The Deuce (TV series)

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The Deuce
The Deuce.png
GenrePeriod drama
Created by
Starring
Opening theme"(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" by Curtis Mayfield (season 1)
"This Year's Girl" by Elvis Costello (season 2)
Ending theme"Assume the Position" by Lafayette Gilchrist
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes17 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Jessica Levin
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal
  • Mark Henry Johnson
Production location(s)New York City
CinematographyPepe Avila del Pino
Vanja Cernjul
Yaron Orbach
Editor(s)Alex Hall
Running time
  • 59–84 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor
Release
Original networkHBO
Original releaseSeptember 10, 2017 (2017-09-10) –
present
External links
Website

The Deuce is an American drama television series created by David Simon and George Pelecanos. The series' pilot began filming in October 2015 and was commissioned in January 2016.[1] It is broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States and premiered on September 10, 2017.[2][3] HBO made the pilot available through its video-on-demand services and affiliate portals on August 25, 2017.[4]

The Deuce features a cast that includes James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. It tells the story of the Golden Age of Porn, the legalization and rise of the porn industry in New York City that began in the 1970s. Themes explored include government and police corruption, the violence of the drug epidemic and the real-estate booms and busts that coincided with the change. The show's title is derived from the nickname for 42nd Street between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue.[5][6]

On September 19, 2017, HBO renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on September 9, 2018.[7][8] On September 20, 2018, HBO renewed the series for a third and final season.[9]

Premise[edit]

Set during the 1970s in New York, the violence of the drug epidemic is worsening. Twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino become fronts for the Mafia while operating out of Times Square, which is also the home of Eileen Merrell ("Candy"), a street-level sex worker who exits the dangers of the street by entering the now-legal emerging porn industry as an actress and director. The first season takes place between 1971 and 1972, while the second season jumps five years ahead to 1977 with the season concluding in the summer of 1978.[3][10]

Conception[edit]

The Deuce was envisioned as a three-season series by creators David Simon and George Pelecanos, with each season taking place in a different time period during the rise of the porn industry in New York City during the 1970s and 80s.[11][12]

Marc Henry Johnson, an assistant locations manager on Treme, introduced Simon and Pelecanos to a man in New York who told them vivid accounts from his stint as a mob front for bars and massage parlors in 1970s Manhattan. "The characters were so rich, and that's what it all comes down to," said Pelecanos. Inspired by these stories, the producers set out to present a fictional account of the era. "Some of it happened," said Simon. "Some of it didn't happen. Some of it might have happened. But all of it could have happened."[13]

After suggestions from cast member Emily Meade, the series brought on Alicia Rodis as an intimacy coordinator, to help the actors during sex scenes, making sure they all felt safe and nobody was distressed. Meade explained, "It's just mind boggling to me I've never been on set with an intimacy coordinator before; it felt so natural and so necessary. It's crazy it took to 2018 for sexuality to be treated with the same sensitivity and vulnerability as violence, or animals or children. I hope it gets to a point where it's not a choice, it's necessity, just like stunt coordinators, or a chaperone for children and animals."[14][15]

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

  • James Franco as Vincent Martino and Frankie Martino, twin brothers from Brooklyn operating out of Times Square who become fronts for the Mob.[1]
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal as Eileen Merrell / "Candy", a sex worker with an entrepreneurial spirit who sees opportunity in the emerging pornography industry.[16]
  • Gbenga Akinnagbe as Larry Brown, an intense and demanding pimp who has a conflicted, underlying humanity.[17]
  • Chris Bauer as Bobby Dwyer, Vincent and Frankie Martino's brother-in-law, a construction foreman and family man whose eyes are opened by their adventures along the Deuce.[17]
  • Gary Carr as C.C., an affable but ruthless and controlling pimp. (seasons 1–2)[3]
  • Chris Coy as Paul Hendrickson, a kindred spirit to Vincent Martino and a veteran bartender who pursues his own personal and professional ambitions in the emerging gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political community.[18]
  • Dominique Fishback as Darlene, a young, sweet-natured sex worker who relies on her savvy and intellect to create a life for herself while navigating a complicated relationship with Larry Brown.[19]
  • Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Chris Alston, a smart NYPD patrolman who discovers corruption in the police department.[19]
  • Margarita Levieva as Abigail "Abby" Parker, a college student who rejects the confines of her wealthy upbringing by embracing feminist, left-wing politics and entering a relationship with Vincent.[19]
  • Emily Meade as Lori Madison, a young woman who quickly becomes a sex worker after arriving in New York City from Minnesota and finds her place in the emerging porn industry.[1]
  • Natalie Paul as Sandra Washington, a newspaper reporter who's investigating the relationship between sex work in Times Square and the police department. (season 1)[20]
  • Michael Rispoli as Rudy Pipilo, a Gambino family capo who oversees the Mob's financial interests in the sex industry.[20]
  • Luke Kirby as Gene Goldman, an incoming Koch administration official bent on reform. (season 2)[10]
  • Jamie Neumann as Dorothy Spina / "Ashley", a sex worker who works for C.C. that quits the sex trade and becomes an activist with the help of Abby. (recurring season 1, main season 2)[10]
  • David Krumholtz as Harvey Wasserman, a director of pornographic movies who mentors Eileen Merrell. (recurring seasons 1–2, main season 3)[21]
  • Daniel Sauli as Tommy Longo, an associate of Rudy Pipilo. (recurring seasons 1–2, main season 3)[21]
  • Sepideh Moafi as Loretta, a sex worker who works for Larry Brown. (recurring seasons 1–2, main season 3)[21]
  • Olivia Luccardi as Melissa, an immature sex worker who worked for Reggie Love and then for C.C. (recurring seasons 1–2, main season 3)[21]

