The Watergate scandal was a dark episode in American history, but a new HBO Max series, White House Plumbers, is shedding light on those pivotal events with the help of some major star power. In the new series, Justin Theroux plays G. Gordon Liddy and Woody Harrelson plays E. Howard Hunt, two Nixon administration staffers who planned and carried out the illegal spying and sabotage on the Democratic National Committee headquarters in June 1972—a plot that eventually led to the downfall of the Nixon presidency. A new teaser trailer gives a preview of the show’s darkly comedic take on the biggest political scandal in modern American history.
The clip opens with Liddy (can you even recognize Theroux underneath that mustache?) and Hunt sitting in the office of White House Counsel John Dean (played by Domhnall Gleeson). Dean lays out their task: The president needs them to secure his 1972 reelection bid.
“The president needs men of action,” he says. “Your new mission is to make sure he wins this election.”
Sounds benign enough, until Dean gets down to the nuts and bolts of what he’s asking them to do.
“Sabotage, espionage, infiltration, bare knuckle tactics—same shit they do to us every election,” he says.
Liddy and Hunt are warned to be discreet, and the trailer shows them getting to work (tapping phones, breaking safes, etc.) during their late-night infiltration the of DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. But we all know how that story ends: Although Nixon did win the election in ’72, their plot is discovered and leads to him resigning in disgrace.
This show goes back in time to explore what happened—and how these two masterminds essentially blew up the Nixon presidency.
“We’ll be laughed at as third-rate burglars forever,” Hunt says at one point in the trailer. “People need to understand why we did what we did.”
The new series draws on public records and the book Integrity by Egil “Bud” Krogh and Matthew Krogh for material. David Mandel directed and served as executive producer for the show (he also directed one of HBO’s other smash-hit political series, Veep).
White House Plumbers will premiere on HBO Max in March 2023.
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