The Comey Rule premieres on Showtime on Sunday night, and the political drama is already sparking controversy online. The series stars Jeff Daniels as former FBI director James Comey and Brendan Gleeson as President Donald Trump. Naturally, Trump supporters are not pleased with Gleeson's portrayal of the commander-in-chief, but advance reviewers from all along the political spectrum have issues with the series.
The Comey Rule is a new mini-series based on Comey's real-life memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership. It dramatizes Comey's work before, during and immediately after the 2016 presidential election, culminating in Trump firing Comey while Comey spoke out against him. Predictably, Trump's allies have either ignored or condemned the new series so far, but advance reviews show that professionals are not necessarily impressed with its political portrayal either. Many question its timing and its source.
A review by NBC News contends that The Comey Rule "makes the former FBI director into 'the good guy' he never was," explaining that the show draws its characterization of Comey from his own memoir, making it implicitly self-serving. "[Director Billy Ray] has to craft a film about a great man's downfall, but there are no great men in this tale," the review reads. "Lacking any, he had to grant both Comey and President Donald Trump the grand stature neither deserved but is necessary to the project, to make the movie's hero and his nemesis seem important and not silly."
Another review by The New York Times is slightly more forgiving, perceiving these same aspects of the series as intentional in "a scattered but searing picture of failed self-righteousness." The Times review also argues that the show does not go so easy on Comey, despite his involvement in the project.
The Comey Rule was first announced in October of 2019, about a year and a half after the publication Comey's memoir. The series filmed in Toronto last fall, and Showtime began promoting it this past June. Most reviewers make the assumption that the release was timed to coincide with excitement about the 2020 presidential election.
Comey served as FBI director from 2013 to May of 2017 when Trump dismissed him. He claimed that Trump had arranged a private dinner with him, asking him to end the FBI's investigation into Michael Flynn's alleged collusion with the Russian government in the 2016 election. Comey was later a witness in the Special Counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.
The Comey Rule premieres on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime. For more on the series, all your favorite shows and more, keep it locked to PopCulture.com!