Drama series. In August 1961 the Russians move troops into Berlin, though their intentions are unclear. JFK prepares for the possibility that Khrushchev might try to take the city.
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Previously on The Kennedys...
The men that we've married have great gifts and great flaws.
Our president is like his father. The need for sexual conquest borders on addiction.
Jackie, do you think Jack should appoint Bobby as attorney general?
I announce the appointment of Robert F Kennedy
as attorney general.
If Joe Kennedy thinks I'll take orders from that snot-nosed kid...
I would appreciate from now on you addressing me as "general."
You have to be the sounding board for every major decision he makes.
His presidency's in trouble.
Here you go, Mr Sinatra.
Mr Ambassador, good to see you.
Well, you didn't have to dress up just for me.
I got a gig at the Drake. Come on by - I'll set you up.
Some other time. I have to be back in Boston.
Sure, sure. Well, come on back. Sam's waiting for ya.
MAN: What Vinnie knows could hurt us.
We should probably make him disappear.
Sit down, Joe.
So what brings you to town, Joe?
Well, I'm trying to drum up some support for Jack.
Yeah, well, Nixon's smart, too, and he's got experience.
He's not gonna let those Commies run wild.
He and Ike lost Cuba. Cost you millions.
Yeah, it did.
My boy would never let that happen.
This country's been great to us.
We were born in walk-ups, but we both made fortunes.
I want to pay America back.
I want to make Jack Kennedy president
because he'll make this country a better place
for our grandchildren and their children.
It's gonna be an interesting race.
Anyway, Frankie here- he thought, um,
you and me, we should meet, so...so we met.
I want to wish you and your boy all the best.
Thank you, Sam.
I appreciate you seeing me.
Thank you, Francis.
A pleasure, Mr Ambassador. I'm gonna stick around.
Is it true about you and, er, Gloria Swanson?
Huh? What do ya think?
I think you gotta go with Jack. Is that what you think?
I'm in tight with him. He comes to see me in Vegas.
Ooh, we've had some great times, Sam.
He's one of us, and he needs Chicago.
Now you own the precinct captains. They'll get people to the polls -
the cripples and the shut-ins.
And you got the unions.
You get them to help out Jack,
you leave the rest to me.
(LAUGHS) what do you mean, Leave the rest to you?
I'll make sure when Jack gets in, you'll have a pass.
The Feds will leave you and the boys alone.
You can do that?
Not feeling any better?
No. Hell, my body's breaking down.
I'm exhausted all the time.
Phenobarbital not working, sir?
Unh-unh. Ritalin not helping you sleep, either?
I had to move a bed in here, cos I'm keeping my wife awake.
Unfortunately, the Addison disease makes all these symptoms worse.
How's your back pain? Well, it's not going away.
I can't stand for more than 20 minutes or sit for more than five.
If the public knew the shape I was in, they'd boot me out.
The Demerol's a high dose. It should be helping.
Well, it's not. Gettin' hard to lead the country lyin' down.
I'll speak to Dr Runer, but you're on
a pretty comprehensive list of medications -
methadone, Prednisone, hydrocortisone...
Gabapentin to relax the muscles,
methyltestosterone, lomotil for your stomach,
Metamucil, lidocaine, Procaine, Levothyroxine sodium.
Of course, as First Lady, there are so many public obligations.
Naturally, I enjoy them all.
I hope that I represent the country in a way
that will make the people of America proud.
But my most enjoyable obligation is to be a wife and a mother.
I feel that if you aren't there for your children,
nothing else you do matters very much.
Is John asleep?
Yes, ma'am. I've just put him down.
(SIGHS) Damn interview.
Oh, she's asleep as well.
I read to her from The Velveteen Rabbit.
She loves that book.
I know she does.
It's been a long day.
Of course, ma'am. Good night.
Ethel, you think I should use the word, Mafia?
Well, that's who you're going after, isn't it?
No, no. It's, er, it's more than that.
It's, er, it's a whole network of organised crime.
Bobby, You're not a professor.
