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Main article: Arnold Rothstein

Arnold Rothstein remains a major character in the second season. This article details their actions in each episode of the season.

The Age of Reason[]

Main article: The Age of Reason

Rothstein visists Atlantic City to attend a meeting chaired by Nucky Thompson. Nucky holds the meeting in the sitting room of his suite at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Seated in the centre of the room are Nucky, Rothstein, alcohol importer Bill McCoy, Nucky’s bootlegging manager Chalky White, and Rothstein's Philadelphia connection Waxey Gordon. At the edge of the room are Nucky’s driver and enforcer Owen Sleater, Rothstein's protégé Lucky Luciano, Luciano's associate Meyer Lansky and Philadelphia gangster Herman Kaufman. With Atlantic City blockaded by the coast guard they are there to arrange delivery of McCoy’s shipments via Philadelphia. If the clear skies hold McCoy is planning to weigh anchor close to shore near Philadelphia at 2 a.m. the following night. Waxey explains that he will transport the liquor ashore in speedboats and has a dozen of them at his disposal. He estimates that this step can be completed in under an hour. Nucky and McCoy worry about the coast guard around Philadelphia and Rothstein confirms that Waxey has assured their safety. Waxey states that the guarantee of plain sailing is what he is being paid for. Nucky gripes about Waxey’s twenty percent share. Rothstein explains that once ashore the crates will be put onto trucks by Waxey’s men. Waxey points out Kaufman as the supervisor for this step and states that the trucks will be driven to the border of Atlantic City where Luciano and Lansky will complete the journey. Luciano complains to Rothstein that Waxey should earn his share by having his men complete the journey. Waxey compares Luciano to a woman asking to be walked home and Kaufman jokes about needing a good night kiss. Luciano threatens Kaufman and Lansky quiets Luciano. Chalky tells Luciano that he will expect delivery around 5 a.m. and reminds Luciano to signal his arrival with flashing headlights. Rothstein looks at Nucky and Nucky nods his assent.

The shipment is delivered as planned but not without incident. Jimmy Darmody attempts a hijacking but abandons the plan when he finds that Luciano and Lansky are the guards. The trio secretly make a bargain to work together to take control of the entire bootlegging operation from Nucky and Rothstein.

Two Boats and a Lifeguard[]

Main article: Two Boats and a Lifeguard

At a stable Arnold Rothstein discusses making a late entry into the 4th July 1921 race at the Aqueduct track with Sidereal, a horse that he owns, with his trainer, Max Hirsch. Rothstein’s assistant stands behind the pair. Rothstein expects to net large winnings by making Sidereal (who is a relative unknown) a late entry on the busy race day to ensure long odds that he can sustain by surreptitiously betting through intermediaries while the bookmakers are too distracted to properly adjust the odds; a scheme he calls unorthodox but not illegal. Hirsch jokingly compares Rothstein to a spider charming a fly. Rothstein notes that Hirsch has also been known to spin webs. Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky arrive and Rothstein introduces them to Hirsch and tells them that Sidereal will be racing soon. Hirsch objects, saying that the horse has not yet been entered; Rothstein asks Hirsch if they can continue to talk about it. Hirsch jokes that Rothstein will talk while he will listen and then exits.

Rothstein asks how his subordinates are doing. Lansky says they are not making much money but are enjoying getting out in the sunshine. Rothstein observes that there are cheaper ways to get a tan than betting on losers. Luciano agrees and jokes that the last horse he backed is still running for the finish line. Rothstein asks for news from Philadelphia and Luciano says that it is business as usual. Lansky adds that Bill McCoy will be delivering another shipment that Thursday. Rothstein notes that with Nucky Thompson still alive they should proceed as planned. He wonders if his subordinates know anything about the assassination attempt against Nucky. Luciano falsely denies knowledge and Lansky obfuscates, relaying a rumour that it was ordered by Nucky’s brother, Eli Thompson. Rothstein doubts this and suspects that Jimmy Darmody was involved. Luciano claims that Jimmy would not be capable and Rothstein wonders if this is pillow talk from Gillian Darmody. Luciano lies again, claiming that he has not seen Gillian in months. Rothstein nods and then sniffs the air. Lansky asks what is wrong. Rothstein says that he is bothered by the manure but that it is to be expected when conducting business in a stable. Rothstein wipes his hands and leaves Luciano and Lansky to consider his meaning.

