorite shooter, paid for his sins. The finale helped us see that he accomplished his goal for the boy and died a hero. Not too many heroes in Boardwalk Empire. This is a fab series, love that singer, music, scenes, Nucky and all the rest. Bring on season 5, we are waiting…

  15. Cecil Luten says:

    Next to Nucky , Harrow was the only character I really cared about watching. It’s not too late! Have him be just wounded! Don’t ruin it for me.

    • Y. Bayme says:

      I just finished season two on DVD and I got to say that Nucky needs to be more forgiving, it upset me how much he hated Eddie’s performance, and the lies have got to stop. I couldnt take Jimmy and Margaret’s unwillingness to spill the beans. This show better come full circle in season Five, Season three was good, season four got too complicated and just makes Nucky look like a pushover. Make him more honorable, or at least make Eli the hero. He deserves it, he came from being a real jerk in the first two seasons, (with the exception of his speech to the Irish board-that was great) and he has become somewhat more understood. Nucky’s best was in season three, but season four looked as if he was over the hill. Bring Nucky back with something dignified and lasting. If he was Van Alden, he would have been like the commodore. Somehow, with the adoption of Margaret’s family, the loneliness he experiences, his stint with the lady from Tampa, one can see he does not do anything so stupid and awful as the commodore, but we do not see him really be tested. He has been honest somewhat, but he needs to let loose and start playing ball with all the characters. Have him trust noone, but at the same time learn to respect the noone. He needs to expand his horizons beyond his family and be more of a Chalky, (who I am so dissapointed that he lost his daughter!) who took care of a large group of people. Somehow, there needs to be an epiphany from all this mess. One that incorporates the love of life and all its pleasures, the good in doing kindnesses, judgement when neccesary, (knowing right from wrong), and the winning power of willpower and resolve for the truth and trust. Dont keep killing off the good characters. be bold and have them reveal themselves in the face of all possible threat. I wished Jimmy would have said that his mother told him to kill Nucky to Nucky as he told Angela, or that Margaret did cheat on Nucky. Take a chance to grow the characters. Good Luck to you. I am looking forward to seeing the last season!

  16. Martin says:

    I swore i was done with this show when they got rid of Jimmy but that’s what makes it so great. The emotion it stirred up in me was bizzare for a tv show. And then i started watching and again i was hooked! Harrow was my favourite after jimmy but i loved the way they handled that one. The finest tv series to date in my opinion. Very classy. If only all tv series were of this calibre.

  17. WTactualF says:

    This season fell flat. The epic showdown between Chalky and Narcisse was a huge let down. Womp womp.

    Richard was my fave and I don’t understand why he was so shaky and missed the shot! He never missed the shot! Now all of a sudden he has a case of the shakes? I smell a plot device.

    • Bx says:

      He hurt his hand in Wisconsin and hadn’t really shot anyone since that incident in the barn. He actually didn’t miss the shot, Maybelle got in the way. The scope of a rife is very small, so that’s why he didn’t see her walk into the path.

      • WTActualF says:

        Yes but he HAD a clear shot then became shaky and had to take a minute and that’s when Maybelle got in the way. He should’ve taken the shot when he first had it. Very unlike the badass Harrow we saw in last seasons finale when he killed damn near everyone in the brothel.

        • Jessicalexis says:

          Richard had to die. It breaks my heart because I loved him, but when he gained love he lost what made him such a ruthless assassin. He no longer had nothing to lose. He walked away from that life. The only thing which could have compelled him to return to it was love, but at the moment of truth, he found it was no longer in him. He took up that gun to ensure a final nail in Gillian’s coffin, protecting Tommy from her by making sure they found Jimmy’s body, honoring Angela by protecting her son and in a way, saving Jimmy. He gave Julia and her father something to live for. Now Julia won’t be alone when her father dies and the father can have some joy before he goes. It was devastating, but it did make dramatic sense. I think the show is less wonderful without him, but there are still incredible actors with layers to discover.