You're the new sheriff in town. Mafia will get people's attention.
Dad. Joe squirted toothpaste on Courtney's head!
Joe, you smarten up up there!
All right? Next time you do that,
you're gonna-you'll scrape it off her head and use it!
Oh, Bobby. Come on!
They learned this from you.
So is, um... Jack gonna be there for the announcement?
No, I don't think so.
Why is that good?
I think that the organised crime division
is your brainchild. It should be your moment.
I just want to see you get credit for all the hard work you're doing.
Well, thank you, but I get plenty of credit.
RECORD PLAYS "The Bunny Hop"
Mom. Dad. The bunny hop!
One...two... Hop, hop, hop!
One...two... Hop, hop, hop!
One...two... Hop, hop, hop!
Come on, Kennedy! Get in here!
One...two... Hop, hop, hop!
One...two... Hop, hop, hop!
BOBBY: 90% of major racketeers would be out of business
by the end of this year if the ordinary citizen-
the businessman and the union official and the public authority-
stood up to be counted and refused to be corrupted.
The purpose of the organised crime division
is to destroy the cycle of intimidation, corruption,
and violence through which the Mafia has flourished for of half a century.
The justice department, along with the FBI and other agencies,
will not stand by and be aloof. We will act.
Our position is quite clear.
We will be working together to bring us closer to the day
When organised crime and the men who profit from it
will no longer be able to draw strength
from the hard work of law-abiding American citizens,
and I speak to you today in that spirit,
as this is a problem for all America.
Unless the basic attitude changes in this country,
the rackets will prosper and grow. Of this, I am convinced.
In the weeks and months ahead, indictments will be made
which will ultimately bring these criminals to justice
and which will make this country
a better, safer place for all of our citizens.
I thank you.
MEN SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY
Well done, sir.
I, er, had the judges sign off on extending our wiretaps and...
Covered. You said you were gonna make a deal
with your friend Jack Kennedy that if we delivered Chicago,
we'd get a free ride. Now Bobby's comin' after us.
There's nothing to worry about.
He's just throwing out a net, Sam.
It's for the small-time guys. Not for you.
If that bastard comes after me or any of my people,
we're gonna have a big problem. You better tell them that.
'Yeah, I gotta...'
KNOCK ON DOOR
Welcome to the White House, Mr Bolden.
Mr President, it's good to see you again, sir.
And you as well.
You will be the first negro appointed to the presidential protection detail.
Well, I'm honoured, sir.
Well, we're honoured to have you, and you'll report to
Mr Henderson who will have you fill out a hell of a lot of paperwork, and we'll get you started.
Well, thank you, sir.
He's very good.
I, er, I met him on the campaign.
He was in the, er, Chicago office.
Is there a problem?
Mr President, I'm willing to believe he's the best man
since Pinkerton, but are you sure about this?
Because he's a negro?
No, sir. There are men who are more qualified with more experience who deserve to be here.
A negro's never had this opportunity before.
Plus, his record is excellent,
and, er, I'm sure Mr Bolden will be fine.
Sir, there isn't a hotel south of the Mason-Dixon line
that's gonna let him even check in.
That's your problem. He's part of the detail.
He'll be accommodated accordingly. Thank you, Mr Henderson.
Yes, sir, Mr President.
15,000 East Germans are crossing into the American zone every day.
Doctors, lawyers, engineers - their best people.
Obviously Khrushchev wants to stop them.
As you know, sir, we've been monitoring closely
the build-up of Russian troops around Berlin.
The report I read said that it's essentially a benign presence.
To an extent, yes.
I'm sorry. What does that mean exactly?
He's gonna shut down access between the Soviet and American zones.
What are his options to do that?
We don't know that yet.
Well, what the hell's he gonna do, dig a moat around the city?
The field reports are inconclusive at this time.
So when are they going to, er, be conclusive, would you say?
Because right now it's just a problem,
with no real information to help the president solve it.
We're working it out now, Bobby.
