Our graft paid for this building, commissioner. And lined the pockets of you men. And now you drag us here like a couple of two-bit sneak thieves when you already got your throat-slitter behind bars. Now, where's the decency, uh?
— Ellison to Roosevelt[src]

Biff Ellison is a New York City gangster, as well as manager of the Paresis Hall, an infamous brothel for homosexuals.

He's a guest starring character portrayed by Falk Hentschel. [1]

Backstory Edit

James T. Ellison, nicknamed "Biff," moved to New York City from Maryland and started working as a bartender whilst befriending various members of organized crime. At some point, he allied himself with Paul Kelly and started working as a bartender and pimp at the Columbia Hall, better known as Paresis Hall.

Story Edit

New York City Police Department, March 4th, 1896. [2] Biff Ellison had been invited together with his partner Paul Kelly in the office of Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, in order to discuss recent events. Elegantly dressed and with a clean-shaven face, Ellison was not at all pleased to have been called with his partner at the police station as "a couple of two-bit sneak thieves" the commissioner "already got the throat slitter behind bars" and made no secret about his disappointment with sneaky remarks, such as keeping the police officers in the pay. When the Commissioner gave the impression that he was not the least bit worried by the veiled threats, Kelly stepped into the conversation, trying to explain the situation with his typical businessman attitude while Ellison leaned against the wall, near the fireplace. As the commissioner ordered the Paresis Hall to be shut down following the dreadful murder of Giorgio Santorelli, Ellison almost lost his temper but Kelly agreed, exchanging a glance with the partner before the two left the office.

Afterward, Ellison led a group of young boys dressed in petticoats and lingerie under dirty coats across the street, each carrying their belongings, while Kelly paid Captain Connor's silence. In fact, the two gangsters simply moved their business into the building opposite the newly shut down Paresis Hall. Entering the new brothel, Ellison left a pair of shoes hanging at the gate; a symbol of their licentious activity. [3]

Biff Ellison received John Schuyler Moore when he visited the Paresis Hall, trying to dissuade him from asking his boys about Gloria, the name taken by Giorgio Santorelli when he was a prostitute to the brothel. Biff poured him a drink, mischievously touching his hand with his fingers and, taking advantage of a moment of Moore's distraction, poured the contents of a tablet into his drink. He let Sally, one of the Paresis Hall boys, to take care of the reporter, accompanying him to one of the upstairs rooms where the drug began to take effect. At this point, Biff and Paul Kelly entered the room with Captain Connor, where Kelly instructed some of the boys to take care of Moore, who lay unconscious on the bed. [4]

Appearance and Personality Edit

Biff Ellison is a handsome man with a lean but muscular build, brown wavy hair, and piercing green eyes. Unlike the majority of his criminal peers, Ellison's clothes are elegant and clean and his manners are refined, making it easy for him to blend with members of the middle and sometimes, even upper-middle class. Similarly to his friend and associate Paul Kelly, Ellison uses his physical appearance as a red herring for his sinister and illicit activities along with his violence, that he conceals behind mannerism unless he's sure to get away with it without rising any suspicious. As a matter of fact, his violent temperament provided for his nickname, Biff, a period slang for "punch." Earning a considerable amount of money from extortions and exploitation of prostitution, he feels self-entitled enough to boss around even within the Police Department, as most police officers – ranging from neighborhood policemen to sergeants and captains – are on his payroll.

Memorable Quotes Edit

Biff Ellison (to Roosevelt): "Our graft paid for this building, Commissioner. And lined the pockets of your men. And now you drag us in here like a couple of two-bit sneak thieves when you already got your throat slitter behind bars. Now, where's the decency, huh?"
Biff Ellison (to his prostitutes): "Move your fannies now, girls. We open for business in less than an hour."
The Boy on the Bridge

Biff Ellison (to John Moore): "Now, we've all kind of entertainment here, friend. A little pleasure? A little pain? What do you fancy?"
Biff Ellison (to John Moore): "You should stick around. You look like you might enjoy yourself."
A Fruitful Partnership

Gallery Edit

Notes Edit

  • A photo taken behind the scenes has appeared on Antonio Magro's Twitter account, sharing his new look for his role as gangster Paul Kelly, with Falk Hentschel seen behind playing Biff Ellison. [1]
  • Biff Ellison is an in-universe depiction of James T. Ellison, a gangster affiliated with the Five Points Gang and later a leader of the Gopher Gang in late 1800 New York.
  • In the novel, Biff Ellison is one of the first people to be suspected of murdering Giorgio Santorelli.

Episode Appearance Edit

The Alienist

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Antonio Magro revealing gangster roles on Twitter
  2. Biff Ellison was summoned to Roosevelt's office the day after Giorgio Santorelli's murder, revealed to have happened on March 3rd, 1896 in Hildebrandt’s Starling.
  3. Hossein Amini (writer) & Jakob Verbruggen (director); (January 22, 2018); "The Boy on the Bridge". Episode 1. The Alienist. TNT
  4. Hossein Amini & E. Max Frye (writers) & Jakob Verbruggen (director); (January 29, 2018); "A Fruitful Partnership". Episode 2.The Alienist. TNT