Emmett Skilton as Sam Giancana - Making of the Mob: Chicago _ Season 2, Episode 8 -- Photo Credit: Richard Brimer/AMC
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Season 2, Episode 8

Last Man Standing

Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana have a falling out, and the fate of the Outfit rests on the outcome. Tony Accardo cleans up loose ends before retiring.

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The head of the Chicago mob, Tony Accardo, faces his biggest challenge yet when his second-in-command, acting boss Sam Giancana, becomes a target of the federal government.

Just as tensions between the two mob kingpins reach a breaking point, they receive a phone call from Joseph P. Kennedy, a self-made businessman who is among the top 20 richest people in America. Joseph P. Kennedy asks the mob kingpins to use their pull with the Illinois union vote to help his son, John F. Kennedy, win the upcoming presidential election. In return, he offers to put an end to his son Robert F. Kennedy's investigation into Giancana and the Outfit.

As election day nears, Kennedy's fight against Richard Nixon tightens, turning Illinois into a key battleground. Giancana delivers the union votes. After a close race, Kennedy is declared the victor.

Just weeks after Kennedy takes office, his brother Robert is named Attorney General. To the Chicago mob's surprise, when Robert takes office as the new U.S. Attorney General in 1961, he makes his top priority going after organized crime ó and one of his primary targets is the Outfit.

As Robert's investigation ramps up, he goes out of his way to target Giancana with surveillance and wiretaps, not all of which are authorized. With the FBI tailing his every move, Giancana sues the federal government for harassment. In 1963, a judge rules that the FBI has gone too far, ordering them to limit their surveillance on Giancana.

Fed up with Giancana's antics, Accardo meets with co-boss, Paul Ricca, who has recently been released after serving 27 months in prison. He receives Ricca's blessing to kill Giancana.

Before Ricca and Accardo can put their plan in motion, John F. Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas at the age of 46. After his brother is assassinated, Robert steps down from his post as Attorney General and the investigation into organized crime is virtually dropped. The government begins an investigation into the assassination, with rumors already circulating that the mafia could have been involved.

With pressure on the mob intensifying, Accardo knows it's no time for a high-profile hit. Rather than kill Giancana, Accardo and Ricca banish him to Mexico.

Even with Giancana gone, Accardo knows the feds won't stop coming after them. On March 27, 1967, Accardo sells one of his top Vegas hotels, the Desert Inn, to eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. In 1969, the Nevada Gaming Commission makes it legal for corporations to buy casinos. The Outfit cashes out more of their casinos and, according to some, walks away with an estimated $400 million in today's money.

Shortly after the Outfit cashes out of Vegas, Accardo receives devastating news: On Oct. 11, 1972, Ricca, his friend of 40 years, dies of a heart attack.

Not long after Ricca's death, Accardo gets more bad news. He finds out Giancana is back in town after seven years of forced exile in Mexico, and word is he's been talking with the feds. On June 19, 1975, Giancana is shot to death by an unknown assassin. Speculation surrounds Giancana's death to this day, but for some there is little doubt that Accardo was behind it.

On July 30, 1975, outspoken former Outfit partner Jimmy Hoffa disappears on the same day he agreed to meet with two men connected to the mob. Hoffa's remains are never found, but many believe his disappearance is part of Accardo's plan to tie up loose ends so that he can finally leave his life as a mob boss behind.

To maintain a low profile over the years, Accardo kept a job as a beer salesman for Fox Head Brewing Company, even filing income tax returns. He also built a diverse business profile that included trucking companies, restaurants, and coal and lumber operators, earning him an untold fortune. In 1992, after a career in the mafia spanning nearly 70 years, Accardo dies peacefully surrounded by family, having never spent a day in prison.

Though Accardo earned a reputation as one of the most powerful mafia kingpins ever, the Outfit's success goes back to the early days of bootlegging when Al Capone's mentor Johnny Torrio decided to run the Chicago mob like a business. Capone continued Torrio's methods but also expanded the Italian gang's grip on the city by ruthlessly taking over territory.

In the wake of Capone's success, Frank Nitti, Paul Ricca and Tony Accardo took what they learned from the kingpin and expanded the Outfit to become the largest organized crime group in America. In the process, Capone and the Chicago Outfit changed the course of American history.