In HuffPost TV Critic Maureen Ryan's review of "Political Animals" (Sun., 10 p.m. ET on USA), she called the dynamic between Sigourney Weaver and Carla Gugino "one of the main pleasures" of the series. Those strong female roles were prominently on display in the premiere of the political mini-series.
Weaver plays Elaine Hammond, a character "inspired by" Hillary Clinton. In this world, her husband Bud Hammond was a two-term president who cheated on her, while Elaine fell short in the primary and accepted the role of secretary of state. All of that rings as very familiar.
The gay son with a substance abuse problem and the other son who's the "good boy" are more unique to the story, as is Elaine demanding a divorce from her husband after her failed presidential bid, but the most dynamic element thus far is the relationship between Elaine and journalist Susan Berg (Gugino). Susan rode the scandal of Bud's infidelity to a Pulitzer, and managed to blackmail her way into a week by Elaine's side by threatening to reveal a suicide attempt by the aforementioned troubled son.
Toward the end of this premiere, though, Susan has lost the leverage through every fault of her own. She's sleeping with her editor and she told him the suicide story. He, in turn, gave it to a young upstart colleague of hers he was also sleeping with, and suddenly Elaine had no reason to keep her around.
But ultimately the two women found themselves uncomfortable allies, each discovering that they can use the other for their own gain. That's the uglier side of getting things done, a dark side of power politics that "Political Animals" will explore this season.
"Political Animals" continues Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on USA.
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