How and when did you find out about Eddie Kessler's storyline?
All I remember was that it was a Wednesday at 11:36. I said to Terry [Winter, show creator] when he called, "Well it's 11:36, this call. We'll say the time of death is 11:36." That's the hardest thing for the producer, to call and say your part's being written off. I don't envy it. We sign a contract knowing full well when the writers feel they need to do something to keep the series fresh, you saying auf Wiedersehen may be the thing that keeps it fresh. When you start questioning the "why," that's a big mistake.
Early on the season, Eddie is testy at breakfast. Is he surprised when Nucky asks for his opinion at the construction site?
He is. He's thinking, "You are asking for my opinion? All right, I'll tell you." I thought of it as an explanation to the mayor. To say, "Mr. Thompson is in the sky and sea. He is the dreams of children," is to mean, "You exist because he exists." What was cut out of that is after Bader gets out of the car, Nucky looks at Eddie and says, "In the dreams of children?"
What's going through Eddie's mind when he hands in his resignation?
After 11 years, it took a lot of chutzpah for Eddie to go there and say, "I'm fed up. Yes, you took care of me, and made sure I didn't die, but you left anyway." During this period, one could say Eddie had a lot of time to think about what happened, and he realizes he would like respect. Notice, Eddie handed Nucky back the money he offered, and he says, "That's beneath you." Money had nothing to do with it.
So Eddie is promoted and he spends the evening with Ralph Capone. It's rare that we see Eddie letting loose. What's behind it?
This is Eddie's first real encounter with a gangster—he's not serving him tea or booze. He's a little uncomfortable about the drop off and the whole business of the flower on the jacket, but he wants to make a good show. And Ralph wants to get something to eat, so the polite thing is make sure he gets something to eat. At dinner, he discovers there's a parallel in what they do: They're both serving bosses, but for Ralph, his happens to be a blood relative. And remember what we saw in 311 with the recitation of "If," the Rudyard Kipling, "You'll be a man my son." Is Nucky thinking about him as a father figure - and is he looking at Nucky as a son? It sure looked that way.
His night out with Ralph is a fun sequence.
What I liked is that it showed everybody Eddie does have some kind of life outside of Nucky. He goes to a German bar room with his friends, and they tease him, "Mr. You So Special Now." And we all sing. It's a drinking song, about how nice it is to be in Germany, how the Rhine is so beautiful. We're singing and drinking, and everything is beautiful.
And then he falls into Knox's clutches. Is it news of his family that breaks Eddie's spirit?
This fling he had with the person at the department store was looked upon by the morals of the day as a terrible thing. But it had to be something deeper that really upsets him, and that's that his sons think less of him. That was bad enough, but the worst was when he had to say that it was Nucky who told him what to do. That's the moment when he realized, I let my family down and the man who picked me up and gave me a life in America. When I did interviews early on, I would belabor the loyalty Eddie has for Nucky. You don't see it today. He had disillusioned his own blood, and now, the American son that he has taken care of and taken a bullet for.