The Comey Rule
GenrePolitical drama
Based onA Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
by James Comey
Written byBilly Ray
Directed byBilly Ray
Starring
Theme music composerHenry Jackman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes2
Production
Executive producers
Producers
CinematographyElliot Davis
EditorJeffrey Ford
Running time210 minutes
Production companies
DistributorCBS Television Studios
Budget$40 million[1]
Release
Original networkShowtime
Original releaseSeptember 27 (2020-09-27) –
September 28, 2020 (2020-09-28)

The Comey Rule is an American political drama television miniseries, based on the book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by former FBI director James Comey. The miniseries stars Jeff Daniels as Comey and Brendan Gleeson as President Donald Trump. The two-part miniseries was aired from September 27 to September 28, 2020 on Showtime.[2]

Plot

The series follows FBI director James Comey in the run-up to the 2016 election, and later in the early months of Donald Trump's presidency.

In 2015, Comey asks Mark F. Giuliano to stay on as the deputy FBI director to lead the Hillary Clinton e-mail server "Midyear" investigation.

Crossfire Hurricane in 2016 looks at George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the Trump campaign. GRU is said to have recruited Carter Page as an asset. Paul Manafort is said to be on the payroll of Russian oligarchs Oleg Deripaska and Dmytro Firtash. The investigation finds un-corroborated evidence that the Russian government had damaging information on Donald Trump when he stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Moscow in 2013.

After closing the Midyear Clinton investigation in July 2016, the Comey bureau re-opens the investigation because some Hillary Clinton server e-mails turn up in a new sexting scandal on Anthony Weiner's laptop computer.

The first episode ends with news reports that Hillary Clinton has called Donald Trump to concede the election to him.

In the second episode, the heads of the Intelligence Community tell Barack Obama that Russia wants a friendly Donald Trump in the White House to collapse NATO, end the Iran nuclear deal, allow oil drilling in the Arctic, set up a pathway for Turkish invasion against the Kurds, start a trade war with China, and sow discord above all.

Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak lobbies Michael Flynn to end economic sanctions against Russia after Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats and announces further sanctions on Russia. After the 2016 election, James Clapper and other intel chiefs discuss the Steele dossier with Obama during a briefing at the White House.

After Trump's election in 2016, the U.S. intel chiefs meet with the Trump campaign in Trump Tower New York to state that Russian government agents are using fake social media accounts at YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to duplicate pro-Trump propaganda at Russia Today and Sputnik Radio. Comey also accuses the Russians of attacking the voting process itself. The FBI intercepts five phone calls during which sanctions relief was discussed while Mike Pence tells Face the Nation that the phone calls between Kislyak and Flynn were about expressing condolences for the Russian plane crash.

Trump hosts Comey for a private dinner at the White House; during the meeting, Trump demands loyalty. Afterwards, Trump fires Sally Yates. Trump tells Comey he didn't give "a billion dollars to Iran like Obama did."[3] Trump goes on to ask Comey to drop the FBI investigation on Michael Flynn.

The second episode ends with the dismissal of Comey along with the resignations, re-assignments, and retirements of several appointed officials at the FBI and DOJ.

Cast

Main

Additional

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Night One"Billy RayBilly RaySeptember 27, 2020 (2020-09-27)0.415[4]
2"Night Two"Billy RayBilly RaySeptember 28, 2020 (2020-09-28)0.381[5]

Production

It was announced in October 2019 that Billy Ray would write and direct a miniseries produced by CBS Television Studios that would adapt James Comey's autobiography A Higher Loyalty, with Jeff Daniels playing Comey.[6] Brendan Gleeson was set to play Donald Trump,[7] with Michael Kelly, Jennifer Ehle,[8] Holly Hunter,[9] Steven Pasquale, Oona Chaplin,[10] Scoot McNairy, William Sadler, and T. R. Knight[11] among the additional actors announced to star, and Peter Coyote playing Robert Mueller.[12] Ray met with Comey multiple times over the course of a year to prepare the series. Filming began in Toronto in November 2019.[13][14][15][16] The series' budget was $40 million.[1]

In June 2020, the series was revealed to be named The Comey Rule, and to consist of two episodes totalling four hours.[17] The show was originally due to premiere on Showtime after the 2020 United States presidential election.[1] However, following criticism from Ray concerning the airdate,[18] the series was rescheduled to premiere over two nights, beginning on September 27, 2020.[2] In the United Kingdom, the series aired in four parts on Sky Atlantic on September 30, 2020.[19] In Australia, the series aired the same dates as the United States on the streaming service Stan.[20] The series aired on WOWOW in Japan on November 1, 2020. [21]

