‘Boardwalk Empire’: Series Creator Says Nucky Is ‘Haunted’ by the Death of Jimmy Darmody

In the hit HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, there are a number of deaths. Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) has numerous people killed, but he takes decisive action against his protégé, Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), and it’s a shocking turn of events. Read on to learn why Nucky is “haunted” by the death of Jimmy in the aftermath of his murder.

Jimmy Darmody crosses Nucky for the last time

Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi | Bobby Bank/WireImage

The murder of Jimmy was a long time coming, but it was still hard to watch for fans who enjoyed Jimmy on their television screens. Nucky meets Jimmy out in the rain between their cars and he shoots him twice. It’s a brutal slaying and one that Nucky carries with him long after it’s all over.

“I am not seeking forgiveness,” Nucky says as he shoots Jimmy for the final time. The death of Jimmy seals Nucky’s own fate when Tommy, Jimmy’s son, shoots Nucky years later in retaliation.

The series creator says Nucky is ‘haunted’ by the death of Jimmy

Terence Winter, the creator and showrunner of Boardwalk Empire, talked with Slate about season 3 before it premiered. He was asked about Nucky’s relationship with love and how it can get in the way of his gangster persona. Winter says Nucky uses distractions to get over or alleviate the pain of killing Jimmy, something he is still “haunted” by.

“Any distraction tends to get in the way of being an effective gangster,” Buscemi said. “Nucky’s still carrying around a lot of psychological damage from having killed Jimmy, who was essentially a surrogate son. In season 3, there are some psychological ramifications that show he’s still haunted by this. I think people, whether they realize they’re doing it or not, seek out distractions to take their minds off what they know is bad behavior. And Nucky does that with women.”

Michael Pitt saw Jimmy’s death coming

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Michael Pitt, who plays Jimmy Darmody, spoke with Variety after being killed off of the series. Pitt saw his character’s death coming, and it made sense to him. Jimmy had a huge fan following, but that doesn’t always mean the character is safe from death. Sometimes it can mean just the opposite.

“Basically, from the first script of the second season, to be perfectly honest, I knew,” Pitt explained. “The reason I sensed that was because I knew my character was really well-liked by the audience, and that made it very dangerous for me, because of the nature of the show and the nature of HBO being willing to take risks.”

Pitt said he was surprised that people didn’t see it coming. It made sense to him considering Jimmy takes a hit out on Nucky. “I was actually surprised that it surprised other people. To me, it just seems like it makes sense. As soon as they wrote him trying to put a hit on the main character, well, they’re not going to kill the main character. (But) they know their audience, that’s why they’re good writers,” Pitt continued.

The murder of Jimmy Darmody at the hands of Nucky Thompson will always be an iconic moment in Boardwalk Empire.