Veep is an American HBO political comedy television series, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, set in the office of Selina Meyer, a fictional Vice President, and subsequent President, of the United States. The series was created by Armando Iannucci, who created the British political comedy series The Thick of It, and also wrote and directed that series' film spin-off In the Loop (2009), all of which feature the same writing staff.
The pilot episode was filmed in February 2011 in Maryland, and filming for the series began in October 2011 in Baltimore, after several months of rehearsal designed to get the actors comfortable improvising with one another. For its first season, Veep reportedly hired 978 local Maryland residents and generated $40 million for the state, according to the Maryland Film Office. Season two production began shooting in November 2012, continuing to film in Baltimore and other areas of Maryland.
Veep primarily filmed on a sound stage constructed from a Columbia, Maryland industrial warehouse, where replicas of places such as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and West Wing are also built. Production for season three began in September 2013 and ended in January 2014. Production for season four began in September 2014 and ended in December 2014. Filming locations included Annapolis and the Physical Sciences Complex in the University of Maryland, College Park campus.
For season five, production moved to Los Angeles, and production began in October 2015 and ended in March 2016, when the crew went to D.C. for a week to film various scenes (i.e. the end of Inauguration).
Season 1 Edit
Selina Meyer, a former Senator from Maryland who ran unsuccessfully for President in the 2012 election, becomes Vice President of the United States under President Stuart Hughes, who Selina feels is purposely shutting her out of the process of Government. She is accompanied by her body-man Gary Walsh, Chief of Staff Amy Brookheimer, personal assistant Sue Wilson, Director of Communications Mike McLintock, and new-comer Dan Egan.
About half-way through her first year as Veep, Selina wants the implementation of a Clean Jobs Commission to be her legacy. The commission will place sanctions on polluters and give tax relief to the good guys. However, she wants to place an ex-oil guy on the taskforce, angering Senator Andrew Doyle, who agrees to support the bill only because Meyer threaten to add someone who is even more oily.
Hughes, desperate to get the ailing economy back on track, wants attention to be fully on his Fiscal Responsibility Bill--so much so, that the Clean Jobs Bill is tossed away. Angry, Selina tries to get the bulk of Clean Jobs on to an amendment on the Fiscal Responsibility Bill. A tie vote in the Senate on the amendment--known as the Macauley amendment--means that Selina must vote on whether or not she will keep what she has worked on for years: Approving the amendment will solidify her legacy, but POTUS wants her to vote against it. Selina ultimately votes against the amendment.
Season 2 Edit
With the 2014 midterm elections approaching, Selina campaigns across the country for various senators and congresspeople. However, Selina's efforts are unsuccessful as her party does disastrously. It is revealed that Selina has a 0.9% lead over Hughes when it comes to campaigning. Hughes notices this and gives Selina more to do with foreign policy, starting with a hostage crisis in Uzbekistan. When the hostage crisis ends, it is revealed that a marine lost his leg, for which Selina feels guilty. Selina also learns that Kent Davison, who she despises from Hughes' General Election campaign, is back.
Selina and the staff begin writing a song about House Speaker Jim Marwood, but Kent says to avoid it since their reaching across the isle for budget talks, so the staff writes a new song making fun of Kent--which inadvertently offends Europe. Kent asks Selina for Mike to be a part of his "Dream-metric team", and in exchange, Selina will get to take over for Hughes on a trip to Helsinki, which ends up being an apology tour on behalf of the song.
Selina conducts budget talks with House Majority Leader Mary King to prevent the Government from shutting down. Meanwhile, news breaks that one of the hostages from the Uzbek crisis was a spy, endangering the lives of the other hostages who weren't spies, and that POTUS knew this. To distract from the spy story, Hughes rejects Selina's budget deals and the Government shuts down, and Hughes blames Selina.
With Selina's image growing more and more toxic, a lot of the staff begins looking for other job offers for a Plan B. Selina does an interview with Janet Ryland, who keeps on insisting if she knew anything about the spy. Jonah later announces that the Government shutdown is over. With the interview doing nothing to rehab Selina's image, Dan tells her to do something bold soon. Selina then reveals that she had knowledge that one of the spies was a hostage and apologizes on behalf of the administration, which boosts her favorability.
Acting off of her newfound favorability, Selina sets a meeting with donors for a possible Presidential run in 6 years. While this is happening, the House Judiciary Committee is discussing an impeachment vote, resulting in the Senate and the House after the President. Selina, frustrated with Hughes, reveals to her staff that she isn't going to run again with Hughes in two years, but still plans on running in six. However, Hughes reveals he isn't going to run for re-election, and Selina reveals that she is going to run.