Well, if what your field report is suggesting is true
and Khrushchev is going to turn Berlin into a prison,
I think it would be nice if we could actually respond
some time in the near future
Because the alternative is that we are left holding our balls
while the Russians cut off the city like they did in '48.
I understand that, Bobby, and as soon as the information comes in, I can assure you,
the president will have it. Thank you.
Is that it, Mac? It is, sir.
right, keep on this and, Bob, talk to the garrison commanders in Berlin.
Don't want to raise the alert level, but they should know that's a possibility.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Bobby, I want you to talk to Dobrynin at the Soviet embassy.
He should know we would view any interference with those refugees as a deep concern. Right?
This is unbelievable. I mean, why do they even bother coming to the meetings
if they don't have concrete information to help you resolve these issues?
Bobby, I'm glad you're here...
Somebody needs to be the bad guy.
They needn't like me, but they need to have your best interests at heart.
These are qualified people. You can't treat 'em like hired help.
Well, it's ridiculous.
I mean it. All right.
Thank you, Mr Ambassador.
Boy, oh, boy. Jack's doing such a great job.
Everybody on the coast is so proud of him.
He's Hollywood's president.
By the way, I have regards for you from Jack Warner.
He told me to tell you, the next time you're out, you gotta look him up.
So, um, what are you doing here?
Well, a little something's come up.
Uh, I don't think it's a big problem.
I just thought you should know.
You see, Mr Ambassador,
er, it's this thing that Bobby just announced.
I don't know what he calls it - the crime division.
What about it?
It's got some of our friends pretty nervous.
He's not a friend of mine. He's a friend of yours.
Well, yeah, but, er...
Well, I mean, you met him.
Uh, he helped Jack out pretty good.
You know, a lot of people say, er,
Jack wouldn't have won Chicago if it wasn't for Sam, so...
People say a lot of things, Francis.
Well, I might have overstepped my bounds a little.
Well, I didn't say anything specific, I swear,
but I may have let Sam believe that...
If he came through for Jack...
That the administration would look the other way at whatever activities he's involved in.
In what world do you think that you can make a deal
with Giancana behind my back?
No, I never made a deal, Mr Ambassador. You gotta believe me.
You have put this family in a very dangerous position.
Couldn't you just talk to Jack and Bobby,
get 'em to back off just a little bit?
Now here's what you're gonna do.
You're gonna go to Giancana and tell him the truth.
You're gonna tell him that no deal exists
between him and the Kennedy family
and that whatever he did, he did for himself and not for us.
Mr Ambassador, please. You can't ask me to do that.
Cos Giancana will see what a lightweight,
irrelevant phoney you really are?
You don't understand.
Sam could end my career.
He'll have my throat cut.
In that case, your pal Dean Martin will sell a lot of records.
JOE: 'Congratulations, Bobby.' Oh. For what, Dad?
The organised crime division - very smart piece of business.
Oh, I thought you in particular would be upset.
No, I know we disagreed about you working for McClellan.
Yeah, at the time, I thought you were gonna write me out of the will.
Yeah, but you went ahead with it, because you thought it was right,
and I admired you then, and I still do.
Oh, well, thank you. I appreciate that.
So you, um... You, er, starting slow?
You going after the little fish?
No, no. I figured, er, Giancana, Trafficante, Marcello,
you know, go hunt some whales.
You still there, Dad?
Yeah, yeah. I just, er...yeah.
Those are tough guys.
Well, sure. I think we'll get 'em, though. I had Giancana on the grill in '57.
Yeah, but he walked.
Oh, I know, but, I got the whole weight of the justice department behind me now.
I was just, um, thinking, politically,
if you get 'em, that's good for you and Jack, but if you don't,
after Bay Of Pigs, you don't want any more losses, Bobby.
You want wins. Well, sure we do, but, er, we'll get 'em. Don't worry, Dad.
Well, er, I hope you do.
All right. Bye, Dad.
Excuse me, Mrs Kennedy.
The delegates have arrived downstairs.
They're early. I still have five minutes.
