Marcus is a regular at the Santa Anita Park racetrack. He is friends with fellow track regulars and gambling addicts Jerry and Renzo. He is disabled by chronic lung disease and breathlessness limits him to a wheelchair with portable oxygen.
- Main article: Luck (pilot)
Marcus sorts through the listings for the day in the stands at Santa Anita Park and draws on oxygen from the portable tank attached to his wheelchair. Jerry approaches and complains that he has no money and Marcus wonders what happened to his $390 winnings from the previous day. Jerry explains that he lost it playing poker. Marcus is annoyed at Jerry’s foolishness given the rising pick six jackpot, now in its third day of carry over. Jerry shows Marcus his picks for the day but Marcus remains frustrated, disregarding the picks, calling Jerry a degenerate and asking where his money is. Jerry warns Marcus not to get wound up and observes that his face is changing colour. Marcus profanely responds “oh, fuck my face” coughs and puts his mask to his mouth.
Renzo, another friend and fellow gambler, approaches Jerry and Marcus. Marcus feigns pleasure at seeing him and sarcastically calls him a brain surgeon. Renzo waves a wad of cash at them, saying that he has his $255 disability payment. Marcus clarifies that Renzo has actually borrowed the money against his expected social security benefit cheque; called a payday advance by the lenders to get around usery laws. Jerry watches trainer Walter Smith’s horse round a bend as Marcus shows his picks to Renzo, explaining that it is Jerry’s only contribution. Jerry notes Smith's horse logging a strong lap time.
Renzo marvels that Jerry has chosen only a single horse in the fourth race, admitting that he had assessed the race as being a semi-spread for their syndicate. Marcus checks the listings and notes that Jerry’s pick Mon Gateau, the fifth horse in the race, is being ridden by Leon Micheaux. Marcus denigrates Micheaux as an inexperienced jockey who has not won ten races in his whole career and notes that the horse has not won in two years. Renzo points out that Turo Escalante is training Mon Gateau and Marcus exclaims excitedly, reaching for Jerry’s picks.
An overweight security guard named Kagle asks Marcus, Jerry and Renzo to move along. Marcus sarcastically asks if anyone is morbidly fat and if anyone ordered a heart attack. Kagle says that he would not hold his breath, and then notes that Marcus cannot. Marcus asks when Kagle last saw his genitals without using a mirror. Jerry asks Kagle if he is looking at the pick six and Kagle admits that he holds a few opinions. Kagle asks if Jerry is going to bet and then moves along. Renzo tells Marcus that there might be more development at the coffee shop. Marcus asks Renzo to clarify and Renzo persists with being mysterious, explaining that he does not want to say in case it does not happen. Marcus calls Renzo a moron. Marcus warns Jerry not to borrow money from Kagle because of his high interest rate (3% a week).
Marcus, Jerry and Renzo arrive at the coffee shop. Renzo nods at a man in a yellow shirt, Lonnie, and says that he is there. Lonnie wonders why Renzo sounds surprised and Renzo says that he never guaranteed he would be there. Marcus asks Lonnie to stand back so he can manoeuvre his wheelchair to the edge of the table. Renzo introduces Lonnie, adding that Marcus has met him once before. Lonnie introduces himself to Jerry, recalling that they have also met once before. Lonnie invites Marcus to guess how he refers to him when discussing him with Renzo. Marcus suggests asshole and Lonnie reveals that he calls them the brains housing department because of their accurate picks. The waitress approaches and Jerry says that they will all have their usual. Lonnie continues to describe his respect for them and Jerry interrupts to prompt him to order. Lonnie orders eggs and bacon and Renzo backs Lonnie’s claims. Lonnie adds that Renzo has told him about their methods, describing them as genius. Marcus dejectedly says that their picks often lose. The waitress asks if Lonnie wants home fries and he declines, citing concern for his figure. Lonnie asks Renzo to relate what he always says and Renzo reports “let me once make half a score, I’ll bankroll that genius gimp.” Marcus shakes his head and hesitantly asks them to define half a score. Lonnie claims to have earned money as a gigolo and reveals a wad of cash.
Marcus, Renzo and Lonnie return to the stands. Marcus says that he will explain Jerry’s picks. He draws Lonnie’s attention to the single horse in the fourth race and elucidates Jerry’s method of handicapping based on the trainer’s reputation. Marcus explains that as a syndicate they are going to purchase enough pick six tickets to cover four horses in the fifth race and six horses in the sixth race. He clarifies that by betting a single horse in the fourth race they will be in a minority of viable ticket holders if that horse wins. He says that they are protecting themselves by spreading their bets in the subsequent races. They are buying enough tickets to have a bet on every horse in the final race so that they will be guaranteed a share of the $2,000,000 plus jackpot if their picks are proven up to that stage. Marcus rounds this up by saying that it is the gist of Jerry’s thinking. Lonnie repeats his nickname for them “Brains housing”. Marcus wonders where Jerry is and predicts that he will be feeling guilty for losing his stake in poker and borrowing money from Kagle.