Season 3 Edit
Two months later, Selina is in Iowa on a book tour, prepping Iowa Caucus voters. Meanwhile, George Maddox resigns from his role as Secretary of Defense. The VP staff freaks out, and Jonah posts a picture of this, arousing the suspicions of the press. When he deletes the picture, it makes it even worse, forcing POTUS to publicly reveal he is going not going to run for re-election. Dan, aiming for campaign manager, reveals to Selina he was the mastermind behind this. Dan and Amy both fight for the position. Jonah is hence fired, and starts a website called "Ryantology".
Months later, Selina officially announces her candidacy, and so do Danny Chung, Governor of Minnesota, and Joe Thornhill, an ex-baseball manager who has no political experience. Selina tries to convince George Maddox not to run, which ultimately fails. Sensing a connection to Dan, Selina makes him her campaign manager, to Amy's horror. Jonah later gets a job as George Maddox's bagman.
In Detroit,Dan pairs Selina with a personal trainer, Ray--a relationship that quickly turns sexual. In London, Jonah finds out that Ray has previously voiced hate towards obese people. Selina is asked questions about this. Dan, under enormous pressure as campaign manager, breaks down and is sent to the hospital. Gary reveals to Selina that Dan had Ray on the team just for sex. Angry that Dan "pimped her out", Selina fires Dan as campaign manager and gives the role to Amy. To top off the entire trip, Selina learns that the first lady has attempted to kill herself.
After the debate, George Maddox's candidacy ends, resulting in Jonah's unemployment. Meanwhile, the Danny Chung torture rumors trace back to Dan. Dan tasks Jonah with getting rid of these rumors, and in return, Jonah has a role in the West Wing.
With the New Hampshire primary coming up, Selina accidentally calls her donors "idiots" while a reporter has left his cell with record on sitting on Selinas desk. Fearing her campaign is over, Selina is then told that POTUS is resigning, and she is about to be sworn in as President. Days later, Selina comes in third in the New Hampshire primary, as she moves out of the VP office and into the Oval.
Season 4 Edit
Weeks after becoming President, Selina's first speech to a joint session of Congress is messed up as a typo continues Former President Stuart Hughes plans. Selina also appoints Andrew Doyle as Vice President and drafts a Families First Bill to make a difference in the lives of poor income families.
Around Easter, Ben informs Selina that there’s been a data breach: medical and social security records, including a nine-year-old AIDS victim, were hacked by a member of her campaign team and subsequently used in the Families First press pack--a scandal deemed the "Medileaks scandal" by the press. Selina demands her staff find a scapegoat to fire since the responsible party would be impossible to identify. While attempting to fire Jonah, Richard (Jonah's new assistant) reveals that Selina’s “I Care” mailer was deliberately targeted at recently bereaved parents. Someone from the campaign used child-mortality data from the same federal data breach that identified 8-year-old Jennifer Graham. Dan is later scapegoated, and begins working as a lobbyist for Sidney Purcell.
At the Party Convention, Doyle announces he's leaving the ticket after Inauguration Day, and Selina wants to get someone spectacular, first going to Chung, and then Maddox. After Amy continues to feel ignored by Selina and her new friend Karen, Amy breaks down and quits the team. Selina then gives Maine Senator Tom James the spot as running mate, but he quickly overshadows her in terms of public opinion.
The Families First Bill continues becoming toxic. Selina tasks the team with trying to kill the bill if they want a chance at winning the Election. When the bill fails, one Congressman becomes suspicious and demands an investigation into the vote. The staff gives their testimony to find out who was responsible. In the process, the data breaches are revealed to the public, and Bill Ericsson is blamed for all of it.
On the night of the election, Selina and Tom James face off against Senator Bill O'Brien and his running mate Laura Montez. The election ends in an electoral tie. In the event of a tie, the house has until January 20 to vote on a President, but if the house vote ties, the vote goes to the Senate where the VP elect becomes President, meaning Selina could lose the election to Tom. After Selina's rally, Tom asks her if she wants to be his Veep, should he ever become President.
Season 5 Edit
The day after the tied election, Selina is frustrated, having won the popular vote. She discovers a possible path to victory as the margin of victory in which O'Brien won Nevada was less than one percent, which by Nevada state law, constitutes a recount. Selina sends Richard, Jonah, and Amy to Nevada. Amy brings Dan as well. As the recount goes statewide, Kent discovers missing ballots in Nevada just before the deadline, which is later extended. The staff is horrified when those missing ballots were Military Absentee ballots, resulting in O'Brien winning Nevada in a larger margin than before. His margin of victory is so much larger that he also wins the popular vote.
The U.S. Economy begins crashing after the election. Selina appoints Tom to be in charge/blamed for the crisis. Tom does not take this well. In New Hampshire, a Congressman who was an O'Brien supporter dies, and they're going to hold a special election. Jonah's Uncle Jeff tasks Jonah with running for Congress (until his cousin Ezra returns from serving in the Middle East). Jonah later wins the election and becomes Congressman.
