Washington – Behind Closed Doors now on DVD set is based on the post-Watergate novel, The Company, which is written by Richard Nixon’s former advisor, John Ehrlichman. The series originally aired on TV from September 6 though the 12 in 1977. It is set against the backdrop of a war in Southeast Asia. Here we have Jason Robards in the role of a paranoid President Richard Monckton.

The story tells about an administration under siege and a reckless group of aides in the White House so desperate to keep their power. William Martin (Cliff Robertson), a CIA director is aware that an incoming president will mean a new direction for the country and another set of eyes on the top secret Primula Report. Martin attempts to try to become friends with his new boss but the new president seems more interested in settling old scores and cleaning house with the help of the FBI.

This miniseries has an all-star cast which includes Robert Vaughn as the Machiavellian chief of staff, Frank Flaherty. Andy Griffith is the Southern born former president, Esker Scott Anderson. Lois Nettleton as Monckton’s mistress, Linda Martin and Stefanie Powers as a domestic spy, Sally Whalen. John Houseman has the role of Myron Dunn.

There are six episodes on three discs included with this DVD set:

Disc One:
Episode One – The idea of a new president causes some chaos in the White House. A fear of secrets becoming public worries the CIA Director. The new president doesn’t seem to like Martin and makes it known that he would prefer his own man in charge.

Episode Two – Martin manages to find someone in the national security to help him make sure there is no change in the CIA. There is a leak about an escalation of the war in Southeast Asia that has not been made public.

Disc Two
Episode Three – After trying to reach out to the protesters against war fails, the President goes on the offensive against his political enemies. While Monckton starts to think about running for a second term in office the identity of the person who had been leaking information to the press that was confidential has been found, they think.

Episode Four – Once the former president dies Martin finds himself without an important ally. The FBI finds out that the CIA director helped expose the questionable fundraising methods employed by the president’s re-election campaign.

Disc Three
Episode Five – Washington is invaded with protesters as they are against the administration’s conduct of the war in Southeast Asia. The president takes a firm stance against the protesters. He is confident that he gain a victory in the next election. He is ready to see the Primula Report now.

Episode Six – Monckton thinks he has a secure spot by carrying all 50 states and he launches a diplomatic opening to China. First he has to deal with the CIA Director who just won’t go away without a good fight. He must decide whether or not he can live with Martin’s terms. Events seem to get out of everyone’s control.

There is a bonus package with this DVD set which includes an 8-page booklet with articles on the historical background of the program, the Vietnam War, peace movements in America, Nixon’s visit to China and the Watergate scandal. Also you get brief biographies of the political figures for the period.

The approximate running time is 550 minutes. It does contain coarse and offensive language.

If you think you would like Washington – Behind Closed Doors just click on the Amazon link above. The New York Times describes it as “Fascinating political intrigue” and The Washington Post says “Very Interesting” I think it is well worth the buy.

Jan Barrett

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