Billions is without a doubt one of the hottest shows on TV at the moment.
It boasts a seasoned cast with Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti as the formidable anchors. And Maggie Siff (Wendy Rhoades) and Malin Åkerman (Lara Axelrod) show their gravitas too. They bring a wonderful dynamic to war between their husbands with their equally powerful narratives.
In a recent conference, Lewis shed light on what can be expected in the new season.
“The first season ends with my character in a state of paranoia, believing that every nook and cranny has been bugged by the US Attorney’s office and that the US government is essentially crawling all over me like a cheap suit,” he said. “Both the US Attorney (Charles ‘Chuck’ Rhoades) and Bobby Axelrod, the hedge fund billionaire, lose one thing very close to their hearts – Wendy. She’s married to him but works for me. In the end, she’s had enough… and abandons both of us.”
Shedding light on the bond he shares with his on-screen wife, he said: “They have a very loyal, long-term friendship, forged in the blue-collar communities, surrounded by people who are nurses, doctors, firemen, policemen and so on.
“Even though she is extraordinarily beautiful, there’s no sense that she’s a trophy wife for Axe.
They met before he made all his money. She is his partner in every sense. She’s a ball-breaker, a mover and shaker, and a manipulator behind the scenes. She gets done what she sees Bobby needs to have done. And she does it without permission.”
After the emotional roller-coaster ride of the first season, how do we find them in the second instalment?
“Bobby has allowed a degree of paranoia to set in, so there’s now intensive security at his office,” said Lewis.
“The major reversal is Bobby has made a decision that he is going to be able to operate freely, without government interference – the US Attorney has to be taken down. His first shot at him is citing undue harassment and unlawful harassment in the workplace. So they’re right back at it.”
And Axe seems to have turned a corner, too.
“My character cares less about hiding now,” he explained. “He’s indignant, really, that this guy came at him like this. He’s now made a decision that this can’t go on.”
Par for the course with any new season are new faces – game-changers, if you will.
“Wendy is not back yet,” revealed Lewis. “Axe has employed a compliance director. She’s very strict. She’s there at every meeting, just to make sure everything is above board because he was so shaken by the events of the first season.”
With Axe not known for being much of a conformist, he will, of course, tire of her at some point.
“I think it’s slightly more plotty this year,” concluded Lewis.
“The wives continue to play strong, central roles so the family elements are there. I think watching these families fracture is equally gripping, as is the cat-and-mouse chase between Chuck Rhoades and Bobby Axelrod.”
Watching the one-upmanship between the two will leave viewers on tenterhooks. The writing is proving to be ingenious once again.
Who has the biggest axe to grind between hedge fund magnate Bobby Axelrod and US Attorney Charles ‘Chuck’ Rhoades? The second season of Billions revolves around this pivotal question.
Billions 2 airs on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) on Mondays at 9.30pm.