Axe: The smartest Guy in Town was Blindsided
by Ileane Rudolph | TV Insider | March 15, 2019
A thirst for vengeance drives both hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and former U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) on Season 4 of the financial thriller Billions.
The longtime antagonists join forces to crush those who betrayed and weakened them at the end of last year. “We explore the lengths that characters will go, and how it makes them feel when they encounter the residue [their actions] leave,” says executive producer David Levien. Here’s a look back at where the main characters left off, and a peek at the wrath they’ll unleash to regain their power.
Bobby “Axe” Axelrod
The smartest guy in town was blindsided by Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) when his equally brilliant protégé left Axe Capital and started a competing fund, stealing clients along the way. “Axe feels he brought Taylor to prominence, only to be burned,” says Levien. Now he will use his own fortune and that of a new buddy, private equity queen Rebecca Cantu (Nina Arianda), to destroy Taylor. And in return for aiding Chuck, Axe wants his former enemy to help put his ex-colleague in legal trouble. Says Levien, “He’ll do whatever he has to to scorch the earth under Taylor’s feet.”
Chuck was fired from his dream job in a coup led by his nemesis, U.S. Attorney General Waylon “Jock” Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown). Craving a new seat of power, Chuck asks Axe to use his vast resources to help install him as New York State’s attorney general. En route, he’ll peddle his influence, trade favors and make sketchy alliances, while, says fellow executive producer Brian Koppelman, “lying to himself about doing it for the greater good.”
Chuck’s wife and Axe’s in-house performance coach, Wendy (Maggie Siff), agreed to completely back the two men in their fight against the disloyal. “Wendy’s in uncharted waters, where she finds herself with an instinct to be vengeful,” Levien reveals, hinting, “She’ll prove a valuable asset to Axe.”
Though struggling to get enough capital for a new company, Taylor — who doesn’t identify as either male or female and uses the pronoun “they” — “is a worthy adversary [for Axe],” Levien notes. “Taylor will counterattack and trade volleys. Their moral line starts to move as the pressure ratchets up.”
When Axe rejected his offer to kill Taylor, the Russian oligarch (John Malkovich) pulled his investment from Axe Capital and gave it to Taylor — which could protect the shrewd entrepreneur. “Andolov is an incredibly valued ally and an incredibly frightening adversary,” says Koppelman. “It’s important that our characters figure out which one he is at any given time.”
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