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99 Words About … ‘Boardwalk Empire’s’ Michael Shannon problem

The “Boardwalk Empire” (9 p.m. Sunday, HBO) roster has always been overstuffed.

But the way the bootlegging drama is using Michael Shannon this season is a crime as great as any Nucky Thompson committed.

Shannon, the show’s third-billed star, is among Hollywood’s finest actors. And he’s given 25 minutes and change worth of screen time.

Over the first five episodes.

That’s not 25 minutes of his quietly menacing line readings or too-intense stares. That’s counting every second any part of him is visible.

Still, he fares better than second-billed Kelly Macdonald. She doesn’t even turn up until episode six.

— CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE

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