Brotherhood (American TV series)
Brotherhood is an American crime drama television series created by Blake Masters about the intertwining lives of the Irish-American Caffee brothers from Providence, Rhode Island: Tommy (Jason Clarke) is a local politician and Michael (Jason Isaacs) is a gangster involved with New England's Irish Mob. The show also features their mother Rose (Fionnula Flanagan), cousin Colin Carr (Brían F. O'Byrne), childhood friend and Rhode Island state detective Declan Giggs (Ethan Embry), Irish mob boss Freddie Cork (Kevin Chapman), Tommy's wife Eileen (Annabeth Gish), and Michael's criminal partner Pete McGonagle (Stivi Paskoski).
Promotional art for the first season.
|Created by||Blake Masters|
|Written by||Blake Masters (13 episodes)|
Henry Bromell (12 episodes)
Dawn Prestwich (3 episodes)
Nicole Yorkin (3 episodes)
Karen Hall (2 episodes)
|Directed by||Ed Bianchi (7 episodes)|
Henry Bromell (3 episodes)
Nick Gomez (3 episodes)
Brían F. O'Byrne
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||29 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Blake Masters|
Elizabeth Guber Stephen
Karen Hall (Season 3)
|Production location(s)||Rhode Island|
|Cinematography||Ron Fortunato (Pilot)|
Ernest Holzman (Season 1)
Teodoro Maniaci (Seasons 2–3)
|Editor(s)||Terry Kelley (12 episodes)|
Anthony Redman (12 episodes)
Adam Wolfe (3 episodes)
Lise Angelica Johnson (2 episodes)
Neil Travis (1 episode)
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||50–55 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Gangtackle Productions|
|Picture format||480i (NTSC)|
Dolby Digital 5.1
|Original release||July 9, 2006 –|
December 21, 2008
Brotherhood was originally broadcast by the premium cable network Showtime in the United States from July 9, 2006, to December 21, 2008, with the show's three seasons consisting of eleven, ten and eight episodes, respectively. The show was not renewed after its third season, which Showtime later confirmed was the last. The series was produced and almost entirely written by Masters and Henry Bromell. It was filmed on location in Providence, Rhode Island.
Brotherhood received widespread critical acclaim—with critics particularly praising Masters and Bromell's nuanced writing and the central performances of Clarke and Isaacs—but did not attract a large audience. The show won a Peabody Award.
Brotherhood was created by New England native Blake Masters. Prior to creating the series, Masters made a living selling screenplays to film studios; however, he never got an original project produced. Masters' pitched Brotherhood to Executive Producer Elizabeth Guber Stephen as a feature film; the premise was inspired by the real-life Bulger brothers from Massachusetts: William M. Bulger was a prominent state politician and his brother, James J. Bulger, was the leader of the Irish-American crime family Winter Hill Gang. Stephen told Masters and his agent Brant Rose that it would work better as a series. Masters agreed to adapt it into a television series, reasoning that "the dynamic between the brothers was sustainable and compelling." Stephen brought Masters to present the idea to premium cable network Showtime, who were immediately receptive and financed the production of a pilot episode. After the pilot had been shot, it was shown to the Showtime executives, who ordered an entire season. Because of Masters' inexperience in producing television, Showtime executives asked him to find someone to help him spearhead the project. Masters, a fan of Homicide: Life on the Street, suggested Henry Bromell, who had previously worked on Homicide as a writer/executive producer. A meeting was arranged between Masters and Bromell through Showtime. Bromell was impressed with the pilot and accepted Masters' offer to join the production crew.
Executive producers Masters and Bromell served as showrunners and head writers during the production of the show's three seasons. Masters wrote five episodes of the first and second seasons, which consisted of eleven and ten episodes, respectively, and three of the third eight-episode season; Bromell wrote three episodes of the first season, five of the second and three of the third. The show has had three writers other than Masters and Bromell: the writing team of Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin, who wrote three episodes of the first season and served as co-executive producers, and executive producer Karen Hall, who wrote two episodes of the third season.
The pilot episode, "Mark 8:36", was directed by Australian director Phillip Noyce. Noyce's background in film drew some praise for his strong visual sense direction of the pilot but was also criticized for distracting from the writing and not fitting with the direction of later episodes. Noyce also directed the second season premiere. Veteran television director Ed Bianchi directed seven episodes of the show, including the first and second season finales, making him the show's most frequent director. Other recurring directors include Nick Gomez, who directed three episodes, and Steve Shill, Alik Sakharov and Brian Kirk who directed two episodes each. Jean de Segonzac, Leslie Libman, Thomas Carter, Michael Corrente, Seith Mann and Tim Hunter directed one episode each. Masters and Bromell have also directed the series, with Bromell having directed three episode and Masters two.
