There are a lot of things I love about Boardwalk Empire – the soundtracks, the costumes, the fantastic sets, the fabulous acting from the entire cast – but the thing I love most about Boardwalk is Mickey Doyle. Paul Sparks has created a character not normally seen on television; in fact, he’s a throwback to the old character actors of the 1930s and 40s. These actors never really played anyone but themselves; they each had a shtick and they stuck to it. Elisha Cook Jr., Dan Duryea, Frank McHugh, Ned Sparks, Peter Lorre, Eugene Pallette, Guy Kibbee, Warren William. It’s not that any of them played deep, riveting characters with complex emotions and fully developed character arcs. What made each special was the quirky character he played. Mickey Doyle is one of those same great characters. Some how, some way, Sparks has taken a goofy, throwaway character, and turned him into a supporting character masterpiece. The bad jokes. The lechery. The sinister, rat-like smile. The implausible indestructibility. That laugh. Mickey Doyle could jump right into a 1931 Warner Brothers gangster movie without missing a beat.
I’ve been a big fan of Boardwalk right from the start, but what really made me fall in love was the moment when Mickey Doyle got thrown off the balcony at Babette’s and yet still managed to survive. He’s like a cockroach; nothing can kill him. My dream is for Boardwalk Empire to end with everyone dead or in jail… everyone except Mickey Doyle. I hope he gets the last laugh (literally).