The Watergate Miniseries gas lit premiered in April with a chilling image: a man with a mustache (Shea Whigham) preach about strength and will while burning the flesh of his hand over an open flame. It was an ominous introduction not only to Nixon’s political scandal, but also to the dangerous figure who was the mastermind: G. Gordon Liddy.
Sunday’s penultimate episode, “Year of the Rat,” further illustrates this infamous real-life figure—the attorney turned Nixon loyalist who chose prison over testifying about his activities before the White House. (“My father didn’t raise a snitch or rat,” he told the… LA Times†Even after jail – 52 months of a commuted term, including more than 100 days of solitary confinement – Liddy showed no remorse for his involvement. He even said, “I’d do another Watergate in a heartbeat, but with a much better crew.”
The episode dramatizes Liddy’s prison years, as described in his wild 1980 memoir, Shall– the brutally violent fighting, the legal advice he gave his prisoners, and the maddening hours he spent in isolation. But the real story of G. Gordon Liddy – which defies the limits of any ensemble miniseries – is even more incredible.
Before joining Nixon’s White House, Liddy worked as an FBI agent and was notorious internally for two reasons: he did a background check on his wife before marrying her and was caught by police doing an undercover “task job” in Kansas City. , according to J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets. (He was released, rumored to be, after calling a local police chief.)
The Nixon White House hired Liddy to lead the clandestine “plumbers” unit and later work as a strategist for the president’s reelection campaign. While in these roles, Liddy helped devise a host of often far-fetched plots to discredit Nixon’s opponents and thwart the 1972 Democratic National Convention. The New York Times.
“The Watergate break-in was one of Liddy’s plans that he called Operation Gemstone, and believe it or not, it wasn’t his craziest idea,” explains. gas lit co-executive producer Amelia Gray, who wrote Sunday’s episode. “He wanted to hire sex workers, put them on a houseboat off the coast of Miami during the Democratic National Convention, and imprison them with the Democrats.” The plot, which Liddy revealed in Shall, concerned a king size bed “with a mirror on the ceiling above”.
Other ridiculous pitches, according to Gray, included “because”[ing] to sabotage the AC units at the DNC, to astroturf counter-demonstrations to attract media attention and disgust ordinary Americans. He wanted to break in [Edmund] Muskie’s campaign agency and also [George] McGovern’s office on Capitol Hill. And oddly enough, he wanted to fund Shirley Chisholm’s presidential campaign, to split the party in New York. So he claimed anyway. His proposals came in on a budget of $1 million, $6.7 million today. I mean, it was crazy.”