          • shehasvirtue says:

            Great point! You hit the nail on the head. The show is getting more interesting as the seasons mature. I anticipate on watching Narcisse get his issue, and Chalky, Nucky and Eli coming out on top, they are the main characters in this series. Margaret is one of my favs, and I really see her as an advocate on women’s rights, I wouldn’t be surprised if she and Gillian cross paths in season 5. I was very sad to see Harrow die, he was one of my favs, but I knew it wasn’t going to end well when he gave Tommy the hug. I also am anxious to know how J. Ed’s portrayal is going to play out. But as long as the story line stays on track it will be watched. I can’t wait until season 5. Great job guys!!

  18. sarah says:

    a huge mistake jack huston is an amazing actor and wonderful character , what a huge lose him, he has always been the reason i watched it,. this season really hasn’t worked and while i’m glad jack can move on to bigger and better things (as i’m sure he will) and actually be used properly on a show and get to show how amazing an actor he is, the show has lost its only reason i watch it so i’m out for season 5.. should have been gilian or any number of the terrible new characters they have brought in this season.even van alden hes a better actor than this show.

  19. Chris says:

    Richard was also my favorite but there was nothing else for his character. All the fictional characters are likely to die so I’m not to surprised. Only Capone, lansky, Luciano and nucky are safe. Hopefully the show lasts long enough to see mssseria and rothstein go down. Can’t wait til next season. Thank you so much for such a wonderful and deep show. My favorite on TV!

  20. Karen says:

    Was this the Blind Item? (Meaning; can I now stop worrying about Daryl on The Walking Dead?)

  21. Clara says:

    I’ll never watch it again! Richard was my fav. Character & to give him his wife, with a dying father & an orphan child being stalked by a psychotic grandmother what type of dream is that to call a fam. & then take his life away I can only imagine how this is going to break his family as you call it down, she didnt deserve this either & neither did richard he was my favorite since season one! Lost me as a viewer.

  22. Bob says:

    In a good story Richard make the shot. In an overly contrived story Maybelle gets shot. Chalky’s character would NEVER have left his dying/dead daughter. Richard Harrow is gone, so am I.

    • StupidPeopleShutUp says:

      Bob’s gone! BOB’S GONE. SOMEONE CALL VARIETY!!! Bob has stopped watching because Terence Winter did something Bob didn ‘t like. GET SCORSESE ON THE PHONE ASAP.

      • Leon Ward says:

        Take care….bob leaving might be more common than you think. Many shows in the past have made moves like this that cost them their viewers. Like it or not, people watch a show based on whether they like it or not.

    • Gonzo says:

      I was always really into the show, but after Bob left, nothing was really the same again…

  23. LaLa says:

    It was nice to be introduced to Jack Huston through this role. I will continue to follow his future roles.

  24. Lou says:

    I have felt apathetic about this show since they killed off Jimmy. Richard Harrow’s story is the emotional anchor that kept me invested. Now, Im out. ~cashes in chips, walks away from the table~ Nucky has to be the least interesting lead character on television, and killing off the more interesting supporting characters won’t really change that.

  25. Mark says:

    A character’s storyline concluding doesn’t always need to conclude with death. I understand it’s a beautiful tragedy but it may have been nice to allow Richard to live “happily ever after” with Tommy and Julia. Write him off the show for a period of time and bring him back if absolutely necessary. You can write a character off (a la Lucy) without killing them off.

  26. Terry says:

    I have to know if the final scenes with Richard were a conscious homage to “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” The resemblance is uncanny.

  27. adam says:

    To hear so many people complain about this season, particularly following last seasons luke warm finale’ is baffling. Richard was also my favourite character but his story had run its course. For me, this season was the strongest yet. The quality of writing and the powerful performances have left me waiting with anticipation for season 5.

  28. Denise says:

    I really didn’t want to go on after the death of Jimmy but I invested time in Boardwalk so I pressed on….. Now you go and kill Richard! And, to top that Chalky didn’t end up putting a bullet in Narcisse. So Dissapointed.

  29. Williwasnt says:

    I’m kind of disappointed with how Roy Phillips played out. Sure Livingston is an awesome dude, but it was kind of underwhelming and I feel like the character could’ve been played by any no-name actor and it would’ve felt the same. Even worse, the character kind of just dropped out after arresting Gillian, with no real closure. Here’s hoping that he comes back next season, maybe hired by the FBI to do some dirty work in finding Eli, anything really as long as it’s meatier than what he had to work with this season.

