Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody, troubled Atlantic City bootlegger
Atlantic City, July 1921
Series: Boardwalk Empire
– “Battle of the Century” (Episode 2.09, Director: Brad Anderson, Air Date: November 20, 2011)
– “Under God’s Power She Flourishes” (Episode 2.11, Director: Allen Coulter, Air Date: December 4, 2011)
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Although Game of Thrones currently enjoys its reputation as HBO’s “kill your darlings” archetype (and how!), Boardwalk Empire shocked and saddened many viewers with the murder of fan favorite Jimmy Darmody at the conclusion of the show’s second season.
Jimmy had a long, fascinating journey since the first minutes of the show with new layers of complexity added with each episode to prove that he was far more than just an overly ambitious lackey. The only ray of hope for Jimmy Darmody was his family, and even his steady rise through the ranks of gangsterdom in the show’s second season never brought him as much peace as a smile from his son Tommy or an embrace with his wife Angela (Aleksa Palladino).
Unfortunately, the latter is taken away from him in “Georgia Peaches” (Episode 2.10) thanks to the ineptitude of Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks), and Jimmy is left in a state of anguish. “Under God’s Power She Flourishes” (Episode 2.11) gave viewers the Jimmy Darmody origin story flashback that was so desperately wanted, and Jimmy’s darkness is finally explained. We knew his service in the war was hell for him, but it was hardly the most traumatic event of his life as we finally learn just how deep his connection with his mother runs.
Tortured by the loss of his wife and the memories of his mother’s seduction, Jimmy is in a pretty dark place when his parents – Gillian (Gretchen Mol) and the Commodore (Dabney Coleman) – are calmly planning Angela’s funeral and their future as a family. He becomes furious at Gillian’s suggestion that Tommy is young enough that he’ll forget Angela, shouting “I’ll remember!” as he attacks her, referring both to his wife and the unspoken memories of their night together at Princeton five years earlier. The Commodore tries to step in with an antique spear, but Jimmy gains the upper hand and overpowers the Commodore. At his mother’s urging, Jimmy fatally stabs the Commodore and then collapses in the next room. (The fight is scored by Henry Burr and Albert Campbell’s “Feather Your Nest”, an appropriate song that juxtaposes the disturbing family “nest” on screen.)
The next morning, Jimmy wakes to find his loyal friend and comrade Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) cleaning up the evidence of the murder. Harrow himself had been enamored with Angela but conflicted by his loyalty to Jimmy, especially in the wake of Jimmy’s show of support while listening to the public radio broadcast of the Dempsey vs. Carpentier boxing match together with their dates earlier that month in “Battle of the Century” (Episode 2.09).
What’d He Wear?
Unlike his former mentor who seemed to have a bold suit for every occasion, Jimmy Darmody’s outfits are relatively conservative and functional. This suit, one of only about seven that he goes through during the series, is only seen in the few episodes of the second season that take place during July 1921, making it a “summer suit” by default if not by design.
Jimmy’s suiting appears to be a gray and black glen check flannel, likely in a lightweight plain weave with such a fine scale that it appears semi-solid from a distance. All of the suit’s edges – such as lapels and pockets – are slightly swelled about a millimeter or two from the edge. All visible buttons are a multi-tone tortoiseshell.
Though structurally and somewhat cosmetically similar to the “everyday” gray suit that he begins wearing at the time of his return to Atlantic City in late season 1, this is the only suit in Jimmy’s on-screen collection that has peak lapels on the jacket. These peak lapels have sharp points and a buttonhole through the left lapel. They break high on the chest for the high-fastening three-button front.
This single-breasted suit jacket has a welted breast pocket and straight flapped hip pockets. The shoulders are lightly padded with roped sleeveheads and 4-button kissing cuffs. The back is split with a single vent.
Jimmy wears (and ruins) the vest and trousers without the jacket during his fight with the Commodore. The single-breasted waistcoat has notch lapels above the high-fastening 6-button front, which Jimmy wears totally fastened down to the notched bottom. The vest has four welt pockets – two upper, two lower – and an adjustable strap on the silky gray back.
The flat front suit trousers are styled the same as most of Jimmy’s suits with a high rise, straight fly, on-seam side pockets, and jetted back pockets that each close through a button. The bottoms are plain-hemmed without cuffs.
Jimmy’s trousers are meant to be worn with suspenders that attach to buttons on the inside of the waistband and onto a short rear strap on the outside of the back waistband. The suspenders are best seen in “Georgia Peaches” (Episode 2.10) when he relaxes shirtless in his beach house; they are navy with a tan and brown broken center stripe. They have gold adjusters and light brown leather tabs and ears.
