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'Boardwalk Empire' Creator Justifies Shocking Ending, Shares Ideas for Season 3

December 12, 2011, 8:12 am GMT

Talking about the scene in season 2 finale that leaves fans outraged, Terence Winter says, 'It would be a cheat for us to say, 'We want to keep our beloved character Jimmy Darmody alive'.'



Having just reeled from the death of Angela, "Boardwalk Empire" fans are shocked with the demise of a bigger character in the season 2 finale. In the Sunday, December 11 outing, James "Jimmy" Darmody showed up in front of his mentor-turned-enemy Enoch "Nucky" Thompson to make things right.

Alas, the clash only ended after spilling blood since [SPOILER ALERT!] the corrupt politician shot his former protege with his own hand. Defending the decision to kill off such major character, showrunner Terence Winter says, "If you take things to their logical extreme with the situation we created, Jimmy has betrayed Nucky, he tried to have him killed. You want to be honest about the storytelling."

"In the pilot, Jimmy told Nucky, 'You can't be half a gangster anymore.' We wanted with the first two seasons to follow that trajectory, where he goes full season from being the guy who doesn't want to get his hands dirty to actually pulling the trigger himself," he went on explaining in an interview after the airing of the ultimate episode.

"Anything short of Nucky doing it himself wouldn't feel real, it wouldn't be real. And it would be a cheat for us to say, 'We want to keep our beloved character Jimmy Darmody alive'."

Stressing that Jimmy was willing to face his death, Winter elaborates, "He fully knows what he's walking into at the end. He's not armed. He says goodbye to his son. He basically gives Richard Harrow permission to not come with him. He knows he needs to be punished. The circumstances of his life have unraveled to the point where he's willing to accept his fate."

While Michael Pitt had got a sense that this would be the end for his character's fate, Winter did not tell the Jimmy depicter until the script for the finale came out. "I wanted to reserve my right to change my mind up until the last minute," he reasons. "He had a very strong suspicion and I was certainly preparing him for it. But Michael is an artist. He's a phenomenal actor, and part of the challenge is to keep reinventing the series and continue on."

Pitt himself is fully supportive of the storyline although it means he would not be back working on the upcoming season. "I like it," he writes in an email to Entertainment Weekly. "As much as I will miss working with everyone on this incredible project, I thought that it would be very shocking and I'm always drawn to that."

Giving some tidbits of season 3, Winter says the story will jump forward more than a year after the season 2 finale. "We're thinking about 16 months and starting the [third] season around the beginning of 1923, then maybe run through the end of 1923... [In 1923] all the people who stockpiled liquor started to run out, so competition between bootleggers became really fierce."

On whether or not the period series will see the infamous gangster Al Capone, Winter says, "The plan is now is we would... start to really track Al Capone's rise and - God willing - through the course of the series." He gushes, "Hopefully we'll be on the air long enough to see that guy. Certainly in [season three] we'll start to see Capone on pretty much equal footing as Johnny Torrio in terms of who's running the town."

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