Sets and locations
The series was filmed largely on location in Providence, Rhode Island. After Elizabeth Guber Stephen was told they couldn't shoot in Boston due to budget, Stephen worked out a deal with the Rhode Island Film Office to work within the network budget. Stephen and her team also helped write the tax incentive legislation for film and television production in Rhode Island.
The Providence Journal editorialized on the production as follows:
The production of Showtime's The Brotherhood has enlivened Providence streets on and off for months ... An occasional loss of parking spaces to film crews and tax dollars for incentives to bring them here sets some teeth to grinding, but few don't feel the tingle of curiosity when approaching one of those star trailers ... Movies mean money, and film festivals lubricate our celloid (sic) culture in preparation for more.— Editorial, Our own little Hollywood, Providence Journal August 22, 2007, p. B 4.
Some scenes were filmed at the Olneyville New York System Restaurant in Providence. In May 2007 the show's camera crews went to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, to film various street scenes and buildings in that city for inclusion in future episodes of the show.
Cast and characters
|Jason Isaacs||Michael Caffee||A lifelong gangster who has returned home to Providence, R.I., after a self-imposed seven-year exile after a contract was put on him. He is hoping to pick up where he left off. At the end of the first season, Michael is attacked and severely beaten by Declan. At the start of the second season, Michael is suffering from brain trauma and blackout, and has no memory of who attacked him. However, he tries to prove to Freddie that he is ready to go back to work for the mob. By the third season, Michael is in charge, and faces serious trouble with the Italian mob leader and with his own girlfriend and cousin. Michael is inspired by and modeled after Whitey Bulger, an ex-fugitive Irish mob boss from South Boston, Massachusetts, who was still on the run at that time. Jason Isaacs once described his character as follows: "Well actually, Michael Caffee is not a bad guy. I wouldn't have done this if he was a bad guy. He's a really interesting man. He has a really strict ethical code that he adheres to and he thinks he is better for the neighborhood and the future of the city than his brother is. He thinks his brother is corrupt, he's part of the system."|
|Jason Clarke||Tommy Caffee||Husband, father, brother and ambitious member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives who is not above bending the rules. The second season finds him still married, but shows bitterness towards his wife after she reveals her drug use and affairs. He is currently seeking re-election at his position. He is presumably inspired by Whitey Bulger's brother, former Massachusetts Senate President Billy Bulger. By season three, Tommy and Eileen have reconciled because they are expecting their fourth child, a son. Tommy promises Eileen that he is getting out of politics, but his best plans may not come to fruition.|
|Annabeth Gish||Eileen Caffee||Tommy's lonely wife, who tries to fill the void in her life with drugs and an affair with the mailman. At the start of the second season, she and her husband are still living together, although they remain distant after she revealed everything to him. By the third season, she is working outside of the home until she and Tommy reach an uneasy reconciliation, as Eileen is pregnant with their fourth child, who is a son.|
|Fiona Erickson||Mary Rose Caffee||Tommy and Eileen's eldest daughter. Mary Rose has been in trouble for stealing and drug use, and her uncle Michael tries to talk sense into her, which her father resents. She is exceptionally observant, if not nosy, and what she discovers often has great bearing on both brothers' lives.|
|Fionnula Flanagan||Rose Caffee||The highly manipulative and needy mother of the Caffee brothers and sister Mary Kate, and overbearing mother-in-law to Eileen, Rose is the matriarch and neither of her sons dares to stand up to her. She has developed a close relationship with Colin, the Irish son of her late sister, who has come to Rhode Island to seek his family roots.|
|Ethan Embry||Declan Giggs||A Rhode Island state trooper who is investigating the Caffee brothers despite having known them since childhood, who often blurs the line between investigating them and protecting them. At the beginning of the second season, it is revealed that he has a fallout with his wife Cassie and is now separated from her. Disgraced, his police captain gives him one more shot at redemption: becoming a mole for Freddie Cork's activities and tie them to the Caffee brothers. In season three, he is conducting a major investigation of the interactions between Rhode Island state politics and the Italian and Irish mobs.|
|Kevin Chapman||Freddie Cork||An Irish-American gang leader and Michael's very stern, no nonsense boss in season one; he is frequently in conflict with Michael and he often blackmails Tommy. By season three, Michael is the boss, and Freddie works for him.|
|Stivi Paskoski||Pete McGonagle||A recovering alcoholic, who quickly makes himself Michael's partner when Michael returns to town. Michael's return drives him to drink again, and Michael goes so far as to almost kill him. He is not seen in the first two episodes of the second season, but is told that he lands a job through Michael. It is revealed that Pete is in trouble with Italian mobs. At the beginning of the second episode of season 2, he is killed and his body dumped right on the Caffee's block. (series regular - season 1)|
|Brian F. O'Byrne||Colin Carr||The Caffees' cousin from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who joins the cast for the second season, as he tries to help both sides of his family business. At first, his aunt Rose thinks he's trouble and up to no good. Eventually, she helps him find his father, who turns out to be Senator Judd Fitzgerald, and she becomes his defender. By season three, he is Michael's loyal right-hand man. However, he is falling in love with Michael's girlfriend Kath, which Michael suspects. He has tried to keep at arm's length distance from Kath out of loyalty and fear of Michael. However, Michael's suspicions seem to be getting the better of him. (series regular - season 2-3)|
- Billy Smith as Jeff "Moe" Riley (Seasons 1–3) – One of Freddie's henchmen, he consistently shows a pathological lack of common sense and regard for other people, which makes him very unpopular with almost everyone, especially Michael. Thanks to events in the first season, Moe holds a grudge against Michael that persists through the whole series.
