This new show Billions is all about the moolah!

2016-12-09 05:01

Johannesburg - Dosh. Dough. Cash. Moolah. Money: the driving force in action-packed drama Billions (2016-current; season 1 is now available on internet streaming service ShowMax).

Hedge-fund guru Bobby “The Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) is making money hand over fist, but something shady’s going on at his firm Axe Capital. US Attorney for New York Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) decides to start digging to get the dirt. 

“It’s kings in their kingdoms, it’s chiefs in their chiefdoms. It’s about power politics, it’s about wealth, political power and financial power, and what these guys are prepared to do to retain it,” is how Lewis describes Billions.

Now, meet the big players, standing on opposite sides of the lines they’ve drawn in the sand. 

Bobby Axelrod – King Midas (Damian Lewis)

Who is he? The financial genius who made billions taking over his company after 9/11. He’s come from nothing, and keeps his past close at hand, breaking the mould of the typical hedge-fund billionaire. He wears jeans and sneakers to work and eats pizza at his favourite childhood diner.

Strengths: His ability to read people, his gut instinct, self-confidence and, of course, an endless supply of money.

Weaknesses: Greed and love of power. He’s not averse to illegal operations like insider trading and, worst of all, he’s impulsive and hotheaded.

In his words: “What have I done wrong? Really? Except make money. Succeed. All these rules and regulations – arbitrary.”

Charles “Chuck” Rhoades Jr – Crime-Fighter-in-Chief (Paul Giamatti)

Who is he? A morally upstanding US Attorney by day, and kinky BDSM sex addict by night. Chuck wants to nail Bobby and use his downfall as a ticket to higher political office.

Strengths: He can’t be bought. He comes from wealth and it means very little to him: His dad Charles Sr (Jeffrey DeMunn) has almost as much money as Bobby, but his meddling has always rubbed Chuck the wrong way.

Weaknesses: He’s power hungry, and it infuriates him that Bobby keeps slipping away. And he’d never be able to live it down if it was revealed that he’s the slave in his sex-capades with his wife.

In his words: “The only enemy more dangerous than a man with unlimited resources is one with nothing to lose. And that is what you’re looking at right here.”

Lara Axelrod (Malin Akerman) – Queen of the Castle

Who is she? Bobby’s wife is living the dream after a poor and difficult upbringing. She’s a former nurse who now runs a restaurant, and is trying to raise her family “normally”, despite living in a $90-million mansion.

Strengths: She’s fierce and will fight tooth and nail for her family - you do not want to cross Lara.

Weaknesses: Like her hubby, Lara’s got a temper, which sometimes lands her in hot water ... but at least she can buy her way out of trouble, being one half of New York City’s most revered power couple. 

In her words: When a widow of one of the partners at Axe Capital makes a public complaint about Bobby’s wealth, Lara sits her down to explain the way things work. “Are you threatening me?”, the woman asks. Lara’s reply: “You’re fucking right I am.”

Dr Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) – Professional Listener

Who is she? Chuck’s psychiatrist wife is caught between a rock and a hard place – she loves her husband and supports him in his work, but she’s been the in-house coach at Axe Capital since her single days. Everything she sees and hears there is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality. Or is it?

Strengths: She can keep secrets, at home and at work. And she’s a master juggler, soothing Bobby’s impulses while also giving Chuck the support he needs. 

Weaknesses: She’s in a very awkward position, being loyal to both men on either side of the investigation, which she believes is more about a clash of egos than a matter of justice.

In her words: (to Chuck, and Bobby) “Do you trust me?”

Watch Billions S1 on now.

(Photos: HBO/SHowMax)

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