The Black Donnellys

The Black Donnellys

Infobox Television
show_name = The Black Donnellys

format = Drama
creator = Paul Haggis
Robert Moresco
developer = Scott Corwon
Paul Haggis
starring = Jonathan Tucker
Thomas Guiry
Olivia Wilde
Billy Lush
Michael Stahl-David
Kirk Acevedo
Keith Nobbs
Kate Mulgrew Peter Greene Michael Rispoli Kevin Conway
country = USA
num_seasons = 1
num_episodes = 13 (7 aired online)
list_episodes = List of The Black Donnellys episodes
production company = IMPACTS Entertainment
executive_producer = Paul Haggis
Robert Moresco
runtime = approx. 46 minutes
network = NBC
first_aired = February 26, 2007
last_aired = April 2, 2007
website =
imdb_id = 0805661
picture_format = 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
tv_com_id = 49534

"The Black Donnellys" is an American television drama that debuted on NBC on February 26, 2007 and last aired on April 2, 2007. Thereafter, NBC began releasing new episodes weekly on [] until the series was officially cancelled. "The Black Donnellys" was created by Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco. Cast members include Jonathan Tucker, Olivia Wilde, Billy Lush, Tom Guiry and Kirk Acevedo with relative newcomers Michael Stahl-David and Keith Nobbs.

The series follows four young Roman Catholic Irish-American brothers in Hell's Kitchen and their involvement with organized crime. [cite web|url=|title=The Black Donnellys] Although the show is set in the present day, it draws heavily upon Irish-American history and iconic themes. The pilot episode illustrates a clear tension and rivalry between the Irish and the Italians. The episodes are narrated by a childhood friend, Joey "Ice Cream", whom the show depicts as an unreliable narrator. In creating the show, Haggis, a native of London, Ontario, strongly referenced his hometown's local history about the real-life Black Donnellys and the massacre associated with their name.

On April 2, 2007, NBC announced that the series would be pulled after the April 16 episode [ [ The Black Donnellys: NBC Puts a Hit on the Drama] , TV Series Finale, April 3, 2007] . Two days later, however, the show was dropped from NBC's lineup, presumably because of not enough viewers. [ [ Donnellys Dropped ASAP] , TV Guide, April 4, 2007] . It was replaced by the second episode of the US version of "Thank God You're Here" on April 9 and the third episode of the same on April 16. The timeslot was then filled by the series "The Real Wedding Crashers". It was also announced that unaired episodes would be streamed online on the NBC website, as well as downloads available from iTunes.

On May 14, 2007, the series was officially canceled by NBC. [ [ "NBC To Announce Fall Schedule Of Shows"] ] On June 5, 2007, it was announced that HDNet had acquired the rights from NBC Universal to broadcast all 13 episodes of the series, beginning June 13, 2007. [ [ "The Black Donnellys Are Back! Series to Premiere June 13 On HDNet"] ] A DVD entitled "The Black Donnellys: The Complete Series" was released on September 4, 2007.

Recently, the show has been picked up and has begun to air in several European countries. Paul Haggis attended and spoke at the Cologne Conference in Germany at which The Black Donnellys was screened. [ [ Cologne Conference to focus on best TV content] ]

The canceled Black Donnellys ranked second in shows streamed off of NBC's website, second only to their already number one show Heroes. Since cancellation, NBC has not commented at all about The Black Donnellys. [ [ Data Reveals Online Having Profound Shifts on TV Viewing, Navigation Too] ]

It is now for purchase on iTunes


Jimmy Donnelly - The oldest of 4 brothers. He is a troublemaker and drug user, who is often involved in criminal activity, and known for making stupid decisions. When he was young, his leg was injured in a car accident in which a runaway car sped down the road and crushed his leg. (Jimmy does not know who was driving the car; only Tommy and Joey Ice Cream know that it was actually little Tommy.) He walks with a permanent limp from the accident. Jimmy believes he should be the leader of the Donnelly brothers but his constant flare ups from his temper causes people to believe him incapable. Therefore, they follow Tommy. This constant battle for being the alpha dog causes friction between the two brothers throughout the season.

Tommy Donnelly - Tommy is the second oldest brother in the Donnelly family. He is known to step up as the leader of the four brothers and often cleans up his brothers' troublemaking messes. His caretaking nature stems from an incident in childhood when he ran over his brother Jimmy's leg after stealing a car. He promised God that if Jimmy walked again, he, Tommy, would take care of him thereafter. Tommy wants to become an artist, and has been going to art school. Huey Farrell, the deceased boss of the Irish mafia, had been paying for his tuition. When Huey dies, the money is revoked by Huey’s brother Dokey Farrell, who suspects Tommy of killing his brother. Tommy also has a very strained relationship with Jenny Reilly, a childhood friend. He struggles between taking care of his family and doing what he wants.

