'Impeachment: American Crime Story' Teaser Tracks Monica Lewinsky Through The Halls Of The White House

FX viewers will soon be able to revisit the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and the third to last U.S. presidential impeachment in the aptly titled Impeachment: American Crime Story, which has just released its first dramatic teaser trailer.

Impeachment represents the third season of the Emmy-winning, true-crime anthology series, American Crime Story, which began in 2016 with 10 episodes focused on another '90s media circus, the so-called "trial of the century," The People v. O.J. Simpson. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the showrunners behind American Horror Story, serve as two of the executive producers here, while Monica Lewinsky herself serves as one of the co-producers this season. Written by Sarah Burgess, Impeachment is an adaptation of the book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President by Jeffrey Toobin.

See the Impeachment: American Crime Story teaser trailer below.

Impeachment: American Crime Story Teaser

The teaser follows 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein, face unseen) into the Oval Office, where President Bill Clinton (Clive Owen, glimpsed from afar) spins around in his chair at the Resolute desk. She's smuggling a box with a personalized gift in it: a gold-and-navy necktie and a note with his name on it.

"Bill." They're on a first-name basis, which contrasts with how the outside receptionist addresses him. She buzzes the intern in with the words, "Mr. President, Ms. Lewinsky's here to see you."

The teaser reminds us that this is "based on a true story." The setting is Washington D.C. in 1995. Funnily enough, this was the year after Kevin Smith's Clerks predicted the future national discourse surrounding the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Smith's explicit dialogue dramatized the semantics of what constitutes "sex" versus fellatio; and in a surreal twist of fate, people and pundits of all stripes would soon be having similar conversations about what the President of the United States did or did not do with his intern.

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman," Clinton famously said. "These allegations are false."

The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal once turned Lewinsky into a punchline for late-night talk show hosts, but Impeachment promises to shine a light on her side of the story. Deadline notes that the series will be framed "through the eyes of the women at the center of the events," including Linda Tripp, played by Sarah Paulson, and Paula Jones, played by Annaleigh Ashford. Paulson already made viewers empathize with Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor in the Simpson murder case, thanks to her stellar work in the first season of American Crime Story.

Walking the Mile with Monica

It would be a few years before Lewinsky found herself pushed into the national spotlight — along with the seemingly innocuous necktie. Via The Washington Post, she appeared before a federal grand jury on August 6, 1998, and testified that "she engaged in numerous sexual liaisons with President Clinton at the White House." As reported by CNN later that month, Lewinsky told prosecutors that she gave the president neckties and sent notes asking him to wear them "as a demonstration that he was thinking of her."

Coincidentally, or perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Clinton made a public show of wearing that same necktie in the Rose Garden the day Lewinsky gave her grand jury testimony. The New York Times noticed his conspicuous attire that day, and in a headline about it, asked the American public: "Did President Send Lewinsky a Signal With His Necktie?"

The teaser trailer for Impeachment: American Crime Story sends some very clear signals about how the show will approach this story. The perspective here is Lewinsky's. As they say in The Green Mile, we're "walking the mile" with her in her shoes.

A Dark Hour Amid White Noise

You young'uns may think presidential impeachments are a dime a dozen, but back in the late '90s, an impeachment was still a rather rare event. As in: only likely to happen once a century. We millennials and Gen Xers would all gather around a thing called the TV set and shake our heads in mortification and frustration at the sight of the president of the United States waving his finger, making emphatic denials of guilt or any wrongdoing. It was a dark hour in American history, back when you could still theoretically see through all the white noise and remember what happened in the news cycle more than a week ago.

Whatever your political persuasion, those of us who are old enough to have lived through the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal can only shake our heads at the sorry state of national affairs that led to it and has led to two more presidential impeachments in the last two and a half years.

This is your daily reminder, America, that two impeached presidents, Clinton and Trump, the Democrat and the Republican, were associated with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender, seen last year in the Netflix documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. That's not to say they're guilty by association just for having known him or having run in the same social circles. It's just to say that sometimes we have bad guys befriending presidents and/or running around in the halls of power themselves.

There are sometimes impressionable young interns walking those halls, too. Impeachment: American Crime Story premieres on September 7, 2021.