Showtime's two-part miniseries The Comey Rule almost didn't premiere before the 2020 presidential election. The cable network originally slated the four-hour drama for late November, but shortly after creator Billy Ray publicly expressed his "disappointment" with the scheduling decision, Showtime reversed course and moved up the premiere of The Comey Rule to late September. Now, Ray is speaking out about why it was so important to him that The Comey Rule air before the 2020 election.
Speaking to the press on Thursday alongside several members of the cast of The Comey Rule, Ray said that while he did not "make this series to change people's votes," he does hope the show will have an impact on voters. "The reason that I did this was because I felt like the Russians had had a profound and unhappy effect on our political process in 2016, and I wanted Americans to know about that before they headed to the polls in 2020," Ray said.
Lead actor Jeff Daniels, who portrays James Comey, added that the project "mattered" to him because he felt that Comey had been misconstrued by the public. "Sometimes you gotta dive deeper, and this is a deep dive into why Comey did what he did. Also, you find out he was an apolitical guy, really tried to stay true to that," Daniels said. "I felt also that he was vilified certainly by Trump. That was the only part of this story we knew, Trump's version, that he was a liar. OK, here's the other side. You decide. See you on November 3."
Michael Kelly, who portrays former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, said of his decision to join the project, "I did not do this to sway anyone's vote, but I do think it's important -- I don't care what side of the aisle you're on -- to be as informed as you can be."
Steven Pasquale portrays former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was instrumental in the prosecution of Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI. Pasquale said that there's an "information war" in cable news that has attempted to downplay the investigation into Donald Trump's ties to Russia. The Comey Rule, Pasquale said, "remind[s] people that FBI people have to do things by the book" and that they were all "radically competent people."
The first part of The Comey Rule centers on the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, when then-FBI Director James Comey oversaw the Bureau's probe of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and was criticized for the timing and substance of his public comments on the matter, along with his potential impact on the election itself. The drama also chronicles the agency's reaction to finding Russian ties within Donald Trump's (played by Brendan Gleeson) campaign and Trump's infamous post-inauguration demands that Comey show him "loyalty."
The Comey Rule will air on back-to-back nights, Sunday, Sept. 27 and Monday, Sept. 28, at 9/8c on Showtime.