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Harry Daugherty (played by Christopher McDonald) is a crooked politician and later, the U.S. Attorney General under Presidents Harding and Coolidge. He is based on the real life politician of the same name.

He appears as a recurring character in the first three seasons, and as the tertiary antagonist in Season 3.



Daugherty was born January 26 1860 in Washington Court House, Ohio. He worked as a lawyer before moving into politics.

Season 1[]

In the first season Daugherty is the campaign manager for senator and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Warren Harding. Daugherty and Harding go to Chicago, Illinois for the 1920 Republican National Convention. Daugherty courts Walter Edge, the Senator for New Jersey and a fellow Republican, for the Vice Presidential candidacy. He throws a reception at the beginning of the conference and invites Edge. Edge sends Nucky Thompson in his place. Harding is not considered a front runner for the nomination and faces competition from General Wood and Governor of Illinois Frank Orren Lowden. ("Hold Me in Paradise")

Nucky arrives at Daugherty’s reception and is greeted by a junior staffer who points out the host. Daugherty strides over to greet Nucky and introduces himself before offering a drink. Nucky requests bourbon and Daugherty snaps his fingers at a waiter. Nucky offers Edge’s regrets and Daugherty says that he will be missed but that he has been told Nucky is the man to talk to anyway. Nucky says that this depends on what you want and Daugherty says that he has been told that Nucky controls the votes of the New Jersey delegation. Daugherty tells Nucky that he believes Harding can win the Republican nomination and with Edge as his Vice Presidential running mate they could win the White House. Nucky doubtfully calls Harding a long shot. Daugherty counters that Wood and Lowden are front runners but have both been tainted by a recent senate inquiry started by Senator Hiram Johnson. He asserts that the inquiry also reflects badly on Johnson. Nucky summarises the field as devoid of first rate candidates with Harding being the best second rate choice. Nucky observes that Harding looks like a president and Daugherty says that with the female vote a possibility Harding’s appearance will be even more important. A pair of passing Harding supporters compliment Daugherty on the dinner and he promises them more than just steak if they vote his way. Nucky tells Daugherty that he has an appetite of his own and Daugherty offers to introduce him to the candidate. ("Hold Me in Paradise")

Daugherty returns and introduces Harding and his wife Florence. Nucky tells Harding that he read a speech he gave in May entitled “Back to Normal” and compliments him on the content. Harding jokes that he could spend hours bloviating and expands on his belief that American’s want stability. Nucky is distracted by the cries of the baby and Daugherty moves Harding on. While at the reception Nucky notices Harding's mistress Nan Britton carrying her baby and being refused entry by Daugherty's associate Jess Smith. ("Hold Me in Paradise")

The following morning Nucky meets with Daugherty in the otherwise empty convention hall at the Chicago Coliseum. Daugherty calls their meeting clandestine and Nucky jokes that Daugherty is no stranger to back room negotiations. Daugherty glances at their expansive surroundings and says that it is quite a back room. Nucky tells him that he needs to go home urgently. He tells Daugherty that he has made enquiries and has been told by Judge Graves that Daugherty is a good man. Daugherty asserts that Graves told Nucky that he “plays ball”. Nucky wonders if this is true and Daugherty compares himself to Babe Ruth. Nucky smiles and says that he has considered Daugherty’s proposal and believes Harding has a slim chance. Daugherty says that he thought Nucky would back Wood and Nucky says that he expects Wood to deadlock with Lowden. Daugherty asserts that the delegates will cross over to Harding if this happens. Nucky tells him not to expect Harding to be nominated early but that by the time the fifth or sixth ballot is held the delegates will be desperate to nominate someone who can win. Nucky promises to put the Jersey delegation behind Harding if things go as they have predicted. Daugherty assumes that Nucky wants Edge to be nominated for Vice President in return. Nucky asks for the opposite and Daugherty asks what he is missing. Nucky elucidates that Edge double crossed him and gave away his road appropriations funding to Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague (a Democrat). Daugherty wonders how Nucky knows this; Nucky observes that Hague is just as two faced and was his source as well as a friend. Daugherty calls Nucky’s request a rich play and laughs. Nucky asks Daugherty to tell him how they plan to handle Harding’s lady trouble, having deduced that Harding fathered Miss Britton’s baby. Daugherty asks which lady and Nucky is surprised that there is more than one. Daugherty says that he has lost count and that one woman is blackmailing Harding. Nucky wonders if this is Britton and Harding says that it is not her and that she is merely in love. Daugherty confirms that the baby belongs to Harding. Nucky offers to sequester Britton with Margaret in Atlantic City until Harding is elected and says that he expects to receive his road funding in return. Daugherty says he will need to sell the idea to Harding and Nucky asserts that Daugherty must be quite the salesman. They shake hands and Daugherty remarks that Al Jolson has agreed to write Harding’s campaign song. Nucky asserts that Eddie Cantor is better and strides towards the exit. Harding later wins the nomination on the tenth ballot. ("Hold Me in Paradise")

When Harding is elected president he makes Daugherty the Attorney General. ("A Return to Normalcy")

Season 2[]

In season 2 Daugherty initially refuses to help Nucky in his power struggle with the commodore claiming that he is too new to office and that he cannot intercede in state proceedings.

