A Family Tradition Continues Four Brothers Inherit A Dynasty Of Crime
�The Black Donnellys� (2007) follows the lives of four Irish-American brothers: James �Jimmy� (Tom Guiry), Thomas �Tommy� (Jonathan Tucker), Kevin (Billy Lush), and Sean �Seanny� (Michael Stahl-David). The title is a reference to the term Black Irish, a description of Irishmen who have dark features rather than red or blonde hair and freckles stereotypically associated with the country.
�The Black Donnelly's� (2007) follows the lives of four Irish-American brothers: James �Jimmy� (Tom Guiry), Thomas �Tommy� (Jonathan Tucker), Kevin (Billy Lush), and Sean �Seanny� (Michael Stahl-David). The title is a reference to the term Black Irish, a description of Irishmen who have dark features rather than red or blonde hair and freckles stereotypically associated with the country. It is also the moniker of an infamous nineteenth century Canadian crime family of Irish descent, who feuded for several years resulting in multiple deaths.
These brothers are not from Canada however but Hell�s Kitchen, a modern-day middle-class neighborhood located in Manhattan. Hell�s Kitchen is known for its underworld, where illegal activities such as gambling, loansharking, and union bribery run rampant. The oldest of the clan is Jimmy, a drug-addict with a short fuse and long criminal record. He serves as the series� narrator describing past events from his jail cell, often inaccurately. Jimmy yearns to be the leader of the Donnelly's but lacks the proper temperament; instead family members turn to younger brother Tommy for assistance, a more level headed man.
Despite his flaws Tommy feels indebted to his older brother. At a young age Tommy stole a car, lost control of it, and consequently crushed Jimmy�s leg. After the incident Tommy prayed that his brother would recover, and not remain crippled for the remainder of his life. He vowed that if his prayer was granted he would be his brother�s closest guardian for life. Though Jimmy currently walks with a limp, he managed to rehabilitate from the accident and subsequently Tommy attempts to fulfill his vow whenever possible.
Thomas is involved in the mob culture just like his forefathers, however he also has his sights on a legitimate life and yearns to become a professional artist. Just as his dreams seem to be coming true however Huey Farell (Chris Bauer), his sponsor, is murdered. Strangely Huey�s son, Derek �Dokey� (Peter Greene) suspects the Tommy of the killing. With his academic dreams seemingly crushed he returns to crime for sustenance.
Kevin Donnelly is the second youngest brother, a compulsive gambler with a horrible track record. As his already massive debt accumulates he earns the anger of Louie Downtown (Joe D'Onofrio), a bookie whose patience has reached its limit and demands payment or else. In turn, this creates tension between Louie and the Donnelly's that delivers the season�s underlying story.
Lastly there is the youngest brother Seanny, a ladies man who is fixated on mob life, but not particularly cut out for the job. Tommy, Timmy, and Kevin are equally protective of him and intentionally leave him out of family business, especially after he endured a beating from one of Louie Downtown�s men.
Together the brothers own and manage a local bar while partaking in petty thievery. Their goal is not only to maintain family tradition, but also to gain more power over Hell�s Kitchen, and subsequently the rest of New York City. They will have mixed success though as the once working-class neighborhood transforms into a yuppie haven. Further complicating matters are family feuds that have existed decades before the brothers were even born.