Boardwalk Empire Wiki

Edward Lawrence Bader is a New Jersey construction magnate and politician. He is played by Kevin O'Rourke. He becomes Atlantic City Mayor in the November 1920 elections. He is based on the real Atlantic City Politician of the same name.



Bader runs a successful construction company in Atlantic City. He is a Republican. He is married to Katheryn and they have children together.

Season 1[]

Bader is approached by Nucky Thompson in July 1920, as the prospects of reelection for current Mayor Harry Bacharach seem to diminish each day, and invited to dinner at Babette's Supper Club. Sophie Tucker entertains the crowd at Babette’s with a risqué routine. Bader is joined by his wife, Katheryn and Nucky has brought his companion Margaret Schroeder. Nucky talks about opportunism as a positive quality and reminds Bader of his success exercising good timing in the building industry. Nucky lists Bader’s positive qualities; he is a churchgoer, a family man and well liked in the community. Margaret calls Bader impressive. Bader stares up at the ceiling and Katheryn wonders what he is looking for. He jokes that he is wondering when the other shoe will drop drawing a laugh from his companions. Tucker announces a song; “Some Of These Days”. Nucky suggests that Margaret take Kathryn to get a better view. When they stand he complements her dress; the blue $480 number from La Belle Femme. Margaret admits that it was a gift and leaves Nucky to consider the implication. Bader asks Nucky the purpose of the dinner and Nucky asks Bader if he wants to be Mayor. Bader jokes that with Nucky as boss he would have more authority as a street sweeper. Nucky says that being Mayor would give him more time to handle his business. Nucky says that is time for a change and Bader wonders what will happen to Bacharach. Nucky says that Bacharach is ill and will not seek re-election. Bader wonders what the problem is and Nucky says that he will produce a diagnosis as soon as Bader answers. Bader says that he needs to discuss it with his wife and Nucky urges him to be decisive. Nucky promises the opportunity to build roads (referencing his plans to make millions through a land deal), hospitals, a convention centre and a stadium if Bader will work with him. Bader observes that it is the 1920s and the world belongs to the young. Nucky says they will let them think that it does. Bader tries on the title verbally. Nucky stands and offers a handshake urging Bader to consider the proposal. ("Belle Femme")

The plan succeeds and Bader is elected Mayor by a small margin in November. ("A Return to Normalcy")

Season 2[]

In season 2 he remains loyal to Nucky during the commodores attempted political coup.

Bader is a guest of honor during the memorial day celebrations in May 1921. ("Gimcrack & Bunkum")

World Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey holds an open practice in a tent on the beach in Atlantic City. Dempsey’s sparring partner is bloodied; the two hug at the end of the round. A gaggle of reporters at the ringside question Dempsey. Bader and Nucky are with Dempsey's trainer Jack "Doc" Kearns on the sidelines. Dempsey leaves the ring and Nucky compliments his performance for the press. Nucky asks Dempsey to make a promotional appearance at Babette’s Supper Club on Friday to advertise the wireless broadcast of the fight. Bader explains that they will be charging $2.50 a ticket to listen to the fight live via the radio. Dempsey agrees on the condition that his trainer is on board. Nucky replies that with Doc expecting a 10% share of their takings he will gladly agree and Doc jokes about scientific progress. ("Peg of Old")

At Babette’s Doc entertains Dempsey, Nucky and Bader with a joke before Dempsey’s speech. Doc reminds Dempsey to mention the Radio Corporation of America and hands him a copy of a prepared speech. Dempsey stands on the bar and addresses the crowd. A man emerges from the crowd with a pistol in hand. Nucky raises his hand and the man fires at him, hitting him in his right palm. Nucky collapses and federal investigator Clifford Lathrop shoots the would be assassin from the back of the room. As Jimmy exits he hears Bader say that Nucky is alive. ("Peg of Old")

Nucky stands down as Atlantic County Treasurer and cedes control of his organization to Jimmy Darmody claiming that he is going to retire. He asks Bader to co-operate with Jimmy. ("Two Boats and a Lifeguard")

Jimmy holds court in The Commodore’s home on July 23, 1921. Meeting with Jimmy and The Commodore are Bader, Atlantic County Sheriff Eli Thompson, new treasurer Jim Neary, The Commodore’s attorney and advisor Leander Cephas Whitlock and three hotel owners. The Commodore’s butler Langston is attending to guests and hosts alike. The hoteliers have come to discuss ending the citywide strike by African American workers. They all complain vociferously about the situation and suggest that it should have already been dealt with. They suggest involving the Ku Klux Klan as The Commodore once did to handle Chalky. Eli dismisses this suggestion, saying that he does not want to be indebted to the Klan. Jimmy asks the businessmen why they are having this problem in the first place and they resort to racism as an explanation for their workers demands. Neary jokes along with them and The Commodore bangs his walking stick against the ground. Jimmy tells his father not to get worked up and Whitlock says that he is trying to speak. Jimmy reassures The Commodore that he will handle the problem. Jimmy suggests negotiating and one of the businessmen turns to Bader as though this is insanity. Bader urges the hotelier to listen, calling him Dan. Jimmy suggests offering a 5 cent raise to all the workers and points out that they can afford it. Neary observes that no-one negotiates with the African Americans and Jimmy elucidates that the cost of a raise is nothing compared to the profits lost in the strike. The hoteliers wonder what will happen next year and foresee never ending pay rises. They tell Jimmy that their window to make money lasts from Memorial Day to Labour Day. The Commodore again interrupts, furiously banging his walking stick and repeating no. Jimmy tells the business men that his father needs to rest, over protestations from The Commodore himself. One of the hoteliers angrily instructs Jimmy to do what he is paid to do and end the strike on his way out. ("Georgia Peaches")

