Season one of the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" ended last year with dark clouds on the horizon for the show's main character, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, played by Steve Buscemi.

"Those closest to him were conspiring against him," said Terence Winter, the show's creator and one of the writers, talking about the end of season one.

"The beginnings of that conspiracy reveal themselves in our first episode. It's really a lot about the world sort of closing in on Nucky, sort of the consequences of being the boss of a lot of corrupt people. He's faced with a lot of challenges throughout the year, both legal and otherwise, personal, and it's really just a question of how he rides that out."

"Boardwalk Empire" will always focus on 1920s Atlantic City as the main point of its action, but some time will be spent in New York and Chicago, and Thompson actually makes a trip later in the season to Belfast, Ireland, Winter said.

Characters introduced during season two will be a fictionalized version of real-life boxer Jack Dempsey, who was training in the summer of 1921 in Atlantic City. Julianne Nicholson, of TV's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," will portray prosecutor Esther Randolph. Dominic Chianese, who played Junior Soprano on "The Sopranos," has been cast as Leander Cephas Whitlock, a contemporary of Commodore Louis Kaestner, Thompson's mentor. Charlie Cox, the lead of the 2007 fantasy film "Stardust," will play a fugitive from the Irish Republic Army now living in Atlantic City.

"We will meet Chalky White's (the unofficial leader of the African-American community in Atlantic City) family, and in episodes, we will get to spend more time with him," Winter said. "We will also get to spend more time with Richard Harrow, the disfigured World War I vet. We have already met him ... but we will hear about his backstory."

"Boardwalk Empire" won seven Creative Arts Emmys on Sept. 10 and one primetime Emmy Award on Sept. 18 for Martin Scorsese's direction of the first episode last year.

"It has been an honor to work with him, and it was an absolute thrill to see him up there accepting the Emmy for our show," said Winter about Scorsese's win. "It makes me enormously proud that so many of the talented people who work on our show were recognized for their amazing work. Producing this show is truly a team effort - we've got the best team in the business."

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