Recurring[edit]

  • Method Man as Rodney, a pimp (seasons 1–2)
  • Don Harvey as Danny Flanagan, a NYPD patrolman and Alston's partner (seasons 1–2)[3]
  • Michael Kostroff as Rizzi, a desk sergeant in Alston and Flanagan's precinct.
  • Mustafa Shakir as Big Mike, a physically imposing man of few words who becomes Vincent's muscle and fiercely devoted friend.[18]
  • Thaddeus Street as Black Frankie, a Vietnam veteran hired by Vincent for security at the parlors.
  • Genevieve Hudson-Price as Jocelyn, Harvey's wife and film assistant.
  • Anwan Glover as Leon, who runs a diner the characters frequent.[1] His disgust at the treatment of the women by their pimps eventually boils over.
  • Ralph Macchio as Officer Haddix, a jaded vice cop patrolling Times Square in the corrupt police force of 1970s New York.[22]
  • Zoe Kazan as Andrea Martino, Vincent's estranged wife[23]
  • James Ciccone as Carmine Patriccia, a mob underboss who works out of a Mulberry Street social club in Little Italy and is one rung above Rudy Pipilo.
  • Will Chase as Jack, a divorced man in his 40s who has a brief relationship with Eileen, unaware that she is a sex worker.
  • Garry Pastore as Matthew Ianniello, the Genovese Family crime boss who ran the Times Square porn industry during the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Carolyn Mignini as Joan Merrell, Eileen Merrell's cruel and judgmental mother who lives in the suburbs.
  • Finn Robbins (season 1) and Mikey Moughan (season 2) as Adam, Eileen Merrell's son who lives with her mother.
  • Gino Vento as Carlos, driver and bodyguard for mobster Rudy Pipilo. (seasons 1–2)
  • Aaron Dean Eisenberg as Todd Lang, a classically trained, unsuccessful actor who begins working in porn films and quickly finds a home. He befriends Paul Hendrickson and enters a personal/business relationship with him.
  • Kim Director as Shay, a sex worker who works for Rodney and struggles with heroin addiction.
  • Andrea-Rachel Parker as Bernice. During season 1 Darlene travels home to North Carolina and returns with Bernice. She is "traded" from Larry to Rodney, after Larry deems her too young and not street ready. She then works at the parlor. In season 2, she becomes the parlor's bartender.
  • Pernell Walker as Ruby "Thunder Thighs," a thoughtful and opinionated sex worker who unapologetically embodies her unorthodox aesthetics. Walker has stated that she appreciates the care taken in writing for the character, whose inclusion in the show is not just sensationalism. (season 1)[24]
  • Tariq Trotter as Reggie Love, a pimp (season 1)
  • Matthew James Ballinger as Gentle Richie, a young pimp who is not as successful as the others. (season 1)
  • Alysia Reiner as Kiki Rains, a shrewd and successful talent agent who wants to manage Lori. (season 2)
  • Roberta Colindrez as Irene, a lesbian who manages a peep show that is owned by Vincent and the mob. She helps Shay get sober. (season 2)
  • Michael Stahl-David as Kenneth, a boyfriend of Paul's and business partner in his new club. (season 2)
  • Sebastian Arcelus as Dave, a labor activist and associate of Dorothy's. (season 2)
  • Esteban Carmona as Julito, a pimp (season 2)

Guest appearances[edit]

Clarke Peters, who played Lester Freamon in The Wire (which David Simon created), guest stars in the season 1 finale as Ace, a former pimp.[25] Photographer Nan Goldin made a cameo appearance in a season 2 episode. She has worked in the same post-Stonewall era of New York city displayed in the series.[26][27]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
18September 10, 2017 (2017-09-10)October 29, 2017 (2017-10-29)
29September 9, 2018 (2018-09-09)November 4, 2018 (2018-11-04)

