The Black Donnellys

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Feb 26, 2007 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
502 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Jimmy's plan to help his brother Kevin out of gambling debt with a truckload of stolen designer shirts backfires, forcing the two to kidnap local mob boss Sal Minnetta's nephew Louie. When Sal's right-hand-man Nicky Cottero decides to take the matters into his own hands, it's up to Tommy, the brainy one of the Donnelly brothers, to choose between fighting for his family and life as an honest man.moreless

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  • Amazing episode!

    The pilot was the best pilot that I have ever seen. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to watch the show. But, now I'm glad I did. There's so much action, so much drama. That's what I loved about this episode. As soon as it started I was hooked. One thing that I love about this show is the relationship between the brothers. They may not get along all the time, but the have a great relationship. And will do anything for the other. One storyline that I can't wait to see is the relationship between Tommy and Jenny. Overall, an amazing episode!! I loved every minute of it.moreless
  • Very creative

    This has got to be the best show that nobody talks about. This episode does a good job of introducing the characters. This opens up a good story line for an Irish version of the godfather. This episode has a few surprising parts. The show is also narrated by Keith Nobbs. He throws in alot of unexpected comedy. This one does a good job of throwing all the characters out there. They make a big mess and spend the next several episodes cleaning it up. This is another Pilot that really hooks you into the show. I havnt been able to stop watching since i saw this episode.moreless
  • One of the best shows of this season could only start with one of the best episodes I´ve seen on tv for a long time.

    One of the best shows of this season could only start with one of the best episodes I´ve seen on tv for a long time. I don´t get tired of talking about how much the writting and the setting impressed me, I got hooked right from the begining. The best way to start one of my all time favorite shows.
  • lots of details for the first episode.

    to my excpetional belifes i thin this is my favorite out of all of them, bcasue it goes threw everyones life and how they came to be and that they all ways where crimanals. it shows how jummy got his limp, when jenny first started liking tommy, how sean was the youngest and most good looking, and how kevin was suposidly lucky, and how tommy was the leader of all of them. this show includes almost the rest of the series will be like. they show all kinds of things that will happen in future episodes, like the body in there basement and how that leads to so much inconvienence for everyone.moreless
  • what an AMAZING episode!! i literally was pouring tears by the end, and I only do that on Gray's Anatomy. Never on a pilot episode. I can't wait for more!

    This first episode did a great job at laying the groundwork for a what can definitely be a JUICY season. It also introduced the characters in a way that even in that short 40-45 minutes of an episode, makes you develop a bond with each brother. The depth of this show is quite surprising (not to mention the violence) for what is to be expected of a show on NBC, which makes me want to give kudos to the network for taking it on. I could see it more on FX, but I applaud NBC for actually throwing a good show into the mix. The brother who narrarates, Nicky, talks a little fast, and the cinemetography and move kind quickly to (a la Guy Ritchie movies), but once you get a grasp on who everyone is, it's smooth sailing. I'm really excited to see what this season holds!moreless
Chris Bauer

Chris Bauer

Huey Farrell

Guest Star

Lauren Bittner

Lauren Bittner

Mary Ellen

Guest Star

Sean Cory

Sean Cory

Store Owner

Guest Star

Jimmy Walsh

Jimmy Walsh

Jimmy Donnelly (Age 11)

Recurring Role

Max Miner

Max Miner

Tommy (Age 9)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The area Tommy and Kim are walking in is Washington Square Park in the village also known as "The unoffical NYU commons" because it is surrounded by bulidings for the school.

  • QUOTES (27)

    • Tommy: If you're in that much pain, Jimmy, why don't you just jump off a roof?

    • (Kevin is losing badly at Blackjack to Louie)
      Louie: You owe me nine hundred.
      Kevin: Okay, once more throught the deck.
      Louie: No. I'm not playin' no more.
      Kevin: No, no, no. I'm down nine hundred. Damn right you're gonna keep playing.
      Louie: You're not gonna pay me. So, why should I play?
      Kevin: Are you calling me a welcher?
      Louie: So, this is a real game and you're gonna pay me?
      Kevin: (pause) I'll pay you out of the ransom money.

    • Joey Ice Cream: (talking to the detective in a voiceover) Now, a couple years before, Jenny, she married a schoolteacher. The teacher forgets to mention he hires drug dealers to pay for his student loans. He goes into hiding, somebody stuffs him in an oil drum. Nobody had the heart to tell Jenny. I mean, even me. And we were like an item!
      Jenny: Bug off, Joey.
      Joey Ice Cream: She's a great girl, isn't she.

    • Jenny: You know, when I hear about it, the person who told me thought it was you. I thought, what if he dies and never knows that I loved him.

    • Joey Ice Cream: Now Kevin had always thought of himself as a gambler. He always believed he was lucky. The fact that he'd never won a bet in his life somehow never dissuaded him of this notion.

    • Joey Ice Cream: See, all through history, people have accused the black Irish of every crime that came along. They were supposed to have gypsy blood or Spanish or something. But my grandmother told me that before the Celts even showed up in Ireland, there was a race of dark-haired people who the Celts then proceeded to wipe out. But they could never get them all. And a few of them ended up at the Firecracker Lounge.

    • Joey (narrating): Tommy could drive anything. Before he became Mother Teresa, he had a big time penchant for joy riding

    • Huey: Jimmy's the only problem. He's a punk and a doper. He'll be more comfort to his mother dead than alive. Tommy's a smart boy. When Jimmy's gone, he'll be able to say he did what he could. As long as it's only Jimmy, cause anything other than that, it'll be me with the problem.

