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Valentin Narcisse (played by starring cast member Jeffrey Wright) is a prominent and highly-educated black underworld figure based out of Harlem, New York. He was also a black nationalist orator, active in the Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association. He is the main antagonist of Season 4 and a major antagonist in Season 5.

His character was inspired by Casper Holstein.




Season 4

After the loss of an employee, Dickie Pastor, Narcisse pays a visit to The Onyx Club to discuss the matter with Chalky White. Chalky acts like he has no idea what Narcisse is talking about when he and Dickie's wife Alma Pastor claim that an employee of Chalky, Dunn Purnsley, raped Alma and murdered Dickie and because of it wants compensation from Chalky. Chalky however doesn't give Dunn up and he sends them on their way to Newark where he claims that Dickie went after he was in Atlantic City. This action by Chalky leads Narcisse, who owns a piece of many colored acts, to pull them from Chalky's club.

Another meeting is called between them and Chalky brings in Nucky Thompson to negotiate a truce with Narcisse, which would make the acts come back, make the situation regarding Alma and her husband go away, and give Narcisse for 10% of the club. Narcisse accepts the offer and leaves town.

While leaving town Narcisse asks Alma what she would like to happen to Dunn. She suggests lynching him, but Narcisse, who claims that he has heard her story so many times before, has his men strangle her and leave her in a ditch on Mayor Bader's construction site.

In New York's Harlem, at the headquarters of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Dr. Valentin Narcisse meets with gangster Owney Madden and Arnold Rothstein.  Narcisse has asked Rothstein to meet with him regarding his heroin distribution, and after some quarrel amongst themselves they make a deal and Rothstein informs him that his associate Mr. Diamond will be in touch with Narcisse. After dismissing Rothstein, Narcisse informs Madden that an act of his, Daughter Maitland, will move from the Cotton Club to the Onyx Club. Madden asks that Dickie Pastor bring around a replacement but Narcisse informs him "Mr. Pastor will not be returning."

Narcisse then travels to Atlantic City, presenting Daughter Maitland to The Onyx Club and at the same time taking notice of how Chalky is treating Dunn. Chalky becomes smitten with Daughter but not with Narcisse "telling and not asking." Narcisse reminds Chalky that they are now partners and that Daughter is a star, if he'll have her. Feigning reluctance, Chalky agrees.

According to the “D.D.” after his name appearing on a brochure for a UNÍA meeting, Narcisse is a doctor of divinity. The same was stated by Jeffrey Wright when speaking of the character: “He is a doctor of divinity, confusion and mayhem.”




  • Alma Pastor: Ordered death, killed by his men.
  • Two unnamed men working for Chalky White, shot after trying to murder him.
  • Chalky White: Ordered death, killed by his men.

Memorable Quotes[]

" A thing mixed is a thing weakened-(Jimmy Smith)."

"One looks down in secret and sees many things."

"Only kings understand each other."

"What shall we do, Mr. Thompson, what shall we do?"

"To be what we are, where we are, and dare to stand free, what could be more lonely?"

"Truth is what those in power wish it to be."

"The exile does not choose its babylon"


Season four appearances
"New York Sour" "Resignation" "Acres of Diamonds" "All In"
"Erlkonig" "The North Star" "William Wilson" "The Old Ship of Zion"
"Marriage and Hunting" "White Horse Pike" "Havre De Grace" "Farewell Daddy Blues"
Season five appearances
Golden Days for Boys and Girls The Good Listener What Jesus Said Cuanto
King of Norway Devil You Know Friendless Child Eldorado