HOLLYWOOD—Sunday night’s episode of the acclaimed “Boardwalk Empire” was titled “Ivory Tower.” The show that is making viewers excited about television again on Sunday nights is going all the way with real drama and intrigue dealing with characters we already feel like we know, love or hate.

Investigating a crime which he feels has been pinned on a scapegoat, straight-arrow Agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) paid a visit to Nucky and left his office convinced that the Treasurer is “as corrupt as the day is long.” Nucky quickly started damage control, enlisting his brother, Sheriff Elias Thompson (Shea Whigham), to close ranks with their underlings.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Al Capone (Stephen Graham) showed a local reporter what he thinks about accusations that Johnny Torrio (Greg Antonacci) was involved in the slaying of local mobster “Big Jim” Colosimo (Frank Crudele). Lets just say, he made the reporter an offer that he could not refuse.

Back in Atlantic City, Nucky discussed the upcoming election with his aging mentor, Commodore Louis Kaestner (Dabney Coleman), with whom he debates the women’s vote issue. Later, before heading out for a night on the town, Nucky rebuked an irate Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) over the phone, then met privately with Margaret Schroeder, who asked him for help in providing for her children. “What do you want from me in return?,” asked Margaret. Nucky’s response was swift, “vote Republican.” Somehow viewers believe Margaret is getting into some deep trouble with the charismatic politician. As a long day ended, a traveling salesman named George Baxter (Allen Lewis Rickman), in town for a few days with an unwilling young beauty named Claudia (Megan Ferguson), made a startling discovery while on the road home to Baltimore. The show’s writers are doing an excellent job incorporating and introducing new characters to the show’s already stellar cast.

“Ivory Tower” ended on another shocking note. “Boardwalk Empire” has already been renewed for a second season. With geniuses like Scorsese and Wahlberg behind such an intriguing period-drama, viewers know much more excitement is headed our way. Nucky already has turned into a character we all wonder what he will do next.

“Boardwalk Empire” was created by Terence Winter, and is executive produced by Terence Winter, Martin Scorsese, Tim Van Patten, Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg; co-executive producers, Gene Kelly and Lawrence Konner; producers (series), Rudd Simmons and Rick Yorn; producer (pilot), David Coatsworth; supervising producer, Howard Korder.

Photograph of Martin Scorsese Courtesy:  Abbott Genser/HBO