The kiss that shaped history and sparked a notorious affair between former president Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky was brought to television in the latest instalment of Impeachment: American Crime Story.
The sophomore episode, entitled The President Kissed Me, showed the moment the romance began, after hinting at it during the season premiere a week earlier.
The anthology series is based on the scandal that mired Clinton’s pregnancy: his secret, months-long affair with former intern Lewinsky.
It’s the third American Crime series for FX, which previously aired documentaries on the OJ Simpson trial, and the assassination of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace outside his Miami home.
In the latest episode of its new series, Lewinsky is seen getting closer to Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), telling her about the affair – something she would later learn to regret.
By sharing details of the affair with then-friend Tripp, Lewinsky ultimately sealed the political fate of Clinton, who was impeached in 1998 for lying to a grand jury about their seedy romance.
First kiss: Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein) and Bill Clinton (Clive Owen) shared their first kiss in the second episode of Impeachment: American Crime Story
Clive Owen plays the former president, while Beanie Feldstein stars as his secret lover.
Last week’s premiere set up how Lewinsky and Tripp first met, with Lewinsky sent to work at the Department of Defense, just as Linda was sent there after working in the White House.
Episode two began November 13, 1995, a date that in reality marked the beginning of the affair, which started after Lewinsky gave the president a glimpse of her thong.
At the time, the government was weeks into a shutdown, and Lewinsky was among those tasked with answering phones in the White House.
In the episode, she and other interns were told that they would be working with people who are running the country, and are told to ‘please be professional.’
Lewinsky was sent to deliver something to George Stephanopoulos, when she met Clinton for the first time.
It’s in his kiss: The sophomore episode, entitled The President Kissed Me, showed the moment the couple’s affair truly began, after hinting at it during the season premiere a week earlier
Their eyes met: Lewinsky is sent to deliver something to George Stephanopoulos, when she meets President Clinton for the first time
Last week: The premiere set up how Lewinsky and Linda Tripp – played by Sarah Paulson – first met [L]. The actual Linda Tripp [R] is seen in Washington on July 28, 1998
Real life: An official White House photo taken on November 17, 1995 featuring Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky (file photo)
They made small talk as Lewinsky admitted to being nervous, telling the president: ‘I have a huge crush on you.’
Clinton took her badge and said, ‘This could be a problem.’
She returned to her Watergate condo, waking up her mother to tell her: ‘The president kissed me!’
Her mother doesn’t believe her.
Interns: Lewinsky and other interns are told that they will be working with people who are running the country, and told to ‘please be professional’
Huge crush: They make small talk when Lewinsky admits she’s nervous because she has, ‘a huge crush on you’; Real-life Lewinsky is pictured [R] arriving at US Federal court August 6, 1998 in Washington
Problem: President Clinton takes her badge and says, ‘This could be a problem’
Lewinsky in the episode told Tripp that her ‘mystery man’ hadn’t talked to her in 22 days, ‘not that I’m pathologically counting’.
Lewinsky, hoping to take her mind off things, later met with visiting friend Cat (Sarah Catherine Hook).
Lewinsky told her friend that she told Clinton she loved him, and Cat asked how he responded.
Mystery man: The episode picks back up when Lewinsky tells Tripp that the ‘mystery man’ hasn’t talked to her in 22 days, ‘not that I’m pathologically counting’
Confidante: Her friend Cat (Sarah Catherine Hook) comes to visit but Lewinsky remains downtrodden
According to Lewinsky, he replied: ‘That means a lot to me.’
Cat attempted to highlight the problematic relationship.
‘If I’m seeing someone and he only calls me twice a month, I would take that as a sign,’ Cat said, though Lewinsky retorted that he’s the leader of the free world.
Revelations: Lewinsky drops the bombshell to her friend that she told Clinton that she loves him… and Cat asks what he said back
Lewinsky reveals he replied: ‘That means a lot to me.’ Cat then breaks it down how problematic that is
‘Yeah, he’s the most unavailable man on the entire planet,’ Cat conceded.
Lewinsky – who had by then been transferred to the Pentagon – said the president had promised to bring her back to the White House when they won the reelection.
She let it slipped that she had divulged details of the affairs to others as well – including Tripp, the whistleblower who played a pivotal role in bringing the scandal public.
Later, Tripp took Lewinsky antiquing, and Lewinsky admitted feeling as if she were ‘depriving’ herself.
Antiquing: Later, Tripp takes Lewinsky, antiquing where Lewinsky admits she feels she is ‘depriving’ herself
The women bond over their relationship woes, with Tripp quipping she was ‘closed for business’ after the failure of her marriage.
