‘He’s a Hardass’: Actor Paul Giamatti Says US Attorney John Durham Inspired ‘Billions’ TV Show Character

AP featured image
In this image released by Showtime, Paul Giamatti portrays Chuck Rhoades in “Billions,” premiering Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.(Jeff Neumann/Showtime via AP)


Actor Paul Giamatti, who plays a fictional U.S. Attorney on Showtime’s “Billions,” recently gave actual U.S. Attorney John Durham a shout out in an interview with GQ Magazine. He stated that his character, Chuck Rhoades, who was partially based on former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, was also inspired by Durham, who is currently pursuing an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation.

“There was a guy that was interesting to me early on, and his name is John Durham,” Giamatti said. “And he’s actually the guy who William Barr tagged to do the investigation of the Russia investigation. He used to be the federal attorney for the state of Connecticut, and he’s a pretty intense guy.”

The actor went on to discuss Durham’s career. “He’s one of the guys who brought down Whitey Bulger, but he also took down the FBI guys who were colluding with Whitey Bulger,” he said. “I thought there were a lot of things about him that were interesting. The way he looks, too, is interesting. If you look him up, you can see.”

Giamatti also noted Durham’s tough demeanor. “You see him? He doesn’t look like what you normally think these guys are gonna look like, and he’s a tough guy, too. He’s a hardass,” he said.

Last year, Attorney General William Barr handpicked Durham to head the investigation into the beginnings of the Russia investigation. Specifically, the U.S. attorney was tasked with looking into the actions of the law enforcement and intelligence community as they pursued their probe into the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election.


In October, Durham changed his probe into a criminal investigation. His team has shown particular interest in at least one former FBI lawyer and former CIA Director John Brennan. Most recently, he has focused on the Justice Department’s handling of the case against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn after it was revealed that the Bureau’s efforts might have been motivated by political bias.

RedState’s Elizabeth Vaughan reported that “Durham has reviewed the unsealed Flynn documents and he’s disturbed that no whistleblowers came forward early on.” She continued, “Considering that there were more than a few officials who had to be aware of what was going on, including support staff, Mr. Durham finds it remarkable that no one spoke up ‘at the onset.’”

If Durham is anything like Giamatti’s Billions character, his investigation – which is expected to conclude this summer – will result in at least a few prosecutions. Unfortunately, life does not always imitate art, so it’s equally possible that nobody will be held accountable. The public will just have to wait and see.


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