What makes American Gigolo so captivating? It’s the combination of David Hollander’s ability to tell a compelling story and Jon Bernthal’s expert acting that really brings this drama to life. Take, for example, the pilot episode of American Gigolo. While it takes a little while to figure out exactly who Julian Kaye is and why we should care about him, once you do you can’t stop watching him. And that’s the power of great acting and great storytelling in a television series—you just can’t look away. American Gigolo: Drama, Intrigue, and Julian Kaye


In the eight-episode series, Jon Bernthal plays the title character of Julian Kaye. The series tells his story from the early days in L.A. to life as a sex worker abroad. He battles rivals for clients in the legitimate world and for control of lucrative territory across Europe in this action thriller crime drama set amid criminal networks operating on both sides of the law.

John Travolta is producing with David Hollander serving as showrunner.

Jon Bernthal Portrays Julian Kaye

Jon Bernthal stars as Julian Kaye, a high-end escort who attempts to turn his life around after meeting Anna Norwood (Dominique McElligott). The show is based on the 1980 film of the same name written and directed by Paul Schrader. It follows Julian’s adventures in Los Angeles where he struggles with trying to change while maintaining a job that has him working with people from all walks of life.

Gabriel LaBelle Portrays young Julian “Johnny” Kaye

Gabriel LaBelle was born in 1984 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His first major acting role was in American Gigolo as young Julian Johnny Kaye. The film is a re-imagining of the 1980 movie written and directed by Paul Schrader. It is a story about an underage male prostitute living high on his own means with fancy cars and expensive suits in Hollywood.

American Gigolo: Drama, Intrigue, and Julian Kaye
American Gigolo: Drama, Intrigue, and Julian Kaye

Gretchen Mol Portrays Michelle

After his release from prison for the accidental murder of his girlfriend’s brother in Season 1 of American Gigolo (1987), we see in Season 2 that Julian is starting to turn over a new leaf. With the help of Michelle (Gretchen Mol), he has started taking steps towards becoming a law-abiding citizen once again. What better way to start rebuilding than by developing skills at making coffee? And not just any old coffee, but espressos.

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Rosie O’Donnell Portrays Detective Sunday

Detective Sunday has seen a lot of cases come through her office, but she’s not an old hand at solving them just yet. Luckily, she had help in the form of Jon Bernthal’s character–a gigolo with a penchant for picking up rough clients. With his eye for detail and connections on the street that no one else can see, he provided what Detective Sunday lacked most–an understanding of how people think in situations like these.

Lizzie Brocheré Portrays Isabelle

I can’t wait to see Lizzie Brocheré as Isabelle on American Gigolo. One of my favorite actresses, Brocheré shines in any project she does. The actress has played roles in France since she was 10 years old. She’s been nominated for the César Award twice for her work in Mon Roi and Life In Front Of Me (both French films). I’m so happy to see her do something new here with American Gigolo.

Leland Orser Portrays Richard Stratton

Leland Orser is an American actor best known for his role as Hank Moody’s father on the television series Californication. More recently he has played characters on House of Cards and The Americans. He also starred in Kingdom and The Art of More.

Leland is a graduate from UCLA where he was also president of their prestigious acting program.

His professional stage debut was in Joseph Papp’s production of Julius Caesar at Central Park Shakespeare Festival in New York City.

Wayne Brady Portrays Lorenzo

The first time I saw American Gigolo I thought to myself it was some new version of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Then I found out it was a show on TV about an escort named Julian Kaye, who is hired by rich women and does things for them that their husbands don’t want to do. Brady (Lorenzo) must have been the one who gave him this job because of the way he talks in Episode 1.

Laura Liguori Portrays Elizabeth Shannon House

As the beautiful woman begins to talk, the door is opened. It seems as if she was hiding more than just a secret about her ex-husband. Tired of living a life that feels to be holding her back from all the things she wants in life, Elizabeth Shannon House doesn’t even hesitate when asked if she’s ready for new beginnings. She takes one look at that white door to know it would change everything.

