In Showtime’s high-finance ‘Billions,’ it’s show me the money, or else

Paul Giamatti, left, and Damian Lewis speak onstage during the "Billions" panel discussion at the Showtime portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour.
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

In “Billions,” kings clash.

In the new Showtime drama which premieres Jan. 17, a vicious conflict erupts between two men in high finance, one in capitalism and one in regulation. In the process, lots of money...and possibly spilled.


For the record, 12:30 p.m. Aug. 12, 2015: An earlier version of this post said that “Billions” would premiere Jan. 7 instead of Jan. 17.



The series was created by producers Brian Koppelman and David Levien (“Ocean’s Thirteen”) and acclaimed financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin (“Too Big to Fail”) and takes place in the world of New York high finance where the stakes are in the billions.

The story revolves around the furious conflict between shrewd, savvy U.S. Atty. Chuck Rhodes (Paul Giamatti) and brilliant, ambitious hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damien Lewis). The two are on an explosive collision course, with each using all of his considerable smarts, power and influence to outmaneuver the other.

Full coverage: Television Crtitics Association press tour 2015


Although large themes of finance are involved, Levien said the story basically explores the conflict between regulation and capitalism as embodied by two strong-willed men who bow to no one. “They’re driven by different things in their personalities,” he said. “We have an interest in getting past the preconceived notions of who these guys are.”

Sorkin said his research included the world of hedge funds and government officials. “We really wanted to see who these guys really are, what drives them -- it’s about power and pride.”

Speaking at the Summer TCA tour Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Lewis, who is returning to Showtime where he starred in “Homeland,” said: “These are two powerful men strugging to retain power in their respective kingdoms. They can be ruthless.”



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