As one of the biggest political scandals in recent memory, Watergate has had its fair share of film and TV adaptations. But while plenty fixed their eyes on President Richard Nixon and his men, only a handful focused on the surrounding but equally vital participants. Gaslit seems like an attempt to fix that—it’s a political thriller that looks at the affair’s forgotten players and examines how their seemingly trivial actions formed ripples and grew into the massive wave that brought a presidency to an end.
One such player, the main one in this limited series, is Martha Mitchell, played to jumpy perfection by Julia Roberts. Previously dismissed as a hysterical gossip, here Martha is finally given her due as a political whistleblower. Sean Penn, Shea Whigman, and Betty Gilpin make up an all-star cast, but along with Roberts, it’s Dan Stevens who really steals the show. He’s a chameleon as junior counsel John Dean, deeply immersed in the character’s confused but well-meaning intentions.
Another thing that sets Gaslit apart from the others is its self-aware humor. It has a bumbling quality to it—where others replay the infamous break-in with solemnity, Gaslit pokes fun at its absurdity. It's a series that knows when to be serious and when to dole out the jokes, making it a finely balanced and refreshing political drama.