White House Plumbers Episode 4 Recap: The Writer’s Wife

Image Credit: Phil Caruso/HBO

Created by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, ‘White House Plumbers’ is a political satire series. It tells the story of the Watergate Scandal through the perspectives of its two masterminds, E. Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux). In hindsight, it seems like a bumbling attempt by amateurs to influence the result of an election that ultimately needed no influencing.

In episode 4, titled ‘The Writer’s Wife,’ Howard and Liddy start to burn through evidence that can implicate them in the burglary attempt, but it’s not enough. Dorothy (Lena Headey), a former spy herself, takes matters into her own hand, effectively supplying money from the Nixon administration to the people involved in the burglary. This continues until tragedy strikes, changing the course of history. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘White House Plumbers’ episode 4. SPOILERS AHEAD.

White House Plumbers Episode 4 Recap

The episode begins with Howard and Liddy responding differently in the aftermath of the arrests of the burglars. Even though their five collaborators refuse to say anything, Howard and Liddy know it’s only a matter of time before authorities knock on their doors. Howard turns St. John into an accessory in his crime, telling him to help him as he gets rid of all the evidence. And St. John, desperate for his father’s approval and love, agrees, even though he is terrified. Meanwhile, Liddy almost nonchalantly informs Fran that he might get arrested.

It doesn’t take long for the authorities to figure out that there is a connection between the burglars and the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, especially after they learn McCord’s real name and who he really is. Soon enough, the FBI arrives at the Hunt doorsteps with a litany of questions, spooking Howard and prompting him to hide in the storm shelter on his property. When Dorothy eventually returns from Paris, she is livid. After all, she told Howard that Watergate was heading in the same direction as the Bay of Pigs debacle. Howard tries to justify himself by stating that he attempted to put a stop to the burglary, but he was overruled. Despite everything, Howard is still very much loyal to the Nixon administration, much to Dorothy’s dismay, but she convinces him to get a lawyer. And that’s how we are introduced to William Bittman, Howard’s defense attorney.

Image Credit: Phil Caruso/HBO

Bittman tries to convince Howard to take a deal from the prosecution, but the other man declares that he will not name any co-conspirators, frustrating both Dorothy and Bittman. Dorothy tells Bittman to reach out to the White House lawyer and tell him that loyalty is a two-way street. This seems to have the desired effect. After the botched burglary attempt, combined with the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, the Nixon administration evidently doesn’t have a high opinion of Howard. On the other hand, Dorothy’s assertive approach garners her grudging respect. She begins communicating with a man identifying as Mr. Rivers, receiving payments from him, and then distributing the money among the Burglars and the families. Although the administration refuses to pay Liddy, Howard convinces Dorothy that they should pay him from the money they are receiving. Meanwhile, Liddy meets up with John Dean and makes it clear that he is ready to die for the President.

Much has happened since Howard’s first meeting with Bittman. He knows where all this is going and seems to have accepted that there will be people who will try to make a profit out of this. Being the mastermind of the entire operation, Howard accepts the fact his account will draw considerable interest, and during one dinner at the Liddy home, he tries to convince Gordon to the book deal, but the other man refuses, choosing to remain loyal to Nixon administration to the bitter end.

White House Plumbers Episode 4 Ending: Is Dorothy Dead?

Yes, Dorothy is dead in ‘White House Plumbers.’ After learning that Howard has used St. John in his attempts to destroy all the evidence linking him to the burglary, Dorothy decides to leave him. On December 8, 1972, when Howard comes to see her off as she leaves for Omaha, Nebraska, from Washington National Airport, she breaks the news that she will leave with David when she returns from Omaha. An argument ensues, during which Howard pleads to her not to end the marriage, and it is revealed that they have been mutually unfaithful. Perhaps for the first time since they married, Dorothy lets Howard hear the truth, making it clear to him that their marriage ended after the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Image Credit: Phil Caruso/HBO

After she boards United Airlines Flight 553, Dorothy feels she is being watched. It is a feeling that has been with her since she effectively became the pay mistress. Dorothy meets up with Michele Clark, an African-American journalist working for CBS, on the plane and reveals to her what really happened. She clarifies that she has decided to share what she knows for her children. She wants them to know that they are children of a war hero, not of the fool that they botched a simple burglary. The plane takes a nose dive and crashes, killing everyone on board.

Why Doesn’t Howard Pick Up the Phone?

Image Credit: Phil Caruso/HBO

The crash happens at such a critical juncture in the narrative: right when Dorothy is about to tell Michele about her husband’s possible involvement in the JFK administration. Since the FBI started calling him regarding the burglary and the subsequent investigation, Howard has made an unofficial policy that entails never picking up the home phone. This is why he doesn’t respond when the authorities try to call him about the plane crash and his wife’s death. Howard effectively lost everything to ensure that Nixon would win the Presidential race. Ironically, Nixon wins comfortably, proving there was no need for the break-in.

Read More: Who Are the Detectives that Arrested the White House Burglars? What Happened to Them?