The third season of the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire premiered on September 16, 2012 and concluded on December 2, 2012. The series was created by Terence Winter and based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson. Set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era, the series stars Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, a political figure who rose to prominence and controlled Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition period of the 1920s and early 1930s.
While hosting a New Year’s Eve party for 1922-23, Nucky makes a resolution that does not sit well with Gyp Rosetti, a touchy gangster with a thirst for bootleg whiskey. Margaret looks to build on the Thompson endowment at St. Theresa’s Hospital, to her husband’s displeasure. In the absence of Jimmy and the Commodore, Gillian builds a new business while monitoring Richard’s mentoring of her “son,” Tommy. In Chicago, Al Capone is rankled by Irish mobster Dean O’Banion, and Van Alden stumbles onto a confrontation that could change his career path.
Mixing business with pleasure in New York, Nucky bristles at the collection tactics of Gaston Means, a “special investigator” with ties to Attorney General Harry Daugherty. At St. Theresa’s, Margaret is troubled when her altruism is met with resistance by both a patient and an idealistic doctor. Gyp extends his stopover in Tabor Heights, a town halfway between Atlantic City and New York, with an eye towards establishing a strategic foothold. Chalky and his daughter Maybelle (Christina Jackson) fail to agree on her future with Samuel (Ty Michael Robinson); Eli gets a new boss and faces new realities at home; a major liquor shipment takes an unexpected detour.
Disturbed by a recent nightmare and Billie’s absence, Nucky reluctantly joins Margaret to receive a high honor from the Church. Meanwhile, Gyp makes a deal with Nucky for a onetime liquor shipment, though the mobster’s longtime intentions remain very much up in the air. Van Alden regrets trying to socialize with his co-workers; Margaret takes her women’s-clinic pitch to a higher authority; Lucky and Meyer (Anatol Yusef) protect their investments; Richard sets the record straight with Mickey, and with Nucky.
After tracking down a liquor thief, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) and Owen (Charlie Cox) spend a long night hiding out from the fedswith the precocious perp. In his boss’ absence, and with Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) fuming over a late delivery, Mickey (Paul Sparks) overrules Eli (Shea Whigham) to make a routing call that will have far-reaching consequences for Nucky and Gyp (Bobby Cannavale). Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) encounters a familiar face while promoting Dr. Mason’s (Patrick Kennedy) classes at the new women’s clinic at St. Theresa’s. In New York, Lucky (Vincent Piazza) haggles with Joe Masseria (Ivo Nandi) over heroin splits, while in Chicago, Capone’s (Stephen Graham) feud with O’Banion (Arron Shiver) heats up when one of his collectors gets roughed up on the South Side.
After venting with Nucky about his liquor travails, Rothstein sends Gyp an unequivocal message in Tabor Heights. In Washington, Gaston Means (Stephen Root) sees opportunity in a Senate investigation of Harry Daugherty (Christopher McDonald) and the Justice Department. Billie (Meg Chambers Steedle) gets a new co-star to revive her faltering show; Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and Sigrid (Christiane Seidel) receive an unexpected visitor; Gillian (Gretchen Mol) worries about keeping her business afloat in Jimmy’s absence; Margaret has awkward moments at the hospital and, later, at Madam Jeunet’s (Anna Katarina).
After being detained in Washington by Daugherty’s henchmen, Nucky approaches Esther Randolph (Julianne Nicholson), his onetime nemesis, and later entertains an intriguing proposition from GastonMeans. In Atlantic City, Margaret copes with Teddy’s (Rory and Declan McTigue) demons, while Owen investigates a suspicious fire; Gillian feuds with Lucky and finds a surrogate for Jimmy; and Richard (Jack Huston) connects with pugilistic vetPaul Sagorsky (Mark Borkowsky) and his daughter Julia (Wrenn Schmidt).
On Easter Sunday, Eli looks to get back in Nucky’s good graces at a Thompson family reunion. While Richard and Tommy (Brady and Connor Noon) spend the day as guests of the Sagorskys, Gillian stays athome and makes a sacrifice to improve her future. In New York, after dinner and prayers, Gyp heads downtown in search of a blessing – from Joe Masseria.
Gillian (Gretchen Mol) makes her peace with Jimmy’s death, though not with Nucky (Steve Buscemi), as Gyp (Bobby Cannavale) arrives to play ally. Working off his debt to O’Banion (Arron Shiver), Van Alden (Michael Shannon) attends a meeting with Capone (Stephen Graham) and Torrio(Greg Antonacci); later, after a workplace meltdown, he considers Sigrid’s (Christiane Seidel) case for staying put versus resuming a life on the lam.With help from Gaston Means (Stephen Root), Nucky pays an unscheduled visit to Andrew Mellon (James Cromwell), offering the Treasury Secretary a recommendation and a business proposal. Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) makes a stand on birth control; Nucky and Owen (Charlie Cox) shop for a birthday pony; Billie (Meg Chambers Steedle) eyes a future on the silver screen, to Nucky’s chagrin.
Reeling from Gyp’s most recent attack, Nucky vows to eliminate his nemesis through a coalition of familiar partners. In Washington, the arrest of a high-profile bootlegger puts Daugherty (Christopher McDonald) and Jess Smith (Ed Jewett) on the hot seat. Emily (Lucy and JosieGallina) gets a scaled-down birthday party; Gillian blames an absent Harrow(Jack Huston) for Tommy’s (Brady and Connor Noon) latest misadventure; Gyp decides to buy a town’s silence; Broadway mourns a fallen star.
Nucky reaches out to Gaston Means to keep Jess Smith quiet in Washington, and enlists Owen to neutralize Gyp’s alliance with Joe Masseria (Ivo Nandi) in New York. Margaret considers alternate futures, at the hospital and at home; Van Alden’s side business backfires; Gyp fumes when a shipment comes up short; Harrow coerces an apology for Julia (Wrenn Schmidt); Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) sees opportunity in the ashes of a boardwalk institution.
Gyp makes his move in Atlantic City, forcing Nucky and Eddie (Anthony Laciura) to seek refuge with Chalky. With the Artemis Club overrun by Rosetti thugs, Gillian contemplates a business future that includes an unwelcome partner. Luciano (Vincent Piazza) makes a deal he’ll come to regret; Harrow loses his house privileges.
Desperate to weaken Gyp’s (Bobby Cannavale) alliance with Masseria (Ivo Nandi) and reclaim Atlantic City, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) cedes control of one of his prized assets to Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg). Harrow (Jack Huston) returns to Gillian’s (Gretchen Mol) brothel for some unfinished business; Luciano (Vincent Piazza) is forced to take on a new heroin partner after being arrested in New York; Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) and Capone (Stephen Graham) put their enmity on hold while taking on Masseria’s men; Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) decides to end one relationship and considers resuming another.