The series' name is taken from the nickname of the notorious Canadian Donnelly family who participated in a violent 19th Century community feud around Lucan, Ontario that ended with a home invasion massacre. Series creator, Paul Haggis, grew up in the nearby city of London, Ontario where the stories of the feud are well known, and he promised to use elements of them in the series.
The exterior shots for the Firecracker Lounge were filmed at the Shannon Pot, a bar at the corner of Jackson Ave. and Davis St. in Long Island City, Queens. The exterior shots for the Minetta Tavern were filmed at the real-life Minetta Tavern at 113 MacDougal St. in New Yorks Village area, also known as SoHo although it is North of Houston.
In early drafts, the show was originally titled "The Truth according To Joey Ice Cream."
The episode called "God Is A Comedian" was originally slated to be the 3rd episode to air, but NBC decided to make it an on line-only episode because the content was too violent and graphic for network television. It is currently viewable, only in the USA, on the official Black Donnellys website as well as through i Tunes.
Paul Haggis' production company, Blackfriars Bridge, (seen at the end of every episode) is named after a landmark in his hometown of London, Ontario.
The original drafts of The Black Donnellys were titled "The Truth According to Joey Ice Cream"
Keith Nobbs and Thomas Guiry appeared together in an episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." The episode, "The Good", aired May 14, 2006.
The Black Donnellys is loosely based on Co-Creator Bobby Moresco's childhood in Hell's Kitchen, New York.
The exterior shots for the Firecracker Lounge were filmed at the Shannon Pot, a bar at the corner of Jackson Ave. and Davis St. in Long Island City, Queens. The exterior shots for the Minetta Tavern were filmed at the real-life Minetta Tavern at 113 MacDougal St. in New York's Greenwich Village.
Quote at the opening of the episode: "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart." -W. B. Yeats, Easter 1916
This episode was pulled from broadcast and became a web-only episode. NBC billed it as, "Too Shocking for Television".
The complete title of this episode is "God is a comedian playing to an audience afraid to laugh", a quote from Voltaire.
In Germany and other countries this episode was broadcast in it's regular order as episode #3 of the series.
When Helen Donnelly (Kate Mulgrew) goes to the hospital and dismisses Kimmy from Sean's bedside, Kim is reading a paperback edition of "All Souls: A Family Story From Southie". The book is a memoir about growing up in a large Irish-Catholic family in a working class neighborhood in South Boston, and his brothers involvement with Irish mob in Southie at the time. The mother in the book is also named Helen.
Jonathon Tucker (Tommy Donnelly) played a protective older brother in the movie Hostage.