The Plot Against America

Series | English | 1 season (6 episodes). Each episode is between 55 and 60 minutes | Original Release: 2020


The Plot Against America is an alternate history TV series taking place in the years before the U.S. entry into World War II. In 1940, the isolationist and national hero Charles Lindbergh just defeated Roosevelt, who was seeking his third term as President. We see the  changing world through the lives of the Levin family, an upper-class Jewish family living in Newark, New Jersey. The family is headed by Herman, a headstrong insurance executive who considers Hitler evil and Lindbergh anti-Semitic. His wife, Bess, fears that Herman’s outbursts may bring trouble to the family. Trying to make sense of all this are their two bright sons, Sandy (a talented artist) and Philip (an ardent stamp collector). When Bess’s sister, Evelyn, become engaged to Rabbi Lionel Begelsdorf, an ambitious Lindbergh supporter and apologist, the family is torn further. Rabbi Begelsdorf believes Hitler is not going to cause Americans any trouble  and that Lindbergh is a good man and definitely not anti-Semitic. Writers and creators Ed Burns and David Simon adapted the 2004 novel by Philip Roth in a way that gives viewers much needed reflection: Can something like all this happen again in the world today? 

Winona Ryder (Evelyn Finkel) / Zoe Kazan (Elizabeth “Bess” Levin) / Morgan Spector (Herman Levin) / John Turturro (Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf) / Azhy Robertson (Philip Levin) / Caleb Malis (Sandy Levin) / Ben Cole (Charles Lindbergh)
Why Stream This Film?
Hitler was on the rise in Europe. The handwriting was on the wall. The world was becoming dangerous. But many of the isolationists and white-supremacists in the U.S. were turning the other way, giving evil a free hand. William Shirer, CBS correspondent in Berlin during Hitler’s rise, wrote the following in his book, The Nightmare Years- 1930-1940.  “Some of my old acquaintances—who had been ardent liberals and socialists, pacifists, and freewheeling in their passion for freedom, for poetry, for music, for the latest novels and biographies—were full of the Nazi bug. They addressed me solemnly about Germany’s destiny under the Fuhrer, the rebirth of the Fatherland, the necessity for a strong and virile nation. I could scarcely believe that these were the same Germans that I had once liked and admired.” It happened then. The film series, “The Plot Against America,” hints it can happen again.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 87%
  • Metacritic Score: 81
  • Film critics predict  The Plot Against America will win multiple Emmys.


HBO’s excellent mini-series, THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, is the kind of nuanced, detailed storytelling we should expect from creators Ed Burns and David Simon. Philip Roth’s story brilliantly captures an American society in decline as it allows fascism and hatred to weave its way into the national consciousness.
Brian Tallerico

Simon and Burns craft their story with remarkable texture, tracking the nation’s downward spiral from inside a besieged family’s living room. Zoe Kazan’s performance is a masterpiece of emotional precision, carefully balancing fear and frustration behind steely parental reserve. It’ll be wrong if she doesn’t get an Emmy.
Darren Franich

Entertainment Weekly

HBO’s six-part adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2004 alternate-history novel, THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, is as deeply disturbing as it is brilliantly compelling. Simon and Burns are to be commended for not only fashioning such an engrossing and provocative drama, but also for assembling a top-to-bottom standout cast.
Mark Dawidziak

Cleveland Plain Dealer



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