Welcome to Episode 1 of Boardwalk Empire, or “how they f&#&ed the country with prohibition the first time.”

The watch parties for the Martin Scorsese HBO series, which premieres tonight at 9pm ET, are being sponsored by the Just Say Now campaign.  In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be having hosts like Aaron Houston of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and our friends at the Drug Policy Alliance. It’s a great opportunity to talk about how alcohol prohibition impacted the country in the early part of the last century, and what parallels can be drawn with marijuana prohibition today.

Lights…camera….popcorn…action!

Cast of Characters

Steve Buscemi Enoch “Nucky” Thompson Based on Enoch “Nucky”Johnson, Atlantic City political boss and racketeer who runs a liquor distribution ring during prohibition.
Michael Pitt James “Jimmy” Darmody Nucky Thompson’s sidekick who has returned from WWI and wants to make his fortune.
Kelly Macdonald Margaret Schroeder Irish immigrant, member of the Women’s Temperance League, trapped in an abusive marriage to an alcoholic husband. She comes to Nucky for help.
Vincent Piazza Lucky Luciano First boss of the Genovese crime family who worked for Arnold Rothstein at the time prohibition started.  By 1925, was grossing $12 million a year.
Michael Shannon Agent Van Alden Senior Prohibition Agent investigating Nucky’s operation, he’s also a religious zealot.
Aleska Palladino Angela Darmody Jimmy’s common-law wife who got pregnant before he went off to war and has been raising their son.
Michael Kenneth Williams Chalky White De facto mayor of Atlantic City’s African American community who runs a major bootlegging operation for Nucky.
Anthony Laciura Eddie Kessler German immigrant, Nucky’s “man Friday.”
Stephen Grahamm Al Capone Born in 1899, Capone is 21 when prohibition starts.
Dabney Coleman Commodore Louis Kaestner Controlled Atlantic City before Nucky, now bitter and deposed.
Shea Wigham Elias “Eli” Thompson Nucky’s younger brother, Sheriff of Atlantic City.
Michael Stuhlbarg Arnold Rothstein Famous gangster who supposedly fixed the 1919 World Series.
Gillian Gretchen Mol A single mom & showgirl at the Beaux Arts.  Has a long and complicated relationship with Nucky, who has agreed to look after her son.
Paul Sparks Mickey Doyle Chalky White’s chief rival in the bootlegging business,
Paz de la Huerta Lucy Danziger Nucky’s girlfriend, former Ziegfield Follies dancer with a short temper.