John Adams: Season 1, Episode 5

Unite or Die (6 Apr. 2008)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Biography, Drama, History
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 231 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

Frustrated in his undefined role as Vice-President, Adams is at odds with Jefferson over his support of a strong central government.



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Title: Unite or Die (06 Apr 2008)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Trainor ...
Cyril Descours ...
Edmund Charles Genet


John Adams chaffs under the mantle of Vice President for its utter lack of authority and responsibility. Despite his abhorrence of the divisiveness of political parties John is drawn to the Federalist camp favoring a strong executive. Divisions even reach into the President's cabinet, exacerbated by war in Europe. Written by David Foss

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6 April 2008 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


At Washington's inauguration, the film shows one man both holding the Bible and administering the oath. In reality, Samuel Allyne Otis held the Bible and Chancellor Livingstone of New York administered the oath. See more »


John Adams: [Excusing himself from the cabinet room] Mr. President.
George Washington: Mr. President and nothing more.
See more »


Version of George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation (1986) See more »


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Written by Rob Lane
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User Reviews

The Vice President
23 July 2009 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

John Adams finds himself in the position of having the second highest job in the new government, yet, his voice is not heard as it should be. He is ridiculed by what he sees the President's title ought to be, something that meets the disapproval of the higher ups in the senate. What's more, Adams finds himself ignored by Washington, as shown in the dinner where he is politely asked to step out of the room as the General wants to conduct business with the cabinet, including the odious Alexander Hamilton, or his friend, and ally, Thomas Jefferson. It is indeed a defeat.

The war in Europe takes its toll in the new country. Loyalties with France are an issue. The greatest United States ally has its own worries, exacerbated by the French Revolution. At home, the Federalist movement begins to take its toll on John Adams. He watches as people like Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton favor the trend.

In the end, John Adams is vindicated. After eight years serving his country as the Vice President, Adams is elected United States President. Thomas Jefferson was elected to serve as the second in command. The two friends had to endured a difficult time in that period of history.

"Unite, or Die", the fifth chapter in the series, brings about the fragility of the new nation into focus. Tom Hopper directs with sure hand the adaptation of Kirk Ellis of the David McCullough's novel. Tak Fujimoto and Danny Cohen do their magic with their impeccable photography.

All the principals do their best as in the other installment. Rufus Sewell appears as Alexander Hamilton, a man that brought with him a lot of controversy to his position in government. Kevin Trainor plays Charles Adams, the son that turns badly because of the way he conducted his life. He was a thorn in his father's heart.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
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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