Season 1 (2017)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"Michelle MacLarenGeorge Pelecanos & David SimonAugust 25, 2017 (2017-08-25) (online)
September 10, 2017 (2017-09-10) (HBO)
0.830[28]
In 1971, Brooklyn bartender Vince is working seven days a week to provide for his family. Vince's identical twin brother, reckless gambler Frankie, owes money to several mobsters and bookies. Fed up with his unfaithful wife, Andrea, Vince leaves his family and decides to focus on his bar. Pimp C.C. tries to seduce innocent-looking Lori, a new arrival from Minnesota, but she knows his game and joins him willingly. C.C's has already ensnared Ashley, who is in love with C.C. and becomes jealous of Lori. Another pimp, Larry Brown, is abusive towards the women who work for him, one of whom is the sweet-natured Darlene. Eileen, whose street name is "Candy", is a street walker and single mother, who chooses to work without a pimp. Candy is introduced to the ascendant pornographic film industry. College student Abby is arrested for buying drugs. At the police station, she meets officer Chris Alston, who is versed on the players in the streets. The arresting officer, Flanagan, lets her go without charge and takes her to Vince's bar, but Abby is attracted to Vince instead. The next morning, Abby arrives for an exam, but walks away without entering the classroom. At his hotel, Vince witnesses C.C. terrorizing and wounding Ashley with a knife after she begs not to work in the rain.
22"Show and Prove"Ernest DickersonRichard Price & George PelecanosSeptember 17, 2017 (2017-09-17)0.839[29]
Vince begins to work with mob capo Rudy Pipilo. Vince, Frankie, and their brother-in-law Bobby, a Brooklyn construction foreman, come up with a money-making scheme at Bobby's construction site involving the worker's paychecks. Since the workers receive their paychecks on Friday, they have to wait until Monday to cash them at the bank, or they can receive cash on Friday, although at a slightly reduced pay. Because Vince was able to successfully draw customers to a struggling Korean bar, Rudy gives Vince the chance to rebuild another failing bar and to take it as his own. Abby drops out of school and moves into the city and takes a telemarketing job. C.C. continues to educate Lori about the New York streets and the "advantages" of having a pimp, but she hopes to use him as much as he uses her. Later, C.C. stabs and kills a man who is impersonating a police officer in order to kidnap Lori. While she doesn't love C.C., this incident convinces her that she needs a pimp's protection. Sandra Washington, a reporter, tries to talk to Darlene at a bar, but Larry intervenes. Candy fills in for a friend at a porno shoot and is interested in the filmmaking process.
33"The Principle Is All"James FrancoDavid Simon & Richard PriceSeptember 24, 2017 (2017-09-24)0.992[30]
Candy goes to lunch with porn director Harvey Wasserman, where she pitches herself for a job in the filmmaking business. Bobby has a heart attack on his construction site and ends up in the hospital. Rudy and his associate Tommy Longo meet with their lawyer to purchase real estate in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan. The NYC patrolmen, including Alston and Flanagan, are told about certain "no-go areas" for arrests. Darlene, after spending extra time with one of her regulars (an elderly man who just watches old movies with her), works overtime to compensate Larry. C.C. tells Lori to "play the long-game", by gaining regular customers. Sandra interviews another sex worker, but has to pay her. Abby quits her telemarketing job and goes to work at Vince's bar, the Hi-Hat, which is having its opening night. During a successful opening night at the bar, a drifter named Big Mike stops an angry man from pulling a gun; Vince then hires him for security at the bar.
44"I See Money"Alex HallStory by : George Pelecanos and Lisa Lutz
Teleplay by : Lisa Lutz
October 1, 2017 (2017-10-01)0.941[31]
Paul, a gay bartender who works with Vince, goes out for dinner with his closeted boyfriend. Paul also wishes to open his own bar, but Vince likes running the Hi-Hat with him. Sandra, while interviewing sex workers on the street, accidentally gets rounded up with them by the police. However, at the station, Alston recognizes she isn't one of them, and she introduces herself as a journalist. Sandra and Alston later go out together; while Alston thinks it's more of a date, Sandra is scouting for her report. Alston later tests the "no-go zone" by arresting a man for drug possession; but he is told to let the offender go by his bosses. Andrea tells Vince that she and the kids miss him and wants to get back together. Abby, a budding feminist, is disgusted by the pimps and bonds with Darlene and Ashley. Later Abby buys Darlene a bus ticket back home, wanting her to get out of the sex trade. A fight breaks out in the bar, so Vince to hires more security in the form of a gunman: an ex-Vietnam vet named "Black" Frankie. Rudy and Tommy have a worker at Bobby's site beaten up as an example to the other workers when he questions their check cashing scheme. Vince and Abby begin a relationship and have sex in the bar after work. Rudy and Tommy take Vince to an empty building, which will be his next business. Eileen ("Candy") goes on an awkward date with a man named Jack she met at a record store, finishing with an unexpectedly passionate kiss. She has several unpleasant experiences on the job, especially the sudden death of an overweight client while performing oral sex on him. She is later humiliated at the diner where the pimps and sex workers hang out.
55"What Kind of Bad?"Uta BriesewitzStory by : Richard Price
Teleplay by : Will Ralston & Chris Yakaitis
October 8, 2017 (2017-10-08)0.888[32]