  30. Gretzky says:

    Sad to lose Harrow. Best character on a show full of great characters. Huston’s career will take off from here. Good for him. But, Harrow is only a fictional character in a TV show that is set 80-90 years ago. He was gonna die sometime between then and now. Heck, ALL of the characters in the show are dead by now, one way or another, right? At least Harrow’s death was poetic and poignant and good TV. Don’t mourn for Harrow. Celebrate him.
    See you next season Nuck!

  31. next to best show on hbo says:

    why kill a guy who’s best friend told him some day u will have a family of your own is this how it happened in real life and he has never hesitated about pulling the trigger on another person he did on himself but not when snipping he had a clean shot

  32. PACornett says:

    I am tired of Gillian! Margaret is a much more interesting character.. and killing off Jimmy and Richard…come on…writers better get on the ball or this story is headed for the dumps!

    • MCPaulino says:

      I agree Gillian the incest child molester should have been killed off not Jimmy or Richard!! The past seasons have been difficult to watch. Seems like your looking for sympathy for the crimes Gillian has done because of her youth. Some things aren’t to be forgiven.

      • theotherbluth says:

        Um, Gillian was raped and impregnated by a forty year-old man when she was barely a teenager, it’s pretty apparent–to those with a soul–that her life was forever destroyed by that act, and while I don’t condone her crimes, she at the very least has earned some sympathy. It would be nearly impossible to ever live a remotely normal life after living through that kind of experience.

        • Juliet says:

          Thank you for pointing out what should be the obvious, but rarely is these days. The sexual abuse Gillian suffered in childhood by ruthless men needs be taken into account, but so many sexist people simply turn to unforgiving damnation of women, or as my mother often said, “Yes, ‘he took it like a man,’ he blamed it on a woman.” Too bad so many women do the same thing.

          • Adamic says:

            Accepting the natural differences between men and women isn’t anti-women. A lot of us gender traditionalists believe in protecting our women from physical violence, gender divisive ideologies like feminism, ect.

          • Juliet says:

            LOL – adam-the-sexist thinks feminism is a gender divisive ideology. Here’s the dictionary definition of :”Feminism”: “1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexies. 2. The movement organized around this belief.”
            It’s sexism, adam-the-sexist, that is the divisive ideology in any society.
            If men wanted to protect women from men’s violence against women, they wouldn’t attack women, pay them less than men, try to strip them of their Constitutional rights, etc. But it is men who do this.
            Protect women? Hahahahahaha.
            Men don’t protect women.

  33. Doe says:

    Oh so boohoo your fav guy offed himself, incase you didn’t read the character went as far as he could and that he got what he wanted in life. Yes it’s sad but to stop watching a great series because of that is stupid! You will be back next season because it is an awesome show! Hardly a yawner and the finally was one of the better ones… I wish it were more than 12 episodes a year…. Great job!

  34. theotherbluth says:

    I don’t understand why people want a show to follow their specific expectations and desires for plot and characters, wouldn’t you find the show boring if everything you wanted/thought was going to happen happened? The unpredictability is a major draw for me, the tension caused by not knowing what to expect is riveting. I was devastated last night and even got a little choked up for poor Richard, but THAT is good TV, you should be happy there is a show out there that can cause real emotions.

    Give up on the show if you want, you’ll only regret it later when this amazing cast, and strong collection of writers churn out another compelling, moving, and fantastically entertaining show.

    • Denise says:

      Calm down, we are just lamenting the loss of a beloved character. Let us vent….. :-(

      • theotherbluth says:

        Sorry, I didn’t intend for my comments to sound riled up, I’m guessing that’s why you ask me to calm down?. The lack of exclamation points should imply I am merely speaking, and not yelling like most of the commenters “Venting” whom I was responding to. To be clear Denise, I thought your response was appropriate, clear, and reasonable. You didn’t rant, and I respect your opinion.

        I just get annoyed by people who hyperbolically threaten to never watch shows again, or tell show-runners what big mistakes they made, because the plot deviated from the personal likes of a portion of the viewers. I didn’t want Harrow to die either, or poor Maybelle for that matter, but I can recognize that those choices do not lessen the quality of the show. I can understand how the developments upset some people, and you all have the right to be upset, but some commenters just go overboard.

  35. flo says:

    Jack Huston is an amazing actor. I don’t understand how he hasn’t won any awards. All of this ensemble cast deserve awards. This season was completely standout. Top 2 dramas this year. Definitely.