Rothstein goes to Atlantic City to meet with Nucky at the Armoury. Torrio and Rothstein wait for Nucky inside. He arrives and thanks them for coming and apologises for the setting. Rothstein understands the need for privacy and Torrio asks how they can help. Nucky confuses Torrio by asking him to get his subordinates in line. Nucky explains that the shooter, Vito Scalercio, is connected to Al Capone. Torrio reveals Capone’s frequent phone conversations with Jimmy and Rothstein confesses that Jimmy visited him in New York. Nucky complains that he has not been told earlier. Rothstein admits that it was the day after Nucky’s arrest and reassures Nucky that he turned down Jimmy’s offer to supply alcohol. Nucky asks if Rothstein will vouch for Luciano and Lansky and Rothstein defers. Rothstein tells Nucky about one of Waxey’s men being killed on the way to make a delivery in what Luciano called an attempted hijacking. Nucky tells his associates that “the pups have grown fangs.” Nucky asks for advice and rejects Torrio’s suggestion that he kill Jimmy given the ongoing federal surveillance. Rothstein turns away as the others talk, deep in thought. Torrio suggests retirement and Nucky admits that all of his capital is tied up in land. Rothstein suggests inaction; the others are disbelieving. Rothstein explains that in his experience as a gambler when no move is available the best action is to wait until an opportunity arises and to then bet heavily.

Battle of the Century[]

Main article: Battle of the Century

Nucky goes to Ireland and trades weapons for whiskey with the Irish Republican Army.

Georgia Peaches[]

Main article: Georgia Peaches

Rothstein and Bill Fallon meet with Nucky Thompson in Fallon’s New York offices on July 24, 1921. Fallon greets Nucky and says that he has heard only good things. Rothstein jokes that none of them came from him and Nucky plays along, saying that this narrows the list of suspects. Teddy looks at a baseball on the corner of Fallon’s desk. Fallon asks if the boy likes baseball and makes a gift of the ball, telling Teddy that it is signed by Ty Cobb. Nucky prompts Teddy to say thank you but Teddy instead remarks that Cobb is a bad man. Nucky tells Teddy that while Cobb does not like to be crossed he is a good player to have at bat if you are losing. Teddy goes out with Fallon's secretary. As the door closes behind them Fallon takes another signed baseball from the stock he keeps in a desk drawer and places it on the stand. Fallon says that Rothstein has told him that Nucky wants to take his case in a new direction; Nucky jokes that he would prefer away from jail. Fallon disparages Ginsburg as he pours drinks (milk for Rothstein) and Nucky says that he hopes Fallon is not charging him to hear that he is a fool for hiring Ginsburg. Fallon shrugs and agrees that part of the meeting will be free. Rothstein tells Nucky that if you can see past Fallon’s charm he is effective. Nucky asks if Fallon will be able to change the trial venue back to Atlantic City and Fallon admits that this is unlikely but reassures Nucky that he is skilled at sowing the seed of doubt in a jury trial. Nucky jokingly wonders at the cost of Fallon’s seed farming and Fallon announces a rate of $80 per hour inclusive of his ability to befriend judges. Nucky wonders what Fallon would say if he had no money for bribes and Fallon tells him that he would be relying solely on his legal acumen. Nucky asks Rothstein’s advice and Rothstein tells him that a gambler likes a long shot. Fallon laughs and Nucky nods and drinks deeply from his glass.

To the Lost[]

Main article: To the Lost

Rothstein]] sits at his desk with several packets of heroin in front of him and Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky sat opposite. One is open showing the white powder it contains. Rothstein says that he had understood that it was brown and Lansky clarifies that there are several preparations. Luciano says that it should be gold and Lansky adds that once a customer has tried it they are addicted. Rothstein wonders who their supplier is and Luciano says that it is a Chinese downtown resident. Lansky explains that it is imported from the orient. Rothstein suggests that they set up their own import operation, concealing the heroin in shipments of Chinese lanterns. The phone rings once. Lansky is impressed by the suggestion of cutting out the middle man. Luciano lies that they came to Rothstein first.

Rothstein’s assistant enters and announces that Nucky is on the phone. Rothstein takes the call and congratulates Nucky on the mistrial. Rothstein says that it seems that Fallon earned his fee, Nucky jokes that Fallon must think that he did. Rothstein asks what he can do and Nucky says that he is calling about Manny. Nucky asks if Rothstein would mind if Manny were dead and Rothstein enquires why Nucky is asking. Nucky says that it is a courtesy because of their shared association with Waxey Gordon. Rothstein pointedly says the proposal aloud slowly and it is met with indifference from Luciano and Lansky. He then adds that he would have no opinion either way. Nucky says that he then has a decision to make. Rothstein recommends that he stage a coin toss and will know which side he desires when it is in the air.

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