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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review: White House Plumbers - Limited Series

A five-part series that tells the true story of how Nixon's own political saboteurs and Watergate masterminds, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, accidentally toppled the presidency they were trying to protect.


Justin Theroux, Woody Harrelson, Lena Headey, Domhall Gleason, Judy Greer, Liam James, Zoe Levin, Gary Cole & Kiernan Shipka.


White House Plumbers is an unusual series. Its approach to the events of the show is done in a much more comic way than anticipated, often filming with a wide angle lens for both comedic effect and coverage.


It’s a very political & American narrative, which I didn’t think translate well for me. It often felt as though the showrunner created the series in the hope that it would only be watched by 40 year old white Americans because it never creates an understanding between screen and audience. I questioned & researched a lot to grasp on what happens throughout each runtime, and even then I still couldn’t truly understand. With its comedic approach, the pacing is rather fast and never slows down to let us appreciate a moment or care about all that ensues on screen.


Woody Harrelson is decent at times, but his attempt at Howard’s voice was quite irritating and didn’t help what could be rather funny moments. His chemistry with Justin, however, is certainly a highlight of the season. Whom is absolutely fantastic, holding all the best moments to himself and one that I’d love to see be nominated.


Unfortunately I do think the season suffers from extremely lacklustre filmmaking & script. It suffers from its own chosen genre of a comedic drama, which shouldn’t have been the approach taken to the story. The tension is nonexistent & investment lies with anyone who’s previously followed the story. Its jump between its wide angle camerawork and close ups don’t mash together well, given the whiplash in tone. The surface of the story appears interesting, but, I often looked down at my phone as I started to lose interest due to its dull storytelling.


It’s hard to deny that it can be quite funny in scenes, especially Theroux’s delivery with moments with Judy Greer who plays his wife. The production design is brilliant & the overall colour grading worked for me, despite how rushed everything else feels. It’s not entirely poorly directed, particularly in episode one when our characters head over to another state in disguise, which was a great expectation raise moving forward in the series. Hoping for more of the style of comedy & how lovely it looked.


Its supporting cast are good, but wasted. Never diving too deep into the family drama of the Hunt’s, constantly holding back its raw and unhinged nature. Thus resulting in bare minimum performances in many scenes that could have been a lot more complex. It’s clear many of the supporting characters don’t align themselves with the leads, which could have made for some compelling dialogue and acting. More personal conflict was needed in a show that never gives its audience reason to care about any of the stakes.


White House Plumbers is far too dull and boring to be discussed further. It mostly fails  in its comedy & completely in its drama, due its lack of compelling moments between any characters. Particularly the family. The pacing is too quick to take anything in, especially for general audiences. And in the time of Succession, it’s hard to draw comparisons in how it handles politics and the blend in genre. Justin Theroux is the clear standout while Woody falls flat.


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