You’re Not Imagining Things: Why Billions Season 5 Is Shorter Than Usual

Photo: Courtesy of Showtime.
Power plays, revenge schemes, and forged truces abound on Showtime’s Billions, and season 5 has especially delivered. As of last week’s episode, Bobby Axelrod (Damien Lewis) is still fighting for a bank charter; Charles Rhoades, Sr. (Jeffrey DeMunn) is on the brink of death; and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) was outsmarted after trying to expose Axe for tax fraud. And that’s not all: we haven’t even gotten into that creepy closing shot of Axe obsessively watching security camera footage and waiting for Wendy (Maggie Siff) to leave her boyfriend’s home. If all this sounds like a lot for the Showtime drama to resolve with only one episode left this spring, it’s because season 5 isn’t entirely finished — it’s just over for now.
Like every prior season of Billions, the show’s fifth installment will have 12 episodes in total. However, because production was abruptly halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Showtime decided to split season 5 into two parts. The remaining five episodes will air at a later unannounced date. (Although we might have to wait awhile, since Billions is filmed in New York, the pandemic’s epicenter.) This doesn’t mean some of your questions won’t be answered in Sunday’s final episode, though. The mid-season finale will come at “a natural point” in Axe’s and Chuck’s story arcs, Deadline reports.
Some of the topics tackled on Billions might be ripped from the headlines — most recently, season 5’s discussion of sex work decriminalization — but, according to co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien, the second part of season 5 will likely be set in a virus-free world. “I’m sure there will be some Purell bottles on people’s desks, but beyond that, we don’t really want to talk about it too much,” Koppelman told Variety.
Billions hasn’t been renewed for a sixth season yet, but Koppelman and Levien are both interested in continuing past season 5. “As long as it stays fresh and exciting to work on and as long as the network wants to keep going, we’ll keep doing it,” Levien said.
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