Based on James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty, The Comey Rule is a two-part political drama that focuses on events relating to the 2016 USA presidential election, and Comey’s role as FBI director that were crucial to the final result, i.e. Donald Trump’s victory.
The protagonist of the limited series is, of course, James Comey (Jeff Daniels) and the story spends most of its time portraying Comey as kind, generous and a people person but also arrogant and naive in the political sphere.
It does appear that Comey had the best of intentions but his belief in his own moral superiority blinded him to the political realities of the situation. Daniels does an excellent job in conveying that dichotomy and the conflict that Comey had to struggle with in difficult circumstances.
Plot-wise, there are no surprises here as the narrative sets out basically events that have been reported in the media countless times since 2016. Thus, the story is very boring, being reduced to “this happened on this date and then that happened”. The predictable response to the story is “meh”.
Thus, the fact-of-the-matter delivery strips all drama and tension from the story whatsoever. And once that happens, then the story completely loses audience engagement.
Well, to be fair, there is a creative decision in using the former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a framing device of sorts but it’s not too effective. Mainly because, most of the viewers would be aware of the facts and thus again, no twist, no surprise and thus, no engagement!
Also, there is a pointed contrast between the FBI team – trying so hard to do the right thing – and the group behind Trump – unscrupulous and unethical to the max! The fact that the latter are victorious while the former end up as losers, perhaps accurately describes this entire debacle as an American tragedy.
In the final analysis, what is The Comey Rule really about, what is it trying to say? Don’t make the same mistake twice and re-elect Trump? Or perhaps it’s about how expecting Trump (and the GOP) to play by the rules is foolishness?
If so, then The Comey Rule does not go far enough. If the producers of The Comey Rule believe that this limited series can have an impact on the election outcomes, then they are as blind as Comey himself. If Trump does get re-elected, then Comey will be remember by history as the man who allowed democracy to be destroyed under his watch.
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