After spending time back home in North Carolina, Darlene returns to New York City with Bernice, a young woman from her hometown. Larry believes Bernice is too young and not street-ready, so he "trades" her to Rodney, another pimp. Abby hangs out with her old friends from college, but soon realizes it's not her scene anymore and returns to the Hi-Hat. Eileen sleeps with Jack, who still has no idea she is a sex worker; both the sex and the conversation are awkward, and she does not return his subsequent calls. Vince mulls over Rudy's offer regarding the empty building, that will become a brothel. Bobby convinces Vince to let him take care of it, so Vince can continue focusing on the bar. Rudy has an agreement with the police regarding the whorehouse, because they want that activity off the streets as much as possible. Paul, after exiting a gay porn theater, is arrested by cops for "soliciting", and is later bailed out by Big Mike, who was sent by Vince. Alston and Sandra continue working together, and he sets up an interview with pimp Reggie Love for Sandra. Candy is brutally beaten and robbed by one of her johns. She hides her wounds with makeup and goes back on the street, but when Rodney offers his services as pimp, she still declines. Fed up with her job, Candy goes to Harvey, where they'll be start working in a few weeks.
66"Why Me?"Roxann DawsonStory by : Richard Price and Marc Henry Johnson
Teleplay by : Marc Henry Johnson
October 15, 2017 (2017-10-15)0.812[33]
With the New Year approaching, the NYC patrolman are told to crack down on illegal activity in their precinct and to arrest every sex worker and pimp on the streets. Vince's brothel, run by Bobby, opens up. Vince comes to an agreement with several pimps, including Larry, Rodney and Reggie, to use their girls in his brothel. It will get the girls off the streets and they will be provided with safety and security, and the pimps will still get their money. Since obscenity laws are becoming looser, Harvey returns to making porno films, with Eileen/Candy co-starring in it. When one of the girls can't make the shoot, Eileen gets Lori to fill in for her. However, C.C. shows up and demands more money for Lori to appear in the film, angering Harvey. Alston tells Sandra he doesn't want to be just her source, and they later go on a date. Rudy enlists the help of Frankie and Big Mike to confirm if some of his men are skimming. Big Mike sketches a design for a partitioned version of a peep show. Eileen learns from Harvey that the next film shoot won't be for another month, but Eileen needs to make money and doesn't want to go back on the streets. Feeling bad, Harvey visits Eileen at her apartment and sets her up with a female pimp (madam), where the clientele is vetted and more upscale.
77"Au Reservoir"James FrancoStory by : David Simon and Megan Abbott
Teleplay by : Megan Abbott
October 22, 2017 (2017-10-22)0.953[34]
It is now 1972. Alston reveals to Sandra the NYPD's plan of running the sex workers off the streets and into the parlors, and that the police are getting paid by the parlors for their protection. Ashley is sick of being treated poorly by C.C. and ditches work. Ashley meets Frankie at the Hi-Hat and they are invited by Paul to movie screening that stars Paul's friend Todd. Unbeknownst to Frankie, it's a gay porn film called Boys in the Sand. Ashley and Frankie spend the night together at a hotel, where he reveals he is homeless. Later, Ashley hides out at Abby's apartment. As they become friends she reveals that her real name is Dorothy. Bobby deals with several issues at the parlor regarding the girls: Shay collapses from a drug overdose, Melissa and Barbara are caught robbing a customer, and Bernice suffers a mental breakdown. Darlene tells Bernice it was a mistake to bring her to New York and advises her to return to North Carolina. Bobby shows favoritism to Tiffany whom he pays so she doesn't have to see customers. The pimps, C.C., Larry, and Rodney begin to feel superfluous since the girls are working in the parlors. At a diner frequented by street walkers, the cook Leon watches Reggie beating Melissa and suddenly shoots Reggie dead, calmly calling the police afterwards. Eileen discovers that richer clientele does not necessarily mean she will be treated any better on the job. She works with Harvey on his next porn film, where she showcases her talents as an artist behind-the-scenes, inspiring better performances from her friend Lori and the other actors. Abby takes Vince to Connecticut to meet her family at a big party, solely to upset them. Although Vince is obviously out of place, her father appears unfazed and is pleased when Vince tells him she is a good worker. Abby gives Dorothy a check her father gave her and takes her to the Port Authority, from where she departs to visit her sister upstate, presumably quitting the sex trade.
88"My Name Is Ruby"Michelle MacLarenDavid Simon & George PelecanosOctober 29, 2017 (2017-10-29)0.771[35]
Rudy shows Vince, Frankie, and Bobby a three-story building that will be their next parlor. Vince is appalled by his involvement in this type of business and says he's out. Abby and Paul bring live music to the Hi-Hat. Vince suggests to Abby that they should move in together, but maintain an open relationship. Vince beats up a man who has been physically abusing his ex-wife Andrea. C.C. talks with an old mentor of his, Ace, a former pimp, and sees what his possible future could be. One of Larry's girls, Barbara, is arrested by undercover cops while trying to buy drugs on Larry's behalf. Sandra is informed by her editor that they will not run her story about police corruption without a named source. The precinct's new Captain promises Alston he will "clean house", but Alston has to keep silent; and in exchange, offers Alston a detective position. Alston breaks the news to Sandra and she storms off. Sandra's story is published as a human interest story, instead of revealing the city's corruption. Eileen visits her gay brother in the hospital, who was sent there by their father to receive electroshock therapy. Eileen tells him that the world is changing regarding the LGBT community. When Harvey can't show up for work, Eileen takes over as director. Later, Eileen and Harvey go to the red carpet premiere of Deep Throat. Abby tells Vince that Paul wants to open his own gay bar in the Village. Ruby gets into an argument with one of her johns after he tries taking back his money. He pushes her out the window, killing her.

