Chronicling the rise of pornography and the multibillion-dollar industry’s transformation of American culture, the critically acclaimed drama series THE DEUCE, created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, returns for its nine-episode second season SUNDAY, SEPT. 9 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Resuming five years after the culmination of the first season, THE DEUCE returns to the world of 1977, capturing the Times Square area of midtown New York at its most garish and volatile.
The series is also available on HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.
Amid a city that is as culturally dynamic as it is dystopic, the show finds its protagonists living at the apex of the Golden Age of Porn, when the dream of a mainstream X-rated film business is suddenly a credible reality, and the culture of pornography and its blatant commodification of sex is finding increasing traction among more and more Americans.
Disco and punk are in full swing, and police corruption and political tolerance for New York’s midtown demimonde is at its height. And the Mafia, the early backer of pornography at the moment when courts declared for its legality, is now seemingly poised to reap great profits. A comparable – and, in some ways, more professional – porn industry is rising on the West Coast as well. But for now, New York is holding its own in a city flush with movies, music and art, as the drug-fueled party rages around the clock.
“This is the moment when it genuinely seemed for the first time that hardcore pornography was going to become mainstreamed into American culture and pysche,” says David Simon. “And in a very real sense that would happen to a profound degree, though not in the ways that our protagonists once imagined.”
Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, both veterans of the HBO series “The Wire” and “Treme,” THE DEUCE is executive produced by Pelecanos, Simon, Nina K. Noble and James Franco. The drama series stars James Franco (Golden Globe winner for “The Disaster Artist”) as both Vincent Martino, a successful manager of several mob-backed nightspots, and his twin brother, Frankie Martino, whose own business ventures are more fraught, and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Oscar® nominee for “Crazy Heart,” Golden Globe nominee for season one of THE DEUCE) as Candy, now a rising director of ambitious porn films.
The returning cast also includes: Gary Carr (“Downton Abbey”) as C.C. and Gbenga Akinnagbe (HBO’s “The Wire”) as Larry Brown, both Eighth Avenue pimps coping with the changing realities of the sex trade; Margarita Levieva (“Revenge”) as Abigail “Abby” Parker, who brings her artistic and political sensibilities to the Hi-Hat bar while navigating life with Vincent; Dominique Fishback (HBO’s “Show Me a Hero”) as Darlene and Emily Meade (HBO’s “The Leftovers”) as Lori, prostitutes who gain a measure of independence as their film careers rise; Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (HBO’s “The Wire”) as NYPD detective Chris Alston; Chris Bauer (HBO’s “The Wire”) as massage parlor manager and Martino brother-in-law Bobby Dwyer; Michael Rispoli (HBO’s “The Sopranos”) as Mafia capo Rudy Pipilo; and Chris Coy (CINEMAX’s “Banshee”) as nightclub proprietor Paul Hendrickson.
Season two finds Luke Kirby (“Rectify”) joining the cast as a series regular as Gene Goldman, an incoming Koch administration official bent on reform, and Jamie Neumann (“The Looming Tower”) joining as a series regular as Ashley, a former sex worker turned activist. Guests include Zoe Kazan (“The Big Sick”), Ralph Macchio (“The Karate Kid”), Mustafa Shakir (“Marvel’s Luke Cage”), David Krumholtz (“Living Biblically”), Don Harvey (HBO’s “The Night Of”), Cliff “Method Man” Smith (“8 Mile”), Daniel Sauli (“House of Cards”) and Sepidah Moafi (“Falling Water”).
Season two writers include: David Simon (HBO’s “The Wire” and “Treme”), George Pelecanos (HBO’s “The Wire” and “The Pacific”), Richard Price (HBO’s “The Night Of”), Anya Epstein (“The Affair,” HBO’s “In Treatment”), Carl Capotorto (HBO’s “Vinyl”), Megan Abbott (“Give Me Your Hand”), Stephani DeLuca, Will Ralston (HBO’s “Treme”) and Chris Yakaitis (HBO’s “Treme”).
Season two directors include: Alex Hall (HBO’s “Treme”), Steph Green (“The Americans”), Uta Briesewitz (“Orange Is the New Black,” HBO’s “Westworld”), Zetna Fuentes (“Jane the Virgin”), Susanna White (HBO’s “Generation Kill”), Tricia Brock (“Mozart in the Jungle,” “Younger”), Tanya Hamilton (“The Chi”) and Minkie Spiro (“Call the Midwife,” “Downton Abbey”).