Well, they're on a tight schedule,
and, er, there's a lot of them to meet.
Ma'am, they did help to get your husband elected.
I have to go.
But, Mummy, aren't you gonna draw a star with me?
I'll draw you two stars,
and you can colour them in.
It's hard to do stars, Mommy.
You just keep practicing, OK?
OK. I love you. I have to go help Daddy.
You wanna colour with me? OK.
We'll colour it in yellow.
This footage just came in from Langley, Mr President.
We estimate that within the next 18 hours,
the entire border between the Soviet and American zone will be sealed off.
Ambassador Dobrynin told me this is the first step,
that their intention is to eventually build a permanent wall.
Mac, any idea how long before they seal the border?
Less than a week, unless we intervene.
We are going to intervene, aren't we, Mr President?
Well, I'm not sure.
I strongly recommend military action, sir.
Well, I think it's quite clear that military, er, involvement
at this stage is the least desirable option that the president is considering.
I thought we were supposed to be the moral leaders of this world.
How do we keep honour, sir, if we turn our backs
on what is obviously a human tragedy?
Berlin is 300 miles Inside of East Germany.
We cannot win a tactical engagement without incurring casualties
that would run in the tens of thousands.
We're obligated on the NATO agreement to come to the aid of West Berlin
if they are under threat.
I realise that, but we cannot maintain supply lines
over that distance through hostile territory. We are outnumbered three to 1.
I think you guys are missing the point.
As far as I can see, West Berlin is not under threat.
I detest what the Russians are doing here, but this is, er, essentially a domestic issue
between them and the East Berliners.
Am I to assume then, that you're willing to allow this crime against
humanity to go unchallenged?
This idea, wall, is a terrible thing, but a war? Christ, that's worse,
and they're easier to talk about than they are to win.
Now I think we monitor the situation here,
but unless there's a significant change
in the ground conditions, I think we stay the hell out.
We are presiding over the demise of this nation
as the moral and military leader of the free world, and you know it.
Well, if you feel so strongly that we're moving
in the wrong direction, general,
I'm sure the president would be willing to accept your resignation.
Mrs Kennedy, you were supposed to do the morning show on Thursday.
Yeah. They need to push it up to tomorrow.
Why? Uh, I don't know, ma'am. They didn't tell me.
We have to be at the studio at seven.
Caroline starts school at eight and I promised her I'd be there.
See if they can do it at nine. It has to be at seven, ma'am.
It's about the White House restoration, all the committee will be there.
I know the committee will be there. See if they can do it without me.
Mrs Kennedy, er... Look, to be honest,
you organised the committee, but without you there,
no-one cares about the restoration.
Tish, I have to see my children.
I know and I will cancel all your engagements for the rest of the week,
but you really need to do this interview.
Can I count on you for the interview?
Thank you, ma'am, and I'm sorry.
Was that Tish?
Did you just get home?
Jesus! How was your day?
Well, it was just, er...
A little, er, more of the same.
I'm starting to realise that, er, this job
is, er, about choosing between two lousy options,
and the, er, right choice
is the one that's just a little, er...
A little less lousy.
How was your day?
Fine. I hear you're doing great over there
at the, er... West Wing. You got a...
you got a lot of fans.
Is this the magazine? Goddamn it!
I can't live like this.
TELEPHONE RINGS AND CLICKS
JACK: Chuck, it's me.
'Hi, Jack. How ya doin'?'
Well, I'm, er, getting pretty beat up over here.
I'm a little exhausted. I need something to keep me going.
'And your doctor still won't give you amphetamines?' That's right.
Who's the fella you mentioned, the doctor?
'Oh, you mean Feelgood? His name is Max Jacobson. Jacobson?
GERMAN ACCENT: Oh, I know People call me Dr Feelgood.
I'm not insulted by this.
I want my patients to feel good.
Well, my, er, friend Chuck Spalding tells me, er,
everyone in New York swears by ya. CHUCKLES
How, er, how long until it, er, takes effect?
Before I'm out the gate, Mr President.