- Kerry O'Malley as Mary Kate Martinson, Michael and Tommy's sister
- Bates Wilder as Jimmy Martinson, Mary Kate's husband
- Madison Garland as Lila Caffee, Tommy and Eileen's daughter
- Kailey Gilbert as Noni Caffee, Tommy and Eileen's daughter
- Tina Benko as Kath Perry
- Karl Bury as Alex Byrne, Tommy's assistant (Seasons 1 & 2)
- Len Cariou as Judd Fitzgerald (Seasons 1 & 2)
- Kevin Conway as Neil Caffee
- John Fiore as Alphonse Nozzoli (Seasons 1-3)
- Michael Gaston as Mr. Speaker (Season 1)
- Damien Di Paola as Paul Carvalho
- Georgia Lyman as Cassie Giggs, Declan's wife
- Frank L. Ridley as Terry Mulligan
- Al Sapienza as Mayor Frank Panzarella
- Brian Scannell as Silent John
- Matt Servitto as Representative Donald Donatello, Speaker of the House
- Scottie Thompson as Shannon McCarthy (Season 1)
Plot synopsis and episode list
Season 1: 2006
The death of a local Irish mob figure, Patrick "Paddy" Mullin, allows for the return of Michael Caffee to "The Hill" neighborhood in Providence. Caffee had been in hiding for seven years after the man vowed to kill him. Upon returning he begins to re-assume his old criminal business alongside his friend Pete McConagle. Michael's boss Freddie Cork tries to blackmail Michael's politician brother Tommy Caffee into assigning him lucrative contracts with a threat to kill Michael. Tommy refuses to be swayed and tells Freddie that he does not care about Michael. Michael manages to arrange a temporary truce with Freddie. Eileen Caffee is cheating on her husband Tommy with Carl Hobbs and is also concealing drug use from her family.
Michael takes over a local store with threats. Tommy defuses the owners intentions to press charges by passing her on to Declan Giggs, an officer who was once friends with the Caffees. Giggs tells her it is too dangerous to testify against the Irish gangs. Michael also takes over a local bar named Mulligans. He rekindles his relationship with Kath Parry and realises how much she cares for him when she stands by him through a shoot out with Russian mobsters.
Tommy turns to Judd for help in preventing a highway being built through "The Hill" and is forced to give up more of his independence. Carl ends his relationship with Eileen. Treasury agents raid Rose Caffee's residence looking for counterfeit money belonging to Michael. They are unsuccessful but the scandal costs Tommy further political capital and he pledges his loyalty to the speaker of the house. Tommy uses his political influence to turn a profit but is outraged when he finds the speaker of the house stealing. Tommy maneuvers his way to the house majority leader position.
Michael helps Declan dispose of a body after Declan's partner unwittingly shoots an undercover FBI agent. Eileen's drug use intensifies and she is arrested for erratic behavior; Pete also gives in to his addiction and Michael takes him to Alcoholics Anonymous. Tommy's eldest daughter Mary Rose is caught trying some of her mother's drugs by Michael and he gives her a job in his store to keep an eye on her. Pete and Eileen realize their common ground.