Season 2 (2018)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
91"Our Raison d'Etre"Alex HallDavid Simon & George PelecanosSeptember 9, 2018 (2018-09-09)0.636[36]
It is now 1977. Vincent is the owner of the successful and mob-backed disco called Club 366. Vincent and Abby are still together, and she is managing the Hi-Hat, which she runs as a rock music venue, including punk rock. Frankie is running Show Land, a peep show establishment with real women instead of videos. Frankie takes $10,000 from the safe and disappears, angering Vincent who tries to track him down. Frankie returns, and reveals to Vincent that he is married and used the money to buy a ring. Vincent eventually forgives Frankie and forgoes his debt, calling it a wedding present. Candy and Harvey clash over her editing techniques on their latest adult film, which he believes to be "too artistic". Lori is a successful porn star, but is still in the clutches of C.C., who hustles the director to get more money and demands high prices of potential clients. Darlene obtains her GED, unbeknownst to Larry. Paul is managing a gay bar, but wants to open his own establishment without the mob's involvement. Alston is now a homicide detective and is dating a nurse. Alston is approached at a crime scene by Gene Goldman, an aide for Ed Koch who is leading the Midtown Enforcement Project.
102"There's an Art to This"Alex HallRichard PriceSeptember 16, 2018 (2018-09-16)0.605[37]
Candy is frustrated with the type of porn films they're making and wants to make ones with better stories. Candy is introduced to Genevieve Furie by Harvey, a former porn director who gives her advice. Candy has breakfast with her son and she discusses the idea of buying a bigger apartment for them. Lori and Harvey receive nominations from the Adult Film Association of America. Lori meets with Kiki Rains, who wants to manage her and she tells Lori that C.C. will drag her down. Vince and Abby go on a trip to Coney Island. After a gay man is assaulted outside Paul's bar, a rival mobster offers his protection to Paul, who is currently paying Rudy Pipilo for protection. Paul continues to search for a location for his new club. Alston solves his homicide case; a young male sex worker stabbed a tourist, but Alston coaches him to say it was in self defense. Larry asks Candy if he could perform in one of her films, but she believes he won't be able to give up control. Bobby continues his affair with Tiffany, one of the women from the massage parlor, and has a child with her. Abby goes to a meeting held by former sex worker Ashley (whose real name is Dorothy), who is now an activist helping other women.
113"Seven-Fifty"Steph GreenChris YakaitisSeptember 23, 2018 (2018-09-23)0.585[38]
Lori goes to the AFAA Awards in Los Angeles by herself after C.C. reveals he's afraid to fly. Harvey and Candy go as well. At the awards ceremony, Lori and Harvey both win their respective awards, best supporting actress and best director. Lori makes several connections in Los Angeles, including a talent scout who encourages her to stay in Los Angeles. After returning to New York, Lori tells C.C. she's done working the streets. C.C. smashes her trophy and tells her not to forget who she is. While in Los Angeles, Candy meets with a producer where she pitches her idea for a Little Red Riding Hood porn film. He becomes disinterested when Candy reveals she's the director and won't be performing in it. However, he offers her $10,000 with 10% of profits, but only if she performs oral sex on him, which she eventually does. After Frankie steals again, Rudy doesn't want him to work for him anymore. Frankie ends up winning at poker, which nets him a laundry business. Paul gets a loan from Vincent for his new bar and without Rudy Pipilo's involvement. More massage parlors are opening up, causing problems between the mob bosses. Rudy has one of his rival's parlors set on fire. Leon returns to the diner, after serving a five-year prison sentence for killing Reggie. Larry and Darlene quit a porn shoot due to racism: Darlene gets paid less than white porn actors and the director won't hire Larry. Gene Goldman of the Koch administration presents their plan to clean-up Times Square at Alston's precinct. Abby meets with Dorothy and others from her activist group. Dorothy uncomfortably runs into C.C. at the Hi-Hat.
124"What Big Ideas"Uta BriesewitzAnya EpsteinSeptember 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)0.562[39]
Candy shows Harvey her ideas for her Little Red Riding Hood film, but Harvey thinks it's too ambitious. After having difficulty writing the script, Candy hires a writer. Shay overdoses again at the peep show and is entered into rehab. Frankie's first day running his new dry cleaning business is overwhelming. At Lori's porn shoot, C.C. makes suggestions to the director, including a film about the life of a pimp. Lori meets with Kiki again, who wants to manage her, but Lori is too scared to leave C.C. Larry stars in his first porn film, directed by Candy, but has trouble with the dialogue. Darlene reveals he's illiterate, so Candy has him and the girl in the scene improvise their dialogue, which leads to a great performance from Larry. In retaliation to a prior massage parlor fire by a rival mob boss, one of Rudy's parlors is burned down which results in the death of a 16-year-old sex worker named Kitty. Abby blames Bobby for her death, because he's responsible for running all of Rudy's parlors, and he hired an underage girl. Vincent wants out of the parlor business completely. Vincent and Black Frankie witness Tommy Longo kill a rival gang member in the street, who was responsible for the fire. Dorothy finds out Kitty's real identity, Stephanie Esposito, and tracks down her family, but her father is uninterested in identifying her body or providing a burial service. Goldman wants the parlors to be raided, but Alston tells him the parlors are warned in advance by police officers taking bribes from the mob. Abby and Vincent pay for Stephanie's funeral, which they attend along with Dorothy and Bobby.
