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Neary Jim

Neary's death.

James Patrick "Jim" Neary, played by Robert Clohessy, is an Atlantic City politician. He is an Alderman of the Atlantic City Council when the series begins. He is a Republican and is initially loyal to political boss and Atlantic County Treasurer Nucky Thompson. In the second season Neary joins a political coup against Nucky and agrees to act as a confidential informant against him. Nucky eventually feigns retirement under mounting legal pressure and after an assassination attempt; Neary succeeds Nucky as Treasurer. Nucky has his revenge by having Neary assassinated as part of his return to power. Co-star Marcus Anturri plays the character in flashbacks to his young adulthood in 1884. He briefly appears in the 1897 flashback where he is campaigning for Alderman.



Neary was (possibly) born in Wicklow County, Ireland, which he fondly remembers when talking to Margaret Schroeder the night before Saint Patrick's Day in 1920 ("Nights in Ballygran"). Given his lack of an accent he probably immigrated to the United States at a very young age. Neary was a corrupt cop before entering politics. According to Chalky White, who met him when he worked on Georgia Street, Neary liked to use the club when collecting bribes. For this reason, Chalky considers him the most dangerous and ambitious of the men in town boss Nucky Thompson's inner circle. ("Ourselves Alone")

By 1920, Neary has been a local politician in Atlantic City for several years. He is an Alderman of the Atlantic City Council and a member of the Republican Party. As a Ward Boss he is responsible for making collections for Nucky's organization and managing Precinct Captains in his ward. As an Irish-American, he is a member of the Order of Ancient Celts.

Season 1[]

On the eve of prohibition (January 16 1920) Nucky Thompson assembles his organization at Babette's Supper Club and explains that they are about to get in to bootlegging. Neary and his colleagues greet the announcement with cheers and applause. ("Boardwalk Empire")

Neary delivers a payment to Nucky at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. ("The Ivory Tower)"

Nucky sends Neary to see fourth ward resident Margaret Schroeder. Neary mistakes Edith Mauer for Margaret when she answers the door and is corrected. He gives Margaret the address of La Belle Femme clothing shop and tells her that Nucky has found her a job. He offers his condolences for Margaret’s husbandand leaves. ("Broadway Limited")

Neary and girlfriend

Neary and his girlfriend at the Ritz Carlton.

Nucky entertains guests in his suite at the Ritz. Eddie Cantor sings while Lucy Danziger and friends dance. Neary attends with a girlfriend. Neary's fellow Aldermen George O'Neill and Damien Fleming are also there with their girlfriends. ("Broadway Limited")

Neary and the other aldermen attend Nucky's birthday party at Babette's with dates. ("Anastasia")

Neary stores alcohol at the Hiawatha Garage in his ward. The garage is immediately behind the home of Margaret Schroeder. She is bothered by the sound of men unloading kegs of alcohol and sees Neary with the men. ("Nights in Ballygran")

Nucky counts money in his salon while Aldermen O'Neill and Neary play cards with fishing boat Captain Bill McCoy at the table. Boyd is playing the piano while Eli sits next to Nucky reading notes for his planned speech at the St. Patrick's Day dinner of the Order of Ancient Celts. Nucky chastises O’Neill and O’Neill says that prohibition puts them in uncharted territory. Neary toasts the Irish and their prodigious drinking and Nucky jokes that he personally drinks to forget, but can’t remember what. Fleming arrives with his collections money for Nucky and says that his ward’s speakeasies have been packed with people of all ethnicities. Nucky observes that people want what they cannot have and Boyd is impressed by Nucky’s grasp of psychology. Fleming says his people cannot keep liquor on the shelves, Eli interjects that it should be hidden under the shelves, while Fleming goes on to say he needs to increase his order. Eli asks if McCoy is listening and McCoy responds that he needs to get another boat. Fleming asks the others to deal him into their game and Nucky asks when McCoy is leaving port. McCoy jokingly says he leaves at “the stroke of midnight on a sea of green.” Fleming wonders if McCoy means that the sea is green from money or from the dyed beer they will serve later. Nucky wonders how the preparation of the beer is progressing and Neary reassures him that the food colouring has arrived and is being mixed with the beer as they speak. Nucky jokes that they will need plenty of beer to get the Celts through Eli’s re-election speech. Boyd is surprised that Eli is speaking and Nucky repeats his earlier comparison to Daniel Webster. Eli is annoyed at the jest but Nucky continues, revealing that Eli is taking lessons. Fleming toasts to “the great orator” and O’Neill requests a sample. Eli refuses and Nucky says the Irish are a surly lot. O’Neill suggests giving Eli a drink and Neary jokes that he can have green beer. Nucky says anyone can drink as long as they pay and Neary assures him that they will. McCoy bursts into song replacing the words from Danny Boy with an ode to Nucky’s bootlegging success. ("Nights in Ballygran")