Episode #9 (season 2, episode 1): “Our Raison d’Être”
Debut date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 9 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Times Square, 1977. After his early successes managing the Hi-Hat and French Parlor, Vincent (James Franco) is now proprietor of a new mob-backed disco, Club 366, while his girlfriend Abby (Margarita Levieva) has brought the nascent punk-rock culture into the Hi-Hat. Vincent’s twin brother, Frankie (James Franco), remains a problem, “borrowing” money from Show Land, the sex emporium he manages, to pay off his debts. Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), now a “triple threat” as a porn actress, producer and director, is looking to make more artful, ambitious adult films, over the objections of her collaborator, Harvey (David Krumholtz). C.C. (Gary Carr) pulls a con on Bernie Wolf (Stephen Gevedon), the director of a porn film starring Lori (Emily Meade), to get her more money. Hoping to launch a more upscale gay nightclub, Paul (Chris Coy) looks to sever mob ties from his current bar. Alston (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.), now a homicide detective, is approached by Gene Goldman (Luke Kirby), a civil servant appointed by Mayor Koch to clean up Times Square.
Written by David Simon & George Pelecanos; directed by Alex Hall.
Episode #10 (season 2, episode 2): “There’s an Art to This”
Debut date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 16 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)
Confronted with the changing realities of prostitution and porn, C.C. (Gary Carr) doubles down on his assets, while fellow pimp Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe) eyes a new opportunity. Growing creatively frustrated, Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) turns to Genevieve Furie (Dagmara Dominczyk), a onetime porn director who’s graduated to slasher films, for filmmaking advice. After a customer is mugged outside his bar, Paul (Chris Coy) is approached by Matty the Horse (Garry Pastore), a rival of Rudy’s (Michael Rispoli), who promises Paul the mob protection he deserves. Following a nostalgic road trip to Coney Island with Vincent (James Franco), Abby (Margarita Levieva) attends a meeting of activists, and recognizes a familiar face from Times Square.
Written by Richard Price; directed by Alex Hall.
Episode #11 (season 2, episode 3): “Seven-Fifty”
Debut date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 23 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)
Lori (Emily Meade) envisions a sunny future in LA after attending the AFFA Erotica Awards with Harvey (David Krumholtz) and Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who’s looking to connect with west-coast producers who are willing to turn her fairy tale into reality. Paul (Chris Coy) and Kenneth (Michael Stahl-David) approach Vincent (James Franco) about a loan for a new nightclub, free from mob ties. Goldman (Luke Kirby) visits Alston’s (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) precinct to share the mayor’s vision for cleaning up the Deuce. Frankie (James Franco) wins a hand of poker, but risks losing his job. Back in NYC, Ashley (Jamie Neumann) pushes her reform agenda on Abby (Margarita Levieva), while trying to avoid C.C. (Gary Carr). Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe) and Darlene (Dominique Fishback) learn a bitter lesson about supply and demand. Rudy (Michael Rispoli) sends a message to his rivals, but invites retaliation.
Written by Chris Yakaitis; directed by Steph Green.
Episode #12 (season 2, episode 4): “What Big Ideas”
Debut date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 30 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)
Ashley (Jamie Neumann) and Abby (Margarita Levieva) resolve to track down the identity of a 16-year-old sex worker killed in a recent fire. Vincent (James Franco) is shaken after witnessing the brutal side of Rudy’s (Michael Rispoli) operation. Frustrated by the progress on her new film, Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) recruits new faces to help with the production. Frankie (James Franco) finds his dry-cleaning business a less-than-perfect fit. Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe) shows off his improvisational skills. Lori (Emily Meade) looks to forge a deal with Kiki (Alysia Reiner) while keeping C.C. (Gary Carr) in the loop.
Written by Anya Epstein; directed by Uta Briesewitz.
In addition to “The Wire,” creators David Simon and George Pelecanos collaborated on HBO’s New Orleans drama “Treme.” Simon is an author, journalist and producer whose other works for HBO include “The Corner,” “Generation Kill” and “Show Me a Hero.” Pelecanos is the author of 20 critically acclaimed novels, including “The Double” and “The Turnaround,” as well as a screenwriter and film producer, and served as a writer and co-producer on HBO’s “The Pacific.” His next novel, “The Man Who Came Uptown,” will be published Sept. 4.
THE DEUCE was created by George Pelecanos and David Simon; executive producers, George Pelecanos, David Simon, Nina K. Noble and James Franco; co-executive producer, Richard Price.