This drama series follows the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world of midtown Manhattan. James Franco stars as real-life twin brothers who were players in the Times Square world and became fronts for mob control of the volatile and lucrative sex industry from its beginnings.
Twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino navigate their way through the rough-and-tumble world of 1971 Times Square. Vincent crosses paths with other midtown denizens while plotting to improve his situation. Abby gets enlisted to buy amphetamines.
Vincent moves into a seedy hotel and contemplates an offer from mob capo Rudy Pipilo. Bobby hopes to take advantage of Vincent's new connections. Filmmaking intrigues Candy. C.C. shows Lori the benefits of having a pimp. Larry feels unsettled.
The appearance of an unexpected partner surprises Vincent. Rudy buys into a rival's plan to reconfigure the Deuce. Candy considers entering the filmmaking business. Abby languishes in her new job. Darlene works overtime to compensate Larry.
Rudy dangles a lucrative offer in front of Vincent. Longo uses strong-arm tactics to restore order among Bobby’s unhappy construction workers. Candy attracts unwanted attention and is intrigued by a legitimate suitor. Paul questions his place at the Hi-Hat. Frankie hits a hot streak. Darlene gets a gift from Abby. Alston sees through Sandra. Bristling after a police shakedown, Vincent adds muscle in the person of Black Frankie, a Vietnam War vet.
Looking for a way out of his construction gig, Bobby tries to change Vincent’s mind about Rudy’s offer. Darlene returns from a trip home with a new girl, disappointing Abby. Roughed up by a john, Candy contemplates a change of careers. After getting busted, Paul explores the underbelly, and the exhilaration, of gay life in the city. With an assist from Alston, Sandra scores a key interview with a pimp.
An end-of-the-year crackdown by police in and around The Deuce sparks Vincent and Bobby. Candy tries to persuade Harvey, her adult-film director, that she can do more than act. Rudy witnesses a pivotal lower-court ruling on obscenity, and enlists Frankie and Big Mike to protect his interests in the peeps. Alston tries to convince Sandra that he’s not just a “source.”
With police pushing their business off the streets, C.C., Larry, Rodney and other pimps worry about becoming obsolete. Candy eyes a different job on Harvey’s set as Lori struggles with the demands of porn acting. At her wit’s end, Ashley hangs out with Frankie and, later, washes up on Abby’s door. Bobby is smitten with an employee while dealing with shakedowns, flare-ups and a medical emergency. Frankie is tasked by Rudy to turn a peep-show concept into reality. Alston finds himself singled out by the 14th Precinct’s new captain, McDonagh. Abby asks Vincent to be her escort at her family’s lavish party.
Vincent balks at getting in deeper with Rudy, as expansion fever hits Frankie and Bobby. Candy gets a taste of directing, and enjoys the red-carpet perks of a major premiere. Alston finds himself in limbo at his precinct. Abby changes up the Hi-Hat’s clientele. Sandra faces editorial and legal hurdles. Barbara and Thunder Thighs connect with the wrong sort of clients. Vincent settles a score. C.C. encourages Ace, a former pimp, to get back in the game.
On the eve of 1985, a worn-out Vincent reconnects with his ex-wife, Andrea, as his open relationship with Abby grows more distant. Despite becoming a family man, Frankie continues his risky side hustles. With the newly dominant VHS format shaking up their industry, Candy and Harvey travel to Las Vegas for an adult film convention where they disagree on how to navigate a fast-changing future. Fresh out of rehab, Lori is put back to work. Alston makes a very specific request of Goldman in their quest to revitalize Midtown. Now a bartender at the Hi-Hat, Loretta becomes an active member of Women Against Pornography.
Frankie takes his amateur porn business to the next level and ends up in a confrontation with Rudy, who pushes Vincent to up his profits. Candy brainstorms a new film based on the experiences of her fellow sex workers and finds that her new beau Hank is not shaken by her past. Abby and Loretta take care of Shay when she shows up to the Hi-Hat in bad shape. Lori is advised be more compliant after she dares to stand up for herself on set. Alston is tasked with finding the mysterious owner of a prime piece of Midtown real estate. With the future of his businesses up in the air, Paul worries about his partner Tod's health.
Abby befriends a graffiti artist named Pilar and takes a surprising trip downtown. Candy sets a firm line with Hank when it comes to money. As Todd’s health worsens, he reexamines his priorities and asks for Paul’s support. Melissa is forced to face her past. Alston explores different strategies for getting a shady SRO owner to sell. Bobby pays Joey a visit on Wall Street as Joey’s latest money-making scheme grows bigger. Tensions rise between Frankie and Rudy as a buyer complains about Frankie’s product.
Lori returns to New York for an audition and runs into some familiar faces. While searching for actors for her new film, Candy speaks to her critics at a Women Against Pornography meeting. As things heat up with Jennifer, Alston takes a drastic step to deliver for Goldman. Melissa leaves the city. Abby grows closer to Pilar as her relationship with Vincent wanes. Vincent and Frankie celebrate an eventful birthday.
With his club shuttered, a distraught Vincent follows a lead down a dangerous path. Paul reaches out to Tod's parents. Candy battles Harvey over her latest script and reunites with her estranged son, Adam. Lori hits the feature dancing circuit with mixed results. Abby reflects on her choices when she gets an unexpected visitor. Bobby does right by Black Frankie. Alston defends the plan to clean up Midtown. Gene reckons with his conflicted personal life.
