“The drama about the power politics at the top of New York City finance is enhanced immeasurably by the charms of Damian Lewis”
by Sarah Hughes | iNews | March 27, 2019
From the grubby graspers of Succession to the chilly plotters of MotherFatherSon, the glittering worlds of the super-rich are very much in vogue on TV. Sky Atlantic’s Billions, now in its fourth season chronicling the power politics at the top of New York City’s financial district, was the first of the lot. Thankfully, the inventive, addictive, and, yes, ever so slightly schlocky drama shows no sign of losing its grip or, more importantly, its wit.
The plotting can sometimes give you whiplash: hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis, was once the sworn enemy of high-flying US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti). Now the men are working together because Chuck has lost his job and thus, temporarily, his power, and Axe has been betrayed by non-binary protégé Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon) who made off with a huge chunk of the firm’s clients and set up on their own with the aid of a Russian oligarch/criminal (John Malkovich having as much fun as you might imagine, redeploying his Russian accent from Rounders).
But the sharp dialogue never falters and this was never more obvious than in the opening to last night’s second episode when we were introduced to a new player in the game, businesswoman Rebecca Cantu (Broadway star Nina Arianda, with her charisma on full beam) who turned up at an event to raise financial backing for a new robot prototype.
“The margins on this thing are already as thin as Kate Moss on a juice fast,” she announced pointedly, before eviscerating the prototype and then asking the room of suddenly-silenced men: “Any other questions?” This series is immeasurably helped by Lewis’s ability to somehow make being a stone-cold shit attractive, and the predatory gleam in Axe’s eye just got a whole lot brighter – as did the chemistry on the show.
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