For the suit’s first appearance in “Battle of the Century” (Episode 2.09) as Jimmy and Richard Harrow take their dates to the radio broadcast of the titular Dempsey vs. Carpentier boxing match, Jimmy wears a blue multi- and micro-striped shirt with single-button cuffs and a tab collar fastened by a gold bar.
Jimmy’s “Battle of the Century” silk tie is appropriately loud like his surroundings with a rich paisley teardrop motif in gold, maroon, and blue on a light gray ground.
After he is devastated by Angela’s murder in “Georgia Peaches” (Episode 2.10) and “Under God’s Power She Flourishes” (Episode 2.11), Jimmy opts for a more monochromatic look with a two-tone gray-on-gray striped shirt that reflects his gray mood due to his sorrow and grief-induced heroin addiction. He wears the large collar unbuttoned. The shirt also has button cuffs and a front placket.
With this shirt, Jimmy wears a dark brown and navy woven silk tie that breaks up the monotony of the gray but is much more somber than the bolder tie he wore for the earlier fight broadcast.
The eternal soldier Jimmy still wears the black leather combat boots he was issued in the army, laced up the throat. An ankle holster over his left boot houses the Mk I Trench Knife that he draws when he is attacked by the Commodore, a symbolic product of the military service that he felt compelled to enter after he was seduced by his mother, an act indicative of the disturbing sexual history of the Kaestner/Darmody clan.
Jimmy also wears his service wristwatch, comprised of a steel tonneau-shaped case, an off-white dial with round gold number indicators, and a brown leather strap. In the early 1920s, wristwatches were still primarily the domain of former servicemen who had adopted this more convenient timekeeping method during the war as opposed to the civilians who still preferred pocket watches.
Although the boots and watch may indicate military service, Jimmy still wears his steel dog tags around his neck on a brown cord as a direct remnant of his World War I service. His tags are typically tucked into his white ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt.
A minimalist, especially when compared to Nucky Thompson, Jimmy’s only piece of jewelry is his plain gold wedding ring on the third finger of his left hand.
Despite the fact that “Battle of the Century” (Episode 2.09) is set in early July when Atlantic City temperatures tend to be in the mid-70s °F, Jimmy still wears his heavy coat and hat for a meeting. His double-breasted knee-length overcoat is gray herringbone tweed with a subtle blue overcheck. He leaves the 6-on-2 button front open. The coat has wide peak lapels with stitched buttonholes, flapped box-pleated chest pockets and patch hip pockets, and an “action-back” center in the back above the half-belt and long single vent.
Jimmy’s hat is the same black beaver felt fedora that he began wearing at the start of the season. According to the Screenbid.com auction from last year, this short-brimmed fedora was sourced from The Custom Hatter, possibly their “The Untouchable” model.
How to Get the Look
Jimmy is a much more practical and less showy dresser than many of the gangsters in his world, proving that one doesn’t always need bold checks and bright colors to look sharp in the Atlantic City of the Roaring Twenties.
- Gray & black plain weave glen check lightweight flannel suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted 3-button jacket with peak lapels, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and single rear vent
- Single-breasted 6-button vest with notch lapels, 4 welted pockets, and adjustable rear strap on gray silk lining
- Flat front high-rise trousers with straight on-seam side pockets, jetted button-through rear pockets, rear suspender strap, and turn-ups/cuffs
- Blue multi-striped dress shirt with tab collar, front placket, and 1-button cuffs
- Light gray silk necktie with maroon red, navy blue, and tan paisley teardrop motif
- Gold collar pin
- Black leather combat boots with black laces
- Black dress socks
- Black leather ankle holster for 1918 Mk I trench knife
- Navy striped suspenders with broken two-tone brown stripe and gold hardware
- Black beaver felt fedora with a thin black grosgrain band
- Gray herringbone tweed double-breasted “action-back” overcoat with peak lapels, 6×2 button front, 2 flapped box-pleated chest patch pockets, 2 flapped patch hip pockets, cuffed sleeves, half-belted back, and long single vent
- White cotton sleeveless undershirt
- Off-white cotton boxer shorts
- Steel tonneau-shaped wristwatch on a brown leather strap
- Plain gold wedding band, worn on left ring finger
For more serious occasions like a physical brawl with your cantankerous bigoted father, drop the outerwear and swap in a more monochromatic gray shirt with a solid dark tie.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Manny Horvitz: We got a deal, but just so we’re clear, my ice box is filled with pieces of fellas who tried to fuck me over.
Jimmy Darmody: (nonplussed) I just got creamsicles in mine.