John Adams: Season 1, Episode 1

Join or Die (16 Mar. 2008)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | History
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 323 users  
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Firebrand Sam Adams tries to dissuade cousin John from defending redcoats in the Boston Massacre, but later John changes his mind and joins the revolutionary cause.

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Title: Join or Die (16 Mar 2008)

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Vincent Renart ...
Andrew Holmes
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First Mourner
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Storyline

In an emotionally charged trial John Adams defends the British sentries involved in the Boston Massacre who contend they were provoked into firing on the assembled crowd. John's success brings him offers of positions in the Massachusetts government. But after John Hancock rouses a crowd to tar and feather a representative of the British East India Tea Company and the British respond to the growing unrest with oppressive measures, John instead speaks against the British policies and chooses to represent Massachusetts in the Continental Congress. Written by David Foss

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16 March 2008 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

When telling Abigail about the events of March 5, 1770, John Adams says, "British soldiers fired into a crowd on State House Way." The Boston Massacre took place outside of what is known at the time as the Town House (known today as the Old State House), and was located on King Street (now known as State Street). State House Way does not exist. See more »

Quotes

[John Adams has agreed to defend Captain Thomas Preston and the Boston Soldiers]
Samuel Adams: You haven't much of a case, John.
John Adams: Do I not?
Samuel Adams: No Boston Jury will ever vote for aquittal.
John Adams: Thank you for your kind advice, Sam.
Samuel Adams: This is not a time for showing how clever you are, cousin.
[Approaches John and hands him a pamphlet]
Samuel Adams: This is a time for choosing sides.
John Adams: I am for the law, cousin. Is there another side?
Samuel Adams: [shouts to the crowd while John looks at the pamphlet depicting the Boston Massacre] There are those who fight...
[...]
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Written by William Billings
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User Reviews

 
Boston tea party
21 July 2009 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This chapter starts in 1770. The setting is Boston, where John Adams is a lawyer. We watch him as he returns home after being away for some time. His wife Abigail and his children Nabby and John Quincy, have been awaiting for the husband and father that seems to be always away. No sooner has he been in the house, when shots are heard in the distance. John goes to see what was the problem, and finds a horrible scene where people have been shot to death in a square at the hand of British soldiers.

To make matters worse, John Adams, a lawyer, is asked to be the British soldiers' lawyer in a trial where they are considered guilty without having gone to court. He goes against what his peers and the general public consider the soldiers indeed were at fault. Being a fair man, Adams considers all the circumstances in the case, because he believes the men are innocent and proves his point in court. Captain Preston and his men are absolved of any crime because John Adams brings out the truth that vindicates the English soldiers.

A few years after the famous trial, the event that is commonly known as the Boston Tea Party took place. It was a way to protest the taxation that George III imposed on the tea shipments sent to the new world. It was one of the things that helped people like Mr. Adams to make up his mind to try to be freed from a corrupt government that only wanted to profit from the American colonies. Thus it was probably the single event that inspired what would come later in the American Revolution.

This first installment of the series "John Adams", adapted from David McCullough excellent novel, was adapted by Kirk Ellis, and was directed by Tom Hooper. The pivotal role of John Adams presented an excellent opportunity for Paul Giamatti in which to excel. Laura Linney is Abigail Adams, the patient and wise woman who loved John. Danny Huston appears as Sam Adams, John's cousin. Ritchie Coaster has some good moments as Capt. Preston, the man in command of the accused soldiers.

Tak Fujimoto's cinematography captures in vivid detail the atmosphere of that period. The production design is by Gemma Jackson, who had an uncanny knack for making this a winning series about the beginning of the nation. The background music is by Robert Lane.


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