The Pinkerton’s Detective Agency was established in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton. Touted as America’s first detective agency, Pinkerton became famous when he uncovered an assassination plot against President – elect Abraham Lincoln. Pinkerton safely guarded the President through his inauguration and his agents guarded the President during the Civil War.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew about the Pinkerton’s but I always pictured them as being “key stone cops” or something of that nature (insert Laurel & Hardy LOL). What made the Pinkerton’s creep back into my psyche is while I was binge watching two of my favorite series Boardwalk Empire and Deadwood. My insomnia keeps me up at least 4 times a week which fuels my love of movies and series.
Deadwood & The Pinkerton’s
Deadwood was a HBO series centering around Deadwood, South Dakota in the 1870’s. A mining town grown out of necessity for the Silver rush. The town’s main villain Al Swearengen I later learned is a true American legend. He was a pimp, bar owner and early entertainment entrepreneur. Swearengen who was also a murderer, according to the show was terrified of the Pinkerton’s. I thought wow! Here is this cut-throat (literally, he preferred knives over guns) guy that is afraid of The Pinkerton’s Detective agency, really? The Pinkerton’s later show up as body guards for another American history legend George Hearst, U.S. Senator and father of newspaperman William Randolph Hearst. They acted more like “hired guns” than detectives. Overall, the 3 season series was full of sex, murder and mayhem, all the best seasonings for a great series. The series is no longer on but I was able to watch it on demand through my cable network. Oh, did I mention Timothy Olyphant is one of the main characters? He is, and if you enjoy him in Justified you sure to love him in Deadwood. TV Guide ranked Deadwood as number 8 of series that were cancelled too soon and I totally agree.
Boardwalk Empire & the Pinkerton’s
Another HBO series Boardwalk Empire is also a period series taking place in Atlantic City during prohibition. The main character is “Nuky Thompson” played by Steve Buscemi. Nuky as it turns out was a real person, Enoch Johnson, a political figure who controlled Atlantic City. Another character who is believed to have killed a young boy is caught in an extensive trap by the Pinkerton’s. In this instance the Pinkerton’s, hired by the deceased boys family were portrayed as undercover detectives posing as business men. They ultimately get the character to admit she killed the young boy in a plot twist that even I didn’t see coming. Boardwalk Empire has just wrapped up it’s 4th season and I can’t wait for more. My favorite character is Chalky White played by Michael K. Williams. You may remember him as Omar from the Wire yet, another HBO series, but then that’s another blog post.