White House Plumbers Episode 4 Recap – Is Dorothy dead?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 23, 2023 (Last updated: March 19, 2024)
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White House Plumbers Episode 4 Recap - Is Dorothy dead?


White House Plumbers finally shifts focus to someone who is actually competent, but the episode ends in a sudden and deeply suspicious tragedy.

This recap of White House Plumbers Episode 4, “The Writer’s Wife”, contains spoilers.

After the absolute calamity of the DNC break-in depicted – hilariously and haphazardly – in Episode 3, Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy are both responding rather differently to their predicament in “The Writer’s Wife”.

In the shortest and most simplistic terms, Hunt is terrified, while Liddy is rather proud of himself. It isn’t until Dorothy gets home from Paris that things really kick into gear, with the episode’s title clueing us into a shift in focus to someone who is actually smart and capable – and who, unbeknownst to everyone, is about to meet an unexpected fate.

White House Plumbers Episode 4 Recap

Even before Dorothy learns that Howard enlisted St. John’s help in destroying evidence, she’s absolutely furious that Howard has imperiled the whole family on pretty scant reasoning. As she pointed out last week, Nixon is going to be re-elected anyway, and Howard’s experience during the Bay of Pigs fiasco should have been a lesson learned.

Needless to say, it wasn’t.

The burglars are remaining tight-lipped for now, but it’s only a matter of time until they’re linked back to Howard and Liddy, so the former retains the services of defense attorney William Bittman, who advises him to take a deal from the prosecution.

The obvious problem emerging here is misplaced loyalty. After repeated failures, the administration isn’t going to care about Howard and Liddy, though both are – at least initially, in the case of the former – unwilling to turn on Nixon or any of their co-conspirators.

It’s only Dorothy who sees how ludicrous this is, so she takes matters into her own hands by arranging hush money payments from the government for her family, the Liddys, and the Cubans. It’s still a tentative situation, though, and Dorothy is understandably unconvinced that the Nixon administration will show any loyalty to Howard and Liddy at all.

White House Plumbers Episode 4 Ending Explained

Despite her efforts to protect him and their family financially, Dorothy is nonetheless done with Howard and has been, in her own words, since the Bay of Pigs invasion. Her motivation now is simply to protect his reputation for the sake of their children, but when she learns that he roped St. John into helping dispose of evidence, she resolves to leave Howard.

Was Howard Hunt involved in the JFK assassination?

After a nasty argument, Dorothy boards United Airlines Flight 553, where she meets with Michele Clark, a journalist with whom she plans to share details of the story, among other matters, including Howard’s potential involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Earlier, Howard had offhandedly used the JFK assassination as leverage against the White House to ensure he was adequately looked after. His real-life involvement has been speculated about many times, and there is some evidentiary basis for it, so it looks like the show is extrapolating this angle, similar to how it made Liddy’s fondness for Hitler speeches an essential part of his personality.

Is Dorothy dead?

Right before she’s about to share more details with Michele, both are killed – along with all the other passengers – when the flight suddenly nosedives and crashes.

Of course, the timing of this is deeply suspicious, and it’s impossible to present the event in a way that doesn’t imply there was sabotage involved. This, though, will be one of several matters for next week’s finale to address.

You can stream White House Plumbers Episode 4, “The Writer’s Wife” exclusively on HBO.

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