Two decades, four administrations, and even another impeached president later, the story of President Bill Clinton's impeachment will finally be told by the person most impacted by the years-long crisis. Not only does the latest season of American Crime Story center Monica Lewinsky's voice, but it was produced by the writer and advocate whose name and reputation were smeared in the lead-up to and wake of the trial. Ryan Murphy, an executive producer of the American Crime Story anthology series, told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 that he'd previously toyed with the idea of an impeachment season, but ultimately pushed it back. When he ran into Lewinsky at a Hollywood party, he explained why.
"I told her, 'Nobody should tell your story but you, and it’s kind of gross if they do,'" Murphy said. "'If you want to produce it with me, I would love that, but you should be the producer, and you should make all the goddamn money.'"
Fast forward a year, and Murphy announced that he and Lewinsky would be co-producing ACS: Impeachment. "We met for dinner," Lewinsky told InStyle. "He talked about what the intentions were with the series, and that they were very interested in coming at this from the perspectives of the women. That was not how history had been told before, and that was very compelling to me." She didn't make the decision lightly, but she also said that Murphy made it "easy" to say yes.
For ages, the story of the impeachment trial was told via narratives crafted by powerful people — usually men — instead of women like Lewinsky and Paula Jones, who alleged Clinton exposed himself to her in 1991. But ACS' retelling flips the script and focuses on Lewinsky, Jones, and Linda Tripp, the coworker who recorded Lewinsky and exposed details of the former White House intern's relationship with Clinton. The season is about an impeachment, but it's also about the way women were (and often still are) vilified by the public, their stories and trauma manipulated for political gains and punchlines. Here's everything to know and remember about the familiar (and less familiar) women of ACS: Impeachment.