From the guys who brought you Rounders, Billions is a fictional depiction of some of the subversive tactics Wall-Street powerhouse players utilize to get an edge on the competition: and the legal repercussions.
— Billions on Showtime (@SHO_Billions) March 8, 2016
— Billions on Showtime (@SHO_Billions) March 15, 2016
— Keirsey.com (@Keirseydotcom) April 3, 2016
BOBBY AXELROD is a self-made billionaire hedge fund manager. A revered public figure and active philanthropist, Axe donated $100 million to the New York City Fire Fighters Foundation. Soon within the series however it is made apparent that Axe Capital’s ‘secret sauce’ or ‘investment approach’ isn’t 100% kosher.
Axe’s employees use a code “what’s your level of certainty?” to decipher whether or not a specific stock trade has been rigged. If the employee remarks “I am not uncertain” it means that they somehow (often illegally) ensured that the trade would be successful.
U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades opens a case against Axe Capital and initiates his investigation by leaning on an ex-associate of Axelrod’s Pete Decker. Having built evidence against Decker in a “suspect trading pattern”, Decker relents but ultimately gives Rhoades nothing because Axe never explicitly instructed him to make the trade.
Seeing Rhoades’ fervor in finding guilt, Axe decides to take a plea deal for $1.9 billion. At the meeting however, the two camps exchange banter and Rhoades taunts Axelrod, causing the deal to go sour.
Axe is hit with a PR problem when it is found out that he made some morally disagreeable trades on 9/11, shorting American aviation, hotel, and shipping stocks making $750 million dollars.
One of Axe’s top executives Donnie Caan is leveraged into cooperation by Ryan Connerty and the U.S. attorney’s office. Donnie agrees to cooperate, and the Attorney’s office focuses on a suspect “Kemlot” trade that would implicate Axelrod in receiving elicit information. Right when Axe reveals the source of his information, he guides Caan through “an enclosure that blocks external electric fields making electronic surveillance impossible,” muffling the sting attempt. Donnie is then pulled in for questioning, where he passes away from terminal pancreatic cancer.
Later it is revealed that Axelrod and Caan had agreed on a “severance package” in which Caan’s family receives $40 million for Caan’s cooperation in suppressing the Attorney’s case.
Axe’s oncologist Ari Gilbert suggested a drug trial to Axe that might have let Donnie survive a few more months, but the two surmise that his quality of life would be poor, and neglect to present the option to him.
Bold, impulsive, resilient, and exceedingly opportunistic Bobby Axelrod is an Artisan.
Damian Lewis : 1 Golden Globe, 1 Primetime Emmy award
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CHUCK RHOADES is the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. Rhoades catches wind that beloved public figure and billionaire hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod is using fraudulent methods to acquire information and make multi-million dollar trades.
Following several dead ends, Rhoades initially comes up short nailing Axelrod and decides to recuse himself from the case based on conflict of interest (his wife works there). He puts his right hand man Ryan Connerty in charge of it, and implores Connerty to keep him afloat.
As his wife Wendy contemplates leaving her position at Axe Capital, the change poses financial readjustments for the family. As a result Chuck meets with a private high-end law firm, where he is offered a partner-track position.
He turns down the offer however, when Connerty displays a commitment to bringing down Axelrod, which has basically now become Rhoades’ chief concern.
The attorney office’s efforts are derailed again when Judge Whit Wilcox releases “Dollar” Bill Stearn, prompting a subsequent arrest of Wilcox for corruption. Chucks district is pulled from the Axe Capital case however and Chuck’s personal branding and PR is compromised after key witness Donnie Caan passes away in police custody.
Seeing Axe’s grim use of a dying friend ignites something within Chuck that reinvigorates his resolve in bringing Axe to justice. Chuck licks his wounds by planting a “sympathetic ear” in Judge Wilcox’s seat, a strategic move displaying that he is far from done trying to bring down Bobby Axelrod.
Stoic, righteous, meticulous, and intrepid Chuck Rhoades is a Guardian.
