Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Longtime readers might remember that my favorite character from BOARDWALK EMPIRE was Richard Harrow. Spoiler alert, but he dies in the fifth season finale. It absolutely broke my heart.

Remember a while ago when I was talking about things I wish I could write? BOARDWALK EMPIRE was a masterpiece of the kind of thing I wanted to write. It had those quiet moments mentioned about THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, but it also had great moments of character development which I wish I could pawn off as my own.

Richard Harrow went to WWI and got half of his face blown off. An artist was able to give him a half-mask to hide his caved in skull while the rest of him continued as an assassin. But he was never comfortable with who he was. He knew he looked bad, and he tried to hide it from the children of the woman he loved when he came home. The kids never liked it, but the woman was able to cope. No one else could cope except for Jimmy Darmody, who never turned away from his disfigured friend.

Harrow never fails to bring tears to my eyes. He's an efficient killer, but no one (aside from Jimmy) feels close to him because of his horrible disfigurement. Richard falls in love with a woman who does her best, and her children want to be better.

But Richard is on his own. Except . . . do you remember "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Bierce?

Fans of BOARDWALK EMPIRE will know what I mean. I wish things worked out better for Richard Harrow. Now that I think on it, he was my favorite TV character of all time.  It would have been nice for him to have a way out, but I know, as a writer, that it was impossible.

It's a shame. I loved him more than I've ever loved a person who didn't exist.

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