Jerry rejoins the rest of the syndicate in the stands prior to the fourth race. The horses are led into the starting gate. Micheaux and Mon Gateau take their position in the fifth bay. The gate opens and Micheaux makes a middling start. Renzo asks Jerry for commentary and Marcus tells him to keep quiet. Micheaux is trapped against the rail by another rider. Mon Gateau’s pace increases as an opening on the inside presents itself. Jerry calls for the horse to take it. Micheaux guides the horse through the gap to victory thrilling the syndicate.
Jerry, Lonnie, Renzo and Marcus come inside. Lonnie says that he is on a roll and asks Renzo if he has told the others how he got his stake. Marcus points out that Lonnie has told them and Lonnie wonders if they want to hear it again. Marcus defers and Jerry quietly admits that he sold his picks to Kagle. Marcus is annoyed that Jerry has given Kagle the chance to share in the jackpot. Jerry claims that Kagle gave him $50 and that he accepted in order to pull his weight in the syndicate as he hands the money to Marcus. Marcus asks if Jerry knows that Kagle bought the ticket but is afraid to admit it and Jerry says that he does not know for sure. Lonnie and Renzo watch as the number six horse wins the fifth race – another of their picks.
Jerry cheers as the number 7 horse wins the 7th race, another of his picks. Marcus glances at the napkin to check. Lonnie questions which horse they are rooting for. Renzo announces that they are going to win the pick six because they have a ticket for each horse in the final race. Kagel approaches and offers them the opportunity to use a go-between to accept their winnings to avoid the IRS becoming aware of their identities for a fee. Marcus realises that Kagel did not bet. Kagel admits that he thought the picks were wrong, particularly backing Escalante’s horse in the fourth race, and says that he did not want to waste $864 buying the required number of tickets. Marcus crows about their victory. Kagel observes that Marcus cannot resist humiliating him. Jerry says that no-one is trying to humiliate him and Kagel asks Jerry to tell that to whoever put him in his overweight body. Marcus jokes that it was someone called Ronald McDonald. The screen displays the possible payouts (based on the number of betters who will share the jackpot) for each horse in the final race winning. The sixth and eighth horses are reported as being the maximum winners. Lonnie notes that lowest payout is $48,840 and Renzo says there would be nothing wrong with that. Marcus jokes that he would prefer the full 2.7 million as it would be less of an adjustment.
The syndicate return to the stands to watch the eighth race. Lonnie wonders which horse they are rooting for and Jerry tells him that it is the longshot. Micheaux, now riding a horse named Tattered Flag, progresses through the field and Jerry realises he was the jocky that won them the fourth race. Renzo adds that Tattered Flag is one of the longshots. Tattered Flag breaks her leg on the final bend of the race. Micheaux manages to bring her to a stop and dismount safely, talking to the horse to try to calm her.
With Tattered Flag out of the race the syndicate note that the number 2 horse is the remaining long shot. Lonnie and Renzo are confused when Jerry says that the chalk is drifting out. Jerry and Marcus watch in awe as the number 2 horse takes the lead and finishes first. Lonnie asks what is happening and Jerry says that they have won. Lonnie jumps up and down calling that he is the champion of the world. Renzo backs away, mouth agape. Marcus runs down their winnings. Jerry asks Marcus to humour him and Marcus shows him the winning ticket. Jerry sings under his breath as he gazes at the screen. In the office the track manager takes a call from his boss, saying that the tellers have been alerted to the win.
The Track Manager gives a television interview about the pick six win. The syndicate emerge from the track behind him. Renzo details his plans for his share including sending money to his imprisoned brother and to his aunt. Renzo wonders if they should admit that they are the winners and Marcus says they will wait until tomorrow. Lonnie suggests that they stay in a motel with connecting rooms so they can both party and keep an eye on one another.
