To commemorate the 50th anniversary, CNN will reexamine the Watergate affair and the anatomy of the infamous break-in that started it all – this time told firsthand by John Dean, former White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon in the CNN Original Series, Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal. Produced by Herzog & Company, Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal is an immersive look inside Nixon’s inner circle and the schemes that took place behind closed doors by the Committee to Re-Elect the President that would eventually unravel his presidency. Across four revealing episodes, Dean divulges more than he ever could under oath, shedding new light on the back-channeling, the back-pedaling, and the backstabbing. Featuring rich archival footage and interviews with key insiders who had a front row seat to the biggest presidential scandal of the 20th century, Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal questions if America has learned anything since Watergate, or if we, as a nation, are destined to repeat the past. 

The Break-In

Fifty years ago the break-in at the Watergate began a chain reaction that started with a coverup and ended with the resignation of President Nixon. John Dean, former counsel to the President, gives color to the narrative that this wasn’t a two-bit bungled endeavor; rather that it was one of many operations orchestrated by Nixon’s people. We reveal the real story behind the beginning of the cover-up and Dean being pulled on to the center of the stage.

The Coverup Continues

Dean is pulled deeper into the cover-up until it becomes too much to bear, and he realizes that he must convince Nixon to end it. He decides to take Nixon through problems that can only be solved by the truth. Events follow quickly as Dean’s superiors plan to make him the scapegoat for their actions. But they have selected the wrong person, for as Bob Woodward later described it: Dean was willing to blow himself up to end the coverup. Dean doesn’t flip, rather he simply tells the truth, which Nixon later described in his memoir as information from which they could never recover.

The Whistleblower

As the Nixon Administration sinks deeper into the Watergate scandal, Dean plays a multi-dimensional chess game to appease the White House, Watergate investigators, and a new wife. The heart-pumping back and forth reveals the importance of Dean’s April 15 conversation with Nixon, and the eventual unraveling of the cover-up and the resignations, culminating with Dean’s infamous testimony in front of the Senate, and the world.

The Downfall

With the bombshell revelation of Nixon’s White House tape recording system, a battle begins for the tapes that will eventually lead to the collapse of the Nixon presidency. Was that the end of Watergate, or are we still seeing the same abuses of power in politics today?