We certainly live in polarizing times. Everyone seems to fall in two different categories when it comes to politics. It also seems as if you cannot have civil conversations anymore. Everything is so tense. To quote Scoot McNairy as Rod Rosenstein in Showtime’s The Comey Rule, “it is so crazy out there”. It feels that way. I am sure you have had disagreements with family members, friends, and maybe even strangers online. No matter what, everyone has an opinion on the 2016 U.S. election.
Everyone Has an Opinion
Considering The Comey Rule focuses so much on the 2016 election, I have seen polarized reviews on the miniseries. Just the word ‘Comey’ alone elicits reactions. In fact, I had done a small review on the first trailer for The Comey Rule when it had come out. I had attempted to be as nonpartisan as possible, but the video still gained dislikes and negative comments on the subject. So, I am sure the same will happen with this review. Just as I did with the YouTube video, I will attempt to be as unbiased as possible. I want to talk about the show itself – I am not a politician or a lawmaker. I was not behind the scenes of anything political. How can I have strong opinions about things I barely know anything about?
Can You Distance Yourself?
It would be so much easier to speak about something like Netflix’s Narcos. Even though the show is based on real-life characters, the show doesn’t center around our country. And these characters were in the past. We’re removed enough to watch it as an entertainment piece, as well as informative. But, The Comey Rule centers around events that happened within the past five years. The fallout is something we are still seeing today. You have to admit, it’s pretty bold to come out with a show about a president while he is still in office. And it’s a miniseries that our current sitting president will definitely not like.
Will The Comey Rule Accomplish Its Goal?
The Comey Rule was directed and written by Billy Ray. Ray has an impressive background, as he wrote Captain Phillips and Richard Jewell. It’s well-known that Ray, along with the cast; fought hard to get Showtime to air this miniseries before the upcoming election – as it was previously meant to come out after the election. Will this show sway any votes? Well, let’s be honest – people who are huge fans of the president probably won’t watch the show. If they do, I don’t believe it will sway any votes. It may just reaffirm those who have already decided to cast their vote elsewhere.
Let’s talk now about the actual show. The Comey Rule is a two-part miniseries, but I honestly could have watched ten more episodes of this drama. If you removed the real-life aspect of it, it was a damn good political drama and could have gone the route of House of Cards. I wanted more.
How Did The Actors Do?
Part one really focused on the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. It was here that we were introduced to James Comey – played by Jeff Daniels. Now, I don’t know the real James Comey, but I do believe Daniels did a great job as the character. In the miniseries, Daniels plays the characters as someone fiercely dedicated to upholding the norms of how things are done in the FBI. A job that President Obama respects. Daniels’ Comey is well-respect by his team, who are made up of the likes of Michael Kelly as Andrew McCabe. Kelly has been in a ton of political dramas himself, like House of Cards. I’m not complaining, he’s great in everything and I really liked his quiet authority and resilience in this miniseries.
The show portrays Comey as a man just trying to do his job, keeping his opinions separate from his job. And, we never really once get a grasp of what his political opinions are. He just has a job to do and hopes everyone in his staff can uphold that sort of integrity. I will say, everyone in the show (and I believe in real-life) referred to Comey as arrogant and having a big ego, but I never felt that from Daniels’s performance.
The Comey Rule captured the feelings of many in wake of President Trump’s election. Trying to justify how the upcoming four years would be. No longer laughing at all of the memes that seemed hilarious just a few years prior. Comey attempted to remain confident his job, but I believe an overall dread that was felt by many was displayed by Comey’s family – Jennifer Ehle brought really nice emotion to Patrice Comey.
Let’s Talk About Brendan Gleeson
I am sure you all want to know how Brendan Gleeson did as Donald Trump. It was a bit surprising that Trump did not show up in part one, but he certainly took up much of part-two. There have been reports that Gleeson needed some convincing to play Trump. I don’t blame him – you have to think that anyone playing someone like Trump would be hesitant about the backlash they may get. Unlike Alec Baldwin or anyone else parodying Trump, Gleeson played the man head-on. There was no attempt at clowning him up or to even make him anything else than what we have seen on TV.
In some aspects, Gleeson’s Trump was played like a mob boss. There were some truly tense and frightening moments. I personally felt intimidated in both the dinner scene between Trump and Comey and when Trump told Rod Rosenstein to write up the memo to fire Comey. Gleeson really has a great presence. And if your complaint is the makeup and hair well…I urge you to turn on the news.
Let’s Not Forget Our Narrator
Of course, I have to talk about McNairy’s portrayal of Rod Rosenstein. He did a fantastic job of portraying a weasely character. A character who has very little integrity and whose loyalty changes depending on who he in front of. One moment Rosenstein is walking confidently down a hall and the next he is sniffling to McCabe. The problem is that this person doesn’t have the gusto or likability of someone like Comey. He’s a man who wears his suits one size too big and never understood that forming human relationships is far more important than anything else. While his role in this show was to add a skeptical voice to Comey’s motives, he ended up looking bitter.
At this point, I do know I am making this a long review. How could you not have so many thoughts about The Comey Rule? Even this would be a disservice. I suppose I would add that, if you think this is a love letter to James Comey – maybe. In reality, though, I think it’s a love letter to the law. A show that attempts to affirm that the FBI is not supposed to be on any president’s side. That you should not place your loyalties so firmly in one person. Rather, you should form your own opinions. And I hope you do so with The Comey Rule.
A girl with too many fandoms to count.