Everything We Know About 'Impeachment: American Crime Story'
The latest season of the anthology is taking on the Clinton presidency scandal.
After several seasons of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's anthology American Horror Story proved to be a certified hit, the showrunning duo turned to a different pulpy genre for another anthology: American Crime Story. Executive produced by the two, screenwriting duo Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Nina Jacobsen, and Brad Simpson, the result was just as big of a success—if not bigger. Dramatizing major pop-culture true-crime stories, like the trial of O.J. Simpson and the manhunt for Gianni Versace's murderer, Andrew Cunanan, the series fleshed out cases with incredible casts, garnering critical acclaim and a handful of Golden Globe and Emmy wins, including Best Limited Series.
A year and a half after Season 2 aired in 2019, it was finally announced that the show would be back—and for what could be its most buzz-worthy, scandalous season yet—delving into the Clinton presidency scandal. Considering the show was announced just a year out from the 2020 election and in production during not one but two impeachments of Donald Trump, revisiting yet another presidential scandal might sound exhausting. Or, with the right cast and crew, it could make for very watchable prestige TV and an exploration of the case like people have never seen before. With the show on the horizon, we're breaking down everything we know about Impeachment: American Crime Story so far.
When will Impeachment: American Crime Story be released?
Impeachment will premiere on Thursday, September 7 on FX, airing weekly on the network, and episodes will be available to stream the following day on Hulu's FX hub. Fans of the anthology who watched The People vs. O.J. Simpson and The Assassination of Gianni Versace will be excited to know the new installment is finally on the way, considering the first two seasons aired back in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
The season was actually originally supposed to air just six weeks out from the 2020 election, with its first premiere date set for September 2020. Those plans got pushed back due to Ryan Murphy's busy schedule in January 2020 (maybe for the best!), and then, of course, the pandemic pushed those plans back even further, with the series not even able to start filming until fall 2020. You will officially be able to revisit the '90s chaos come September, though.
Who is in the cast?
The first two seasons of ACS were as great as they were largely due to the star-studded casts. As you can expect, that's where things get exciting with Impeachment, too. Some seriously interesting names have been attached to the project in lead roles since the beginning: Beanie Feldstein, known for her breakout roles in Lady Bird and Booksmart will star as Monica Lewinsky; Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex, ACS Season 2) will play civil servant Paula Jones, who sued President Clinton for sexual harassment; and No. 1 Ryan Murphy collaborator Sarah Paulson will transform into civil servant Linda Tripp, who exposed the scandal. Shots of Paulson surfaced while the show was filming, and she's nearly unrecognizable in the role. (The big '90s hair is also out in full-force.)
The rest of the cast is also stacked with A-listers. Clive Owen (Closer, Children of Men) will take on the POTUS at the center of the affair, and Carmela Soprano herself, Edie Falco, will portray Hillary Clinton, which was a casting announcement that came rather late in spring 2021. Cobie Smulders, who you may have been a fan of on How I Met Your Mother, will now be getting on your nerves as Anne Coulter. At the time, she authored the book High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, arguing for his impeachment and contributing to her rise to fame. She won't be the only media pundit on the series: Comedian Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street, Difficult People) is playing Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge, who reported the news of the scandal before mainstream outlets.
Sarah Paulson will be sharing a fair amount of screen time with Margo Martindale (The Americans, Justified), who joined the cast in 2019 as literary agent Lucianne Steinberger Goldberg. It was Goldberg who met and befriend Linda Tripp around the time of the scandal and convinced her to record her conversations with Monica Lewinsky.
Colin Hanks (Fargo, Life in Pieces) is also supposed to appear in the cast, but his role hasn't been announced. Similarly, it looks like Taran Killam also has a role (potentially as Paula Jones' husband Steve Jones), based on a clip of him in the trailer—although his role hasn't been publicly shared either.
Is there a trailer for Impeachment: American Crime Story?
Yes! A full-length trailer dropped in mid-August, finally giving fans a first look at the cast in their makeup-heavy costumes. The preview shows Beanie Feldstein as Lewinsky, going from being a young intern eager to work in the Oval Office to being overwhelmed and at the center of a major scandal. It also illustrates Sarah Paulson's Linda Tripp essentially going head-to-head with Lewinsky, with clips of the 22-year-old confiding in Tripp while recording their conversations, committed to blowing the affair up. It also offers a first-look at just about everyone else in the cast, including Clive Owen as Bill Clinton and Edie Falco as Hillary.
About a week before the official trailer dropped, a teaser did as well. It's much less revealing than the trailer, but shows the midst of the President and Lewinsky's affair, as she walks through the White House to deliver a gift to him. Given how intense both of the trailers are, you can get a feel for the more dramatic tone the series seems to be going for as it explores the controversial event that's already been explored quite a bit over the years.
Who are the showrunners?
The cast itself is pretty intriguing, and so are the names behind the series. Most interestingly, and importantly, is that Monica Lewinsky herself is on as executive producer.
The series actually would have never existed without her involvement. Ryan Murphy gained the rights to the season's source material, Jeffrey Toobin's 2000 book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President, back in 2017, but halted the project because Lewinsky had yet to sign on. At the time, he told The Hollywood Reporter he had told her, "Nobody should tell your story but you, and it's kind of gross if they do. If you want to produce it with me, I would love that; but you should be the producer, and you should make all the goddamn money."
Then, a little over a year later in 2019, Lewinsky joined the team, giving the series the green light, and explained to Vanity Fair she made the decision to pursue the project because she's recently felt ready to "fully reclaim [her] narrative" and "reintroduce [her] voice into the conversation." She wrote to the publication, "Powerful people, often men, take advantage of those subordinate to them in myriad ways all the time. Many people will see this as such a story and for that reason, this narrative is one that is, regretfully, evergreen."
As for the rest of the behind-the-scenes crew, playwright Sarah Burgess (Drypowder, Kings) wrote the screenplay and executive produces alongside Lewinsky, ACS veterans Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, and others.
What will Impeachment: American Crime Story be about?
The miniseries will closely follow what led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1998, revolving around his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, with whom he had "sexual relations," and how the scandal surfaced. Because the FX series re-examines infamous cases, bringing what's considered one of the biggest political controversies in American history to screen will be no different. It'll continue to focus on a specific perspective, which FX Chairman John Landgraf spoke to in a statement upon the series renewal, saying the show will "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."
Since 28-year-old Beanie Feldstein, who's known for her roles playing teenagers, is portraying the then-22-year-old intern, the show will likely bring to light the age difference and power dynamics at play, and how much the young woman was ridiculed, which was often ignored at the time. Considering Lewinsky is now an anti-bullying advocate, it definitely seems like those details will be portrayed more extensively than they have been in the past. The same goes for Paula Jones' story, which has seldom gotten the attention that the rest of the Clinton scandal has.