That night Margaret is again awakened by more noise from the garage. She goes out to ask what they are doing and one of the workers explains that they are unloading the beer for it to be turned green for St. Patrick ’s Day. She asks who is in charge, the worker calls and Neary emerges from the garage. He recognises her and comments on the mild evening, comparing it to Wicklow County in Ireland. Margaret points out that she comes from Kerry and Neary recalls the “lofty peak of Carrauntoohil.” (The highest point in Ireland, which is in Kerry.) Margaret asks if he has spoken with Mr Thompson about his business at the garage. He has not but offers to keep the noise down. He offers Margaret a drink and she goes back inside. ("Nights in Ballygran")

At the Celtic Dinner Duncan O'Connor sings “Carickfergus”. The Commodore, Nucky, Neary, Boyd and Ethan Thompson are seated at the top table alongside the vocalist. Ethan shouts over O'Connor to ask Nucky where Eli is just before Eli arrives late, blaming his children playing Tarzan with his sash. The audience joins in with the ballad. As the crowd applauds Mayor Harry Bacharach thanks O’Connor and introduces Nucky. Eli asks when he can speak and Nucky again asks if it is necessary. Nevertheless, at the podium Nucky explains that Eli wants to give a speech. Eli is heckled by the audience as he unfolds his notes. His opening mangles a quote from Julius Caesar and is ridiculed. He seems to get the audience on side with anti-English sentiment and lists the names of Irish revolutionaries. He makes a mistake with one name and is criticised for having been born in America. The Celts begin to argue about the difference between first and second generation immigrants and Eli cannot regain their attention. The Commodore warns Nucky that a riot could erupt and Jimmy announces the end of the speech. He entertains the audience with patriotic jokes about Irishman and then brings on bagpipers and the leprechauns, saying they are carrying pots of gold. The crowd finds the leprechauns carrying bottled beer and complains about the absence of the traditional green beer. Nucky explains that the stash of beer was seized by federal agents. ("Nights in Ballygran")

Later, Neary tells a dirty joke as Nelson Van Alden and a team of Prohibition Agents burst in and announce a raid. Ethan is furious but Nucky restrains him. An attorney from the crowd of Celts states that consumption of alcohol is not a crime. Van Alden knocks him out with a single punch and asks if there are further objections. Eli shifts in his seat and Nucky tells him to stand down. Van Alden orders Sebso to shoot anyone that tries to flee and then announces an arrest warrant for Neary giving his address as 1222 Chelsea Avenue. He has men take Neary away, ignoring his protestations of innocence. He announces the end of the dinner and tells the Celts to leave. Outside the press and the women of the Temperance League are waiting for the diners. The women sing a song in support of prohibition and attempt to shame the Celts as they exit. Neary is questioned by reporters as he is hauled into a car and driven away. Margaret, the informant behind the arrest, is among the temperance league members.("Nights in Ballygran")

Neary is released on bail and indicted for Volstead Act violations and O'Neill covers his collections. In June 1920 Eli, Halloran, Neary and Fleming watch a pornographic film in Nucky’s suite; Nucky is in Chicago attending the 1920 Republican National Convention. Boyd turns the projector handle as the others whoop and whistle at the images featuring a nun having sex. Neary jokes that if his school had nuns like the one on screen he may have gotten past the sixth grade. Eli counters that nothing could have got Neary further in his studies. Fleming wonders where they find women who will appear in pornography and Halloran says that if he finds out he will keep it to himself. The reel ends and the others complain as Boyd tries to change it. Eli refills his drink and asks if they are happy with the arrangements to cover O’Neill’s collections. Boyd runs down the split; he will take the inlet to Maryland Avenue while Fleming will take the other side. Neary bursts into song and Halloran wonders who will handle Lolly Steinman’s casino. Eli says he will handle it personally after going to the wedding of a cousin of his wife, June. Eli jokes that he is thinking of joining the priesthood as the image gets stuck. Boyd struggles with the projector and the film bursts into flame. Boyd puts the fire out by covering it with his jacket and Eli raises a toast to the film that was too hot to watch. The casino is robbed just before Eli makes his collection and Eli is shot and wounded. ("Hold Me in Paradise")

Season 2[]

In season 2 Neary turns against Nucky Thompson and agrees to give evidence of election fraud against him as part of an attempted political coup. Neary works with The Commodore and Eli Thompson to persuade other ward bosses from Nucky's organization to join the coup. They aim to replace Nucky with Jimmy Darmody. He successfully convinces George O'Neill and Al Boyd to side with him but cannot convince Damien Fleming.

