Is ‘Billions’ Showtime Series Starring Bobby Axelrod Based On True Story?

As a result of its depiction of wealth and “fuck you money,” the show “Billions” is the kind of television that makes one wishfully daydream. The movie does a good job of depicting the life of the ultra-rich, similar to series like “Succession,” and its production value matches that of the protagonist’s fortunes. The Showtime series has well-known actors like Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff (of “Sons of Anarchy”), and Damian Lewis (of “Homeland”).

Lewis portrays Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, the kingpin of a hedge firm who is the target of a very brutal attorney named Chuck Rhoades on allegations of insider trading. The show has been hailed for its entertaining soapiness and the ease with which it can be watched multiple times.

Is Billions Based on a True Story?

Even if some real-world incidents served as inspiration for the show, “Billions” is not based on any actual history. It should be made obvious that both Bobby and Chuck, as well as the entirety of the plot, are complete inventions. However, the writers have drawn from a wide range of real-life Wall Street incidents and cases for their fiction.

The practice of insider trading occurs frequently. The existence of ultra-wealthy hedge fund managers who amass their fortunes through unethical and criminal ways is also a fact. It’s also a fact that lawyers like Rhoades will pursue criminals like that.

Read More: Is ‘Hustle,’ a Show on Netflix, Based on A True Story?

The Case of Preet Bharara v. Steven A. Cohen

According to the Wall Street Journal, Preet Bharara’s pursuit of Steven A. Cohen, one of the most prominent men on Wall Street, was a loose inspiration for the fight between Bobby and Chuck. Cohen established the $14 billion S.A.C.

Capital Advisors hedge fund. He was described as “short and thick” with a “fierce mind and a fast temper” and a “35K house in Greenwich, Connecticut,” as reported by The New Yorker. Cohen turned his fund into a home office, like the show’s rich protagonist, and pleaded guilty in exchange for a $1.2 billion settlement.

Cohen’s “fuck you money” was just as flashy as Bobby’s. Cohen quickly bounced back from his public image crisis and established Point72 Ventures. His wealth reached a remarkable $14.1 billion in February of the following year.

Other Influences

However, like Cohen, the protagonist of “Billions” is thought to be a composite of many people. For instance, Bill Ackman, a real-life hedge fund manager, and Carl Icahn, a fictional one, have a rivalry that is analogous to Bobby’s battle with his opponent. A few additional things in the second season are also tangentially influenced by the scandals that plagued the investment bank Salomon Brothers.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other government officials discovered that the Salomon Brothers had submitted fake bids in an attempt to buy more treasury notes than a single buyer was allowed to purchase. For their part, the Salomon Brothers were hit with the biggest penalty ever assessed against a financial institution, a $290 million fine.

Read More: Is ‘Hustlers’ Movie Starring Jennifer Lopez Based On A True Story?

Alleged Influence From Denise Shull

Denise Shull, a Wall Street performance coach, sued Showtime and Andrew Ross Sorkin, the show’s author, for allegedly infringing on her copyright. She claimed that the show had plagiarized both her book, “Market Mind Games,” and the character of Dr. Wendy Rhoades from it. Showtime argued, however, that the book and the show were so different that they should be dismissed.

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