Billions – Season 01 Episode 01 – Pilot

Bobby “Axe” Axelrod is a charming, charismatic 9/11 survivor who heads up Axe Capital, a hedge fund based in Connecticut. His generosity makes him a beloved member of the community – he pays the first year of tuition and board for all of the college-going children of all of his former colleagues who perished in 9/11 (the fund was formerly located in the World Trade Center) – but the Securities & Exchange Commission thinks that Axelrod is dirty. The SEC goes to Chuck Rhoades, a ruthless masochist U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, but Rhoades refuses to pursue Axelrod until he makes an error, not willing to sacrifice his perfect 81-0 record for prosecution of financial crimes. However, when Rhoades hears that Axelrod wants to buy a heritage waterside property for $83 million, he considers moving forward against Axelrod, as the purchase would widely sour him to the public. Rhoades returns home to his two children and wife, Wendy, who works as a motivational coach/psychiatrist at Axe Capital. He offers Wendy a job as human resources head at GE, as he does not want her working at Axe if he decides to pursue her boss, and despite feeling as though she is being manipulated, Wendy entertains the possibility of leaving Axe (after a loud, profane argument in front of their two small children). Angered by Rhoades’ refusal to take on Axelrod, a SEC agent, Spyros, plants a reporter at a presser for Rhoades. The reporter challenges Rhoades’ ‘small win, no loss’ mantra, and Rhoades decides to bait Axelrod into buying the house to turn public favour against him. Axelrod is visited by an old friend, Dan Margolis, whose nervous nature makes Axelrod realize that Margolis is cooperating with the FBI. Axelrod dismisses Margolis from his office without incriminating himself, and goes to his fixer, Hall, who plans for Axelrod to frame a fellow trader, Steven Birch, should the need arise. Next, Axelrod invites the SEC’s planted reporter to lunch, and in a befriending move, alerts him to a shady deal that Birch completed recently. Axelrod and Rhoades finally come face-to-face at an investment conference, and their discourse is immediately adversarial, with Rhoades criticising Axelrod for milking his 9/11 survival for public worth. Axelrod decides to buy the house, but is later told by Hall that the FBI have now opened a case file on him.

Original air date: January 17, 2016
Writter: Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Andrew Ross Sorkin

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