TV Recap: “Impeachment: American Crime Story” Episode 9 – “The Grand Jury” (FX)

Monica Lewinsky takes the spotlight back in “The Grand Jury,” the ninth and penultimate episode of Impeachment: American Crime Story. As the title suggests, the core of the episode is all about Monica and Linda Tripp getting questioned, but we also get a dose of Paula Jones in this episode. Here’s a detailed recap of everything that happened in this episode.

(Tina Thorpe/FX)

(Tina Thorpe/FX)

Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson) has been living at a hotel to hide from the press that were waiting outside of her house, getting recognized by other guests as she gets annoyed with them for not using the waffle iron correctly during the included breakfast. From her hotel room, we see her leave a frustrated voice message for her boss, Ken Bacon (Jim Rash) about how she was asked to make a report detailing how to do her job and she’s been waiting for a month for a box of things from her desk that she needs to create the report. On TV, she sees Lucianne Goldberg (Margo Martindale) talk about how she hasn’t been able to speak to Linda Tripp under orders from Judge Starr. She mentions that the media has treated Linda Tripp unfairly, but the interviewer asks “Do you think it’s possible that people don’t like people who tape their friends?”

Allison Tripp (Emma Malouff) brings mail to her mom in the hotel and finds her room full of cut-out newspaper and magazine clippings about Linda with Post-It notes on them. She tells her mom that there were also four voice messages from a reporter with The New Yorker and Linda says she can’t even call her back to say she can’t do interviews or she jeopardizes her immunity deal. Allison asks her mom to come home, saying she’s tired of staying with her dad and arguing that she checks on the house every day and hasn’t seen a reporter on the street in a while. Linda tells Allison it’s not safe and Linda reveals that she’s preparing to make a statement after her testimony.

Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein) buttons up her blazer in the mirror when her mother Marcia Lewis (Mira Sorvino) enters, mentioning how unfair it is that Bill Clinton got to testify at home while she has to be paraded in front of the courthouse. Monica makes a self-deprecating joke that her mother disapproves of and she defends herself, saying the twenty-three jurors likely already hate her. In the background, she sees that Bill Clinton (Clive Owen) is giving a speech on TV and he’s wearing one of the ties she gave him. Marcia believes he’s trying to send a message and Monica turns off the TV, promising that she won’t let it mess her up. As Monica arrives at the courthouse, she is escorted up the steps through a sea of press and protestors hounding her.

Mike Emmick (Colin Hanks) and Karin Immergut (Lindsey Broad) get set up in the courtroom and Karin mentions that she’s excited to finally see a courtroom for the first time since joining Kenneth Starr’s team. Mike calls their boss “Old school” and mentions that she’s there because of the nature of the case. Once they have confirmation that Monica has arrived, they call the jury in and Monica enters, her lawyers waiting in the hall. Forewoman Freda Alexander (Taneka Johnson) swears Monica in and the process begins.

Karin asks Monica to recount how her affair with Bill Clinton began, revealing that she has a baby bump as she stands up and walks out from behind the desk. Monica is embarrassed by the personal nature of the questions and Karin spares her some humility by passing around a document detailing all of the sexual encounters she had with Bill Clinton that were previously documented during her questioning. Tension is lifted somewhat when Karin asks Monica if her relationship with Bill Clinton had a non-sexual component and she describes it. “We enjoyed being with each other. We would tell jokes, talk about our childhoods, current events, sometimes we’d just… we’d just be affectionate.” As Monica goes on, her eyes become teary and Karin asks the Forewoman if they can have a 10-minute break, which is approved.

After the break, Mike asks Monica why she lied under penalty of perjury on her affidavit. “I did not think my private relationship was anyone’s business,” she says. “No one asked me to lie, not the President, not anyone. I made that decision by myself and I wish I hadn’t, to put it mildly.” It’s time for the Grand Jury to ask their questions and Monica finds that she doesn’t get to know their names. They have a lot of questions, including the fact that she has now had affairs with two married men, although she brings up that the media have not correctly portrayed her relationship with Andy Bower. “I know there’s a lot of work I need to do on myself,” she humanizes her character.

Monica is asked if she still loves Bill Clinton and she thinks about it, adding that she didn’t turn on him because she didn’t want him to get hurt. But that his people have thrashed her, publicly calling her a liar and a stalker and describing her behavior as inappropriate. “And then he makes this speech and he says… he makes it seem like all he cares about is how unfair all this has been to him. So to answer your question, it turns out he’s not who I thought he was.” A woman asks about the day the FBI apprehended her and Mike becomes defensive over the question even being asked, but the rest of the jurors agree that they want to hear Monica talk about it. They ask Monica why she didn’t ask for her lawyer and she says she did, becoming uncomfortable by Mike’s presence and asking him to step out of the room. He reluctantly agrees, whispering something to Karin as he exits. She describes that 12-hour day in detail, saying that the agents told her that contacting her lawyer could jeopardize her immunity, that she was told she could leave but also threatened with serving time and having her mother prosecuted. A juror asks if Monica was angry. “Yes, mostly at myself for ending up in this situation and for putting the President at risk and for doing this to my family.” She starts to cry. Karin asks Monica if she wants to add anything to her testimony and she explains that she was never asked to lie, was never offered a job in exchange for her silence, and that she’s sorry for everything that happened. “And I hate Linda Tripp,” she adds. The jury seems to share that opinion already.

Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford) sits on a medical bed, with Susan Carpenter-McMillan (Judith Light) in a chair as Dr. Loeb (Scott Mosenson) explains how rhinoplasty works. When the doctor steps out, Susan asks why Paula’s husband Steve didn’t come, asking if he’s still down over losing his job. Paula says that he believes he was fired by the airline he worked for due to pressure from the Clinton’s, but she thinks it’s because he refused to work the hours they needed him for. Susan asks Paula if she said that to Steve and she says he never listens to her, changing the topic to how excited she is for the procedure so people can stop making fun of her nose on TV.

Linda pulls up to her house, the street quiet, and she goes inside to find rotten potatoes in her cupboard. She reaches for a can of Weight Watchers soup and eats it while opening her mail. Among the items is a copy of The New Yorker with a story inside called “A Portrait of a Whistleblower.” It includes an ugly caricature of her.

Bill and Hillary (Edie Falco) sit together amongst media at the White House watching a Russian Bayan performance, after which Hillary speaks about the common bond between the United States and Russia when it comes to music education for children. She introduces Bill, who makes an attempt at public affection with his wife as she moves past him, rebuking his approach. Afterward, Bill goes to the Oval Office and asks Betty Currie (Rae Dawn Chong) to call the First Lady to come see him. Hillary looks cold as she enters, closing the door when Bill says he has something to say. He tells her that after twenty-five years of marriage, her opinion is still the only one he cares about. “I gave into a disgusting impulse because I didn’t know how to say to my best friend that this job is lonely and I’m worn to the bone and I’m dead inside half the time.” He brings up the tough times they’ve had since he became President and confesses to wanting to disappear when the news broke about Monica, unable to face telling her and Chelsea. He cries as he tells Hillary he loves her. She doesn’t say anything and when it’s clear that he’s done speaking, she opens the door and leaves.

A banker’s box from Linda’s office at last arrives and she is excited to open it, but Allison interrupts when she enters, having read an article that states that her mom was arrested as a teenager and says some damning things about her grandfather. Linda is too concerned with what’s in the box to address her daughter’s concerns, pulling out loose papers and a binder that is falling apart. “None of this is what I asked for,” she says in disbelief, adding “This is a message.” She rushes to the Pentagon and sees that her cubicle is empty on her way to Ken’s office, forcing him to end a call early as he tells her she can’t be there. She slams the box on his desk and demands to know if he oversaw and approved the shipment, referring to what was sent as “Veiled hostility.” He asks her to write down what she needs and she responds that what she needs is to just come back to work like normal. He tells her there’s an investigation because it has come to light that she lied on her Department of Defense security forms when she was first hired, checking a box stating that she’d never been arrested. She tells him it was a teen prank and the charges were dropped, but it changes nothing. “I see now,” she says. “They’re really coming after me.” Linda storms out.

Special Agents Irons (Craig Welzbacher) and Fallon (Brian Maillard) show up at the doorstep of Juanita Broaddrick (Ashlie Atkinson), explaining that they’re just following up on some loose threads for Kenneth Starr. They share that they’re finding that a lot of women are now correcting statements they made on their affidavits that were signed from the Paula Jones lawsuit and wanted to see if she has any amendments to make. They place her affidavit on the table and she looks at it.

Steve Jones (Taran Killam) comes home from a bad audition as Paula gets off the phone with her lawyers. She just found out that a judge has thrown out her case and he asks how much money they get. When she tells him nothing, he gets mad at her, saying they should take the deal, but Paula knows it’s too late and adds that she was prepared to, but he and Susan told her not to. “I only started doing this because you wanted me to, I did all this for you,” she sobs. Steve tells her she sounds stupid with her broken nose and makes fun of her for getting a nose job. “I got a bad nose, which I didn’t even know I had until you made me do this.” she yells, talking about how mean people have been to her on TV. She complains about the shallow nature of people in L.A. and Steve tells her it would be worse back home where everyone knows who she is and what she did. She is stunned that he said that. “I can take this from Jay Leno and people laughing at me at Vons, but from you? You’re supposed to believe me. We are fighting to show people that he did me wrong and in reality all this is…” Her tone becomes louder and angrier. “It’s just me trying to get you to believe me! Which we both know you never did!” Steve grabs his keys and makes for the door, but stops, seemingly waiting for Paula to beg him to stay. She tells him she’s not going to and he slams the door on his way out.