A bus crash on the way back from a football game leaves several residents of "The Hill" dead. The accident was caused by the suicide of Freddie Cork's son, who was openly homosexual. Michael uses this information to manipulate Freddie. Freddie pressures Tommy into ensuring that his son receives a Roman Catholic requiem mass. Carl is also killed and Eileen resolves to atone for her sins. Marty Trio's wife is also killed and he finally decides to work with the police.
Neil Caffee arrives in town and Michael and Tommy form an uneasy alliance to get rid of their father. Rose confronts Michael about how he makes his living. Tommy discovers that his daughter has been working for Michael, ending their period of cooperation. Everyone in "The Hill" attends a big Irish wedding, as Tommy Caffee tries to avoid a legal trap set up by an ambitious U.S. Attorney, who has promised him immunity if he will testify about Michael's dealing with Freddie. He must also protect his brother from being whacked by Moe Riley, who has been released from prison and is out for revenge. Declan finds his partner may be a dirty cop and must decide where his loyalty lies. He blames Michael for making him "go bad" and pistol whips him.
The titles of all episodes in this season are from religious texts.
Season 2: 2007
Showtime renewed the show for a second season, consisting of 10 episodes (bringing the total number of episodes to 21.) Unlike episode titles from season one which were based Bible passages, season two episode titles were based on lyrics from songs written and performed by Bob Dylan. The first episode officially aired on September 30, 2007, with the season finale airing on December 2. However, on July 18, 2007, the first two episodes of season 2 were leaked to the internet via torrent.
The season begins a few months after the conclusion of season one. Michael has survived Declan's attack, though his awareness is compromised and he has no memory of the attack. Michael finds himself shut out of the mob's activity, with Freddie having sold the liquor store while Michael was sick. Desperate to prove his competence, Michael kills a jewish gangster who owes Freddie money, but not before having the first in a series of paralyzing seizures. Tommy has grown closer to Judd as he continues to counter Franklin's efforts against both Michael and himself. Judd asks Tommy to reign in Rep. Paul Carvahlo, the Portuguese representative who is publicly backing a rival (Portuguese) candidate for U.S. senate in the upcoming election. Ellis Franklin has Tommy sit for a deposition about Michael and Freddie, but when he fails to tell Franklin what he wants to hear, Franklin sets up one of his detectives as a businessman looking to bribe Tommy for a state contract. When Tommy sees through the trap, he sets up Carvahlo with the same detective, stalling Franklin's investigation and neutering Carvahlo's support for the rival candidate. Declan spirals out of control after Cassie leaves him and Moe blackmails him, as Moe is the only one who knows Declan tried to kill Michael at the Finnerty wedding. However, Declan assures Moe that if anyone finds out about the wedding, everyone will find out about Moe's deal with the Secret Service.
Season 3: 2008
The third season began airing on November 2, 2008 and consisted of 8 episodes. It ended on December 21, 2008. The titles of all episodes of season three are quotations from Shakespeare.
Season 3 begins in the late summer, and it's implied that the events of Season two have had a few months to sink in. Michael is now on medication for his psychosis, although he appears to have developed severe paranoia and his narcissism has worsened. He is still an informant for Franklin, although this relationship is complicated when Paul Carvalho, (the Portuguese politician Tommy set up for bribery charges in Season II) talks to the authorities and Jack Boyle gets Freddie released from prison. With Freddie out, Michael knows that Freddie will contract Nozzolli to kill Michael, so Michael attempts to set Nozzolli up in a scheme to sell HGH from a local dentist. This plan backfires when the dentist is busted by the DEA, and Michael, furious that Franklin did not warn him, makes Franklin "disappear". Tommy is still majority leader, although his unsuccessful attempt at capturing the speakership has subordinated him to the Speaker Donatello's errand boy. This newfound position brings him into contact with Brian Kilpatrick, a developer who wants the state to buy decrepit industrial property on the city's waterfront. Eilleen is now pregnant, which is hampering her ability to carry out her new duties at Social Services. The revelation that Tommy knew Michael was under a hit from Freddie at the Finnerty wedding keeps the brother's relationship on the rocks, and at the end of the episode Tommy proposes to Eilleen that they leave the hill once they've saved enough money. The episode concludes at a meeting between Tommy, KilPatrick, and the President of Bodie Company, with Tommy telling the president that he will get a lucrative stake in the waterfront if he will buy all of the holdings of Tommy's Landowne development company.
On April 7, 2009, rumors began circulating that the show had been canceled. In January, Robert Greenblatt, Showtime's entertainment president, was reportedly non-committal when asked if Brotherhood would be back.