“A good matador doesn’t kill a fresh bull, you wait until he’s been stuck a few times.” — Chuck Rhoades
“What we do has consequences, intended and unintended. The decisions we make, the actions we bring, have weight. I’ll have to carry this one.” — Chuck Rhoades
“None of this should change our mission. Come to work every day and be just and strong in the actions you bring and don’t waiver.” — Chuck Rhoades
“Sure let it slide, its just some dog shit. But those are three devious little words. You know, if I let your dogshit slide then I have to be ok with this whole plaza filling up with it, which it would, and before we know it, it would be on our pant legs and our shoes and we would track it into our homes and then our homes would smell like dog shit.”
“When the jungle was thick, you hid in the hills. And now that I’ve bushwhacked through and I have El Dorado in my sights, you wanna sack the city with me?”
“Every dollar that he takes through fraud: insider information, market manipulation. Is a dollar taken away from one of those folks who earned it.” — Chuck Rhoades
Paul Giamatti : 2 Golden Globes 1 Primetime Emmy
WENDY RHOADES is the in-house shrink at Axe Capital, or more cleverly referred to as the “mojo doctor”. Wendy helps manage, nurture, and cultivate the mental health of all those in Bobby Axelrod’s employ, most especially the man himself.
Coincidentally Wendy is married to the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, Chuck Rhoades. Having been an employee at Axe Capital before she even met Chuck, Wendy becomes conflicted when her boss and husband begin to lock horns.
Though she loves her work, she begins to contemplate leaving Axe Capital due to the fact that Chuck “hates” that she works there. After seeing a headhunter, she realizes leaving Axe Capital will have financial repercussions on her and her family. She surmises several lifestyle changes her and Chuck would potentially have to undergo, and discusses those with him. She knew this conversation would prompt him to also consult a headhunter and potentially court a job offer from a private firm, which she wanted him to do because she felt he needed to “try it on”.
Following Donnie’s untimely passing Wendy concludes that working at Axe Capital is not in her best interest at this time, and decides to seek career fulfillment elsewhere.
Naturally exerting heartfelt compassion towards Donnie’s surviving husband, Wendy is derailed in her sentiment by Lara Axelrod and is left with certain questions: like why Donnie was given a $40 million severance package.
Nurturing, intuitive, diplomatic, and fundamentally kindhearted Wendy Rhoades is an Idealist.
It’s not easy to do. But people are at their best when they feel appreciated. — Wendy Rhoades
BRYAN CONNERTY is Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney in the southern district of New York. An up and coming lawyer from a modest background, Connerty is looking to prove himself and admires his boss’ passion for justice.
Axe’s lawyer and Connerty’s old professor tells Connerty that he will eventually “turn to the dark side” and leave public duty for a private firm. The worst part, he says, is Connerty will never see it coming until it happens. Connerty blows it off.
Bryan Connerty is given the reigns of the Axe Capital case after Chuck recuses himself based on conflict of interest. Though Chuck recused himself, he’s still very invested in the case and insists on helping strategically. Connerty is reluctant, but ultimately acquiesces his bosses request, and the two work together to bring down Axelrod.
Connerty lands a mole inside Axe’s top brass when Donnie Caan gets clipped on a “Rubinex” trade that he failed to provide the research for. It is brought to Axe’s attention that he has a “quisling” in his outfit, so he starts probing for one.
Chuck suggests that if Axe is searching for a mole, he’s going to find one, so they should plant a false one. Connerty says no at first, but after further scrutinizing the situation he makes the play and frames an innocent man “the pouch” who is subsequently fired by Axe. “Took an old wells notice and doctored it, back dated files to show an SEC inquiry.”
Connerty’s play was ultimately rendered useless however after his real mole Donnie Caan botches the sting, escapes, and subsequently passes away of terminal pancreatic cancer while in police custody.
“you know, i remember when you were my professor, you told us a lawyers calling was beyond mere recompense. it was to serve the spirit of the law regardless of gain.”
“yeah, it is. Until it’s not.”
“one day you’ll be coming to me, just like this, asking for a job. the good news is this — when you get out of there, you’re starting at $1.4 easy. nail a few headline cases — $1.7. better news, ill hire you.”
“Nah, ive found my calling”
There’s the way things look and the way things are. — Bryan Connerty
Calm, logical, deductive, and resolute Bryan Connerty is a Rational.
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