135"All You'll Be Eating is Cannibals"Zetna FuentesRichard Price & Carl CapotortoOctober 7, 2018 (2018-10-07)0.494[40]
C.C. hits Lori after he finds out that Kiki wants to manage her, believing Lori went behind his back. C.C. later tries to make it up to her by buying her a puppy. Larry watches Blue Collar in a movie theater and gets inspired. Larry becomes more interested in acting and begins to lose interest in pimping. Shay is released from rehab and Irene takes her in as she's worried Shay will fall back into her heroin addiction. Candy, with help from Kiki, begins casting for her film. Disappointed with the script by the hired writer, Candy asks Jocelyn to rewrite it. Paul is over budget on his nightclub, causing a fight with his boyfriend. Instead of going home, Paul goes to an underground sex club and engages in anonymous sex. Low on cash, Candy asks Vincent if he wants to invest in her film; he suggests she ask Frankie, who recently sold his dry cleaning business. Frankie invests $10,000 in her film and becomes a co-producer. Abby and Vincent host a clinic in their bar to help Dorothy. Big Mike and Black Frankie rob a poker game, stealing $40,000, which impresses Tommy Longo. Lori goes to Candy's apartment to audition for the lead role in her film. After Candy remarks about her black eye, Lori explains how bad her situation with C.C. is. Dorothy has another run-in with C.C., where she confronts him and sarcastically thanks him for turning her into the strong woman she is. Alston informs Gene Goldman that they will be raiding the parlors again, but for real this time. Bobby's parlor is raided and he ends up on the TV news, causing problems for his family. Abby wants Bobby banned from the Hi-Hat and she questions Vincent's involvement with the mob. Candy begins shooting her film, Red Hot.
146"We're All Beasts"Susanna WhiteMegan Abbott & Stephani DeLucaOctober 14, 2018 (2018-10-14)0.554[41]
Candy continues filming Red Hot, shooting it guerrilla-style on the streets of New York. Lori is playing Red, and the high-maintenance male actor quits due to working conditions. Candy hires Larry in his place and he impresses with his improv dialogue and performance. Harvey is stressed when Candy spends too much money on a location and Frankie's wife Tina, playing the grandmother – whom he hired himself – causes delays by forgetting the dialogue in her scene. Frankie fires his wife, which sparks a fight between the two. Candy tells Frankie they need another $20,000 to finish the film. Larry pays Darlene to help read lines with him. To get money, Frankie, along with Big Mike and Black Frankie rob a shoe truck, but it only has the left shoes–a tactic employed due to common robberies. Frankie brings Rudy to the Deuce to watch Candy film a scene; Rudy is impressed and offers $20,000 with a 25% return in profits. Frankie shows up to set with the money, exciting Candy and the others, but they don't know it's from the mob. Candy replaces Tina, now playing an aunt. Harvey and Candy watch a rough cut and he tells her, "Jesus... You got something here." Gene Goldman goes to a gay man's bathhouse before going home to his wife. Bobby pays his fines and after his son is arrested for fighting, he puts him to work at the massage parlor, to help clean up. Abby continues to help Dorothy, where they try to negotiate with the pimps who loiter in front of an apartment complex, causing issues for the tenants. Abby brings the issues to a neighborhood council meeting. Vincent comes clean to Abby about his involvement with the mob and that his establishments are mob-backed. He tells her he's not taking any more money from the parlors and gives her his last payout, telling her to do something good with it. Paul's upscale club opens with Vincent and Abby in attendance. Abby gives the money to Dorothy to help a sex worker escape the streets and leave the city.
157"The Feminism Part"Tricia BrockWill RalstonOctober 21, 2018 (2018-10-21)0.446[42]
Vincent tells Rudy he wants out of the parlors and peep shows, but Tommy Longo makes it clear to Vincent that he can't quit. To clear his head, Vincent drives to Vermont and ends up helping a short-staffed bartender. Bobby's son Joey gets involved with a girl at the parlor, but Bobby quickly breaks it up. Darlene learns she's pregnant and gets an abortion. Candy and Harvey screen Red Hot to their mobster investors, but they are more interested in talking with Harvey alone when it comes business. They agree to put Candy front and center in the marketing, but Candy worries about her son finding out. Candy shows her son where she works, but leaves the porn part out of it. Alston and his girlfriend go on bowling date with Flanagan and his wife. Irene discovers Shay has left the apartment and learns that she is back on streets working for Rodney. Paul and his boyfriend Kenneth have an amicable breakup after realizing they've drifted apart after being so busy with the club. Flanagan has an argument with his mistress Anita, one of girl's from Bobby's parlor, about him not leaving his wife for her, and he ends up killing her in a fit of rage. Abby and Dave, an activist friend of Dorothy, have sex. Anita's body is pulled from the river and Alston is called on the case. Alston recognizes her and the watch on her wrist, which belongs to Flanagan. Alston tries to get Flanagan to turn himself in, but he commits suicide instead. Lori is told by Kiki about an exciting movie deal for her, to do three films in six months. Vincent talks with Abby about his time in Vermont and that he would like to move there, but she reminds him she's from Connecticut and doesn't want that kind of life. Because of their open relationship, Abby tells Vincent she had sex with Dave. Vincent gets a new Cadillac from Rudy and Tommy as a gift. As they drive to dinner together, they are shot by people in a following vehicle. They realize Vincent was the target.
