On the eve of Prohibition, January, 1920. Nucky Thompson, Atlantic City's Treasurer, condemns alcohol at a Temperance League meeting for women, however, behind closed doors he is telling his ward bosses about the huge amounts of cash they could get selling bootleg liquor.
Nucky is paid a visit by Agent Van Alden who feels a crime is being pinned on a scapegoat and wants some answers, forcing Nucky to close ranks on all his operations. He visits his old mentor, Commodore Louis Kaestner regarding the womens right to vote and later meets with Margaret Shroeder, still recovering from the beating she received from her now deceased husband, who has asked for help with her children.moreless
Jimmy finds himself in trouble when a dying witness fingers him for the murders in the woods. Chalky's deal with Nucky hits trouble when his driver is lynched. Margaret gets a job at a boutique.
Al and Jimmy negotiate with a supplier in Greektown. Nucky organizes a surprise party for a U.S. Senator, lobbying him to get more roads to Atlantic City. Chalky, with the aid of Elias, investigate Chalky's driver's lynching. Jimmy settles in with Al and his boss, Johnny Torrio.
Nucky's St. Patrick's Day celebrations are cut short when Van Alden raids the establishment.
Nucky investigates a theft on the boadwalk, Jimmy gets on the right side of Johnny Torrio and Margaret stands her ground regarding Lucy.
Jimmy becomes friends with a fellow veteran who lost half his face in the war. Luciano and Meyer Lansky make a deal with the D'Alessio brothers and Nucky deals with some unpleasant childhood memories.
Nucky gets troubling news while visiting the Republican National Convention in Chicago.
Margaret tries to help Madame Jeunet with her money troubles by speaking with Nucky. Jimmy is forced to return to Chicago to deal with the D'Alessio brothers and Nucky gets ready for war with a rival faction
Van Alden's increasingly conflicted emotions start to interfere with his work. Nucky has words with Margaret in regards to her support. Also, Angela is taken aback when seeing Jimmy's violent side.
Jimmy speaks with his father after nine years. Nucky has heated conversations with both Eli and Margaret regarding the business and the murder of Margaret's husband. Van Alden takes matters to the extreme with Agent Sebso and Angela's plans to flee to Paris are scuppered.
Election day arrives and Nucky prepares for change. Torrio sets up a potentially hostile deal between two bitter rivals.