‘I think I’m a lucky woman. I’m very maternal, Monica, that’s why I worry about you sometimes,’ Tripp said, adding that the best thing to come from her marriage was her children.
Lewinsky said she wanted to introduce her own mother to Tripp.
Closed: The ladies bond over their relationship woes – with Tripp claiming she’s ‘closed for business’ after the failure of her marriage
Meet the parents: Lewinsky wants Tripp to meet her mother
On Election Day, Lewinsky watched the news coverage while at the hair salon, and remained glued to the television all day.
She watched through the night, as news anchor Tom Brokaw talked about Clinton’s wife Hillary, and how she gad been under a ‘trial by fire’ in recent years.
The show cut to November 6, the morning after the election, as Lewinsky was seen getting into a taxi, headed to a re-election celebration.
She was photographed in a now-infamous embrace with Clinton.
Big win: Lewinsky keeps watching coverage all night, seeing Clinton projected to win the election over Bob Dole
Support: The show cuts to November 6, the morning after the election, as Lewinsky is seen getting into a taxi headed toward Clinton’s reelection celebration
Hug: Clinton is seen giving Lewinsky that now-infamous hug in front of the cameras
After the hug, he leans in and says something else to her but it’s not heard.
Next, Lewinsky woke up in her bed alone; the president hadn’t called her for two weeks.
Meantime, Tripp caught up with Lewinsky in the workplace cafeteria, but Lewinsky was in no mood to talk, finally revealing that she was not coming back to the office.
Sweet nothings: After the hug, he leans in and says something else to her but it’s not heard
She admitted the affair to her colleague, blurting out: ‘He’s the president. We had an affair. It’s over.’
Tripp peppered her with questions, asking when it started.
Lewinski said it began at public events, and added: ‘when that man focuses his attention on you, the world stops.’
‘For months, it was this flirtation and I didn’t think anything more would happen, and then suddenly (it was) the shutdown and I was working in the White House. And there he was, just a few doors away.’ she said.
No mood: Tripp catches up with Lewinsky in the cafeteria but she’s in no mood to talk, finally revealing that she’s not coming back
She blurts out: ‘He’s the president. We had an affair. It’s over’
Lewinsky says: ‘For months, it was this flirtation and I didn’t think anything more would happen, and then suddenly the shutdown and I was working in the White House. And there he was, just a few doors away’; The real-life Clinton is seen in May 1996 [R]
Flash: In a flashback, Lewinsky inadvertently shows her underwear to the president
Magnetic: ‘It was magnetic, it was unstoppable. I couldn’t breathe around him. It was beyond anything I had ever experienced,’ she says of the connection
Kiss: The pair are seen fliting and kissing in Clinton’s office
She told Tripp that they would find ways to bump into each other and said they exchanged gifts.
‘It was the best nine months of my life,’ Lewinsky said. ‘It was magnetic, it was unstoppable. I couldn’t breathe around him. It was beyond anything I had ever experienced!’
She said that one day she got a call saying she was being moved to the Pentagon because she was seen around him too much.
Fancy seeing you here! She tells Tripp that they would find ways to bump into each other and she says they bought gifts for each other
Too much: Lewinsky explains that one day she got a call saying she was being moved to the Pentagon because she was seen around him too much
Lewinsky admitted that her friends thought she should be institutionalized and she realized that she will never be allowed back to the White House.
She told Tripp she would visit her friend Cat in Portland ‘so I can try to stop thinking about him for one f***ing minute. I feel so stupid’.
She apologized to Tripp for unloading on her. Tripp told her she believed the romance wasn’t over because it was so intense.
‘You’re sitting here in the Pentagon right now because you were a threat, Monica,’ Tripp told her.
She said there were at least 10 women he had something with but they were still there because he didn’t care about them, and that he sent Lewinsky away because he did care.
Threat: ‘You’re sitting here in the Pentagon right now because you were a threat, Monica,’ Tripp tells her
Tripp said she shouldn’t leave town because he would undoubtedly call her.
‘If you miss that, you’re never gonna forgive yourself,’ she warned.
Lewinsky returned home and began unpacking when Clinton called.
She rang Tripp to confirm her suspicions.
Bill calls: Lewinsky gets home and starts unpacking when the phone rings… and it’s Bill
She was right: Lewinsky calls Tripp to tell her Clinton phoned her after all
Meanwhile, Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford) was in the process of suing Clinton for sexual harassment claims dating back to 1991, when he was the governor of Arkansas.
Jones met with lawyers, and brought ‘conservative feminism’ advocate Susan Carpenter McMillan (Judith Light) along.