  36. James says:

    Love this show, but I’m afraid its gonna end when Joe Masseria faces his true rival and both are whacked by the working of Lucky and Meyer and then the show will end about the 5 families be formed via the commission.

  37. Ang says:

    Seriously people everyone cannot last forever on this show. Sad to see Richard go and no he wasn’t my favorite character but lets go Season 5 and please get rid of Narcisse, that dude is boring, lame and the way he talks is annoying. Blacks never spoke that way back in the day, especially coming from another country. smh. Yes I’m black.

  38. When will Session 5 begin?

  39. Dave says:

    Some of you must not really watch the show; he missed the shot because his hand was injured and he was done killing (he couldn’t even kill his dying dog). Richard transformed from a monster to a human being. He got the life he always wanted. Great ending, dumb fans.

  40. Izzie Nutz says:

    Thank godness none of the people on this board are TV writers or legitimate critics. I hope most of you go back to watching network TV where all the plot lines are vetted by focus groups to ensure that the maximum number of people are “happy” with the story and where characters who are “good” live on and the “bad” die off. Because of people like you, there have been about 40 shows where characters are killed off and then come back to the show anyway as ghosts, hallucinations, or through unbelievable tricks of screenwriting. Boardwalk is incredibly good just the way it is and however Terence Winter wants to present it is fine with me.

  41. Greg says:

    I appreciate the show and the unpredictability It offers versus network television. I think the recurring and troubling issue is that most of the main characters are unlikable anti-heroes. That’s fine with Nucky, Capone, Van Alden, Rothstein, etc. They are interesting and complex, but I have never identified with them or found them sympathetic. Jimmy, Owen (Margaret’s flame who ends up in the box) and Harrow were the only characters I really liked. And it seems like every season ends with one of them dying. I can understand the sentiment of wanting to be “done” if after watching 4 seasons, there are few characters left that you truly like. Perhaps it is naive to say it, but having a favorite character on a series allows a viewer to identify as well as empathize. If Eli would have bought it in the finale, I would have been surprised but not really sad. When every character left is morally bankrupt and not someone I really like, I care a little less for the show. I can acknowledge good writing, fine acting, and dazzling plot twists, but being “into” a show means more than respecting artistry. And I think Winter is sending a message each season by killing the central likable character.

  42. firefighter says:

    Richard was our entire family’s and many friends favorite character. He was a product of WW1 and was a hero coming home and coping with his life. He also was a hero after the war although a killer and violent he saved the life of the boy he loved. This alone entitled him to a happy ending. Although we certainly will continue to watch this great series I do feel it has fell victim to the writer’s creativity rather than the overwhelming opinions of viewers. So many shows end up like this in final episodes. Dexter recently is another example. If there is any way to redeem this please try to do it. We all should remember that this is only a TV series and it is the viewers that gauge it’s success in their own eyes.
    Just my opinion but it would be nice to see something have a good outcome.

  43. the camel says:

    When we going to see this guy (Llewelyn Morris Humphreys) introduced to capone, as im welsh i’d love to a gangster of welsh blood in one of the best shows ever created.

    I think the script as been well written and harrow getting killed was a nice touch because he was so liked and people like him and those in that line of work rarely live happily ever after.

    Im predicting season 5 will be the most violent of any season as capone takes control and looks to take over more territory and chalky gets back the onyx.

  44. James Drohan says:

    Slightly surprised that no one else saw Harrow’s death coming a mile off. Amazing character but his plot was done. They flirted with killing Chalky 3 times in the season but he always got away. Would have made it very hard to justify his death after that. It had to be Harrow. If I was being picky, I could well have done without Gillian this season as she is so removed from most of the action that it really takes you out of it. Great actress but it feels a little like the writers like her more than the viewers…

  45. Jimmy's Trench Knife says:

    …of Tommy.

  46. Steve King says:

    For me, Richard Harrow ‘jumped the shark; at the end of Season 3 with his one man massacre at the Artemis Club. Up til that point he was a skilled, but most importantly, believable character but then they made him into a Hollywood style Terminator character. I don;t care how good a soldier you were, you don’t walk into a building full of armed mobsters with all guns blazing and come out alive. Personally I would have had him pick people off with his sniper rifle through the windows of the Artemis Club making the majority of Gyp’s crew flee leaving one or two stragglers who he can then go in and finish off.