SIGHS Yeah. Ja, gut.
Yeah. All right. Well, I'd, er, like to pay you in cash.
This country saved my life.
I would never charge you.
However, if you wish to recommend my services
to some of your friends,
I will be happy to charge them.
OK. Thank you.
I will see you in a few days, Mr President. Uh-huh.
BUNDY: this footage came In last night.
The east German guards have shoot-to-kill orders.
BOBBY: Have there been any fatalities so far?
Yes, but as you can see, there's still lots of people who are willing to take the risk.
Yeah, and getting killed for it.
I have one concern, Mr President.
It just seems that we're handing the communists
one success after another.
General, this is the best example we have
of the failure of communism.
I, er, I want to get this to the networks. They have it?
No. Get it to 'em. Bobby, we get this on the air tonight.
Show the whole damn world what communism's all about.
Yeah, I read about it. Did you talk to Giancana?
SINATRA: 'When they served him the indictment, he went out of his mind. He's threatening everybody -'
you, Jack, Bobby. He's gone crazy.
'I don't know what he's gonna do.'
Did you tell him I had nothing to do with it?
I tried. I couldn't get through to him.
I never seen the guy like this.
Your association with this family is at an end.
Do you understand me?
Mr Ambassador, please... KNOCK ON DOOR
I helped get Jack elected.
You didn't do a damn thing. You sang some songs.
Mrs Kennedy, it's Tish.
The UNICEF breakfast is about to start in the East Room.
Yes, ma'am. I think you overslept.
Mrs Kennedy, if you're not able to do it,
I'll just tell them that you're not feeling well.
I'll be there.
Thank you, ma'am.
ORGAN MUSIC PLAYING
(Woman, voice breaks) Oh. Please forgive me.
LOWERED VOICE: Help me protect my sons.
That's what this is about?
I need to know what Hoover's got on Sam Giancana.?
LOWERED VOICE: You know Hoover better than I do.
No, I-I can't.
Bobby's his boss.
It's-it's... It's too close. It's n...
You were in the bureau for 25 years.
You know what's in the files.
I'm retired. I can't get access to-
Oh, don't give me that, Bill.
You still know the guys down there.
I can't do it.
Even if I could, what are you gonna do,
go after Giancana yourself?
I just need him to know that I know where he's weak.
That's why he's Sam Giancana.
I gotta do something.
< Who knows what this animal is capable of?
Unless you're talking about going all the way...
No. No, no.
Then leave it alone.
Jack and bobby can take care of themselves.
Thank you for coming down here.
Sure. Clyde said it was urgent.
DOOR CLOSES: I don't think that's an overstatement.
As you requested, we've cast the widest net possible
on known members of organised crime.
Let me just play this for you.
The first voice you hear is that of Sam Giancana.
He's speaking with a Johnny Roselli,
who is a small-time... Sure. I know who Roselli is.
All right. Good. CLICKS:
SAM: 'Sinatra was down At the hotel in Florida.
'He said he was gonna talk to the old man.'
JOHNNY: 'You mean Joe?'
'Yeah. Maybe one of these days the guy will do us a favour.'
'Between you and me, Sinatra saw Joe Kennedy three different times.
'Joe Kennedy - you know, the father of the president.'
How would you like to proceed?
JACK: Well, no, it's working. I can't believe the way I feel.
I haven't had this much energy in years. Oh, I'm delighted to hear it, Mr President.
You should feel the benefits for some time,
and, of course, I will be in touch,
and we will see how it goes.
All right. Well, we'll see you in a couple of days then.
Good day, Mr President.
But the wiretap was vague. It's nothing actionable.
Well, not unless there's clear evidence of wrongdoing.
Dad's name came out of Sam Giancana's mouth, for chrissake.
Hoover knows about it.
Well, I-I think we should speak to Dad first
and find out what it's about. - It's about the election.
We don't know that yet.
It's the only thing that makes any sense.
It's the only thing that would tie Dad together
with, er, Sinatra and Giancana.