- Main article: Episode 1.2
Renzo and Marcus share breakfast at their usual diner. Marcus notes that Escalante has entered Mon Gateau in a claim race with a lower sale price despite him winning his last race. Marcus believes Escalante is trying to offload the horse and is dubious of Renzo’s proposal that they buy the horse for the claim cost. Renzo believes they should own the horse because Mon Gateau’s win was the key to their pick six windfall. Jerry enters as Marcus suggests that it would be better to flush the $8000 the horse would cost down the toilet because it would save them paying the sales tax. Renzo observes that Marcus has reservations and Marcus says that nothing gets past Renzo. Renzo announces Jerry and stands up to let him into the booth. Marcus sarcastically notes Jerry’s appearance. A man arrives at the door to the diner and holds his hands up quizzically. Renzo excuses himself, claiming he is going for a smoke. Marcus asks how much Jerry lost and Jerry takes offence at the suggestion. Marcus wonders what size game Jerry was playing in and Jerry says that it was a $10-20 bet, just a small step up. Marcus reminds Jerry that they were careful to avoid publicity about their winnings and chastises him for throwing money around at the casinos. Jerry says that they have got nothing to hide. Marcus notes that Renzo is acting the same way wanting to claim Mon Gateau. Jerry says that he noticed Escalante had dropped the price of the horse. Marcus predicts that Lonnie will be bragging about his winnings to the older insurance agents he has been having sex with before being overcome by a coughing fit. Jerry urges him to calm down and Marcus profanely refuses.
Lonnie emerges from his motel room, wearing a new suit. Jerry and Marcus are checking listings on a card table outside their own, adjoining, rooms. Jerry says that Lonnie looks a million dollars and Marcus agrees with the assessment. Lonnie poses for his fellow winners and Marcus says that he is projecting the image of someone who has won money. Lonnie wonders what Marcus is talking about and Marcus says that Lonnie is showing off for the insurance agents he is sleeping with. Lonnie says the women bought the suit for him. Marcus sees through the lie and references Lonnie’s involvement in a planned insurance scam where he will fake being the victim of a fall. Marcus warns Lonnie that the agents probably have him signed to a life insurance policy. Marcus again complains that the others are drawing attention to him. Lonnie says that he does not have to take Marcus’ abuse and Marcus invites him to leave. Renzo arrives with coffee and doughnuts for the others. Lonnie tells Marcus that the conversation is impairing his “mental adroitness with its contra-negativity” and walks away. Marcus derisively repeats the phrase to Jerry and predicts that the insurance agents would have bad intentions towards Marcus if they found out about his winnings.
Marcus and Jerry arrive at the track. Marcus continues to complain, fearful of scrutiny. Jerry does not understand what Marcus is afraid of. Marcus explains that with Jerry betting more at the casino the other gamblers will realise he has won big elsewhere. He believes they will tie his winnings to Jerry’s because they are known associates. Jerry jokes that he could sit in a different section. Marcus tells Jerry that he will end up broke and alone. Kagel approaches and pats Marcus’ clothes, asking if he ever washes them. Marcus is irate and swears at Kagel before steering his wheelchair at him. Jerry says that they were talking and Kagel leaves after offering them a chance to invest in his money lending business. Jerry says that despite his $7000 loss at the poker table he is still up $650,000 overall for the week. Marcus cannot believe Jerry’s losses. Jerry says that Marcus is the one afraid of dying broke and alone and tells Marcus that he knows what he is carrying in his laundry bag. Renzo joins them as Jerry walks away. Renzo asks when Jerry will return and Jerry says it won’t be that day. Marcus calls after Jerry, saying that Jerry will now use their argument as an excuse for further gambling. With Jerry gone Marcus asks Renzo what is wrong. Renzo reveals his plan to claim the horse and invites Marcus to join him as a co-owner. Marcus refuses, saying that Renzo is in no position to buy a horse and lacks the intelligence to be an owner. Renzo counters that Marcus might be more aware of the positions of others if he weren’t so busy hurting their feelings. Marcus drives himself away.
Marcus drives his chair into a disabled area of the stands. His neighbour greets him and asks who he has bet on. He tells her that it is the fourth horse. She wishes him luck and he awkwardly reciprocates. He notices Renzo with Goose and disparages his friend’s choice of trainer, realizing that he is going ahead with his claim. Marcus cheers as Mon Gateau wins the race. His neighbour congratulates him on the win.
That night Marcus looks out of his motel window, watching for the others to return. Renzo knocks on the adjoining door and reports his failure to claim Mon Gateau. Marcus sarcastically congratulates Renzo on his choice of trainer and wonders if Goose is in the hall of fame yet. There is a knock on Renzo’s main door and he asks Marcus to wait before going to answer. Renzo finds Lonnie slumped against the wall, bruised and battered after the insurance agents attempted to kill him. Renzo calls Marcus out and the two of them help Lonnie atop Marcus on the chair. Marcus then reverses back into his room. As the others are struggling to help Lonnie, Jerry pulls up.
- Jerry: Syndicate partner and friend
- Renzo: Syndicate partner and friend
- Lonnie: Syndicate partner
- Kagle: Track security
- "Fuck my face." (regarding his central cyanosis "Luck")
|Season one appearances|
|Luck||Episode 1.2||Episode 1.3|
|Episode 1.4||Episode 1.5||Episode 1.6|
|Episode 1.7||Episode 1.8||Episode 1.9|