The lawyers said Clinton’s legal team believed he was immune to lawsuits such as hers, but that the Supreme Court would have the final say.
In another unfolding scene, Ann Coulter (Cobie Smulders) met with boyfriend George Conway (George Salazar) and fellow conservative lawyers Jerome Marcus (James Thomas Gilbert) and Richard Porter (Christopher Wallinger), telling them she just got fired from MSNBC.
She said she was fired for arguing with a, ‘simpering peacenik about landmines in Vietnam’ and told him he was why they lost the war – only to realize he was a Vietnam veteran who lost both of his legs.
Meanwhile: Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford) goes to meet with her lawyers, but brings Susan Carpenter McMillan (Judith Light), who is an advocate for, ‘conservative feminism’
Law chat: The lawyers explain that the president’s lawyers think he’s immune to lawsuits like hers but the Supreme Court is making the final ruling
Ann Coulter (Cobie Smulders) reveals she has been fired
The upside of her firing, she says, is Coulter said she was available to help them with Jone’s lawsuit.
She joked she couldn’t wait for deposition, quipping: ‘Mr. President, what specifically is wrong with your penis?’
Marcus said the suit was not intended to ’embarrass’ the president, but to ‘constrain a president who has engaged in illicit activities.’
Help: The upside of her firing, Coulter says, is she’s available to help them now, as they reveal they’re preparing briefs to help Paula’s lawyers. The real Ann is pictured [R]
Coulter asked what they need her to do, and Conway instructed her to do what she does best, ‘stir the pot’.
He said: ‘This isn’t about justice, it’s about, impeachment!’
Elsewhere, Carpenter McMillan tried to help Jones with her image, in order to boost her own self-belief.
Elsewhere: Carpenter McMillan tries to help Jones with her image, in order to boost her own self-belief
Confidence boost: Jones admits a lack of self-belief; the real Paula Jones is seen in Washington on February 11, 1994 [R]
Sweet but dumb: Carpenter McMillan says Jones is sweet…. ‘But dumb as a rock though’
Lewinsky was later seen at the White House asking the president’s secretary Betty Currie (Rae Dawn Chong) if there was discussion about her returning to the White House.
Currie said: ‘There was talk,’ and that Clinton regarded Lewinsky as ‘a good kid’.
Later, Lewinsky brought Tripp back to her place to show her the red dress she intended to wear to the Inaugural Ball.
Next, Lewinsky is seen at the White House asking the president’s secretary Betty Currie (Rae Dawn Chong) if there was ever talk about her coming back to work at the White House
Red dress: Lewinsky brings Tripp back to her place to show her the red dress she wants to wear to the Inaugural Ball
She told Tripp that Clinton told her in August, when she took the train to New York for an event just to see him, that she reminds him of ‘The Face on Mike Hammer.’
Linda explained that ‘The Face is a reoccurring character in every episode. A woman who shows up every place Mike Hammer goes.’
This worried Lewinsky, and Tripp suggested a pattern between them.
Tripp began compiling a spreadsheet of their interactions.
On Inauguration Day at the Newsweek offices, reporter Michael Isikoff (Danny A. Jacobs), told his boss that there is a volunteer who claimed Clinton kissed and fondled her in the White House.
Documenting: Tripp starts compiling a spreadsheet of Lewinsky and Clinton’s interactions
Leak: The show cuts to Inauguration Day at the Newsweek offices with reporter Michael Isikoff (Danny A. Jacobs), telling his boss that there is a volunteer who claims Clinton kissed and fondled her in the White House
Not political: Jones is accused of making politically motivated claims
Jones was accused of making politically motivated claims in an interview.
The interviewer said that her accusations would do damage to the president, but she said he was the one in the wrong, not her.
After, Carpenter McMillan told her she was proud of her interview.
Jones said she didn’t think anyone has called her great before.
Meanwhile, Lewinsky went to the president’s radio address, and caught a glimpse of Clinton before he spoke.
Attack: The interviewer says Jone’s accusations will do damage to the president but she says he is the one in the wrong, not her
Radio: Lewinsky goes to the president’s radio address, catching a glimpse of Clinton
Special book: Clinton tells her he ‘missed her smile’ and thanks her for ‘all the neat gifts’. He gives her a hat pin, saying she, ‘always looks so cute in hats,’ and he says she should open the other gift later. She says she wants to open it now with him there. She does so. It is a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves Of Grass
Clinton told her he ‘missed her smile’ and thanked her for ‘all the neat gifts’.
He gave her a hat pin, saying she, ‘always looks so cute in hats,’ and said she should open the other gift later.
She instead opened it on the spot, revealing the gift to be a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves Of Grass.