We needed Chicago. He controls the unions.
He controls half the precincts up there.
Well, it's only an issue if he made an actual deal,
and I find it hard to believe that he would do that.
Bobby, he was desperate to win.
Well, I just-I don't think we should jump to conclusions here.
Well, you may be right,
but if he's, er, mixed up in this thing,
I'm gonna protect the presidency.
BOBBY: I went to, er, mass today.
I know. I just felt like going, really.
Well, I wish you would've called me. I would've gone with you.
I was, um...
Thinking about my mother.
When I was, er, a child,
she used to take me to church with her.
Taught me that God loves us,
and by doing what's right,
we show our love for him.
I believe that, too.
It's just that when you're a child,
it's easy to know what's right.
Not so easy anymore.
What time did his plane land?
About, er, 30 minutes ago.
If you're, er, around this weekend,
maybe we can get the kids together.
Yeah, I'll talk to Jackie.
(Intercom buzzes, clicks switch)
Yes? WOMAN: Mr President, The ambassador is here.
Send him in. CLICK
What's so important? Why couldn't we do this over the phone?
Well, Dad, er, come on in here. Sit down.
So what's the big mystery?
Uh, we wanted to talk to you about a tape I heard.
It's a wiretap of Giancana.
He was talking to Johnny Roselli about you and Sinatra.
He mentioned that, er, Sinatra met with you
on several occasions during the campaign, Dad.
Well, I...I talk to frank from time to time. So what?
Well, we understand that,
but why would Giancana know about it?
Well... Sinatra runs his mouth.
He tells everybody in the world he's a friend of the Kennedys.
It's the biggest thing in his life. What the hell is this?
Why are you wasting my time with this crap?
No, no. This is not crap, Dad. This is not a trivial matter.
This, er, distresses us a great deal.
We need to know what Sinatra said to Giancana.
These guys say a million things to each other.
Was it about the election?
How the hell would I know?
Christ, Dad, I need the truth.
Did you make a deal with Giancana to deliver Chicago? Is that why we won up there?
We need to hear the truth from you.
We need the truth here.
Sinatra did the deal on his own. I had nothing to do with it.
Yeah, but you met with Giancana.
To convince him to support you. That was the end.
After I left, Sinatra sat down, and the dumb bastard said
that he and his boys would have a free ride
under a Kennedy administration.
And you swear you didn't know anything about it?
Absolutely not. Not until the indictments came out.
Sinatra phoned me, wetting himself about, er,
Giancana going crazy. I didn't tell you
because I thought the whole thing would blow over.
I thought I-I could...
I could, er, take care of it myself
without bringing you boys in, but, er...
But I couldn't.
Jesus, Dad. This, er...
This puts us in a, er, tough spot here.
Yeah, I-I know it does.
I'm sure you had the, er, best intentions. You always have.
But this, er...
This affects our whole moral position tremendously.
Regardless of your intent, Dad,
this is, er, a matter of perception now.
I owe you more than I could ever repay. Well, we all do.
No. No, no. I don't want to hear that.
No, I think you need to.
I believe none of this, er,
none of this would've been possible without you, and...
But now I'm out.
We're not, er, we're not saying...
Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no. That's how it has to be.
I have to disappear.
I can't be part of your presidency any more,
even as an advisor.
And don't talk about repayment.
I've been repaid a thousand times.
The kind of men you are,
what you're trying to do for this country...
anything I ever dreamed.
I love you, boys.
You should begin to feel better almost immediately, hmm?
I hope so.
Good day, madam.
E-mail us at [email protected]
Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes star as President John F Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, in Stephen Kronish's compelling drama series, charting the triumph and the tragedy of the first couple.
In August 1961 the Russians move troops into Berlin, though their intentions are unclear. JFK prepares for the possibility that Khrushchev might try to take the city.
Bobby announces the formation of the Organized Crime Division. Chicago mobster Sam Giancana is livid about it, and blames Frank Sinatra, who had arranged a meeting between the gangster and Joe Kennedy Sr before the 1960 election.