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"The Ivory Tower" is the second episode of the first season of Boardwalk Empire, and the second episode overall. It was written by series creator and executive producer Terence Winter and directed by executive producer Tim Van Patten. It premiered on September 26, 2010.

Nucky is paid a visit by straight-arrow Agent Nelson Van Alden, who feels that Nucky has pinned the recent shootings on a scapegoat (Hans Schroeder). Nucky utilizes his brother Elias' position as sheriff, to visit Hans' widow Margaret Schroeder in the hospital and help do some damage control. Nucky receives a visit from Margaret before heading out for a night on the town, as she has come to return the hush money Elias had given her. She asks for his help providing for her young children, but through an honest job. After an incident involving Al Capone's beating of a reporter in Chicago, Nucky contemplates the upcoming election with his aging mentor, Commodore Louis Kaestner.




Main article: The Ivory Tower recap

A detailed recap of the episode scene by scene.


First appearances[]

  1. Gillian Darmody, Jimmy Darmody's mother.
  2. Carl Heely, a midget boxer.
  3. Harlan, a shoe-shiner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
  4. The Grey-Haired Man, an assistant to Arnold Rothstein.
  5. George Baxter, a travelling cutlery salesman.
  6. Claudia, a girl Baxter tries to seduce.






  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
  10. Paz de la Huerta as Lucille "Lucy" Danziger
  11. Michael K. Williams as Chalky White (credit only)
  12. Anthony Laciura as Edward "Eddie" Kessler
  13. Paul Sparks as Mickey Doyle
  14. and Dabney Coleman as Commodore Louis Kaestner

Guest starring[]

  1. Gretchen Mol as Gillian Darmody
  2. Greg Antonacci as Johnny Torrio
  3. Danny Burstein as Lolly Steinman
  4. Frank Crudele as Big Jim Colosimo (photo appearance)
  5. Peter McRobbie as Supervisor Elliot
  6. Erik Weiner as Agent Sebso


1. Brent Bateman as Eddie Corrigan
2. Ellie Braverman as Showgirl 2
3. Bill Bria as Wire Service Operator
4. Clem Cheung as Chinese Man
5. Peter Claymore as Grey-Haired Man
6. Robert Clohessy as Ward Boss Neary
7. Bob Engel as Abe Klein
8. Lauren Champlin as Female Patient
9. Megan Ferguson as Claudia
10. Ken Forman as Stage Manager

11. Lucy and Josie Gallina as Emily Schroeder
12. Jordan Gelber as Simon
13. Allison Guinn as Capone's Whore
14. Sam Guncler as Croupier
15. Johnnie Mae as Louanne
16. Edward McGinty as Ward Boss Boyd
17. Declan and Rory McTigue as Teddy Schroeder
18. Brady and Connor Noon as Tommy Darmody

19. Nic Novicki as Carl Heely
20. Katelyn O'Friel as Showgirl 3
21. Annie Paul as Showgirl 1
22. Joseph Riccobene as Frankie Yale
23. Allen Lewis Rickman as George Baxter
24. Kendal Ridgeway as Nurse
25. Julian Rozzell Jr. as Harlan
26. Bob Sorenson as Dale
27. Victor Verhaeghe as Ward Boss Fleming
28. Michael Warner as Ku Klux Klan Recruiter


  1. Virgil Fox - "Air on the G String(from suite No. 3 in D)" plays during Big Jim Colosimo's Funeral.
  2. Wurlitzer 157 - "Onward Christian Soldier" plays as Van Alden questions Nucky about Hans Schroeder.
  3. Zez Confrey - "That Thing Called Love" plays as Jimmy spots a ruby necklace; Nucky talks to George Baxter and meets Claudia.
  4. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "Shepherd's Dace(from Pipes of Pan) plays as Van Alden explains Nucky's status to supervisor Elliot.
  5. Peter Mintun - "Pretty Baby" plays as Charlie Luciano and Frankie Yale visit Rothstein.
  6. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks - "Recollections of Alzaga" plays as Jimmy enters Showgirls rehearsal.
  7. De Leeuwin Dutch Street Organ - "Old Comrades" plays as Nucky fires Jimmy.
  8. Ehud Asherie - "Pekin Rag" plays as reporter Corrigan gets a "statement" from Capone.
  9. Wurlitzer 157 - "After the Ball" plays as Nucky talks up Baxter to Claudia.
  10. Keith Nichols - "Collegiate Rhythm" plays as Nucky takes a call from Rothstein.
  11. Ehud Asherie - "Lovie Joe" plays as Jimmy asks Capone for money.
  12. The Darling Madam Laura . "Temptation Rag" plays as Margaret gives back the money to Nucky.
  13. Harry Lubin - "Venetian Nights" plays as Baxter threatens Claudia back to Baltimore.
  14. Keith Nichols - "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" plays as Simon surprises Baxter & Claudia and during the end credits.


Ratings for "The Ivory Tower" fell to 3.329 million viewers in its original telecast. However, if the repeat-telecast that night is included, the total viewer count reaches 4.4 million.[1]

IGN gave the episode a score of 8 out of 10, calling it " episode that is in some ways better than the pilot." They continued by praising Buscemi's performance as Nucky by saying: "Here, Buscemi effortlessly switches between sliver-tongued politician and two-steps-ahead gangster, and in doing so eliminates any previous doubt that Nucky is not as formidable a presence as Tony Soprano."[2]

Memorable Quotes[]



  1. Gorman, Bill (September 28, 2010). HBO's Boardwalk Empire Dips, 'Eastbound & Down' & 'Bored To Death' Premieres Up. TV by the Numbers.
  2. Pirrello, Phil (September 27, 2010). Boardwalk Empire: "The Ivory Tower" Review. IGN.

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