Reception

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 68% based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 6.03/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Despite some impressive performances, The Comey Rule's chaotic approach to current events clarifies very little, further obscuring the facts of already confusing circumstances without adding much insight."[22] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23]

Daniel D'Addario of Variety gave the miniseries a negative review, specifying that it "bends and strains to accommodate Comey's showy displays of duty and righteousness," and that "Gleeson is at once the best and worst thing about The Comey Rule, uncannily evoking the president's aura of menace and doing so while pushing his performance past a bizarre sheath of makeup that misses the mark."[24] Laura Miller, writing in Slate, describes the miniseries as "the story of institutions run in accordance with norms and traditions that seem permanent but prove terrifyingly fragile. Comey gets out, but the rest of us are still living in the sequel."[25]

References

  1. ^ a b c Fleming Jr, Mike (June 16, 2020). "Showtime Sets Post-Election Date For James Comey Series 'The Comey Rule;' Speculation Might Fly Over Whether Trump Administration Used Influence". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike (June 24, 2020). "ViacomCBS Moves Showtime Limited Series 'The Comey Rule' To Sept. 27 & 28 Election Season Airdate". Deadline Hollywood.
  3. ^ "Obama administration ackowledges $1.7b transfer to Iran was all cash". CBS News. 2016-09-06. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  4. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 29, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.27.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  5. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 29, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.28.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  6. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (October 7, 2019). "From Atticus Finch To James Comey: Jeff Daniels To Play Ex-FBI Director In CBS Studios Event Mini". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Baysinger, Tim (October 7, 2019). "Brendan Gleeson to Play Donald Trump in CBS Studios Miniseries Based on James Comey's 'Higher Loyalty'". The Wrap. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  8. ^ Michael Kelly, Jennifer Ehle Land Key Roles In James Comey CBS Studios Miniseries
  9. ^ Otterson, Joe (October 10, 2019). "Holly Hunter to Play Sally Yates in CBS Studios' James Comey Miniseries". Variety. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  10. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (31 October 2019). "James Comey CBS Studios Mini Sets Steven Pasquale As FBI Agent Peter Strzok, Oona Chaplin As Lawyer Lisa Page; Lovers' Text Exchanges Riled Trump & Embarrassed Bureau". Deadline. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  11. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (6 November 2019). "James Comey Mini: Scoot McNairy Is Rod Rosenstein, William Sadler Is Michael Flynn, T.R. Knight Is Reince Priebus". Deadline. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  12. ^ Thorne, Will (October 23, 2019). "Peter Coyote to Play Robert Mueller in CBS Studios James Comey Miniseries". Variety. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  13. ^ Fleming, Jr, Mike (15 November 2019). "James Comey Miniseries Finds Its Barack Obama In Kingsley Ben-Adir; Brian D'Arcy James, Steve Zissis & Shawn Doyle Also Set". Deadline. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  14. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (19 November 2019). "James Comey Vs. Donald Trump Mini: Jonathan Banks Set For James Clapper, Richard Thomas For Chuck Rosenberg, Seann Gallagher For Jim Rybicki". Deadline. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  15. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (25 November 2019). "James Comey Mini Sets Amy Seimetz For Key FBI Attorney Trisha Anderson". Deadline. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  16. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (26 November 2019). "James Comey Mini: Damon Gupton As Jeh Johnson, Joe Lo Truglio As Jeff Sessions, Michael Hyatt As Loretta Lynch & Spencer Garrett As Bill Sweeney". Deadline. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  17. ^ Otterson, Joe (23 June 2020). "Showtime's Comey Miniseries Likely to Move Premiere Date Ahead of Presidential Election After Director Speaks Out". Variety. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  18. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (23 June 2020). "'The Comey Rule' Director Billy Ray Apologizes To Cast For ViacomCBS Decision To Move Comey-Trump Saga Until After Presidential Elections: Read His Letter". Deadline. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Trailer released for The Comey Rule, coming September 30th to Sky Atlantic and NOW TV". www.skygroup.sky. 25 August 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  20. ^ "The Comey Rule puts Trump, Russia and Clinton's emails on the small screen — just before the US election". www.abc.net.au. 2020-09-27. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  21. ^ "ザ・コミー・ルール 元FBI長官の告白 前編・後編" ["The Comey Rule, Parts 1 & 2" airings]. Wowow (in Japanese). Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  22. ^ "The Comey Rule (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  23. ^ "The Comey Rule: Season 5 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  24. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (September 1, 2020). "'The Comey Rule' Is as Self-Satisfied as Its Subject: TV Review". Variety. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  25. ^ Miller, Laura (September 17, 2020). "The Comey Rule Begins as Hagiography, but It Works Best as a Horror Movie". Slate. Retrieved September 20, 2020.