Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Showtime Network's Series: Billions

The series was created by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Rounders), and Andrew Ross Sorkin, of Dealbook and Too Big to Fail fame.

Think of this show as a dramatized version of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s battle against Steve Cohen and SAC Capital. In a nutsehell, a hedge-fund titan gets accused of insider trading, and a government official with a chip on his shoulder goes after the titan tooth and nail.

The “twist” is that the hedge-fund manager, Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis), iswell-liked by the public: he was the only surviving Partner of his firm after 9/11, and he has made huge donations to noble causes.

Even more surprisingly, he went to a non ivy league school!

At one point, a new hire from “Stanford and Wharton” presents a trade idea to Bobby.

Bobby shoots down his idea in 5 seconds and explains why it’s actually another trader tricking him, as he walks away with a smug look.
A co-worker then reveals that Bobby went to Hofstra.

“Oh,” says Stanford/Wharton in response, dumbfounded.

Meanwhile, an up-and-coming U.S. Attorney, Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), feels pressured to take out a bigger target – he’s had a perfect track record so far, but all his convictions have been for smaller fish.

And, of course, his wife happens to work for Axelrod’s hedge fund as its in-house psychiatrist and “performance coach.”

The story gets going when Axelrod decides to spend $63 million on a waterfront mansion; Rhoades figures such a purchase will turn the public against him and make it easier to get a conviction, so he opens a case against him.From there, the show becomes a twisty investigative drama with conflicts of interest, betrayal, and even government agencies (the SEC and Justice Department) facing off against each other.
So......If you haven’t already started watching Billions, get to it ! It’s in no ways a perfect show; so please don’t go in expecting to see Breaking Bad or The Wire or True Detective. But instead, expect a series that gives you a good feel for the world of hedge funds and finance. The series also has some interesting characters – and even one sort-of-sympathetic one.
You’ll be interested in seeing how things play out and what happens next, even if you’re not emotionally invested in the lead characters. And who knows, maybe if you really get inspired, you’ll follow in Axe’s footsteps and rise from nothingness to become a billionaire hedge-fund manager ! LOL Billions is now streaming at Showtime & Hulu.