In the wake of a personal loss, Candy finds the emotional core of her latest movie. Abby confronts Vincent after she makes an alarming discovery. Paul turns to activism as the AIDS epidemic continues to ravage New York's gay community. Vincent tips off Rudy to Tommy's disloyalty. Lori realizes she's on her own when both Greg and Kiki let her down. Bobby learns why the women who worked for him have abandoned the French Parlor.
A struggling Lori turns to Candy for help before revisiting The Deuce. Candy makes a surprising deal to secure funding for her film. Abby takes a stand against the latest phase of Midtown redevelopment. After a difficult visit with Mike, Vincent is approached by a candid Tommy, who explains the new world order. Bobby realizes that times have changed and considers Joey's latest money-making scheme.
Big changes come to The Deuce as Gene sees opportunity in the city's public health crisis. Vincent looks to get out from under the mob's thumb and makes peace with Abby, who decides to pursue a new future. Candy makes a critical choice in her relationship with Hank. Harvey speaks his mind about Candy's film. Alston recognizes the truth of Midtown's redevelopment. Melissa makes a commitment, while Loretta takes on a big responsibility.
Times Square, 1977. Vincent is now proprietor of a new mob-backed disco. Abby has brought the nascent punk-rock culture into the Hi-Hat. Frankie remains a problem, “borrowing” money from Show Land to pay off his debts. Candy looking to make more artful, ambitious adult films. C.C. pulls a con on the director of a porn film to get Lori more money. Paul looks to sever mob ties from his current bar. Alston is approached by a civil servant appointed by Mayor Koch to clean up Times Square.
Confronted with the changing realities of prostitution and porn, C.C. doubles down on his assets, while fellow pimp Larry Brown eyes a new opportunity. Growing creatively frustrated, Candy turns to Genevieve Furie, a onetime porn director who’s graduated to slasher films, for filmmaking advice. After a customer is mugged outside his bar, Paul is approached by Matty the Horse, a rival of Rudy’s, who promises Paul the mob protection he deserves. Following a nostalgic road trip to Coney Island with Vincent, Abby attends a meeting of activists, and recognizes a familiar face from Times Square.
Lori envisions a sunny future in LA after attending the AFFA Erotica Awards with Harvey and Candy, who’s looking to connect with west-coast producers who are willing to turn her fairy tale into reality. Paul and Kenneth approach Vincent about a loan for a new nightclub, free from mob ties. Goldman visits Alston’s precinct to share the mayor’s vision for cleaning up the Deuce. Frankie wins a hand of poker, but risks losing his job. Back in NYC, Ashley pushes her reform agenda on Abby, while trying to avoid C.C.. Larry Brown and Darlene learn a bitter lesson about supply and demand. Rudy sends a message to his rivals, but invites retaliation.
Ashley and Abby resolve to track down the identity of a 16-year-old sex worker killed in a recent fire. Vincent is shaken after witnessing the brutal side of Rudy’s operation. Frustrated by the progress on her new film, Candy recruits new faces to help with the production. Frankie finds his dry-cleaning business a less-than-perfect fit. Larry Brown shows off his improvisational skills. Lori looks to forge a deal with Kiki while keeping C.C. in the loop.
Temporarily flush with cash, Frankie is tapped by Candy to be a co-producer on Red Hot. Lori eyes a plum role in the film, but still feels the burden of being under C.C.'s yoke. With Rudy's blessing, Big Mike and Black Frankie hit a gambling house in the Bronx. Bobby finds himself stigmatized at home and at the Hi-Hat after a surprise raid overseen by Alston. Paul encounters resistance to his elaborate renovation plans. Out of rehab, Shay is convinced to move in with a nurturing Irene. As she and Abby deliver on their promise to provide medical care to sex workers, Ashley decides to confront her past...and doesn't blink.
Candy shoots her opus guerilla-style on the streets of New York. Vincent makes a confession to Abby, along with a promise to change. Ashley and Abby help a prostitute escape the Deuce, with a little help from Vincent. Larry Brown gets a promotion. Paul celebrates the opening of his new upscale club. Bobby turns to Vincent to find work for his wayward eldest son, Joey.
Trapped by his own success, Vincent envisions an idyllic rural life with Abby. Candy is frustrated by her mob backers' misogyny and weighs telling her son, Adam, what she really does for a living. Shay reverts to form, to Irene's dismay. Joey falls in love. Darlene deals with unexpected news. Lori hits a roadblock in her quest for adult-film stardom. Alston faces a dilemma involving his old partner, Flanagan. Paul and Kenneth arrive at a crossroads.
Rudy and Matty the Horse buy Lori away from C.C., who has a back-end agenda. Abby, Dave and Loretta warn Ashley about the dangers of her aggressive activism. Goldman shares his plans for cleaning up the Deuce with Alston. Larry Brown is reunited with a girl from his past. Vincent turns to his father for relationship advice. Candy puts the finishing touches on Red Hot in advance of its premiere.
As Red Hot premieres, Candy, Harvey, and Frankie get caught between competing investors. Vincent and Abby must deal with an unexpected loss. Lori is afraid to go to LA without C.C.'s permission. Paul turns to a familiar source to help finance Tod's dream. Darlene comes clean. Goldman and Alston's plan for cleaning up Times Square hits a roadblock.