In 1972 E Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) and G Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux) oversaw the raid at the Watergate building. Funded by the Committee to Re-elect the President, at the time that president was Richard Nixon. The two named their burglary plan White House Plumbers, because plumbers fix leaks of course .
Both Hunt and Liddy were totally convinced that they were patriots, due to their incompetence they are now immortalized as the fools who brought down the president they were trying to protect and have faced decades of media scrutiny.
White House Plumbers is in essence a buddy comedy, two former intelligence agents who believe it’s them against the radical left. They conduct off the record missions, commit acts of sabotage, often in ridiculous disguises with some horrifying wigs.
They bungle an earlier mission as well and despite this, they still have their plans to break into the Watergate building approved and funded.
The supporting cast is full of accomplished actors, Judy Greer as Liddy’s wife, Domhnall Gleeson as John Dean, Lena Headey as Dorothy Hunt & many, many more.
But this is about Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, Harrelson is excellent as the former CIA agent Hunt, as is Theroux as the violent, grand moustache wearing Liddy.
The series opens with the second of four Watergate break in attempts and this emphasizes how terrible the so called plumbers are. They get locked in, they bring the wrong tools and their disguises are awful, it’s absurd. Hunt and Liddy’s efforts at political espionage are farcical.
With the cast this has, it should have been up there with prestigious new shows like The White lotus but it has gone under the radar. With 2022’s Gaslight fresh in the memory, there maybe a Watergate hangover.
The pacing is slow, it takes a couple of episodes to get going and with all the shenanigans it can become screwball at times. Harrelson and Theroux’s performances are strong and this is what carries the series.
All 5 episodes of White House Plumbers are available on HBO and Sky Atlantic/Now TV in the UK.