    • Louie: You too, Tommy? What are you thinking? Listen to me, I'll talk to my Uncle. Your brothers will walk away with broken legs and I'll throw in the five grand Kevin owes.
      Tommy: Five grand. Five grand?

    • Kevin: Tommy, I love you but I'd rather fight you than Jimmy.

    • Tommy: What's this? The truck you didn't steal, Jimmy?
      Jimmy: Tommy, lighten up.
      Tommy: Get out of the truck. The cops are here.
      Kevin: Come on! You know Jimmy can't drive.
      Tommy: Neither can you. Get out of the truck.
      (A police cruiser pulls into view.)
      Tommy: Son of a bitch. Get back in the truck. Get back in the truck!

    • Detective Sunny: Hey, you got any naked models at that art school? Cuz, I wanna visit.

    • Tommy: Is Joey Ice Cream bothering you?
      Jenny: No, no. He's just concerned that with my husband out of town I might not be getting enough. So, he invited me to the bathroom for a couple minutes.

    • Joey (narrating): Sean was still the baby. Everybody loved Sean. Especially women, which is why his brothers never let their girlfriends near him.

    • Jenny: You know Kevin tried to borrow four thousand dollars from me today?
      Tommy: Oh, four thousand. No kiddin'.

    • Joey (narrating): Tommy had a knack for two things, drawing and getting his brothers out of trouble. What he didn't seem to understand was that he'd never go anywhere with the first if he couldn't let go of the second.

    • Joey (after somebody stole his ice cream): Hey that's mine, I stole that!

    • (after Sean's beaten up)
      Jimmy: You know I gotta do this, right? You know that no matter what you say I gotta make this right. You ask me to say I won't, I'll just lie. (about Sean) I did that to him, Tommy. (starts crying) I did it again.

    • Tommy: Really, Kevin, two thousand dollars? How could you lose two thousand dollars on jai-alai? You don't even know what jai-alai is, do ya? Why don't you show me? Show me how you play, Kevin.

    • Joey "Ice Cream"(narrating): I was the only one who saw him; the only one who knew it was Tommy driving the car. And to this day, it's the one thing I've never told anybody. I'm ashamed to be telling you now.

    • Kevin: You hear what Bobby O and JJ McGrang did? They stole an Italian, held him for ransom.
      Tommy: Where's Bobby O and JJ right now?
      Kevin: I don't know...Attica I think.
      Tommy: Right. I'll see ya later.

    • Joey (narrating): The Irish have always been victims of negative stereotyping. I mean, People think we're all drunks and brawlers, and sometimes it gets you so mad, all you want to do is get drunk and punch somebody.

    • Jimmy: Hey, no banging on the machines!
      Joey: What, it took my money!
      Jimmy: It's supposed to take your money!

    • Frankie: Detective Calero, I want you to take note that the suspect is turning himself in voluntarily.
      Detective Calero: Yeah, I see that very clearly.
      Jimmy: Not for nothing but what am I turning myself in for?
      Frankie: Jimmy, you boost a truckload of shirts, you get seen, that's unlucky. You walk around all day wearing the evidence, I can't feel too sorry for you.

    • Joey "Ice Cream": (narrating) Tommy became everything he never wanted. And, whether he realized it or not, with Huey dead, Tommy'd just taken over the neighborhood… and he was gonna have to defend it.

    • Joey: And that's where he left the bodies; right where they lay. Now, what the Italians did with them, I mean I can't say.
      Detective: Those aren't the bodies we were asking about.
      Joey: Oh. (gets knocked out)

    • Kevin: Me and Jimmy went downtown with goodness in our hearts to work out a deal. But Louis starts threatening me. I mean, what was I supposed to do?
      Tommy: Kevin, everybody knows who did this. You kidnap somebody, they're not supposed to know who you are.
      Kevin: Tommy, you think we're stupid. We wore masks.
      Tommy: You went down there with goodness in your hearts but you wore masks??

  • NOTES (8)

    • International Airdates:
      - Denmark: November 27, 2007 on Kanal 5

    • Due to licensing restrictions and changing air dates, there are at least two versions of the pilot. The pre-air version featured some tracks that were removed before the official air date on February 26th, 2007.

    • Featured Music:
      "Arianna" by Isobel Griffiths
      "Open Your Eyes" by Snow Patrol
      "The Moment I Said It" by Imogen Heap
      "Smooth" by Santana
      "Hella Good" by No Doubt
      "Are You Gonna be My Girl" by Jet
      "Celtic New Year" by Van Morrison
      "Beautiful Things" by Andain
      "Sleepy Maggie" by The Mad Maggies
      "How Could I Forget" by The Faint

    • The pilot was aired in a special extended format that featured the first half hour being uninterrupted by commercials.

    • The pilot for The Black Donnellys was written already in 1997, shortly after creator Paul Haggis' similarly themed, short-lived show EZ Streets was cancelled.

    • The name of the show comes from the nickname for an Irish immigrant family who lived in Ontario, Canada in the mid-to-late 1800's. The Donnelly family was caught in a feud between Catholics and Protestants, and five family members were brutally murdered before their house was set on fire. Creator and executive producer Paul Haggis is a native of London, Ontario, and has used the local historical folklore as an inspiration for the series. However, other than the name and the family's Irish heritage, the series and the real Donnelly family have no connection.

    • The show is loosely based on creator and executive producer Robert Moresco's own background.

    • The series was originally expected to debut during fall 2006 but was later bumped up to January 2007 to replace ER during its hiatus. During fall 2006, ER had such great ratings that NBC decided to scrap the hiatus, and The Black Donnellys was pushed back to March 2007. However, another NBC newcomer, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, turned out to be bit of a disappointment, and The Black Donnellys was bumped up to fill its timeslot in February 2007.