Showtime has just set a late November premiere date over two nights for its limited series The Comey Rule, the $40 million budget adaptation of A Higher Loyalty, the book by former FBI head James Comey that is about his battles with President Donald Trump. The network released the first images of Gleeson playing Trump, and Daniels playing the former FBI chief in a series about the deterioration of their relationship that quickly became a bitter feud when Comey left his post after Trump fired him.
The decision to place the mini after the upcoming presidential elections is a bit of a puzzler, given its stellar cast and provocative premise. Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) plays former FBI Director James Comey and Brendan Gleeson (Mr. Mercedes) plays President Donald J. Trump.
Given the president’s penchant for getting involved in media projects he disagrees with — the Justice Department just filed suit against former national security advisor John Bolton to Block his Trump tell-all — speculation will be that the administration might have used its influence to push the series beyond the presidential election season, where most expected it would air. It will be fascinating to see how this one plays out and whether there were any asks of CBS Viacom, whose chief Shari Redstone and Trump have a long mutual admiration. Sources said the project was rushed to be ready, and Daniels made special scheduling accommodations after he left To Kill A Mockingbird to be ready for airing during elections so he would be part of the national conversation ahead of the election.
CBS Studios made the series, adapted for the screen and directed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, Shattered Glass) and executive produced by Shane Salerno, Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin and Ray. The series was produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Home Run Productions, The Story Factory, and Secret Hideout.
According to Showtime, the series is an immersive, behind-the-headlines account of the historically turbulent events surrounding the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, which divided a nation. It’s not a biopic, but is instead the story of two powerful figures, Comey and Trump, whose strikingly different personalities, ethics and loyalties put them on a collision course. It’s described as an insider’s journey down the corridors of power, where decision-makers struggle to apply old norms to a dramatic new paradigm in the face of Russia’s deep and unprecedented penetration into American politics, with our nation’s rule of law hanging in the balance. Each character’s actions in these historic months made the careers of some, destroyed the careers of others and helped shape the incendiary political landscape we live in today. Part one of the series examines the earliest days of the Russia investigation, the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and their impact on Election Night 2016, when Donald Trump stunned the world and was elected president. Part two is a virtual day-by-day account of the tempestuous relationship between Comey and Trump and the intense and chaotic first months of the Trump presidency – where allies became enemies, enemies became friends and truth depended on what side you were on.
The cast is top-notch. In addition to Daniels and Gleeson, Holly Hunter plays former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Michael Kelly is former FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Jennifer Ehle is Patrice Comey, Scoot McNairy is former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Jonathan Banks is former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, Oona Chaplin is former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, Amy Seimetz is former FBI lawyer Trisha Anderson, Steven Pasquale is former FBI agent Peter Strzok, Peter Coyote is Robert Mueller and Kingsley Ben-Adir is President Barack Obama. Steve Zissis, Shawn Doyle, Brian d’Arcy James, Dalmar Abuzeid William Sadler, Richard Thomas, T.R. Knight, Joe Lo Truglio, Spencer Garrett, Michael Hyatt, Damon Gupton and Seann Gallagher also star.