The 80s are in full swing as the critically acclaimed drama series The Deuce brings its story to a close when it returns for its eight-episode, third and final season, same time as the U.S., on Tuesday 10 September at 9am, exclusively on HBO GO. Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, the story resumes its chronicle of the rise of pornography and the multibillion-dollar industry’s transformation of American culture seven years after the culmination of the second season.
Season three of The Deuce brings us into the world of 1985, just as VHS overtakes film as the primary medium for porn production and distribution. The lure of the California sunshine, the city’s aggressive takeover of commercial sex properties in Times Square and the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic mark the end of an era. With the party of the 1970s winding down, 42nd Street has deteriorated into a hive of uncontrolled violent crime and seedy video stores, making urban renewal seem more unlikely than ever before. Following the interconnected lives of Times Square’s barkeeps, prostitutes, pimps, police, mobsters, porn actors and producers, the eight-episode third season of The Deuce brings the series’ arc to a dramatic conclusion.
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 – who, in season three, finds himself tired, wary and in search of a way out – and his twin Frankie Martino, a seemingly changed man, who is married with children and who continues to flirt with self-destruction; and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Golden Globe nominee for season one and Critic’s Choice nominee for season two of the series) as Candy, a director struggling to maintain her artistic integrity in an industry that is quickly devolving.
The returning cast also includes: Margarita Levieva (“Revenge”), as Abby, the proprietor of the Hi-Hat and an advocate for Times Square’s artists and denizens who begins to consider life after the Deuce; Emily Meade (HBO’s “The Leftovers”) as porn star Lori, now living in Los Angeles and battling addiction while absorbing the porn business’ migration to video-tape and the resulting degradation; Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (HBO’s “The Wire”) as Chris Alston, now detailed to the Midtown Enforcement Project and partnered with Gene Goldman (Luke Kirby) to realize the city’s plan to rehabilitate Midtown; Chris Bauer (HBO’s “The Wire”), as French Parlor manager Bobby, who steadily begins to lose his piece of the lucrative Times Square sex trade; Chris Coy (CINEMAX’s “Banshee”) as gay businessman and entrepreneur Paul, who must confront the AIDS epidemic; Michael Rispoli (HBO’s “The Sopranos”) as mob capo Rudy, who leans on the Martino brothers for greater profit amidst infighting.
Season three finds familiar faces who return this season as cast regulars including, David Krumholtz (HBO’s upcoming miniseries “The Plot Against America”) as veteran pornographer Harvey; Daniel Sauli (“House of Cards”) as Tommy Longo, who’s angling for his own position amidst the Gambino family; Olivia Luccardi (“Channel Zero”) as Melissa, now an amateur porn actress forced to confront her past and Sepideh Moafi (“Falling Water”) as Loretta, a bartender at the Hi-Hat, involved in the feminist anti-porn movement. Guests include: Zoe Kazan (HBO’s upcoming miniseries “The Plot Against America”), Mustafa Shakir (Cinemax’s “Jett”), Roberta Colindrez (“I Love Dick”), Kim Director (“She’s Gotta Have It”), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Aaron Dean Eisenberg (“Public Morals”), Michael Gandolfini (“Ocean’s Eight”) and Ralph Macchio (“The Karate Kid”).
Season three writers include: David Simon, George Pelecanos, Carl Capotorto, Iturri Sosa, Will Ralston, Chris Yakaitis and Stephani DeLuca.
Season three directors include: Alex Hall, Susanna White, Tanya Hamilton, Roxann Dawson and James Franco.
Season 3, Episode 1: “The Camera Loves You”
Debut date: Tuesday 10 September 9am
On the eve of 1985, a worn-out Vincent (James Franco) reconnects with his ex-wife, Andrea (Zoe Kazan) as his open relationship with Abby (Margarita Levieva) grows more distant. Despite becoming a family man, Frankie (James Franco) continues his risky side hustles. With the newly dominant VHS format shaking up their industry, Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Harvey (David Krumholtz) travel to Las Vegas for an adult film convention where they disagree on how to navigate a fast-changing future. Fresh out of rehab in Los Angeles, Lori (Emily Meade) is put back to work. Alston (Lawrence Gilliard) makes a very specific request of Goldman (Luke Kirby) in their quest to revitalize Midtown. Now a bartender at the Hi-Hat, Loretta (Sepideh Moafi) becomes an active member of Women Against Pornography.
Written by David Simon & George Pelecanos; Directed by Alex Hall
Season 3, Episode 2: “Morta di Fame”
Debut date: Tuesday 17 September 9am
Frankie (Franco) takes his amateur porn business to the next level and ends up in a confrontation with Rudy (Michael Rispoli), who pushes Vincent (Franco) to up his profits. Candy (Gyllenhaal) brainstorms a new film based on the experiences of her fellow sex workers and finds that her new beau Hank (Corey Stoll) is not shaken by her past. Abby (Levieva) and Loretta (Moafi) take care of Shay (Kim Director) when she shows up to the Hi-Hat in bad shape. Lori (Meade) is advised to be more compliant after she dares to stand up for herself on set. Alston (Gilliard) is tasked with finding the mysterious owner of a prime piece of Midtown real estate. With the future of his businesses up in the air, Paul (Chris Coy) worries about his partner Todd’s (Aaron Dean Eisenberg) health.
Written by Carl Capotorto; Directed by Susanna White
Season 3, Episode 3: “Normal Is a Lie”
Debut date: Tuesday 24 September 9am
Abby (Levieva) befriends a graffiti artist named Pilar (Paloma Guzman) and takes a surprising trip downtown. Candy (Gyllenhaal) sets a firm line with Hank when it comes to money. As Todd’s (Aaron Dean Eisenberg) health worsens, he reexamines his priorities and asks for Paul’s (Coy) support. Melissa (Luccardi) is forced to face her past. Alston (Gilliard) explores different strategies for getting a shady SRO owner to sell. Bobby (Bauer) pays Joey (Michael Gandolfini) a visit on Wall Street as Joey’s latest money-making scheme grows bigger. Tensions rise between Frankie (Franco) and Rudy (Rispoli) as a buyer complains about Frankie’s product.
Written by Iturri Sosa; Directed by Tanya Hamilton
Season 3, Episode 4: “They Can Never Go Home”
Debut date: Tuesday 1 October 9am
Lori (Meade) returns to New York for an audition and runs into some familiar faces. While searching for actors for her new film, Candy (Gyllenhaal) speaks to her critics at a Women Against Pornography meeting. As things heat up with Jennifer (Kelcy Griffin), Alston (Gilliard) takes a drastic step to deliver for Goldman (Kirby). Melissa (Luccardi) leaves the city. Abby (Levieva) grows closer to Pilar (Paloma Guzman) as her relationship with Vincent (Franco) wanes. Vincent and Frankie celebrate an eventful birthday.
Written by Will Ralston; Directed by James Franco
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 upcoming miniseries “The Plot Against America,” “The Corner,” “Generation Kill” and “Show Me a Hero.” Pelecanos is the author of 21 critically acclaimed novels, including last year’s “The Man Who Came Uptown,” “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.”
The Deuce was created by George Pelecanos & David Simon; executive producers, George Pelecanos, David Simon, Nina K. Noble and James Franco; co-executive producers, Richard Price and Alex Hall; producers, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Laura Schweigman and Marc Henry Johnson.