Monica has been called into a conference room by Mike Emmick. She is instructed to listen to all of the tape recordings of her conversations with Linda Tripp and sign off after each one that it is indeed her voice on them. Karin is assigned to stay with Monica while Mike goes to the courthouse.“What’s happening at the courthouse?”, Monica asks.

(Tina Thorpe/FX)

(Tina Thorpe/FX)

Linda Tripp gets sworn in and Mike Emmick is joined by Sol Wisenberg (Jared Gertner) this time. They start with a transcript of what they call “Tape 11” in which Monica and Linda discuss how she’s almost bought Bill enough ties to have one for every day of the week. We see Monica listening to the same tape as the Jury hears everything quoted by Mike, which includes Linda laughing when Monica refers to Bill as “The creep.” They next move to a tape from November of 1997 in which Monica is upset about how long it’s been since she heard from Bill. They jury begin their questioning of Linda Tripp, particularly the contradictions in her statements between making jokes on the recorded calls but saying she feared for Monica’s wellbeing due to the stresses of the relationship she was in. Linda refers to what she did as “Documenting” rather than recording and they ask for more information when she says she did it because she needed evidence. “I knew that if I came forward with no evidence, they would destroy me.” A juror asks who she is referring to and she says Bill Clinton and Hillary. She brings up Vince Foster, saying that she observed frightening behavior in the West Wing after the tragedy. “I am telling you under oath today that I felt threatened and I was angry and I resented it and still do.” A juror asks Linda if she ever considered what would happen to Monica when all of this information became public knowledge. “I thought that if this became public, Monica would not be in any sort of danger.” To that point, the juror asks why she felt that she would be in danger if she made the information public, but why Monica wouldn’t be in that same scenario. “What Monica was going through was extremely unhealthy,” she defends. A juror asks Linda if she feels that Monica’s life is better now.

Linda exits the courtroom looking shaky and upset, holding Allison’s hand as her lawyer leads her outside to meet the press. He announces that Linda won’t be taking questions, but has prepared a statement. She pulls out a speech she wrote and says that she’s just like everyone else. That she was caught up in a situation she didn’t create, asked to commit a felony by a friend, and called a liar to the whole country by the lawyer for the President of the United States. “I’ve been vilified for taking the path of truth.” She mentions that she’s been treated cruelly by the media. “Despite all of that, I bear no malice towards anyone in this case. I believe in our country, as I said, I am no different than any of you. I believe that you have the right to tell the truth under oath without fear of retribution or worse. I hope that when all the facts are revealed, you’ll understand that it is a right all of us should be fighting for.” Before she steps away, the reporters start asking questions about why she did what she did to Monica as her lawyer pulls her away.

Bill Clinton watches the news as Hillary enters, closing the door. He talks about how awful Andrew Johnson was, the only President to ever be impeached before. “Until now,” he adds. Hillary mentions that people have been trying to bring him down for a long time and that every time the GOP makes an effort, his poll numbers go up. Bill says he doesn’t think anybody in the party cares about poll numbers right now. “They just need permission to forgive you, which is something you can’t give them,” she says. “But I can.”

Kenneth Starr (Dan Bakkedahl) asks his team if they have all the perjury interviews when Brett Kavanaugh (Alan Starzinski) rushes in to point out that in Monica’s testimony, she never says anything to meet Bill Clinton’s definition of sexual relations. “We need her under oath in detail on all the sex proving him wrong,” he says. Mike Emmick asks who will get to handle asking her those kinds of questions.

The answer is Karin, who sits alone with Monica in a small room with a tape recorder. Karin is apologetic, saying they need this information for legal reasons. In essence, Monica proves that the President did have “Intent to arouse” when he engaged in these acts with her. Monica also brings up a time when a cigar was used. At the end, Karin asks Monica if she has any reason to want to hurt the President. “No, that is the last thing I want,” Monica says. Karin thanks Monica and praises her for the job she’s done, adding that she hopes this is the last time she has to be called in.

(Tina Thorpe/FX)

(Tina Thorpe/FX)

Starr gives an order that the reports need to all be in by Labor Day so that it doesn’t look like it’s designed to hurt the election. Sol ruses in with Juanita Broaddrick’s new story, having changed her statement to one in which Bill Clinton raped her. Starr can’t fathom a world where she would hide that and seems disinterested in hearing anymore. Sol tries to get him to take a look, but he says that if it’s not perjury or obstruction of justice, he doesn’t care. He adds that it can be a footnote in the appendix of the report. Sol is in disbelief.

Impeachment: American Crime Story comes to an end on Tuesday, November 9th on FX with “The Wilderness.”

The Starr Report brings the world to a standstill. The President is impeached. Linda faces the aftermath of her decisions, Paula makes desperate choices, and Monica considers how to move on with her life.

New episodes of Impeachment: American Crime Story stream the following day on Hulu.

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Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).