“American Crime Story: Impeachment,” the third installment of the FX anthology series, is set to debut the first of its 10 episodes September 7, and it’s sure to create a firestorm. This season will focus on “the Clinton Affair,” the 1998 scandal in which former President Bill Clinton lied under oath about a sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky, triggering impeachment proceedings. Bill and Hillary Clinton have both addressed the scandal many times, but having these events dramatized will likely summon up a media stir they’d both prefer to avoid. So have they expressed any feelings about the show?
The new cover story of The Hollywood Reporter — all about the show, which follows previous seasons on the O.J. Simpson case and the murder of Gianni Versace — gives an answer: They haven’t. The Clintons, or anyone in their “camp,” haven’t expressed so much as a “peep” to anyone involved with the FX series, per unnamed sources in the piece. And “few, if any, expect to.” Edie Falco plays Hillary Clinton, who doesn’t appear until the sixth episode, while Clive Owen plays Bill, who’s featured from the beginning.
The THR story acknowledges that the cast and crew of the show, like the previous seasons executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, and Brad Simpsons, are feeling some jitters about the reception of the new season, “mostly about how the Clintons might react.” But it seems like they may not have as much to fear as one might think. The lead writer of the new season, playwright Sarah Burgess, was determined to reframe the narrative around Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford). It’s their story — the Clintons’ story has been told.
“I realized it was really a story about these sort of invisible office ladies — the people whose desks you walk by to see the person who actually matters,” Burgess said.
Self-described “Hillary” fan Dana Walden, who distributed the 2016 presidential candidate’s biographical documentary series on Hulu last year, concurs. “Bill and Hillary have both spoken and written books about this time in their lives, and they’ve had the opportunity to weigh in meaningfully and thoroughly with their feelings,” she told THR. “I also think that it’s fair and it’s right for there to be an opportunity for the women who were involved in this scandal to be able to have their truth told, beginning with Monica.”