168"Nobody Has to Get Hurt"Tanya HamiltonGeorge PelecanosOctober 28, 2018 (2018-10-28)0.480[43]
Rudy and Tommy bring Vincent to interrogate Marty Hodas to find out who shot at them, but he doesn't know anything. Candy works with her boyfriend editing Red Hot. Paul falls back into a relationship with Todd. Rudy partners with Matty "the Horse" Ianniello on signing Lori to a movie deal. The two later meet with Kiki to complete the deal, and she reminds them that C.C. will be a problem and to buy him out; which C.C. agrees to. Darlene begins to look for legitimate work as she wants to move out on her own. Goldman has another sexual encounter with a man, but refutes being labeled as gay; Goldman tells the man, "I'm sexual. I'm a husband and a father. And I like to be with men. Don't try to make me into one thing." C.C. takes Lori out for their last night, and treats her terribly by having rough sex with her and throwing money at her as he leaves. Frankie begins an affair with a married older woman. The next day, Lori goes to Los Angeles with Kiki. Dorothy is warned by the others that she is crossing a line with her tactics and putting them in danger. Dave tells Dorothy he can't work with her anymore and leaves. Various pimps, including C.C. and Rodney, discuss the problems Dorothy is causing them, but C.C. warns them that as a "civilian," harming her will ultimately have negative repercussions for them. Shay gets high on heroin with Rodney and they plan on robbing a pharmacy. Barbara is out of prison and goes to the diner where she confronts Larry about him not visiting her in prison. Vincent visits his parents and talks to his father about his relationship with Abby. Vincent tells him that he wants a more traditional life with a family, but Abby doesn't. His father reminds him he had a family with his ex-wife. C.C. goes to Bobby's parlor and demands a $10,000 advance from Frankie regarding Lori. Bobby gets furious over C.C.'s attitude and once C.C. mentions Bobby's wife, Bobby stabs him with a screwdriver. C.C. then attacks Bobby and Frankie beats C.C. to death with a hammer.
179"Inside the Pretend"Minkie SpiroDavid SimonNovember 4, 2018 (2018-11-04)0.387[44]
The premiere of Red Hot is held and Lori is nervous about C.C. showing up. Harvey reads Candy a glowing review of the film, but she is disappointed when she overhears her boyfriend referring to her as a porn star to his friends; she later breaks up with him. Vincent visits his ex-wife Andrea and their children and they watch a movie together. Black Frankie is ordered to kill Carlos, who has been problematic lately due to alcohol issues. Paul gets back in with the mob after accepting funding to help his boyfriend Todd's new business venture – a community theater. Alston arrives at the scene of a dead body, which turns out to the Dorothy. Darlene is now working at a clothing store and is recognized for her previous work, much to her annoyance. Bobby expresses his concern to Vincent about Carlos being killed by Black Frankie, because he was "one of us". Harvey shows Candy the future of their industry – the VCR, allowing viewers to watch porn in their own homes. Alston is promoted to Sergeant. Abby is devastated after learning about Dorothy's death. Darlene moves out of Larry's and says goodbye. Candy goes on a late night talk show to promote the film but she isn't taken seriously. Rodney is killed by a drunk officer Haddix after a failed robbery of the pharmacy. Harvey learns that portions of the film were also sold to Rudy, and now two different mob families own the film, and it's unlikely the cast and crew will see any revenue because of the mob involvement. Candy goes to visit her son, but she is banned from seeing him by her father, after the release of Red Hot. Lori is still nervous about C.C., so Frankie reveals to her that he is dead. She cries and laughs with joy. Vincent tells Bobby that "we're better than this, we could be better". Candy begins work on her next porn film. Vincent leaves another envelope of money for Abby at the bar. Darlene goes on a date with a classmate that has been courting her. Frankie goes back to working at the peep show and reverts back to stealing from the safe, but lets Irene in on it. Goldman unveils the Midtown Enforcement Project. Lori goes to Los Angeles to promote Red Hot. Larry auditions for a real acting gig. Rival mob capos Rudy and Matty the Horse enjoy a drink together. Abby ponders what to do with the money, and Vincent goes to work at his club.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The Deuce has received critical acclaim. On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 85 out of 100 based on 35 reviews.[45] On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 93% approval rating with an average rating of 8.64 out of 10 based on 84 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "The Deuce again demonstrates David Simon's masterful grasp of urban grit, while never losing detailed sight of its colorful characters."[46] Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter gave it a highly positive review, praising its ensemble cast, and wrote in conclusion, "Simon and Pelecanos are just beginning to put the machinery of The Deuce into motion in these eight episodes. As an opening act, the show's first season is substantive, provocative and entertaining."[47] Charles Bramesco of The Guardian gave it a five star review and wrote, "Simon has created his most accessible work of humanism to date, and he's done so without sacrificing his loftier ambitions of societal critique."[48]

