Billions: Chuck’s 10 Best Quotes

In Billions, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and current New York Attorney General Chuck Rhoades Jr. is ever determined to knock dirty hedge fund managers off their high positions on the financial ladder. In addition to that, he yearns to be the best in his field and will do anything within his power to keep the success coming.

To Chuck, everything is a war, and everyone who isn’t on his side deserves to be brought down. It’s while scheming his way to victory that he comes up with some of the best quotes on the show. Like great orators and authors, Chuck’s sentences are crafted creatively, not only making them pleasing to the ear but also worth pondering.

10 “There Are No Innocent Men, Not On Wall Street.”

Axe’s reputation takes a hit when it emerges that, back in 2001, he was in the process of getting fired from his firm but suddenly became the owner after all his colleagues died during the 9/11 attacks. Chuck, who has been suspicious about Axe all along, dances with joy before declaring that everyone on Wall Street always has a dirty past.

As someone who has successfully prosecuted and won 81 insider trading cases, Chuck is allowed to have this kind of perception. Dirty people are all he has interacted with, hence he doesn’t believe there are any good ones. Seeing everyone as a suspect also helps him do his job better. To him, it’s better to accuse and be proved wrong than to ignore and be caught off-guard.

9 “I Guess That’s New York For You, Right? Boss One Minute, In The Gutter The Next.”

After being briefly ousted as U.S. Attorney, Chuck walks past the Sparks Steak House, where Gambino Crime Family boss Paul Castellano was infamously whacked by Jon Gotti’s street soldiers in 1985. Given what has just happened to him, Chuck feels like he can relate.

Like Castellano, Chuck never saw his ouster coming, He always thought he was ahead of his enemies, the Attorney General Jock Jeffcoat and his former protege Connerty. But just as Gotti rose without Castellano knowing, Connerty’s alliance with Jock has made him one of the most powerful characters in Billions. Luckily for Chuck, he goes down on some occasions, but he is never out.


8 “Don’t Serve Rabbit Food To An Elephant And Ask If He’s Full.”

Soon after Chuck cools off his investigation into Axe’s activities, he is informed that he has now become the hunted. Oliver Dake from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is coming to investigate the manner in which the U.S. Attorney pursued Axe. Chuck isn’t content with the bad news only. He wants to know everything about Dake.

Chuck is aware that he is a man of great appetites, literally. Normal intimacy isn’t enough for him, so he prefers BDSM. Normal investigative procedures are too slow for him, so he prefers quick and dirty tactics. What he loves to feed on even more is information, because the more he has, the better he is able to machinate. He is no rabbit — he is an elephant — so he demands to know more about Dake.

7 “If You’re Gonna Make A Show Of Strength, Be Sure You’re The Real Strongman In The Room.”

As he lobbies for mobile voting, Chuck learns that Hap, the Commissioner of the Election Board, is working against him because he prosecuted a good number of Hap’s friends. Hap is thus given the perfect warning.

Chuck confesses that this particular opinion is inspired by Western movies. He strongly feels that Hap is trying to capture the king before he deals with the pawns. He has concluded that this battle is above the commissioner, and he might just hurt himself because he isn’t the strongest player. By sizing up Hap, Chuck has also deduced that the man isn’t the threat that he thinks he is.

6 “Faith Can Be A Beautiful Thing, Except When It’s Misplaced.”

Connerty gets arrested when Chuck tricks him into obtaining evidence illegally. Before he gets taken away by the FBI, the U.S Attorney taunts him, reminding him that he targeted the wrong man.

In his quest to bring down Chuck, Connerty is blinded by vengeance hence he makes a habit of relying on feelings rather than logic when making decisions. It’s a mistake that leads him to the trap of the Machiavellian Chuck. Winning this particular battle feels good for Chuck because it would have been shameful to the taken down by a man he taught.

5 “Damage Control Is Best Performed Without An Audience.”

While campaigning to be State Attorney General, Chuck chooses to skip a party being held by his epicurean father. He can’t go because a whistleblower has dug up dirt on him.

Chuck understands that now is not the best time to go to parties because his appearance will trigger outrage. He has always been the lord of damage control, and his tactics this time around involve warning the whistleblower, threatening the editor of the magazine that has the story, and teaming up with the man he hates the most: Axe. His tactics work since he eventually gets the position he craves for.

4 “They’ll Tell Stories About You, Like They Do Jesse James Or Billy the Kid.”

During their explosive confrontation in the final moments of season 1, Chuck prophesizes doom and after-life glory for Axe. He assures him that he will be remembered in the same way outlaws Jesse James and Billy The Kid.

The pop-culture references are refreshing, with Chuck going back to the 1800s to pick some of the famous outlaws from the era. He is at least acknowledging Axe’s prowess since Jesse and Billy are legends in crime. However, what he specifically wants to happen is for Axe’s story to end as tragically as it did for the famed outlaws. The words are said in an intense scene that also produces one of Axe’s best Billions quotes.

3 “Wouldn’t We Be Better Off If We Didn’t Let Shame Win?”

Chuck is forced to do damage control once again when word gets out that he practices sadomasochism with his wife Wendy. Afraid that this might ruin his chances of becoming Attorney General, he sets up a press conference and comes clean. His lengthy speech leaves everyone applauding his honestly.

The U.S. Attorney doesn’t just play the victim but the proud victim. It’s a moment that shows why he is one of the smartest characters in Billions. By relating his practices with those of everyone and telling the press that everyone does things behind the curtains, he makes himself appear very normal. This way, what could have been a sticky career-ending matter becomes water under the bridge.

2 “You Need Me Because I Am Willing To Stare Into The Abyss Beyond Conventional Morality And Do What Needs To Be Done.”

Spyros once teams up with Chuck to hurt Axe but soon grows unhappy with Chuck’s practices. He considers cutting ties, but Chuck reminds him why he is important.

Chuck is aware of his own abilities. He knows that, unlike most people, his decisions aren’t governed by morality. Whatever needs to be done to achieve an objective, he will do it. He is more than willing to get his hands dirty and wash them later on. Still, Spyros refuses to see Chuck’s value and later regrets it.

1 “The Mark Of A Lawyer Who Is Successful At Everything That Doesn’t Matter.”

Wendy and Chuck once go out on a dinner date with Lonnie and his lovely wife. Unimpressed by Chuck’s recent tango with Jock, Lonnie tells him that he always does everything the Attorney General tells him to. Chuck responds with a burn while pointing at Lonnie’s cheap suit.

The U.S. Attorney has never been anyone’s puppet hence his reaction to Lonnie’s accusation is understandable. The only reason he is getting close to Jock is so that he can be favored. To him, Lonnie doesn’t understand such games and that’s why he is still an ordinary lawyer taking small cases. His verbal jab is brutal but it’s rib-tickling nevertheless.

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About The Author

Philip Etemesi (1233 Articles Published)

Philip Etemesi is an author, journalist, screenwriter and film critic based in Nairobi. Kenya. As a child, he preferred watching movies like The Goodfellas instead of Home Alone. His girlfriend constantly has to pull him from the front of the TV but he just keeps returning. Stubborn dude! An animal lover, Philip also has a pet giraffe called Refu.

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