Clinton said he found the poetry collection at a Miami bookshop, and bought it for.
‘Don’t you dare, for one minute, believe the reason you haven’t been asked to come visit is ’cause I didn’t want it,’ Clinton told her.
Romantic? Clinton tells her that, while in Miami, he found a bookshop where he got the book for Lewinsky
‘You know, the moment I saw you today, I wanted to get you in here alone as fast as I could,’ he said, adding: ‘I just don’t want to get addicted to you, and I don’t want you to get addicted to me.’
He said he has thought about all the men who have hurt her, and told her: ‘We have to be really careful.’
Meanwhile, Tripp received a visit from Michael Isikoff from Newsweek, who wanted to ask her a few questions.
Isikoff asked if she knew a woman named Kathleen Willey and Tripp relied that she worked at the White House, ‘for many years at a very high level’.
Questions: Tripp gets a visit from Michael Isikoff from Newsweek
Bigger story: Tripp is upset and tells Isikoff, ‘There is a much bigger story. Much bigger than this. You’re barking up the wrong tree!’
Willey told him that she experienced an ‘unwanted sexual advance from the president’ and that Tripp could back up her story, which angered Tripp.
‘I can’t imagine why anyone would care about Kathleen,’ she said, as Isakoff mentioned she might be part of the Jones case.
Tripp told the reporter: ‘There is a much bigger story. Much bigger than this. You’re barking up the wrong tree!’
Impeachment: American Crime Story returns with an all new episode Tuesday, September 21 at 10 PM ET on FX.
Return: Impeachment: American Crime Story returns with an all new episode Tuesday, September 21 at 10 PM ET on FX
As the 10-episode series continues, viewers can expect more twists and turns, including Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, Tripp’s secret recordings, and a settlement on Jones’ sexual harassment case.
Those who don’t yet know how the story ends will find out during the November 9 season finale.
Timeline: Clinton, Lewinsky and the scandal that almost brought down a president
January 20, 1993: Bill Clinton is inaugurated as the nation’s 42nd president
May 6, 1994: Former Arkansas employee Paula Jones files a sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton, claiming he propositioned her three years earlier when he was state governor
June 1995: Lewinsky begins working as a White House intern for the chief of staff
November 15, 1995: Amidst a government shutdown, Lewinsky is called in to help man the phone lines. A surprise birthday party for a White House staffer unfolds, and Lewinsky gives the president a peek of her thong. The two snuck off to kiss in his private study, and reunited later that evening for a steamier encounter
November 17, 1995: Lewinsky delivers Clinton a slice of pizza, at his request, to his private study and performs oral sex while he takes a phone call
December 1995: She begins working for pay as an employee at the White House’s legislative affairs office
December 31, 1995: The tryst continued when Lewinsky bumped into the president outside the Oval Office. She said they snuck into the study together for a third intimate encounter
April 5, 1996: The on-again, off-again illicit affair continues, but Lewinsky is transferred to the Pentagon by her boss, who thinks she is too friendly with the president
February 28, 1997: Lewinsky accompanies Clinton to a radio show, poses for a picture with him, and later meets him in his study for sex. The sexual encounter, the first in nearly a year, leaves a semen statin on Lewinsky’s blue dress
May 27, 1997: The Supreme Court allows Jones’ civil lawsuit against Clinton to move forward
July 4, 1997: More than two years into their secret romance, Lewinsky warns Clinton about an impending article that includes claims of Clinton groping a woman in the White House. Linda Tripp’s name enters the narrative, after it’s revealed the Pentagon employee tipped Lewinsky off about the Newsweek piece.
September, 1997: Lewinsky dishes the salacious details of her affair to colleague Tripp, not knowing she’s being recorded
December 19, 1997: Lewinsky is subpoenaed to testify in the Jones lawsuit
January 5, 1998: Clinton and Lewinsky engage in their final telephone call, during which they strategize how she should respond to questions during the Jones trial
January 7, 1998: Lewinsky signs an affidavit in the Jones case, claiming she never had sex with the president
January 17, 1998: Clinton, who was deposed to testify in the case, denied having ‘sexual relations’ with Lewinsky
January 1998: Tripp, after learning of Lewinsky’s signed affidavit, turned over her secret recordings to lawyer Ken Starr, who was investigating the president on unrelated matters
July 28, 1998: Lewinsky hands over the now-infamous blue dress, which Tripp previously convinced her not to dry clean, and agrees to testify before a grand jury in exchange for transactional immunity
August 17, 1998: Clinton admits to his inappropriate relationship with Lewinsky, and is later impeached for his dishonest grand jury statements