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Noel Pearson, played by Gabriel Olds, is an English professor at Princeton. He teaches Jimmy Darmody when he attends the college in 1916 and is severely beaten by Jimmy when he sexually assaults his mother Gillian.


Season 2[]

In 1916 Jimmy reads aloud from The White Devil by John Webster to a seminar group. His professor prompts him when he stumbles over the place name “Padua” and Jimmy continues. The professor, Mr Pearson, asks the students the meaning of the passage Jimmy has read, directing the question at a pupil named Carruthers. He says that you must bribe someone in order to graduate from college. The class laugh and the professor admonishes Carruthers to think more broadly, joking that it might be true in his case. He asks another student, Mr LeBaron, who says that the book depicts a corrupt society that corrupts its members. The professor tells the class that it is part of the Jacobean style to depict Italy as corrupt and the women as whores while the men are panderers. He asks for a more specific interpretation of the scene and Jimmy offers one; his mother taught him things that are not of use and that he is hungry for the riches of those around him. The professor congratulates Jimmy and ends the tutorial, telling his class that they will discuss The Revenger’s Tragedy next week. A student in army uniform tells Pearson that he will be unable to attend because his unit, the SATC, is on manoeuvres. Pearson notes that the student is taking his soldiering seriously, the student says that they are headed war and Jimmy jokingly interjects that the soldier just likes the uniform. The soldier is offended, saying that he is a patriot, and Jimmy says that the Kaiser has not hurt him. Another of his classmates tells Jimmy that he had a brother who died on the Lusitania. Jimmy apologises and Pearson dismisses the group.

As Jimmy goes to leave Pearson asks him for a minute. Pearson tells Jimmy that he cannot win against the privileged with jokes. Jimmy admits that it was stupid and offers his origins in Atlantic City as an explanation for his tendency to “come out swinging.” Pearson is amused and wonders if Jimmy will return there after graduation. Jimmy says that Nucky intends him to do so, describing Nucky as his guardian. Pearson wonders if Nucky is a Princeton graduate and Jimmy says that he is not but has connections of his own. Pearson guesses that Nucky is paying the college’s fees and Jimmy confirms that Nucky will do so as long as he does not make mistakes there. Pearson wonders if Jimmy feels that he is making mistakes and Jimmy is uncertain. Pearson says that students like Sharp and LeBaron are set in life because of their background but that people like Jimmy and himself need to be clever. Jimmy wonders how they are similar and Pearson tells him that his father was a railway conductor before retiring and while proud of him, does not really understand his job. Pearson dismisses Jimmy and Jimmy thanks him. As Jimmy exits Pearson quote a line from The White Devil, Jimmy is able to quote the corresponding answer back to him. Pearson calls Webster’s writing terrific stuff and tells Jimmy he will see him at the mixer later.

Pearson flirts with Gillian Darmody at the mixer, not realising that she is Jimmy's mother because there is only a thirteen year age gap between them. Later in the evening, Gillian runs out of a stairwell, her dress torn from one shoulder. Jimmy sees her and asks what happened and she says that she thought they were just flirting. Pearson emerges after her and lights a cigarette. Jimmy hands his jacket and hip flask to his girlfriend Angela and approaches Pearson. Pearson sits down on the steps and greets Jimmy. Jimmy asks what Pearson did to his mother. Pearson struggles to believe Gillian is Jimmy’s mother given their closeness in age and describes Jimmy’s life as Jacobean. Jimmy insists that Pearson stand-up, dismissing his warnings. Pearson admonishes Jimmy not to do anything stupid and offers to deliver a convincing apology. Jimmy punches him in the face, bloodying his nose and knocking him back onto the steps. Pearson offers to pretend the incident did not happen if Jimmy walks away. Jimmy tells him that it is happening and punches him repeatedly. Jimmy never returns to his classes and drops out of Princeton to join the US Army.


Memorable Quotes[]

  • Let's just say your life is pretty Jacobean as it is. ("Under God's Power She Flourishes")


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