TV tip: Boardwalk Empire

HBO, Sunday, 9 p.m.

When we first meet Nucky Thompson, he's a gangster and a bootlegger, sure, but he's also quick to reach into his pocket and peel off a few bills for a single mother. (That he ordered the hit on the father is OK, too, because he was a wife beater.) By the end of season two, Nucky has gone so far over to the dark side that he murders his adopted son, Jimmy Darmody. In the season three premiere on Sunday night, Nucky, now a self-proclaimed philanthropist, is ordering up more hits and having an affair. With so many other interesting characters six feet under, the series revolves around Nucky more than ever. But with evil winning the internal struggle over good, Nucky is less likable and more predictable. And with Prohibition turning more violent, will we yearn for the simpler days of season one?

- TIM COTTER

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