    As for Gillian, how can she be in Season 5? Surely the whole point of Richard getting Jimmy’s body found and the Season long Pinkerton Detective Agency story line mean she’ll be going down right? So are we going to have her struggle in prison (a story line that would mean her being even more detached from the rest of the show than this season)?

    Or will they somehow have her beat the wrap/escape? In which case it just besmirches Richard’s ending as her being put away and not being able to get to Tommy was one of his final achievements.

    The cynical side of me wonders if Harrow’s death was also influenced by money. I would presume that with each season, the agents want more money for their clients. Knowing that characters like Richard can’t just disappear from the screen it gives the agents a lot of bargaining power. Huston’s stock has risen massively since he was introduced and given that he’s now getting lots of other work he went from needing BE to BE needing him.

    We’ve also seen a lot of long term characters leave this season. Whilst there were numerically more deaths in Season 3 than this one, I’d say there were more ‘main’ characters bumped off this season. Richard Harrow, Eddie Kessler, Dunn Purnsley, Maybelle, Dean O’Banion, Johnny Torrio have all left the show this season and were all cross-season characters. I was hoping Gillian would be added to that list but sadly not (IMO) from Winter’s musings in this article.

    Anyway, roll on Season 5.

  47. The show is better than ever. One of their best seasons. Love Narcisse’ eveilness. And love Chalky’s hatred for it even more. Can’t WAIT for season 5.

    • boardwalkjunkie says:

      I would love to see Dr Narcisse recieve MIND EXPANSION…via a 45 caliber shell…
      I cannot believe that he is going to come out with the sweetest deal of all being supported by the FBI as their eyes on Marcus Garvey.
      I hated to see Richard die worse than seeing Owen in box. Torrio was alive after six near point blank rounds hit him. Harrow died from one random shot..but a gotshot will kill you.. I can hardly wait the full week between episodes. No other shows aside from DEADWOOD and SOPRANOS can hold a candle to BOARDWALK. I would give my left arm to be a part of this show!
      It is likely the business side of things that made Richard need permanent end to his contract.Jack Houston was born into Hollywood Royalty and has now proven his personal skills playing a very difficult role. I have already seen him land a few commercials and I bet he is getting Motion Picture offers on a daily basis. I hope he is given the perfect script soon that will launch him a lifelong movie career. Terrence Winter may be the best in the business! I would love to see him collaborate with Dick Wolf and Ridley Scott. They could perhaps create the perfect movie!
      I wish I could hibernate until the new season begins!!!

  48. Ethan says:

    What a load of nonsense about Harrow’s story arc “coming to an end.” It was a total contrivance to kill him off for the very reasons some people on this board are justifying it. There was no good reason they couldn’t have had Harrow move to Wisconsin with his family. It wouldn’t have felt any less real; indeed, it would have felt more authentic. Given the apparent sadism of the writers of this show, giving Harrow a happy ending would have been the least expected, and thus most compelling, way to phase him out. Killing off a main character simply for shock value isn’t good writing–it’s a cop-out. I’m washing my hands of this series; it’s become too predictably cruel to its most interesting characters.

  49. K Hopkins says:

    No reason for Richard to die. His character really gave the show some heart, some positive spirit. I think you made the wrong decision. There is no one at all as sympathetic as he is.
    I was hoping not to see Gillian again. I am disappointed to know that she and Dr. Narcise will be back.
    What about Chalky — he is much more interesting than Narcise?

  50. Juliet says:

    I guess I look at the bigger issues the show does such a good job with: sexism in the form of men using women as things, the abuse they suffer, and sexist name calling; racism in the form of blacks not allowed in “white establishments” and racist name calling; corruption at every governmental level; the folly of Prohibition; the inane violence of men. All of these social problems exist today to one degree or another (think of Prohibition in current day, and inane, marijuana laws), and it reminds me of how slowly humans are willing to move away from manufactured realities, rather than the real realities of logic that would do away with all the unnecessary drama with which humans waste the one and only life they have. Hail, Boardwalk Empire, for putting these issues before us. It’s a pity that people simply focus on “my favorite character,” rather than those problems which still afflict us so.