Not only is Election Day coming up soon but former F.B.I. director James Comey lived not far from me in Westport, Connecticut from 2010 to 2017 with his wife and their five children.
The former legal counsel at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, Comey was placed in an untenable position during the final days of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign against Donald Trump, as he struggled to be an apolitical public servant in today’s America.
Adapted and directed by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Breach), this two-part mini-series is based on Comey’s memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, published in 2018 with Jeff Daniels playing Comey and Brendan Gleeson as Donald Trump, interspersed with actual TV news reports.
The first segment covers Comey’s determined commitment to priorities & procedures during the F.B.I.’ s second inquiry into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ill-advised use of a private e-mail server on the eve of the election. His wife (Jennifer Ehle) begs him to wait, cautioning: “You are going to convince everyone that she’s ‘Crooked Hillary.’”
The second follows the early days of Donald Trump’s Presidency, when Comey and his cohorts were investigating Russia’s election interference. Forced into an ill-fated, incendiary, intimate dinner at the White House, Comey took copious notes about how Trump arrogantly demanded his “loyalty.”
While poker-faced Daniels is stoically convincing, it’s Brendan Gleeson’s calculating, pugnacious performance that will be remembered, along with Holly Hunter’s poignancy as acting Attorney General Sally Yates and Kingsley Ben-Adir’s charisma as Barack Obama.
“I felt it was important that this work be shown to the American people before the election,” Jim Comey states. “Because it’s about the nature and character of our institutions and the damage that the person who would like to be re-elected has done to them. I hope it makes a difference because it tells the truth.”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Comey Rule is a uneven, yet significant 7. Timely and relevant, it’s streaming on Showtime.