By James Hibberd
July 29, 2020 at 06:41 PM EDT
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Showtime's trailer for its upcoming docudrama The Comey Rule gives a first look at its political thriller based on the 2016 election.

The footage includes Jeff Daniels as former FBI Director James Comey and Brendan Gleeson as President Donald Trump.

The limited series made headlines in June when the network initially scheduled the drama to air after the general election on Nov. 3, promoting The Comey Rule filmmaker Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) to publicly protested the decision. Showtime then rescheduled the series to air Sunday, Sept. 27 and Monday, Sept. 28.

The project is based on Comey’s bestselling book A Higher Loyalty as well as additional interviews with several of the major players.

The two-part, four-hour series is described as "an immersive, behind-the-headlines account of the historically turbulent events surrounding the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, which divided a nation."

The drama begins by examining the FBI's investigations into Hillary Clinton's emails and Russian interference in the election, before heading into "a virtual day-by-day account" of the early months of Trump's presidency and his tumultuous relationship with Comey. Costars include Holly Hunter as former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Michael Kelly as former FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Jennifer Ehle as Patrice Comey, Jonathan Banks as former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, Kingsley Ben-Adir as President Obama, and Peter Coyote as Robert Mueller.

"We all were hoping to get this story in front of the American people months before the coming election," read Ray's protest letter, according to Deadline. "And that was a reasonable expectation considering that we’d been given a mandate by the network to do whatever was necessary to deliver by May 15. But at some point in March or April, that mandate changed. Word started drifting back to me that a decision about our airdate had been made at the very highest levels of Viacom: all talk of our airing before the election was suddenly a 'non-starter.' I and my fellow producers asked for a chance to plead our case on the matter, but we were told that even the discussion itself was a 'non-starter' ... Why? I don’t know. The health of a media company depends on attracting audiences — and our movie, aired in August of an election year, would have been very big news. Can you imagine the billboards? Comey Vs. Trump! A cast loaded with Emmy winners! Yet here we are...." 

Ultimately, of course, Ray prevailed and the date was changed.

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