It opens with a wide shot of the campus of Pat Robertson’s Regent University in Virginia. A bright, driven, earnest and very blond recent law school grad throws her duffel bags into the trunk of her American-made car and heads to Washington, just as the town finds itself in the red-state reverie of a neo-conservative revolution. Connections from school help her land a gig working on research for the GOP. From there she moves quickly to an entry-level public affairs gig at the Justice Department, then further up the ranks to an influential post that keeps her in touch with federal prosecutors night and day. At just 33!
Monica has her Mary Tyler Moore moment of throwing her wool cap up as high as she can inside the Capitol rotunda dome. Dissolve into a quick-cut montage of scenes of Goodling rushing around her office, looking very officious, writing emails, answering phones, keeping tabs on who returns her calls, and how quickly, and gasp, even a few visits to the White House Rose Garden. After the 2004 election she’s sitting pretty, expecting only blue skies ahead, and then wham! Heavy minor chord strikes, and it’s what-did-you-know-and-when-did-you-email-it time.
Suddenly, her cell phone is ringing off the hook. Scruffy Washington Post reporters are hiding out in her front yard. She quits her beloved job, lays low for a while, takes the fifth on the advice of her earnest, paternal (but totally platonic) lawyer, and then, after a long talk with her mother and father, she takes the immunity deal. The night before she’s due to testify before a House committee, she washes her hair, goes to bed early, falling asleep reading the “Book of Virtues.” The next morning, she pastes on her million-dollar smile and proceeds to charm a House congressional hearing as she drops small bombshells, leavened by that smile, that tighten the noose on one of the President’s men.
Finally, after the scene where she fights her way through a throng of reporters and cameras and liberals shouting rude things at her, inside of a week she’s landed a shampoo-endorsement contract, a book deal and a hosting gig on MSNBC.
I see “West Wing’s” Janel Moloney as the lead.
(Goodling photo credit: AP Photo)