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Five Ways In Which Ike Evans of 'Magic City' Is Like Don Draper

Photo of Alison Willmore By Alison Willmore | Indiewire April 6, 2012 at 2:28PM

If "Magic City," the new drama kicking off tonight, April 6th, at 10pm on Starz, had started back in the fall, it would have been grouped in with "The Playboy Club" and "Pan Am" as similarly hollow-ringing, a pretty period piece consciously following in the steps of "Mad Men." Lucky for the show, it's starting now, after those other series have been canceled and are already fading from memory (Starz likes "Magic City" so much it's already committed to a second season).
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They have young, foreign trophy wives:
Don has his zooby zoobying French-Canadian former secretary Megan, and Ike has his Romani-Dutch former showgirl Vera (Olga Kurylenko). Both seem devoted to these relationships despite their appreciation for the many other ladies around -- if Ike fooled around before Vera, those days seem done.

Ike doesn't have a Betty around -- his first wife passed away of cancer, though he has a complicated relationship with Meg ("You look at me, I look at you, but all we see is her").

They have daughters on the verge of young womanhood:
The "Magic City" answer to Sally Draper is Lauren Evans (Taylor Blackwell), a pretty, overindulged 13-year-old who's readying for her Bat Mitzvah, who's not sure how she feels about her young stepmother and who doesn't like it when things don't go her way. Both can be seen as representing a tumultuous coming moment in counterculture.

Where they differ:

Ike is Jewish:
And while there are occasional vintage slights thrown his way because of it, it's far from a big deal. Vera, who converted for him, seems to be more interested in Judaism than her husband or her father-in-law Arthur (Alex Rocco), who tries to pass up his granddaughter's Bat Mitzvah using the excuse that he's never set foot in a Temple before. It is, either way, more by way of roots than Don, who'd prefer to have sprung fully grown out of a crack in a Manhattan sidewalk, has ever shown.

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Ike's Got Mob Ties:
His main investor Ben is no Roger Sterling -- when he asks the man to intervene in a labor strike that threatens the business of the hotel, it goes a little further than he had in mind. He's tied to the violent and erratic gangster, whether he likes it or not, and there's a darker edge to the way he does business and the lines he's willing to cross.

Ike Has Full-Grown Sons:
His boys are set to inherit his empire but also potentially threaten the business in ways that Bobby or Gene Draper couldn't yet dream, with the ladies' man Stevie (Steven Strait) getting involved with a dangerous woman, and law student Danny (Christian Cooke) being lured in by the potential of work with the D.A. to possibly inform on what his father's up to.

Is that enough to allow "Magic City" to makes its own mark? Characterization is the show's biggest problem -- while "Mad Men" references were bound to happen no matter what, to mold your lead character so closely after that show's more complex and better defined protagonist invites comparisons in which the new show suffers. Here's hoping as the season goes on that Ike becomes more of his own man.

This article is related to: Television, Magic City, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mitch Glazer, Starz, TV Features







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