The second season has received continued critical acclaim. On Metacritic, it has a score of 86 out of 100 based on 13 reviews.[49] On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 8.48 out of 10 based on 24 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "The Deuce's excellent character-driven drama returns with even more immersive world-building and a welcome focus on its leading ladies, carried by a tour de force performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal."[50] Allison Shoemaker for RogerEbert.com gave it a highly positive review, and wrote "Simon and Pelecanos seem to have hit their stride with this particular story, expertly balancing character-driven storytelling with a wide-angle view of the social, economic, political, cultural, sexual, and gendered dynamics of the era."[51]

Ratings[edit]

The premiere episode received 830,000 viewers on HBO for its initial airing and an additional 342,000 viewers for its encore later that night, on September 10, 2017. The episode was previously made available online through on-demand and HBO Go on August 25 and received 1.1 million viewers. Cumulatively, through all platforms, the episode received 2.2 million viewers.[28]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2017 75th Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Maggie Gyllenhaal Nominated [52]
Location Managers Guild Awards Outstanding Locations in Period Television Chris George, Pat Weber Sones Nominated [53]
22nd Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Drama / Genre Series Maggie Gyllenhaal Nominated [54]
70th Writers Guild of America Awards Best New Series Megan Abbott, Marc Henry Johnson, Lisa Lutz, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, Will Ralston, David Simon, Chris Yakaitis Nominated [55]
2019 17th Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode Jim Rider, Steven Weigle, John Bair, Aaron Raff (for "We're all Beasts") Nominated [56]
Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project John Bair, Vance Miller, Jose Marin, Steve Sullivan (for "42nd St") Nominated

References[edit]

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External links[edit]