By Nora Quintanilla
New York City, Apr 18 (EFE).- New television drama series “Gaslit,” whose tagline is “Watergate was wrong. Martha was right” and stars Julia Roberts as the woman who drew attention to the 1970s political Watergate scandal, premiered Monday in New York City.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) closed its doors earlier than usual to roll out a red carpet among a collection of ancient Egyptian art, where the cast led by Julia Roberts and Sean Penn, were joined by dozens of celebrities invited to the first viewing.
Roberts plays Martha Mitchell – wife of John Mitchell, attorney general and campaign manager for President Richard Nixon in 1972 -, who exposed the scandal but was ostracized by Republicans and died of cancer a few years later.
The actress arrived at the last minute in a pair of plaid gray shorts and sporting her signature smile and posed with her on-screen husband Sean Pean, unrecognizable in the series under layers of makeup and prosthetics.
The title of the eight-episode series, which goes beyond the scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation, alludes to a form of psychological manipulation which makes the victim question their own sanity.
The Arkansan socialite was held in a hotel room on her husband’s orders in order to prevent her from speaking to the media since she had connected the dots between the burglary at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters and Nixon’s re-election campaign, led by John Mitchell.
The series’ tagline “Watergate was wrong. Martha was right” tries to correct the injustice that gave rise to the “Martha Mitchell effect”, a process by which a psychologist labels a patient’s accurate perceptions as delusional.
Several supporting actors also alluded to this, including Chris Bauer, who plays James McCord, the former CIA agent and one of the five burglars apprehended at the DNC office in the Watergate complex and whom Martha recognized as security chief of the committee in which her husband worked.
“All these men rationalizing their way into crime… it might be worse that they also collectively surrounded this woman, Martha Mitchell, who was telling the truth loud and clear, and violently, physically silenced her and retitled her as crazy and insane,” the actor told EFE.
The series, which premieres on Apr. 24 on the Starz television channel, is directed by Matt Ross and based on the podcast Slow Burn by journalist Leon Neyfakh on the forgotten characters and stories of the scandal. EFE