HBO’s slate is padding out with great content as we add another title to the calendar. HBO is all about working with David Simon (this one marks his seventh to air exclusively on HBO) and it is airing beginning March 16, 2020. Below are details.
THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, a limited series based on the acclaimed Philip Roth novel of the same name, imagines an alternate American history during World War II, told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey as they endure the political rise of Charles Lindbergh, an aviator-hero and xenophobic populist, who captures the presidency and turns the nation toward fascism. Created by frequent collaborators David Simon and Ed Burns (HBO’s “The Wire” and “Generation Kill”), the six-part limited series THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA debuts MONDAY, MARCH 16 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
HBO gives us a bit more plot in a press release:
The premiere episode (MONDAY, MARCH 16 at 9:00-10:00pm ET/PT), begins the narrative on the eve of the 1940 election cycle, as the two-term Presidential incumbent Franklin Roosevelt, as professional a politician as a democracy can produce, suddenly finds himself challenged by a political outsider. Lindbergh has won fame through his legendary solo flight across the Atlantic 13 years earlier and is, in the minds of many Americans, among the country’s greatest heroes. But the election contest becomes much more fraught for the residents of Newark’s Jewish enclave of Weequahic when Lindbergh stakes his insurgent campaign on the promise that he will keep America out of the European war, that he will remain neutral between Nazi Germany and the Allied powers, and most controversially, he names American Jews as being war instigators and disloyal to the true interests of America. The anti-Semitism and xenophobia strike a chord with many Americans, who begin to regard fellow countrymen and outsiders alike with suspicion.
Directed by Minkie Spiro (HBO’s “The Deuce”) with a teleplay by Burns & Simon, this first hour of the series finds Herman Levin (Morgan Spector) anticipating a promotion at work and taking his family to look at a house in an upwardly mobile neighborhood, though Bess (Zoe Kazan) is wary of leaving the safety of their tight-knit Jewish community and raising a family amid growing anti-Semitism sparked by Lindbergh’s ascendancy. As the family spinster, her sister Evelyn (Winona Ryder, pictured right with Kazan) has a disappointing rendezvous with a married lover, but later, finds herself charmed by a distinguished local clergyman, Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf (John Turturro). Meanwhile, getting an earful from Herman (Spector) for being fired from his job, his orphaned nephew, Alvin Levin (Anthony Boyle) seeks retaliation for an aggrieved friend.
The second episode (MONDAY, MARCH 23 at 9:00-10:00pm ET/PT), also directed by Spiro with a teleplay by Simon and Burns, sees Lindbergh’s increasingly popular campaign sweep through the United States and capture some in the Levin family as well as Bengelsdorf (Turturro), with Evelyn (Ryder) as his assistant and lover, becoming a fundamental asset in the Lindbergh camp , while Sandy (Caleb Malis), enamored of the aviator’s charm, celebrity, and history, begins a rebellion of his own within the family of New Deal Democrats. Meanwhile, Alvin (Anthony Boyle, at left) brings his pride and conscience to bear as he must decide between serving a local real estate magnate and developer or risking an open fight with the fascist forces he sees spreading across the world.
The ensuing third episode is also helmed by Spiro, while Thomas Schlamme (“The West Wing”) directs the concluding three hours of the six-part series.
It is going to be good!