Played by: Michael Stuhlberg

By digging into actual mob history, Boardwalk Empire brought one of the most complex and powerful gangsters in U.S. history, Arnold Rothstein, to the small screen. Rothstein is perhaps best known as one of the men behind the 1919 Black Sox scandal, which left an indelible mark on sports in the real world. This show managed to give us a glimpse at the shady mind behind the event that still looms over baseball.

Played by Michael Stuhlberg, who hit the mainstream in A Serious Man, Rothstein is an incredibly sleazy, yet brilliant, mobster who harkens back to the classic Hollywood portrayals of organized crime. He’s classy, but conniving; he’s fairly meek, but utterly intimidating. Really, he’s the type of man you don’t want to mess with. It’s not that he’s physically imposing, but with a veritable army and unending supply of resources backing him up, you won’t come out of a confrontation with Rothstein alive.