Neary and the other aldermen attend the memorial day celebrations in 1921. Nucky gives a speech and is careful to note that The Commodore is absent. The aldermen have heard rumours that The Commodore has been incapacitated by a stroke. ("Gimcrack & Bunkum")

Assistant US Attorney Esther Randolph deposes Neary. She is recording his testimony using a Dictaphone and clarifying evidence that he originally gave to the State investigation. She questions Neary about cash for votes and his arrest in March 1920 for his involvement in bootlegging. Neary claims that he has paid his debt on those charges with a $500 fine. Randolph believes the punishment was too light and threatens to reopen that case if Neary is not co-operative despite his deal with the previous prosecutor. ("Peg of Old")

When Nucky announces his retirement as Atlantic County Treasurer Jimmy hosts a celebration dinner at Babette’s Supper Club. Neary reads the report on Nucky’s press conference aloud from evening edition of the newspaper. Boyd snatches the paper and jokes about Nucky’s situation. Eli is unamused by the banter as Boyd continues the story. Mayor Bader has named Neary as the new treasurer. Jimmy and Leander Cephas Whitlock congratulate Neary. Paddy Ryan jokes that the drinks are on Neary. Ryan and his companion sit down next to Richard Harrow. Jimmy approaches Harrow and they have a quiet conversation. Eli tries to initiate a private discussion with Jimmy but is interrupted by the arrival of Mickey Doyle and Manny Horvitz. Mickey performs a mocking bow to Jimmy, calling him a king. Jimmy wonders why Manny is there and Manny says that he never misses a celebration. Eli again asks for a word and Jimmy puts him off. The aldermen call for a speech and the other guests join their urging. Jimmy obliges them and begins by recalling their last dinner together (in January 1920) and their subsequent dissatisfaction with Nucky’s leadership. Mickey interrupts with a joke about Nucky and Jimmy angrily silences him. He goes on to talk about his father’s vision for their city as a kingdom by the sea and his own vision to share the kingdom with its court. He says that the war is over and quotes Senator William Marcy “to the victor go the spoils.” Whitlock offers a toast to “Prince James” and his long reign. Jimmy drinks heavily and ends the evening on a sour note by throwing Doyle over the balcony of the club. ("Two Boats and a Lifeguard")

Randolph continues to question Neary at her post office headquarters; she has him come in on July 2 1921. As he leaves First Deputy Halloran of the Atlantic County Sheriff's Office arrives and Neary whispers something to him on his way out. ("Battle of the Century")

Jimmy holds court in The Commodore’s home on July 23 1921. Meeting with Jimmy and The Commodore are Eli, Neary, Mayor Bader, 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")

Interim Atlantic County Treasurer Jim Neary, Alderman Al Boyd and chief clerk of the fourth ward Paddy Ryan file into the Commodore's house, helping themselves to drinks. Jimmy tells the politicians that with his father’s passing things have changed. Neary says that he has been discussing naming a street after The Commodore with Atlantic City Mayor Edward Bader and Boyd offers his condolences. Ryan adds condolences over Angela’s death and Jimmy responds with a strained thank you. Jimmy says that he has rethought their position regarding Nucky and Neary says that Nucky makes a joke at Nucky’s expense. Jimmy tells them that he is going after Eli and instructs them to alter their testimony accordingly. They are shocked, complaining about their efforts and their reputations. Jimmy tells them to consider where they will be if Nucky beats the charges against him. Neary says that Nucky is on the run; Ryan asserts that it is no time to lose confidence and Boyd asks for Whitlock’s opinion. Whitlock looks at Jimmy and says that he would advise them to stay the course. Neary tells Jimmy that he has been through a lot and Boyd urges him to take a holiday. Ryan says that they have come too far to turn back and Neary states that he is enjoying being treasurer. ("To the Lost")

Neary has sex with his secretary over her desk. Jimmy and Harrow burst into Neary’s office interrupting his lovemaking with his secretary. Jimmy tells the secretary to take a break and not to return. Jimmy dictates a statement to Neary implicating Eli in the election rigging as Harrow holds a gun to Neary’s head. Jimmy hands Neary a pen and orders him to sign the statement. Neary criticises them for making him sign a confession at gunpoint. Jimmy puts a hand on his shoulder and says that it is not just a confession. Harrow puts the pistol in Neary’s mouth and tells him that it also a suicide note before pulling the trigger. ("To the Lost")


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