Boardwalk Empire

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Look Out, Nucky! They're Irish!

At the Bureau's ad-hoc Post Office digs, Van Alden is instructing the agent I call Squeak to place pins in known bootlegging sites across a map. Sounds like the kind of non-stop fun one must have when hanging with Nelson Van Alden. You know, on the 29 days a month he's not squeezing internal organs between his fingers. Margaret enters, and Van Alden is all politeness and smiles, introducing Squeak as Agent Sepso. ...Oh, fine. After a moment, Margaret says, "You said I should come to you if I had any information." Immediately, Van Alden turns to Sepso and says, "Roll down your sleeves, put your jacket on, get Mrs. Schroeder a chair, and go outside and make sure nobody comes in." It's the "roll down your sleeves" part that I love, and the fact that Sepso can't do it fast enough. Once he does, Margaret gets right to telling Van Alden about the bootlegging garage behind her home. She gives him the address, and Van Alden walks over to place a pin on the map. "You will close it down, won't you?" Margaret asks. Van Alden, not quite as gung-ho to make a raid as she might have hope, asks her when exactly she'd like him to do that. "Immediately," she replies, with all the self-righteousness and entitlement of a true Temperance Leaguer. Van Alden tells her there are now 117 pins in the map, and he doesn't have the resources to close even 10% of them.

But the pins are nothing compared to the overseas booze trade that comes in on the boats every day. "It is watered down, mixed with poisons, and sold illicitly by a growing class of criminals for whom murder is another means of doing business," he says. "Some of the victims are no better than killers themselves. Others are just unlucky. They are shopkeepers, schoolteachers, one was a baker's apprentice. " Margaret asks if he means to be cruel with that dig, but he's just sayin'. "And what of the law that creates the criminal?" Margaret asks, going all Nader on his ass. "That's the law you've just asked me to enforce," Van Alden volleys back at her. "For the safety of your children." Not willing to be outdone by self-righteousness, Margaret declares, "I've been lectured to a great deal today by men who speak boldly and do nothing." Oh HAVE you, Margaret? Hypocrisy is suddenly an issue for you? Sensing a weak spot, Van Alden asks who she's referring to. And he's not letting Sepso open the door for her either, to add a little "Van Alden is a creepy freak" vibe to it. Clearly, he's hoping she'll say Nucky, but when she tells him it's James Neri, who owns the bottlegging garage of which she's speaking, he quickly looks him up and confirms he's the alderman from the 4th ward. If he works for Nucky, that's close enough.

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Boardwalk Empire

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