Bader says that Jimmy is handling things in the right way and Eli says that he is lying. Eli suggests using strike breakers; fifty men armed with billy clubs. Neary agrees and Jimmy wonders if they are serious. Eli says that violence is how strikes are handled and Neary recalls a strike in 1909 where workers were thrown into the sea. Jimmy worries that this will cause a riot and Eli claims otherwise. Eli asks for The Commodore’s opinion and he shrugs. Neary asks who Eli has on the strike and he says that Halloran is watching the boardwalk. Neary reveals that he saw Halloran meeting with Randolph. Eli says that he instructed Halloran not to speak with Randolph. Neary relates instructing Halloran to blame any actions related to election rigging on Nucky. Whitlock asks Jimmy if he will follow their strategy and Jimmy sarcastically wonders if he means the billy clubs or the pier. Whitlock tells Jimmy that his predecessor kept the African American community happy and Jimmy angrily asserts that he is not Nucky and still needs a plan to end the strike peacefully. The Commodore profanely calls Jimmy a woman and instructs him to show the workers his female genitals. The room is confused so The Commodore stands up, using his weakened right side and repeats the statement cowing Jimmy. Whitlock is impressed at the action, having thought The Commodore paralysed. The Commodore instructs Neary to get him a drink and he does so. Eli is lost in thought, tapping his finger against his closed lips. Neither the strike breakers nor Jimmy's negotiations are successful in ending the strike. Eli instructs the strike breakers to beat Halloran as a warning not to co-operate with Randolph's investigation. This backfires and Eli is arrested when Halloran agrees to testify against him. ("Georgia Peaches")

Bader shows his support during Nucky's trial, sitting in the public gallery directly behind Nucky with Damien Fleming and Eddie Kessler. Nucky's witness tampering pays off and a mistrial is declared. Bader and the others shield Nucky from the press as they exit the courtroom. ("To the Lost")

Congress announces road appropriations funding for New Jersey vastly increasing the value of the land Nucky told Bader to buy. Eddie drives Nucky out to a field where another cars is waiting for him. Mayor Bader jokes that they are in the middle of a highway. Ernie Moran pours champagne for them as Fleming pulls up behind him. Moran congratulates Nucky and they toast to their new riches. Fleming has another bottle of champagne and Bader commends his timing, saying that they were almost dry. Moran calls the tract the road to riches and Nucky says that he had considered calling it the Harding highway. Fleming says that it never hurts to remember your friends and opens his bottle. Nucky toasts the future with his partners. ("To the Lost")

Season 3[]

Nucky and Margaret Thompson plan a lavish Egyptian themed party on December 31, 1922 to commemorate the new year. In the afternoon Nucky meets with Attorney General Harry Daugherty. Bader joins them in his capacity as Mayor, along with new Atlantic County Treasurer Damien Fleming. They are dismissed when the talk turns to real business. Bader is among the guests for the Thompson's party that night. ("Resolution")

On January 9, 1923 Bader is part of the audience at St. Finbar's Church when Nucky receives the St. Gregory's Award for donating his land to the church. ("Bone for Tuna")


Memorable Quotes[]


Season one appearances
Boardwalk Empire The Ivory Tower Broadway Limited Anastasia
Nights in Ballygran Family Limitation Home Hold Me in Paradise
Belle Femme The Emerald City Paris Green A Return to Normalcy
Season two appearances
21 Ourselves Alone A Dangerous Maid What Does the Bee Do?
Gimcrack & Bunkum The Age of Reason Peg of Old Two Boats and a Lifeguard
Battle of the Century Georgia Peaches Under God's Power She Flourishes To the Lost
Season three appearances
"Resolution" "Spaghetti and Coffee" "Bone for Tuna" "Blue Bell Boy"
"You'd Be Surprised" "Ging Gang Goolie" "Sunday Best" "The Pony"
"The Milkmaid's Lot" "A Man, A Plan..." "Two Imposters" "Margate Sands"
Season four appearances
"New York Sour" "Resignation" "Acres of Diamonds" "All In"
"Erlkonig" "The North Star" "William Wilson" "The Old Ship of Zion"
"Marriage and Hunting" "White Horse Pike" "Havre De Grace" "Farewell Daddy Blues"