In an interview with E! online in mid-March 2009, actress Fionnula Flanagan said that the actors had yet to hear from the producers about the fourth season. Also, the Hollywood Reporter has reported that Jason Clarke had been cast in an unnamed pilot for CBS. Kevin Chapman, who plays Freddie, is now cast as Terrence Garrity, brother of the Sean character in the FX series Rescue Me. Television critics also pointed to the end of season three as potentially the end of the series, saying that the finale seemed to convey a sense of closure, wrapping up storylines.
American satellite television provider DirecTV rebroadcast the series beginning in February 2010.
The series focuses on the concept of brotherhood through the antagonistic relationship between the Caffee brothers. Through its examination of family, the show makes loyalty a recurring theme. Though the two brothers follow different paths and try to assert their differences from one another, they often prove similar. The show portrays Michael and Tommy striving for the good of their neighborhood through politics and crime, which are often portrayed as similar. Corruption and the way it infiltrates families, neighborhoods and governments is another theme. The examination of big city corruption has been compared to the work of Sidney Lumet.
Masters has admitted an intention to make the city of Providence a character in the show. The Hollywood Reporter noted the parallels between the morally grey areas inhabited by the characters and the muted tones of their surroundings. "The Hill" is dominated by Irish Americans and the show has been characterised as examining ethnicity.
In an interview relating to the series, Jason Isaacs described Michael as follows: "Well actually, Michael Caffee is not a bad guy. I wouldn't have done this if he was a bad guy. He's a really interesting man. He has a really strict ethical code that he adheres to and he thinks he is better for the neighborhood and the future of the city than his brother is. He thinks his brother is corrupt. He's part of the system."
Despite having a subpar total viewership of 540,000, Showtime renewed the series for a second season which aired in Fall 2007. It was renewed for a third season with eight episodes as of January 21, 2008.
Many critics compared the series to The Sopranos. Some felt that it was actually closer in tone to another HBO drama, The Wire, in portraying "a fine-textured portrait of a blue-collar city" and predicted comparable under performance in finding an audience. LA Weekly stated that the show may be more satisfying in its emotional payoffs for viewers than the sixth season of The Sopranos. Critics have characterized the show as being part of a wave of programming that puts Showtime on a level pegging with their pay cable rival HBO for quality.
Critics have praised the central performances of Clarke and Isaacs. They have also commented on the authenticity in casting down to the minor roles and the strong characterization of the supporting cast. The Hollywood Reporter named the show as the one to watch over the summer it debuted and stated that the ensemble of well drawn characters created a "reality that speaks to the collision of interests, the dispersal of power and the impossibility of effective compromise." The Phoenix picked out Annabeth Gish's against type role as an adulterous addict as potentially re-defining her career. Variety said that Isaacs performance as Michael provided the lifeblood of the series by grabbing the attention.
The show has been criticized as lacking the humorous approach of Italian-American gangster stories like A Bronx Tale, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos. The show has also been described as initially off-putting due to its flawed characters but became more involving as it progresses.
The show was a 2006 Peabody Award winner.
|1||11||September 26, 2006||3|
|2||10||October 7, 2008||3|
|3||8||September 22, 2009||2|
|Country||TV Network(s)||Series Premiere||Weekly Schedule|
|Showtime||April 2, 2007||Screened on showcase from 2008 onwards|
|FX Latin America and Liv||2008–2010|
|The Movie Network and Movie Central||Mon-Fri 11pm|
|RTL||January 21, 2009||Wednesdays 10:00pm.|
|Jim||February 26, 2007|
|Fox Crime||July 16, 2007||Mondays 10pm|
|3e||April 15, 2007/October 2006/November 2007|
|Yes Stars Action||2006|
|Cult TV||September 2008|
|Fox Crime||June 7, 2007||Season 1 Mondays 8:00pm from July 12, 2010 (r.Tu, We, Sa, Su) Season 3 Thursdays 8:00pm from July 15, 2010 (r.Fr, Sa, Su, Mo)|
|TV2 Zebra||September 2008||Tuesdays 9:30pm|
|Fox Crime||January 2008||Tuesday 10pm|
|Universal Channel||December 2007|
|FX and TVSeries||September 2007|
|POP TV||January 2008||Saturday 10 pm|
|True Series||September 18, 2008||Thursday 10pm|
|FX||April 2008||Thursday 10pm|
|Showtime||July 9, 2006|
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- "Brotherhood — Episode 11 Synopsis". Showtime. Archived from the original on 2013-02-02. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
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- An Interview with Series Creator Blake Masters
- NewYorkTimes: Mobster and Politician, Neither Rolling in Clover