An Emmy award-winning six-part drama series from 1977, Washington Behind Closed Doors tells the tale of fictional US President Richard Monckton. Fictional, but very closely based on the real Richard M. Nixon closely mirroring both the warmongering and the peacemaking aspects of his international policy along with the political dirty tricks that spiralled into criminal activities and the Watergate scandal. Indeed, the series is based on a novel by John Ehrlichman, a close advisor to Nixon who was jailed for his role in the Watergate scandal.
The show features a clutch of famous acting stars, including Robert Vaughan and Stefanie Powers along with Jason Robards, who plays the President here and also played newspaperman Ben Bradlee in All The President’s Men, the famous movie account of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigative reporting into the Watergate scandal.
The plot of Washington Behind Closed Doors is a mix of the political and crime drama of that movie, along with fictional tales of the private lives of senior politicos more akin to a version of Dallas in which votes have replaced oil.
It also makes for a fun, if at times uneven and dated, show. Because the fiction so closely matches real events, the rather downbeat and weak closing scene does not matter: it’s already a famous matter of public record how events turned out. What matters with this show is the journey the characters are on, not their destinations.
Here’s the trailer:
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