Thursday, October 1, 2020

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

The Comey Rule: Season 1, Episode 2 “Night Two” (B+)

Barely showing Trump in the first half of this series was an effective strategy, and it’s so interesting to see how Brendan Gleeson plays him. I’m a big fan of his, and I fondly remember when I got to interview him and Don Cheadle for the very underrated film “The Guard.” His portrayal of Trump is almost subdued, careful to emphasize what he says and how he says it but not prone to anger or excessive drama. I also think it’s interesting that Trump and his team would likely not debate much of what he’s alleged to have said here, in part because, as he has said over and over, he values loyalty and has no problem asking for that even if it means that he’s implying that a transparent investigation shouldn’t happen if it’s going to end up targeting him. His continued denials of everything he’s been accused of as a way of answering unrelated questions were maddening, but it was mesmerizing to watch. It’s hard to know exactly what this series wants to say about Comey, since it paints him as a hero trying his hardest but also sees that he didn’t do anything about the information he had on Trump early enough, and therefore got himself into the very uncomfortable situation of being personally beckoned and called by Trump for wholly inappropriate conversations that, regardless of what he wrote down right after, he can’t possibly prove really happened. What was most chilling was when we got to see that each of the FBI team members are all real people, and, for some reason or another, they all no longer work for the FBI. I did immediately recognize Peter Strzok’s name and remembered that he was fired over text messages he sent about his personal feelings related to Trump to Lisa Page, a complicating factor that shouldn’t negate the fact that his behavior, by all appearances was, like Andrew McCabe’s, unaffected by his private political leanings. Having Rod serve as a narrator of sorts was a bit of an odd framing device choice, but overall I think this two-night event worked pretty well. I might have liked to see it play out over a longer period of time since there’s plenty to cover, but this feels like a timely and certainly disturbing dramatization of a few investigations that really did not go the right way.

Series grade: B+
Series MVP: Brendan Gleeson as Trump

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