The first series of American Crime Story brought one of the most notorious news stories of the nineties to life in a groundbreaking manner.
I for one was utterly transfixed. The historical detail and diligent research that went into telling the tale of the OJ Simpson trial was remarkable to say the least, bringing an educational depth which is sorely lacking in many crime shows.
But what I loved most was the care given to portraying co-prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden as nuanced humans entangled in a maddening mix of celebrity and the US legal system.
For too long, Clark and Darden had been mocked as incompetent by the media and comedians alike, who delighted in making fun of Clark’s curls and supposed lack of humour.
American Crime Story helped to elicit genuine empathy for Clark and Darden, portraying them as smart, caring individuals up against a case unlike any other they had known.
I am therefore delighted to learn that the show will now be bringing us a more sympathetic portrayal of one of the most wrongfully reviled women of the 20th century: Monica Lewinsky.
Lewinsky was just 22 years old when she bagged herself an internship at the White House. An age when most of us would have just been grateful for a job flipping burgers. Little did she know her time as an intern would come to define her public persona for decades to come.
Between the years 1995 to 1997, Lewinsky was engaged in a sexual relationship with then President Bill Clinton, the most powerful political figure on the planet and a man old enough to be her father.
The repercussions from the affair would go on to rock US government to the core, resulting in the investigation and ultimate impeachment of President Clinton. And, of course, leading to his most well-known soundbite, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman’.
For ‘that woman’, the affair led to her being shamed on a global scale, with Monica’s looks and intelligence insulted and sneered at under the guise of satire. As a society, we’re only just waking up to how unbalanced and cruel this treatment was.
Lewinsky will now serve as a producer for the third series of American Crime Story, a series entitled Impeachment: American Crime Story. The show will tell the story of President Clinton’s downfall, with a marked – and much needed – emphasis on the women who were affected.
As reported by Deadline, FX Networks and Productions chairman John Landgraf said:
FX’s American Crime Story franchise has become a cultural touchstone, providing greater context for stories that deserve greater understanding like the O.J. Simpson trial and saga, and Andrew Cunanan’s tragic crime spree which concluded with the assassination of Gianni Versace,
This franchise re-examines some of the most complicated, polarizing stories in recent history in a way that is relevant, nuanced and entertaining.
Impeachment: American Crime Story will likewise explore the overlooked dimensions of the women who found themselves caught up in the scandal and political war that cast a long shadow over the Clinton presidency.
We are grateful to Sarah Burgess for her brilliant adaptation, as well as Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Alexis Martin Woodall, Sarah Paulson and the rest of the creative team and cast.
Impeachment: American Crime Story will draw from A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story Of The Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down A President (1999), a non-fiction book by lawyer and author Jeffrey Toobin.
The part of Lewinsky will be played by Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), while Emmy Award winner Sarah Paulson will portray Linda Tripp, a former civil servant who secretly recorded Lewinsky’s private phone calls.
Production will begin in February 2020, with the season due to premiere Sunday, September 27, 2020, approximately one month out from the next US Presidential election.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.