John Adams: Season 1, Episode 6

Unnecessary War (13 Apr. 2008)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Biography, Drama, History
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After Adams becomes President continues Washington's policy of neutrality between England and France despite opposition inside his own cabinet.



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Episode credited cast:
Kevin Trainor ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
White House Construction Foreman
Lucas N. Hall ...
Continental Army Officer
White House Servant


Following the peace treaty with England President Adams struggles to avoid war with France despite pressure from his Federalist cabinet and French provocation. John finds the price of peace to his career and the price of his long career of public service to his family is indeed high. Written by David Foss

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13 April 2008 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Although the Undeclared War with France, or Quasi-War, the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the XYZ Affair are part of the plot, they are not named as such. See more »


When paintings are discovered of John Adams and Abigail, it is said that they should be placed in the "White House". "White House" was a term coined during the Theodore Roosevelt presidency nearly 90 years later. Prior to that it was referred to as the "Executive Mansion". It is possible that the producers purposely did this for recognition purposes. It is unlikely that Mr. McCollough (historical writer of the book the movie was based on) wouldn't have known this. See more »


[Inside the White House, John and Abigail Adams survey a portrait of the late former president George Washington]
John Adams: Is the old man welcoming us or showing us the way out?
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Version of John Adams: Peacefield (2008) See more »


Piano Trio in E Flat, Opus 100 (second movement)
Composed by Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

President Adams!
23 July 2009 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The election of John Adams to the presidency of the new nation, was the culmination of a life dedicated to serving his country. Unfortunately, this period proved to be quite unsettling for Mr. Adams. He had seen his son John gone abroad as a representative of the United States, a source of pride for him. On the domestic front, he had to deal with problems at home.

His son-in-law, Colonel William Smith, who had worked at his assistant announces his departure as he and Nabby separate. His son Charles, who was a rake, succumbs to a life of self-indulgence and alcohol. Before parting for trip overseas, John entrusts Charles with two thousand dollars, something that in those days was a fortune, to be invested wisely. Charles wasted the money and his life and pays a high price with his own death, something that profoundly affects John. Abigail, who is inconsolable about the loss of a child, thinks her husband is a hard man for not even crying when they receive the news. In his solitude, we watch that on the contrary, this untimely passing deeply affected him as well.

The years of his presidency were marked for a split in ideology with his close friend, and ally, Thomas Jefferson, a man with whom he, and Abigail had spent many hours talking about their views about what they wanted their country to become. It is also the period in which Mr. Adams has to move to the new capital, named after George Washington. The new residence of the head of the nation was quite unfinished by the time they move and had to put up with the construction of what became known as the White House.

The sixth chapter of this magnificent series marks one of the highlights of the book because John Adams is reduced to being a mere citizen as we watch him board a horse driven carriage in the company of ordinary citizens, who are surprised at seeing him. He puts them at ease by reminding him he is just someone like them.

Tom Hopper's direction is exceptional in the way he captures the atmosphere during the period being examined. One of the most moving moments that come alive thanks by Paul Giamatti's sensitive approach to his character. Laura Linney is perfection herself as the aging Abigail. Stephen Dillane does well with his Jefferson. Rufus Sewell is as pompous as his Alexander Hamilton. Sarah Polley and Kevin Trainor do a wonderful job as Nabby and Charles Adams.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Amazing series, minus one thing. keenvj
Other Figures in history that ought to get the 'John Adams Treatment' Writerchamp13
Was George Washington a jackass? homer_it
Jefferson Predicted the Civil War skybailey16
Good, but jarring too doughdee222
Phenominal casting, except for... mrbsays
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