Kevin Donnelly - The second youngest of the Donnelly brothers. Kevin is a gambler is extremely lucky, but never follows his gut. He doubts every bet that he makes, therefore losing every bet. He has never won a bet in his life. His gambling debt to Louie Downtown is what had created the chain of events that lead to the season finale. He is often caught in between helping Tommy and Jimmy. He is very loyal to his brothers, and is much more of a follower than a leader.

Sean "Seanny" Donnelly - He is the youngest of the brothers and is noted for his popularity with women. In the season premiere, Sean is severely beaten by Nicky Cottero as a reaction to the kidnapping of Louie Downtown by Jimmy. Sean would like to help his brothers with "business", but they try to keep him out of the loop to keep him safe.

Samson Dawlish - A suitor of Jenny's who becomes obsessed.

Robert "Bobby" Donnelly - Bobby is the Donnelly brothers' deceased father.

Helen Donnelly - Helen is the Donnelly brothers' widowed mother. She watches out the most for young Sean, but she fiercely defends all her sons, and turns a blind eye to their acts of revenge. While the boys feel she needs protecting, she gives hints of being much more capable and streetwise than they would ever guess.

Joey "Ice Cream" - Joey is the jailhouse narrator and a lifelong friend of the brothers. He is typically willing to help them out in their times of need. Something of a Scheherezade figure, he is a classic example of an unreliable narrator, revising his story frequently when called on iffy details. In early drafts, the show was originally titled "The Truth According To Joey Ice Cream."

Jenny Reilly - Childhood friends with Tommy and rest of the Donnelly boys, Jenny runs a local diner with her father. She and Tommy have a complicated and strained relationship.

Nicky Cottero - Italian gangster currently attempting to take over the area formerly controlled by his mentor, Sal. Befriends the Donnellys to try to take down both Dokey and Alo.

Derek "Dokey" Farrell- Irish gangster that controls his deceased older brother's turf.

Hugh "Huey" Farrell- Irish gangster who formerly controlled the Irish neighborhood. Was killed in the season premiere.

Louie Downtown- A low level bookie who doesn't mean anything to anyone, except that he's the nephew of the Italian mob boss Sal Minetta. Is kidnapped by Jimmy, Kevin, and Sean because Kevin owes him money. They hold Louie for ransom to the Italians. However, the Italians find out that the Donnelly brothers are behind the kidnapping. Nicky Cottero jumps Sean as a reaction, making Jimmy shoot Louie.

Joanie - Joanie is Jimmy's drug addicted girlfriend. She seems to want a better life for her and Jimmy but frequently backslides. She cheats on Jimmy with Whitey. When Jimmy finds out he kills Whitey.

Nadine - Nadine is Sean's love interest. She met Sean while selling him and Jimmy a jukebox for The Firecracker. She is helping Sean study for his GED.

Whitey - Bob the Mouth's nephew and Jimmy's business partner. Jimmy stabs him to death when he finds out that he has been sleeping with Joanie, and out of fear that he may have given up information to the police or Dokey.


Main Cast

* Jonathan Tucker as Thomas "Tommy" Donnelly
* Tom Guiry as James "Jimmy" Donnelly
* Billy Lush as Kevin Donnelly
* Michael Stahl-David as Sean "Seanny" Donnelly
* Olivia Wilde as Jenny Reilly
* Keith Nobbs as Joey Ice Cream
* Kirk Acevedo as Nicky Cottero


* Kate Mulgrew as Helen Donnelly
* Michael Rispoli as Al "Alo" Onatero
* Chris Bauer as Hugh "Huey" Farrell
* Peter Greene as Derek "Dokey" Farrell
* Molly Schaffer as Kate Farrell
* Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick as Matthew Farrell
* Betsy Beutler as Joanie
* Kevin Conway as Ian Reilly
* James Badge Dale as Samson Dawlish
* Kevin Corrigan as Whitey
* Jamie Bonelli as Nadine
* Peter Gerety as Bob the Mouth
* Brian Tarantina as Vinnie
* Patrick Brennan as Earl
* Lauren Bittner as Mary Ann Maxwell

Episode list and ratings

Weekly rankings based on "Fast National" ratings. [ Zap2It Ratings] : Rating and Share.] [ Calendar Live Ratings] : Viewers and Rankings.] [ 18–49 numbers] , "Media Life" magazine]

The show can now be seen on the channel HD Net on Wednesdays at 8PM.

The show can now also be seen on the SHOWCASE ACTION Channel on Sundays at 9pm

As of May 15, 2008 it can be seen on Showcase in Australia


External links

* [ "The Black Donnellys"] at
* [ "The Black Donnellys" online episodes]
* [ "The Black Donnellys" Reviews] at Metacritic

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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