Gaslit—new Julia Roberts drama will focus on the forgotten women involved in Nixon’s Watergate scandal

Gaslit is the new Julia Roberts drama revisiting Watergate, the scandal that brought down Nixon’s presidency

Gaslit will tell the lesser-known stories involved in Watergate
(Image credit: Starz)

Julia Roberts headlines a new series exploring Watergate, the scandal which brought down Nixon’s presidency.

The Watergate scandal centered on President Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President ordering the break-in and bugging of a Democratic party convention. While there’s never been proof Nixon ordered the crimes himself, it has long been established that he created an environment in which criminality was acceptable and even encouraged, and actively participated in covering up the crime.

As reporter Bob Woodward reported, White House aide Charles Colson said to Nixon once, "We did a hell of a lot of things and never got caught."

However, those stories have been told and re-told countless times over. There were other people affected and involved in the scandal who have often been left out of the history books, and that is something the new Julia Roberts drama will explore.

What is Gaslit about?

Though the series will tell the story of Nixon’s Watergate, this time, the women take more of a focus.

The protagonists of the series will be husband and wife, John and Martha Mitchell.

Martha Mitchell is described as "a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell," who's described by the official Starz synopsis as "a big personality with an even bigger mouth. Despite her party affiliation, she’s the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, causing both the Presidency and her personal life to unravel.”

Julia Roberts plays Martha Mitchell

(Image credit: Getty/Starz)

Gaslit is based on the first season of Slate's Slow Burn podcast, which focused on the lesser-known stories of Watergate.

As showrunner Robbie Pickering explained on a press tour for the show, "The women in this scandal have been kind of ignored, for the Woodwards and Bernsteins and Nixons and Deans. Not many people know Martha's story, and that's kind of a tragedy, and I hope after this they will."

Creator Sam Esmail added that for him, redressing this imbalance was integral to making the series. "I don't think it’s a mistake that the women who played an instrumental role in this scandal were ignored and silenced," he said.

“That’s one of the reasons why I found the story compelling when I listened to the Slow Burn podcast, that this was clearly by design. For me, that's the perspective shift that this story takes on."

Who is the cast of Gaslit?

Gaslit is spearheaded by Julia Roberts and Sean Penn, who play Martha and John Mitchell.

It is the first time Julia is returning to a TV series since 2018’s Homecoming, which aired on Amazon Prime Video.

Gaslit has a star-studded cast, including Sean Penn, Julia Roberts and Dan Stevens

(Image credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for STARZ)

The cast also includes Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as John Dean, GLOW’s Betty Gilpin as Mo Dean, and Boardwalk Empire’s Shea Whigham as G. Gordon Liddy.

Armie Hammer was originally expected to play the role of John Dean, but dropped out of filming just weeks before a series of sexual misconduct and assault allegations emerged against him. (Hammer has denied all allegations).

How to watch Gaslit

Gaslit will premiere on Sunday, April 24 on Starz at 8pm ET.

You can also stream the first episode with an early stream on Sunday morning (12:01am ET) on and the Starz app.

There will be eight episodes in total, airing weekly on Sunday evenings on Starz.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.