HBO has brought a stellar look at the raw and grit of New York in the 1970s story of “The Deuce: The Complete First Season.”
Vinnie Martino (James Franco) is a bartender who is about to change his life. Working several bartending jobs and trying to keep the family together, the cost is his marriage. Wife Andrea (Zoe Kazan) isn’t exactly making things easier with her own wanton ways and bored homemakers life. If that isn’t enough, he constantly is mistaken for his twin brother Frankie (also James Franco) who has wracked up large gambling debts all over town.
Frequent visitors to Vinnie’s bar is pimp C.C. (Gary Carr) and his girls Ashley (Jamie Neumann) and new girl Lori (Emily Meade). A few more pimps include Larry (Gbenga Akinnagbe) who has the very sweet is Darlene (Dominque Fishback) and Ruby (Pernell Walker), Rodney (Method Man) and Reggie Love (Tariq Trotter).
One prostitute who doesn’t have a “man” is Eileen (Maggie Gyllenhaal) or Candy as she is known on the street. Making her money without any interference, she sends what she can for the care of her young son. The police also know what is going down on the streets as Officer Alston (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) keeps his eyes open and knowledge to himself. Even when Abby (Margarita Levieva) is brought to the station, Officer Alston knows she is a college student who has just done something stupid.
Brother-in-law Bobby (Chris Bauer) works construction and when an opportunity arises to make a few extra dollars, he and Vinnie find themselves working with Rudy Pipilo (Michael Rispoli) who is part of the Gambino family. Rudy is impressed with Vinnie and decides to bring him in on the way he wants to change the streets. He starts by starting a bar called the Top Hat and gives Vinnie full control of how it is run. Everyone follows Vinnie to the new place and it is a hit.
Eileen is also trying to make changes in her life as standing on the street corner is getting to be more and more dangerous. Learning that a man named Harvey Wasserman (David Krumholtz) makes porno films, she seeks him out to learn more if it will get her off the streets and making more money. She is quick to learn and isn’t about to let anything stop what is to come.
Seeing that the Top Hat is doing well, Rudy decides he wants to expand his business into the Massage Parlor trade which is nothing more than getting the girls inside. That means less police harassment but the pimps aren’t happy about it.
All of this comes under the watchful eye of reporter Sandra Washington (Natalie Paul) who wants to do an expose of what goes on. Seeing how the girls are treated and the police basically hauling them in and letting them out along with payoffs from corrupt cops, she seeks out Officer Alston’s knowledge.
Other cast include Don Harvey as Danny Flanagan, Michael Kostroff as Rizzi, Mustafa Shakir as Big Mike, Anwan Glover as Leon, Garry Pastore as Matthew Ianniello, Caroly Mignini as Joan Merrell, Finn Robbins as Adam, Kim Director as Shay, Olivia Luccardi as Melissa, Matthew Ballinger as Gentle Richie, Kayla Foster as Barbara, Gino Vento as Carlos, and Aaron Eisenberg as Todd Lang.