Ratings for The Untouchables soared in its Second Season. Desilu had perfected the formula after a successful but thematically uneven first year. After previously tipping over desks at the FBI and incensing the Mafia, The Untouchables returned in October 1960 with the outstanding The Rusty Heller Story.
With Quinn Martin departing as Executive Producer, Jerry Thorpe signs on to take the reigns and unleashes the most successful and controversial year of the program.
Its film-noir origins crystalized, the series proceeds confidently until controversy swarms The Big Train and the Italian Defamation League unleashes its assault following Augie “The Banker” Ciamino, losing the series its biggest sponsor and setting off a panicked chain reaction that won’t be fully realized until the Third Season. This is also the season that Eliot Ness, famed Prohibition agent, battles actual Nazis.
With fewer missteps than the First Season, the quality of the Second Season is notable and placed the series squarely in the top ten most-watched television programs in 1960-1961. Standout episodes include The Rusty Heller Story, The Waxey Gordon Story, The Purple Gang, The Masterpiece, The Nick Moses Story, The Antidote, and 90-Proof Dame.