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Billions Season Three: Creators Take Showtime Series to a Whole New Level – March 6, 2018

“…Many will be damned by the end of the season.”

by Dana Feldman | Forbes | March 6, 2018

Showtime’s original hit drama series Billions returns for its highly-anticipated third season Sunday, March 25, and fans are eager to pick up where they left off at the end of season two. No show has better exemplified the quote made famous by Chinese philosopher Confucius: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

Billions is Showtime’s No. 2 drama series behind Homeland, averaging five million weekly viewers across platforms. The series grew throughout the second season on Sunday nights by more than 35% from premiere-to-finale.

Starring Oscar nominee and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis, the show centers around the battle between hard-charging U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) and billionaire hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis) as the two continue to battle it out in an effort to destroy the other, even if the end result is self-destruction. This season the battle picks up in a world that has shifted on its axis. Though both are just as determined to destroy the other, each is simultaneously faced with battling for their own survival amid new forces at play and powerful enemies.

New York remains the show’s backdrop, almost a character unto itself, in the new fast-paced season. Billions, created, written and executive produced by showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien, is ramped up even more this season than last, keeping on par with the first two seasons perfect combination of power and sex and good versus evil.

“This season is distilled down to its essence,” says Koppelman. “All the reasons we loved the first two seasons really come to a head and each of these characters find themselves in a situation that calls for them to access parts of themselves and talents they didn’t even know they had. Each is performing a high-wire act and there’s no guarantee they’ll make it to the other side.” 

“The third season starts out with opponents Axe and Chuck each under an enormous amount of pressure,” adds Koppelman. “Axe has been arrested and is facing a trial. All outside investors are pulling their money, his assets are frozen and he’s having legal problems that threaten to ruin his business. In the first few episodes, it’s harder for Chuck to maintain his attack on Axe. You would think he’d start the season on a high note after taking Axe down, but due to political changes, he ironically finds himself under great pressure.” 

Chuck’s wife Wendy (Maggie Siff) is once again in an extremely precarious position between her husband and Axe. “As Axe’s performance coach, she pledged to stand by him, yet she also pledged full transparency to her husband,” explains Levien. “Her position is both uneasy and dangerous and one that ultimately forces her into a decision that could alter the direction of her life irrevocably.” 

At the end of last season, Malin Akerman’s Lara was challenged when, for the first time, the trust between she and Bobby was broken. She’s now a rich and powerful woman without the bedrock of her relationship. She needs to discover who she is without her husband.

Asia Kate Dillon’s Taylor, a gender non-binary character, is now in a situation of trading funds and assets, not just making suggestions, which causes both interpersonal, as well as business challenges. This is an incredible amount of responsibility that forces Taylor to perform at a top capability despite the great pressures of this new position as Chief Investment Officer at Axe Capital. Upon first creating this character last year, Levien said they envisioned this millennial person living a progressive life. “Gender non-binary people do not identify exclusively with either sex. We thought it would be a fascinating collision to include a person that is part of a culture that is not normally walking the halls of Axe Capital, that has skills that are very valuable to Axe, and seeing him become interested in Taylor on an intellectual level, despite the outer package not being what he’s accustomed to.”

“We deepened and continued to grow Taylor’s character for this season,” explains Koppelman. “Taylor has incredible intellect and you just get a sense that Taylor has a code and understands things like honor and the ways in which honor may get compromised and the reasons for that.”

Who will come out on top this season? “There’s a Titanic battle going on and they’re coming towards one another indirectly,” says Koppelman. “Some will be saved and many will be damned by the end of the season.” 

Read the rest of the original article at Forbes