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"Hold Me in Paradise" is the eighth episode of the first season of Boardwalk Empire, and the eighth episode overall. The episode was written by staff writer Meg Jackson and directed by Brian Kirk.



Nucky visits Chicago for the Republican National Convention, where he finds himself intrigued by the candidacy of Warren G. Harding over more established candidates, despite the fact that he meets Warren's mistress and bastard child. He promises Harding's manager the votes of the New Jersey delegation in exchange for blocking Senator Edge's nomination for the vice-presidency, knowing that his former ally has secretly sided against him in funding new roads for Jersey City rather than Nucky's own Atlantic City.

Nucky stops by Johnny Torrio's brothel looking for more information on Harding. As Nucky talks to Torrio and a local judge, Jimmy comes downstairs and runs into his old patron. Nucky behaves coldly towards Jimmy, criticizing him for never writing his family. It is revealed in the episode that Internal Revenue agent Van Alden, still working out of Atlantic City's post office to investigate Jimmy, has been intercepting the steady stream of money and letters Jimmy sends to his wife.

Eli watches over his brother's affairs. While collecting money at the casino one night, Eli walks into an armed robbery. He is shot and wounded by the D'Alessio gang, who planned the heist with Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky.

When he learns of Eli's wounding, Nucky returns to Torrio's brothel and asks Jimmy to come back to Atlantic City, reminding him that, as an Irishman among Italians, Jimmy will always be an outsider in Torrio's crew. Nucky stresses that he needs Jimmy's help in the intensifying turf war against Rothstein and the Italians. He offers him a percentage share in his smuggling operations and help in dealing with Van Alden's investigation of Jimmy's heist from the first episode. Jimmy is noncommittal, although later he looks on wistfully as Torrio and his men laugh and joke in Italian.

Agent Van Alden's personal problems are brought to light in a scene introducing his depressing home life. He is struggling with his wife's desire for a child, though she is infertile. She pressures him to provide money for an operation he cannot afford. Afterwards, Van Alden is shown gathering all the money he has intercepted from Jimmy, then mailing an envelope to his wife. However, it is soon revealed that he has actually passed the money along to Jimmy's wife Angela; Van Alden's own wife breaks down in tears as she reads the letter confirming his decision to trust in God's will rather than get her an operation.

Rothstein prepares for legal trouble over his role in fixing the 1919 World Series.

Margaret finds herself entangled in Nucky's business affairs when he calls from Chicago and asks her to watch over his office in the chaotic aftermath of the casino robbery. The final scene of the episode reveals that she has spent the entire night sitting at Nucky's desk, reading a ledger that details his profits from bootlegging.


Main article: Hold Me in Paradise recap

A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.


First Appearances[]

  1. Warren G. Harding, US Senator for Ohio and Repubican candidate for President of the United States in the 1920 presidential election.
  2. Florence Harding, wife of Warren Harding.
  3. Nan Britton, mistress of Warren Harding.
  4. Elizabeth Ann Britton, claimed illegitimate daughter of Warren Harding.
  5. Harry Daugherty, Warren Harding's campaign manager.
  6. Jess Smith, Daugherty's aide.






  1. Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson
  2. Michael Pitt as James "Jimmy" Darmody
  3. Kelly MacDonald as Margaret Schroeder
  4. Michael Shannon as Agent Nelson Van Alden
  5. Shea Whigham as Sheriff Elias "Eli" Thompson
  6. Aleksa Palladino as Angela Darmody
  7. Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein
  8. Stephen Graham as Al Capone
  9. Vincent Piazza as Lucky Luciano (credit only)
  10. Paz de la Huerta as Lucille "Lucy" Danziger
  11. Michael Kenneth Williams as Chalky White (credit only)
  12. Anthony Laciura as Edward "Eddie" Kessler
  13. Paul Sparks as Mickey Doyle (credit only)
  14. and Dabney Coleman as Commodore Louis Kaestner (credit only)

Guest starring[]

  1. Gretchen Mol as Gillian Darmody
  2. Greg Antonacci as Johnny Torrio
  3. Edoardo Ballerini as Ignacious D'Alessio
  4. Danny Burstein as Lolly Steinman
  5. Max Casella as Leo D'Alessio
  6. Jack Huston as Richard Harrow
  7. Christopher McDonald as Harry Daugherty
  8. Geoff Pierson as Senator Walter Edge


