It is refreshing to see a TV series that follows good and bad in a battle that is done without fighting and violence but with the law and cunning. Billions has this by the bucketload.
The first episode has an opening scene of Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) tied up in bondage gear being dominated by an unknown woman who proceeds to burn him and then urinate on him to cool him down. You later learn that this is his wife Wendy (Maggie Siff) but it sets the scene for the dark undertones of the series. It’s a show about seemingly normal families on the surface that have hidden secrets that could destroy them.
Chuck Rhoades is a U.S attorney who is making it his life’s mission to bring down Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) who is a big hedge fund player with a billion dollar company. It is obvious that some of his billions have been made in illegal ways and Chuck wants to make sure that he pays for his crimes. However, it is not as simple as that as his wife Wendy works for Bobby and as his therapist she is very close to him.
As the episodes progress, you learn more and more about the characters and their motivation as to why they do what they do. Both characters are likeable and are just family men that are trying to do well at work so although there is a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ side you cant really pick who you like as it is easy to root for both of them. The underhand tactics they both play are exciting and ultimately you want good to prevail but it is exciting seeing Bobby getting himself out of situations and finding a way to turn things around in his favour.
What works well for Billions is that each episode is engaging and doesn’t follow the premise of a cliffhanger at the end of each episode to make you want to watch the next. It is just an interesting story that throws in enough twists and turns that ultimately ends in the showdown in the series finale between Chuck and Bobby. Each of them are broken by the end and its not what they have done to each other but what they have done to themselves, this is refreshing and makes it feel as though all that has happened in this series is just a warm up for what is about to come next.
The cast do really make this TV series; it is beautifully acted and you really do find yourself relating to the characters even if they are multi-millionaires. This is the perfect series for anyone who is looking for a bit of escapism with some law and an insight to the financial world that is rarely seen.
Created By: Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Maggie Siff, Malin Akerman, Toby Leonard Moore, David Costabile and Kelly Aucoin.
Number of Episodes: 12
Episode Run time: 60mins
Biliions is available now on DVD