'Boardwalk Empire' Creator Talks the Series Finale's Shocking Ending

Everything you need to know about the final episode.

ByMichael Rothman
October 27, 2014, 12:04 PM
PHOTO: Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in a scene from Boardwalk Empire.
Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in a scene from episode 8 of the fifth season of Boardwalk Empire.
Christopher T. Saunders/HBO

— -- Warning: Spoiler Alert!

On Sunday night, we saw the last of "Boardwalk Empire,"' but before the show faded to black for the final time, its biggest character was killed off.

Yes, Steve Buscemi, who plays Nucky Thompson, didn't get to live happily ever after and most fans would agree that it was a fitting end.

Thompson was shot and killed by Tommy Darmody, whose family, including his father Jimmy, had been brutally betrayed by the mob boss. The show had been airing since 2010.

Vulture caught up with the show's creator Terence Winter to chat on why he killed off his biggest star in the finale.

"We knew definitively somewhere in the middle of season four that Nucky would die. We ran the different versions of how it might end. We had talked about him going off to a life of obscurity after he gave everything up. In some ways, that felt like a punishment, too -- not that we were necessarily trying to punish him. But this felt like a more powerful and dramatic ending," Winter told Vulture.

Winter, who also produced another HBO classic "The Sopranos," explained the moment he called to tell Buscemi it was his time to die.

"When I called Steve, I said, 'God, this is the weirdest one of these I've ever done.' He said, 'Yeah, I've heard about these phone calls.' It was very odd to tell the star of your show that it's over. But at least he made it 'til the last episode," he continued.

The final scene was emotional, but joyous to film, Winter added.

"The whole crew came down, and we shot it on Stage 5 of Steiner Studios, which had been our stage for five years," he said. "It was very poignant. It was a very special moment. We had a small party afterward in the parking lot that went on for hours. I don't know that I could have picked a better final scene to shoot for the series."

The iconic showrunner and producer added how "proud" he was of the series now that it's wrapped and that in no way did the ambiguous ending of "The Sopranos" influence his choice to make this one more clear as to what happens to the main character.

"No, I didn't decree that we had to have a definitive ending," he said. "This was the ending we felt was the most powerful. It happened to be pretty clear what happened, of course. There are aspects of the finale that are open-ended ... This was just the best version of what we thought the ending should be."

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