Joe Rusnak - Conventioneer

1. David Aaron Baker as Bill Fallon
2. Anthony Cerbone as Antonio
3. Malachy Cleary as Senator Warren Harding
4. Robert Clohessy as Ward Boss Jim Neary
5. Daniel Cox as Jess Smith
6. Donavon Dietz as Junior Staffer
7. Lucy and Josie Gallina as Emily Schroeder
8. Enid Graham as Rose Van Alden
9. Kevin Henderson as Dr Carl Surran
10. William Hill as Ward Boss George O'Neill 11. Nicholas Julius as Gino

12. Anna Katarina as Isabelle Jeunet
13. Christian Kauffmann as Judge Graves
14. Jacqueline Knapp as Florence Harding
15. Virginia Kull as Nan Britton
16. Al Linea as Matteo D'Alessio
17. Ben Livingston as Hotel Manager
18. Kenn Mann as Postal Worker
19. Nicholas Martino as Pius D'Alessio
20. Edward McGinty as Ward Boss Al Boyd
21. Declan and Rory McTigue as Teddy Schroeder

22. Adam Mucci as Deputy Halloran
23. Brady and Connor Noon as Tommy Darmody
24. Carmine Raspaolo as Angelo
25. Megan Reinking as Annabelle
26. Frank Ridley as Conductor
27. Nisi Sturgis as June Thompson
28. Susan Varon as Madam Regina
29. Victor Verhaeghe as Ward Boss Damien Fleming


  1. Belgian Band ORgan - "Il Trovatore" plays as Eli wonders where everyone is.
  2. Gypsy Queen - "Turkey in the Straw" plays as Eli gives O'Neill the day off.
  3. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "National Emblem" plays as Nucky checks into hotel.
  4. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "Ye Boston Tea Party" plays Edge asks Nucky to attend Daugherty's event.
  5. Zez Confrey - "By the Waters of Minnetonka" plays as a drunk Lucy confronts Margaret.
  6. Peter Mintun - "Do You Ever Think of Me/You're My Baby" plays as Nucky mingles with politicians at Daugherty's event, he sees Nan Britton.
  7. Andy Vale - "The August Waltz" plays as the Ward Bosses watch porn.
  8. Robert Clohessy - "Loch Lomond" sung by Ward Boss Neary as they talk about their collections.
  9. Ehud Asherie - "Sweetie Dear" plays as Nucky meets with Torrio.
  10. Boardwalk Empire String Quartet - "String Quartet No. 5 in f minor" plays as Eli lies bleeding on the floor.
  11. Jose Marie Perez and the Nuremberg Symphonic Orchestra - "Questa O Quella(from Rigoletto) plays as Jimmy looks on as Capone and Torrio play Briscola and speak in Italien.
  12. Peter Mintun - "Till the Clouds Roll By" plays as Rose gets a letter from Nelson; Angela opens cash-filled envelope.
  13. Gypsy Queen - "Oh Dem Golden Slippers" plays as Margaret sits at Nucky's desk.
  14. Marion Harris - "Look for the Silver Lining" plays as Margaret opens Nucky's ledger and during the end credits.


"Hold Me in Paradise" boosted its adults 18–49 rating 0.3 points to a 1.5 rating. The episode had a total of 3.213 million viewers.[1]

IGN gave the episode a score of 7.5 describing it as "a calm before the storm episode, [it] also succeeds at settling Nucky's political ties by establishing new ones, this time tethered to Warren Harding's Presidential campaign. The sky may be the limit on Nucky's political capital, but all he wants are his roads to Atlantic City. And he'll need them, as the war threatens to bring both allies and enemies to Nucky's town."[2]

The A.V. Club gave it a B rating.[3]

Memorable Quotes[]

  • "You're about as subtle as a kick in the teeth." — Nucky Thompson


External links[]

Season One
#01 Boardwalk Empire#07 Home
#02 The Ivory Tower#08 Hold Me in Paradise
#03 Broadway Limited#09 Belle Femme
#04 Anastasia#10 The Emerald City
#05 Nights in Ballygran#11 Paris Green
#06 Family Limitation#12 A Return to Normalcy