Hilary will have a lot of explaining to do.
Ryan Murphy’s anthology series “American Crime Story” debuted in 2016 with “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” A second installment, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” arrived two years later. In these initial series, which won 16 Emmy Awards between them, the crimes at issue were obvious: the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman; the killing of Versace.
In “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” which premieres Sept. 7 on FX, the offenses are more ambiguous.
Set in the 1990s, the 10-episode series revisits the miasma of scandal and innuendo that shrouded the Clinton White House: Paula Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton; Clinton’s sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky; Lewinsky’s friendship with Linda Tripp; and the tangle of lies, half-truths and illicit recordings that were ultimately detailed in the Starr Report, the infamous and lurid document prepared by the independent counsel Kenneth Starr. The report led the House of Representatives, in 1998, to impeach President Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The Senate, declining to remove him from office, found him not guilty.
But those high crimes and misdemeanors didn’t especially interest the creators of “Impeachment.”
“To me, the crime is that Monica, Linda and Paula had no control over how they were perceived,” said Sarah Burgess, an executive producer who wrote most of the episodes. Burgess, a playwright, studied the media coverage of these women: the late-night punch lines, the drive-time banter, the scathing opinion columns. “It was unbelievable, the hate,” she said.