American Gigolo: Drama, Intrigue, and Julian Kaye
American Gigolo: Drama, Intrigue, and Julian Kaye

Sandrine Holt Portrays “The Queen”

Everything you know about sex workers might not apply to Julian. He’s an American expat in London living the life of an escorting bachelor. It’s always a new woman, in a new town, with no strings attached… until he meets the one. Now he’s faced with the ultimate dilemma: choose between love or money?

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Plot Overview

Julian (Jon Bernthal) is a part-time actor who teaches at a local elementary school. After being falsely accused of sexually assaulting a client of his gigolo job, he tries to convince the detective (Kathleen Robertson) that she has been set up for blackmail. But it doesn’t go well until the client starts getting mysterious phone calls from someone claiming to be her husband’s mistress.

Dialogue Analysis

Jon Bernthal delivers a masterful performance as disillusioned escort, Julian Kaye. His desperation is palpable as he’s in way over his head and struggling to keep it together.

Story Structure

In 1980 New York City, after being ditched by his date for a wedding he was set to drive her to on the way to LAX to become a male escort. With no money left after forking over the $50 she owed him for gas, he decided that it might be worth it in the long run if he tried out this gigol thing with no real idea of what it entailed. And so begins our story of love, sex and fame in America.


This show is incredibly beautifully shot and directed. It features the streets of Los Angeles, California as a backdrop to some excellent performances by Jon Bernthal as Julian Kaye. This show explores themes of intrigue and revenge on just how far society will go for money.

How many episodes of American Gigolo?

The first season of American Gigolo is ten episodes in length. These episodes are jam-packed with tension as they follow the life of Julian Kaye as he navigates through the highly sexualized world of Los Angeles’s most prestigious, enigmatic women – even while desperately seeking a way out. For a drama series like this to work there has to be suspenseful moments and a huge amount of intrigue surrounding its characters – both big themes in this one.

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Who turned down American Gigolo?

Julian Kaye is a male escort who’s based in Los Angeles, California. His unusual line of work has enabled him to gain access to one of the most elite clubs in Hollywood – his clientele list consists of some of the most influential people in the world. In spite of his high-profile clients and seemingly perfect life, he yearns for a more meaningful connection with someone like Alex Jones.

Where is American Gigolo filming?

Filming is taking place in the L.A. area of the United States, specifically Beverly Hills. Interior shots were done on sets with exterior shots taking place in Silver Lake, Eagle Rock, Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood itself.

How old was Gere in American Gigolo?

The film was released in 1980 to a global audience who were enthralled by Gere’s electrifying performance. At the time of the film’s release, Gere was thirty-one years old. The role earned him his first Academy Award nomination.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the story in American Gigolo?

In the pilot episode of American Gigolo, we are introduced to Julian Kaye. A wealthy gigolo who goes from woman to woman as his job. He helps women look good for their marriages by pleasuring them in bed. As the series progresses and we see more of him not just in a relationship with a single person but with different women all the time, it’s clear that there is more going on underneath his true intentions.

American Gigolo: Drama, Intrigue, and Julian Kaye
American Gigolo: Drama, Intrigue, and Julian Kaye

How rich is Richard Gere?

Some would say that Richard Gere is a huge movie star. You know what I mean – he had a starring role in Pretty Woman! He was in Shanghai Knights! He was one of the leads in Chicago. As such, he’s made some money. And I don’t just mean monetarily – I’m also talking about success and fame (though those two often go hand-in-hand). But it’s not enough to just be an actor if you want to live the high life.

Why did Travolta turn down American Gigolo?

In an interview with Howard Stern back in 2003, John Travolta revealed that he turned down the lead role in Paul Schrader’s 1980 film American Gigolo. The offer came at a time when Travolta was looking to break away from his typical Hollywood blockbuster fare. He wanted to take on more challenging roles in smaller films like those coming out of Martin Scorsese’s New York City circle.

What happened to David Hollander?

David Hollander was an executive producer on the series. He was also an assistant to the director on American Gigolo in 1980. The original American Gigolo is a 1980 film by Paul Schrader. It starred Richard Gere as Julian Kaye, a male escort living in Los Angeles.


This show is a great mix of drama and intrigue. The plots are gripping while allowing the actors to do what they do best. You can find it on Netflix so you don’t have to rely on commercials or hoping it airs again in order to see the next episode.

By Showz Update Team

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