Daugherty visits Atlantic City for Memorial Day with his aide Jess Smith. He attends an event to mark the beginning of the construction of the Atlantic County War Memorial. Nucky is careful to note Daugherty's presence in his speech and Daugherty stands and gives the crowd a wave. Nucky unexpectedly invites his rival Gimcrack & Bunkump to the stage. Darmody’s left hand shakes initially but he composes himself and speaks humbly about his service during World War I and his motivations for fighting. He receives a round of applause and then proceeds to read the list of departed soldiers. After the event Daugherty and Nucky play a round of golf. In the changing room Nucky complains about Darmody. Nucky refutes Darmody’s claims that he fought for democracy and tells the others that Darmody enlisted because he could not cope with studying at Princeton. Daugherty is more concerned with his expanding waistline. Daugherty informs Nucky that he has found a cooperative federal prosecutor; Charles Kenneth Thorogood. Daugherty leaves the changing room and Smith asks Nucky about George Remus. Smith wants Nucky to vouch for him with Remus so that they can get into the bootlegging business together. ("Gimcrack & Bunkum")

Nucky is late for their meeting at the Ritz Carlton that evening. Nucky apologizes and Daugherty notes Nucky’s somewhat battered appearance; Nucky explains it away as sunburn. Daugherty introduces Nucky to Thorogood. Nucky's attorney Isaac Ginsburg confirms that they have discussed their plans. Ginsburg explains that Thorogood will submit a motion to transfer the charges against Nucky to federal court. Thorogood clarifies that he will argue that the combination of the election rigging charges and the Mann Act violations constitute an ongoing criminal enterprise operating across state lines. Smith explains that once the case is before a federal court the Department of Justice will intervene and drop the charges due to insufficient time and resources. Daugherty notes the absence of a thank you from Nucky and laughs off Nucky’s request for a guarantee. Ginsburg leaves telling the others he has to catch an early train. Daugherty tells Nucky that his party is free all evening. That night Nucky tries to work while his allies party with prostitutes in the next room of his suite. ("Gimcrack & Bunkum")

Thorogood's motion to transfer the charges to federal court is successful. Daugherty answers a call from Nucky and observes that Nucky sounds happy. Nucky jokes about the joy of becoming a federal defendant. Daugherty claims that Nucky now owes him a favour and Nucky disagrees, stating that they are will be even once the charges are dismissed. Daugherty passes on a thank you from Smith regarding the introduction to Remus. Nucky warns Daugherty to be careful and Daugherty cites his own leadership as reassurance. Standing next to Daugherty, Smith checks his watch and then tilts his chin upwards. Daugherty nods and brings the conversation to a close by asking Nucky to look after Thorogood and telling Nucky that he has a long friendship with Thorogood’s father. ("The Age of Reason")

In his office Daugherty laughs about the rise in popularity of the fez style of hat on the phone with President Harding, calling the president Bill. Smith enters and announces that Senator Walter Edge, from New Jersey, would like to speak to him. They shake hands and Edge explains that he has been discussing the proposed bureau of veteran’s affairs with Charlie Forbes. Daugherty claims that it is a worthy affair and Edge jokes that it could even benefit veterans. Edge calls Forbes a criminal and says that a constituent wants him to launch a subcommittee to investigate the proposal. Daugherty digs deeper asking if this constituent has other concerns. Having established his leverage Edge reveals that his constituent is upset about the assignment of Thorogood, an inexperienced prosecutor, to Nucky’s case. Edge demands a replacement in order to deflect his interest in the bureau. Daugherty nods acceptance and puffs on a cigar. Daugherty calls Nucky about Edge's demands to switch prosecutors. Daugherty apologises and Nucky wonders why the attorney general is acquiescing to a mere senator. Daugherty admits that Edge has threatened an investigation. Nucky still cannot understand, citing Daugherty’s short time in office. Daugherty refuses to comment further. Nucky asks who it will be and Daugherty does not follow, distracted by the newspaper he is reading. Once Nucky has clarified his meaning Daugherty admits that he has not chosen yet. Nucky requests an accommodating prosecutor and complains about his situation's vulnerability. Daugherty says he is also vulnerable and hangs up. ("The Age of Reason")

Daugherty assigns Esther Randolph to Nucky's case because she has a reputation for honesty. ("Peg of Old") Daugherty refuses further requests from Ginsburg to intervene in the case and asks Ginsburg to tell Nucky that he has done all he can and considers them "square". ("Georgia Peaches")

Season 3[]

Nucky meets with Daugherty on December 31, 1922 and expresses concern over the battering Daugherty's administration have been taking in the press. Daugherty counters that Nucky lives in a glass house and should be careful what he throws. Daugherty tells Nucky that he will now be taking payoffs through a middleman in New York. ("Resolution")

Nucky meets Daugherty's bag man, Gaston Means. ("Spaghetti and Coffee")

Daugherty sends a message congratulating Nucky when he is given the St. Gregory's Award by the Catholic Church. ("Bone for Tuna")

Season 4

A newspaper shows that Daugherty has resigned as Attorney General


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"
  1. Basing on the Season 5 year