A new satirical drama series about the Watergate scandal starring Woody Harrelson, Lena Headey and Justin Theroux is set to debut on Sky Atlantic tonight (30 May).
Based on the 2007 novel Integrity by Egil and Matthew Krogh, White House Plumbers begins in 1971 with the White House employing former CIA and FBI agents E Howard Hunt (Harrelson) and G Gordon Liddy (Theroux), who end up mistakenly overthrowing the president they were trying to defend.
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the most well-known political scandal in American history. The scandal, which involved wiretapping, hush money and surreptitiously recorded White House tapes, resulted in the biggest constitutional crisis in the United States since the Civil War.
President Richard Nixon’s resignation two years later irrevocably changed US politics and the country’s international status. But what exactly happened at Watergate, and what can we expect from the upcoming political drama? Here is everything you need to know about it.
What was Watergate?
During and after the 1972 US presidential election, the Watergate scandal was a major political scandal. Richard Nixon, the Republican President of the United States, was fighting for re-election against Democrat George McGovern.
Former FBI and CIA officers snuck into the Democratic Party and George McGovern’s headquarters months before the election, listening in on phone lines and stealing confidential documents. When these men were discovered, it was discovered that Nixon was involved, and that he had helped them cover it up, possibly even hiring the men.
The Washington Post, particularly reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, played a key role in revealing the wrongdoings.
Nixon later elected to resign from the presidency in order to avoid being impeached, which may have led him being charged with crimes. His resignation meant that the US Congress would be unable to impeach him.
Nixon’s vice-president, Gerald Ford, became President by default, and Nixon’s wrongdoings were later pardoned by Ford.
Where does the name ‘Watergate’ come from?
The name Watergate is derived from the Washington, D.C. hotel of the same name where the first crime and break-in occurred.
The Watergate incident left such an imprint on the national and worldwide awareness that the suffix ‘gate’ has since been frequently connected with scandals, both of a political nature and otherwise.
Recent uses of the ‘gate’ suffix include ‘Slapgate’ - to refer to the incident in which Will Smith walked onstage and slapped Chris Rock across the face at the Oscars - and ‘Partygate’ - the Conservative Party scandal around Downing Street parties attended during coronavirus lockdowns.
What is White House Plumbers?
White House Plumbers is a new Sky Atlantic will premiere a new satirical drama series about the Watergate scandal starring Woody Harrelson, Lena Headey and Justin Theroux.
It's based on the 2007 book Integrity by Egil and Matthew Krogh, and starts in 1971 with the White House hiring former CIA and FBI agents E Howard Hunt (Harrelson) and G Gordon Liddy (Theroux), who inadvertently overthrow the president they were trying to protect. The show sheds light on the lesser-known individuals who were responsible for the events.
When can I watch it?
White House Plumbers will premiere on Sky Atlantic in the UK on Tuesday 30 May.