Wednesday, September 30, 2020

What I’m Watching: The Comey Rule (Series Premiere)

The Comey Rule: Season 1, Episode 1 “Night One” (B+)

I’m choosing to review this show, which technically constitutes a pilot, in written form rather than as a video since it only has one more episode (two of two, which aired this past Monday night) and I feel like I have a lot more to say than would fit into a one-minute video. It’s strange to see what counts as relatively current events dramatized on television with actors playing most of the parts since I feel like I’ve seen pieces of this story in documentary form on a few occasions. Movies like “Vice” and “Bombshell” and the limited series “The Loudest Voice” have similarly featured a large cast of recognizable actors portraying recognizable figures, but Trump has been largely tangential and usually not mentioned so explicitly by name. Here, it’s all about referencing Clinton and Trump and their campaigns. Adapting this from Comey’s own book makes it clear that it’s weighted and based on his version of events rather than a more objective truth, but there’s no way to know what actually happened aside from gathering different accounts from sources that may or may not be reliable. Comey’s emphasis on sharing the existence and then progress of the Clinton investigation with Congress while maintaining absolute silence on the allegations that Trump might be a Russian asset was jarring, and this first part ended with everyone expressing horror that the way this was all conducted was largely responsible for Trump’s victory. It’s hard to picture Jeff Daniels as anyone other than himself, or at least the character he played on “The Newsroom” a few years ago. The rest of the cast, including Michael Kelly, Michael Hyatt, Holly Hunter, Steven Pasquale, Oona Chaplin, Brian d’Arcy James, and Steve Zissis, was pretty decent, and I would name Jennifer Ehle as Patrice Comey and Kingsley Ben-Adir from “High Fidelity” as Barack Obama as the standouts. There’s a straightforward nature to the way that these events are presented that feels effective, even if some moments and speeches are overdramatized. I’m absolutely interested in watching the second and final part while simultaneously acknowledging that I’m trying not to digest it entirely as fact.

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