Before he started work on NBC’s “Harry’s Law,” in which he plays arrogant but successful lawyer Thomas “Tommy” Jefferson, Christopher McDonald appeared in a single episode of HBO’s Prohibition-era drama “Boardwalk Empire,” playing Harry Daugherty, campaign manager for Warren G. Harding during the 1920 presidential election.
Luckily for McDonald, Harding was elected and appointed Daugherty as United States Attorney General. And luckier still, “Boardwalk Empire” is coming back for a second season, with production having gotten underway last week in and around New York City.
“Thankfully,” McDonald tells Zap2it, “they are going to bring me back for a nice arc, now that Warren Harding is in office. True-to-life story, Daugherty becomes his Attorney General, but leaves office with a big scandal, of course.”
McDonald says he’s looking forward to doing a multi-episode arc, but doesn’t know whether his scenes will be set in Atlantic City, N.J., where politician Nucky Thompson (series lead Steve Buscemi) pulls all the strings, or inside the Harding White House.
“That’ll all be revealed,” McDonald says. “Those scripts are kept under lock and key until the week you go in to do it. I would assume that Nucky’s going to get his nose into politics up in Washington, D.C., and have his way with getting things he needs done, done, through the backdoor deal that we set up the first time. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”
While a second season of “Harry’s Law” is an open question, there’s no doubt that “Boardwalk Empire” is a certified hit and an award-winner, with a Golden Globe for best drama, and a WGA Award for best new series under its belt.
“Everybody loves that show,” says McDonald, “and it is arguably the best show on television, if you can call HBO television. The people that come out of the woodwork, saying, ‘Hey, I caught you on the show,’ it crosses the board, everyone from the guy that cleans your pool to the guy who runs the studio.
“It’s unbelievable how many people love and respond to that show. The fact that it’s getting all the accolades now — Buscemi is perfectly cast, a great part, a great actor.”
While McDonald is a fairly sharp-dressed man on “Harry’s Law,” his wardrobe experience on “Boardwalk” stands out in his mind (and will no doubt be repeated as he returns for a new season).
“Even though I was on it for, like, a week or so,” he says, “they sent me over to a tailor who’s done presidents. He’s got Jimmy Carter; he’s got Bill Clinton, all these great presidents up on the wall. He does their suits, and he was doing the suits for us.
“It’s a very nondescript Brooklyn storefront on a very dark and dank street to walk up and see these professionals. It’s [Martin Greenfield Clothiers]. God, what a great job they did — beautiful material, exquisite lines. The wardrobe for Nucky Thompson alone is spectacular.”