No matter. In the weird moral universe of fictional drama, we find ourselves suspending the occasional disbelief and rooting for really bad guys. What, after all, is there still to like about Nucky Thompson — who proves more cold-blooded with each episode — aside from Buscemi's expert performance? Even Stephen Graham's Capone — yet another homicidal sociopath with poor impulse control — is sympathetic. Yes, he exacts bloody revenge for a brutalized, "defenseless" colleague, but he also shows a wrenching tenderness for his young deaf son, trying to teach him how to stand up for himself against the schoolyard bullies.

And there's yet another new, invented character, Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), whose hair-trigger irrationality will put you on the edge of your seat every time he appears onscreen. Boardwalk Empire, maybe like all gangster tales, is about bully power, the bully power of the American marketplace. It's all business, but as Rosetti argues, how can you not take things personally? "Everyone's a person, though, right? So how else could they take it?" Hey, that's what I wanna know too.

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