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January 18, 2016- by Steven E. Greer
What happens when a CNBC “journalist” with no hedge fund experience, and the guy who wrote the cheesy movie Oceans 13, try to create a cable TV drama about hedge funds? You get unrealistic plots and characters full of clichés.
The new Showtime drama Billions is worse than I expected. And I had low expectations.
Created by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Brian Koppelman, Billions is based on billionaire Steve Cohen, his SAC Capital (which was shut down by the feds), and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. Over the last five years, Preet has arrested many dozens of hedge fund traders who worked for Steve Cohen. Some of those convictions have been overturned by higher courts. Steve Cohen was never arrested but was banned from trading the money of others until 2018. However, he is still rich amassing one of the biggest art collections in the world.
The real Steve Cohen, my former boss, is an Asperger’s-like guy with bad teeth who looks like a turtle. However, the show depicts him as a young virile playboy male. The Preet Bharara character is all wrong too.
In fact, better casting would have been to make Paul Giamatti play Steve Cohen, since they look alike, and have someone else play Preet Bharara. But the creators screwed it up.
What is frustrating is that the saga of the SAC Capital arrests could have been fodder for a really intelligent True Detective style of legal drama. Instead, the creators made a lame version of Wolf of Wall Street.
I could have written this show so well. Stay tuned.