I am an immigrant. I moved to the US for graduate study in late 1990s. My husband and I, having finished our PhDs, moved to New York in 2001, only weeks before September 11, for our first jobs. The city has since given me so much in so many different dimensions and defined me as an individual: a foodie, a film buff, a theatre lover, a feminist, a wine snob, a runner and more… Even though we moved to the South five years later for new jobs, we could not give up on New York. We still have a tiny apartment on the Upper West Side and we are proud part-time New Yorkers 😀
And, as I mentioned a billion times before, Billions is a dream show for me not only because my favorite actor is in it, but also New York, from its landmarks to city parks to its distinct neighborhoods, appears as a cast member! As someone who feels the only home she has in the world is the city that never sleeps, I particularly love it that Billions is taking over New York, the BIG film studio that it is, and shooting all over the place, from Manhattan to Queens to Brooklyn to The Bronx to Long Island and to northern suburbs. So this Billions Season 2 Location Guide is a loving tribute to my most favorite place on earth and a heartfelt thank you to the Billions show creators for giving us a love letter to the city.
Boy, Billions is giving its stellar coterie of actors a lot more to do this season! While the plot has always remained tight and unpredictable, this show has always been character-driven, never more so than right at this moment.
You don’t have to read the business papers to hear the real world buzz around Preet Bharara’s recent firing as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY. In the fictional world of Billions, this is the very position occupied by Chuck. In Tuesday’s NYT, Andrew Ross Sorkin’s regular article Dealbook , quoted the so-called “sheriff of Wall Street” Bharara saying in another interview:
I have never said that insider trading is the crime of the century. It has not been my personal focus. It’s the focus of the press because there are a lot of wealthy people that like the reporting of it.
Indeed, in the world of Wall Street, and Billions, there is ethics and then there is the appearance of ethics. Prosecution is not always (or ever?) about beating the bad guy and scoring a victory for justice. A lot of the time it’s about beating a case that’s beatable and tantalizing to the press and the public. Sure, the practice of law is about setting precedent on good and bad, right and wrong, but a lot of the time (most of the time?) it’s about managing public perception of these lofty ideals. And it’s in the managing of perception where all the play happens. This theme runs throughout Billions, and is in particular focus in Episode 4 “The Oath.”
Something else notable for this episode: the virtual encyclopedia of pop culture references! A cynical person could snark it’s a good thing all the people of this world seem to have read the same books, seen the same movies, and listened to the same music. Writing about it was one rabbit hole after another and I can only imagine the fun from the actual writing of it.
Just three episodes in and we have received terrific news that Showtime has renewed Billions for a third season! The news is not surprising given that Billions is the SMARTEST show on TV but still THIS WAS FAST! Congratulations to the entire cast and crew, we are over the moon for you and yeah, for us, too!
And who knew “Paulie Pennino” of Billions would come back to direct Axe in Season 2 Episode 4? It is a true delight Noah Emmerich is directing this episode! I love him as Agent Beeman in The Americans! And, hey, he is also directing Richard Thomas, who brings to life Beeman’s boss Agent Gaad in The Americans and whom I loved as John-Boy in The Waltons as a little girl, in this episode!
Axe is finally in the final three in his bid for the NFL team. Over lunch at Vaucluse, Mark Cuban tells Axe NFL does not like guys like them because they did come from nothing, earned their money calling bullshit openly and publicly and so they come across as people that can break the etiquette. According to Cuban, Axe needs to hang up the gloves and focus on changing the “hearts and minds” that will give him what he wants. Continue reading “Billions on Showtime, Season 2, Episode 4: The Oath”
“There’s a lot of humor in this — a lot of playfulness, which I was not expecting.” — Damian Lewis on Billions
Humor derived from life and delivered at the right time and place can make a TV show! And, I believe, it is Seinfeld that perfected the delivery of small but precise details of daily life on small screen! George double-dips a chip in a bowl of dip at a wake and you laugh not just because of what he does but also because you remember the guy who double-dipped at the last party you attended. Elaine’s new boyfriend is a serious close talker and you laugh because you remember the close talkers in your life. Jerry believes you don’t need any extra incentive to kill your dry cleaner and you laugh because you remember the last argument you had with your dry cleaner about the remaining stain on your favorite pants. These are the scenes that stay with you for the longest time because they all come from real life!
I know I am a broken record but Billions is a dream coming true. Not just because it is one of the most, if not the most, smartly written show in the history of TV. Not just because it is bringing my favorite actor Damian Lewis to my screen. But also because it is being shot in NYC, my favorite place on earth: Let me put it this way. If I had not blogged about Damian Lewis, I would probably have blogged about New York, in particular about its fantastic dining scene since my husband and I are crazy foodies. He loves to cook and we both love to eat. That is why NYC dining scene making some memorable appearances in Billions, from some of its “special occasion” restaurants to yummy hole-in-the-walls to cozy neighborhood joints to dining landmarks and take-out places, makes me SMILE big!