Selina begins wooing Congressmen before the vote in Congress, including using the White House Congressional Ball to pander for votes, offering Congressmen a variety of things, from rides on Airforce One to Secretary of State (which she has promised her sitting VP Doyle). Mike discovers that Tom has been meeting with House Speaker Jim Marwood and O'Brien supporter Sidney Purcell, making some kind of backhand deal. Selina learns that Tom is getting Congressmen to abstain, so the vote will go to the Senate where he is favored to win.
After the Chinese hack the White House computers, Selina accidentally tweets something obscene, which she later blames on the Chinese hackers and imposes new sanctions on the Chinese. The Chinese Government negotiate with Selina at Camp David, and in return for getting rid of the sanctions, will free Tibet. Selina is ecstatic to learn that she will be the person to free Tibet. The Chinese Government, however, do not want them to go public with the news until some time has passed, or they will reveal she was behind the tweet--and they have her emails to prove it.
On the day of the house vote, Selina is horrified to discover that Tom's plan was successful, in that three people have abstained and no one has achieved a required majority of votes. Selina wants to move up the freeing of Tibet to make it her legacy. Tom offers Selina the role of Vice President, which she at first declines, but in order to secure her legacy of freeing Tibet, agrees. The vote goes to the Senate where, to everyones surprise, O'Brien running mate Laura Montez wins. Selina learns that Doyle orchestrated the entire thing because Montez offered him Secretary of State. Before Inauguration day, Selina ponders her future while drunk with Richard. She now holds no position in office and states that she even forgets how to drive and that she needs a wallet. She has to now become a slightly more normal person.
Selina goes into a depression, upset over how horrible her Presidency has been. On Inauguration Day, Laura Montez is sworn in as President, and in the middle of her speech, CNN reports that minutes into her presidency, Laura Montez has freed Tibet. Selina says goodbye to her staff and gets into a helicopter with Catherine, Marjorie, and Amy--which later has to land due to engine failures. Selina then listens to Montez's inaugural parade as it begins to rain.
Cast and characters Edit
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus -as- President (Former Vice President) Selina Meyer: a former Maryland Senator and one-time presidential candidate. She often feels powerless, disregarded and discontented in her position as second in command. During her tenure as Vice President, her relationship with President Hughes is portrayed as a strained one. Meyer's actual party affiliation is never revealed. She is divorced with one daughter, but remains romantically entangled with her ex-husband. Louis-Dreyfus has received widespread critical acclaim for her performance, winning three Primetime Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and receiving two consecutive Golden Globe nominations.
- Anna Chlumsky -as- Amy Brookheimer: the Vice President's former Chief of Staff( later campaign manager). She credits herself as the Vice President's "trouble-shooter, problem-solver, issue-mediator, doubt-remover, conscience-examiner, thought-thinker and all-round everything-doer". Amy is constantly sacrificing her own reputation to save Selina's political credibility. She is known to be uptight and overly dedicated to her career, unwilling to settle down and have children, much to the dismay of her family. She has history with both Jonah and Dan, and may still have feelings for the latter. She is later appointed Selina's campaign manager during her presidential run. Chlumsky previously portrayed a similar character, Liza Weld, in Iannucci's 2009 film, In the Loop. She has received two consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her performance.
- Tony Hale as Gary Walsh: the President's personal aide. A long-term associate and confidante of Selina's, Gary is portrayed as an incredibly loyal and giving aide to the President. Hale received a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance on the series.
- Reid Scott as Dan Egan: Deputy Director of Communications. The most recent addition to Selina's administration, Dan is a highly ambitious up-and-comer in DC who takes pride in his contacts and networking skills. He often dates the daughters of influential politicians to get ahead in his career. He often butts heads with Amy, whom he previously dated. It is suggested he may still have feelings for her.
- Timothy Simons as Jonah Ryan, White House liaison to the Vice President's office. Self-described as "the go-to guy for all things White House", Jonah takes immense pride that he works for the President and not for the Vice President, much to the annoyance of the Veep's staff. In the third season, he is temporarily fired from the White House for running a blog covering inside information, leading him to create his own news website, Ryantology. In season four, after Selina ascends to the Presidency, he works for the Vice President. He constantly clashes with most members of the Veep's office, particularly Amy, a former love interest. It is shown that he is also disliked by the President's staff, and indeed, just about any politician he encounters (the Prime Minister of Finland compares him unfavorably to Krampus).
- Matt Walsh as Mike McLintock: the President's press secretary. Also a long-time employee of Selina's, Mike has served as her Communications Director since her time as Senator for Maryland. His dedication to his career is often questionable, to the extent where he pretends to have a pet dog so he can escape from work commitments. He is married to a reporter named Wendy Keegan. He later serves as official White House press secretary in the Meyer administration.
- Sufe Bradshaw as Sue Wilson: the Personal Secretary to the President of the United States. A direct and straightforward personality in the Veep's office, Sue boasted she was the third most important person in the world, as she is the one who arranges for people to see Selina, the second most important person in the world.
- Kevin Dunn as Ben Cafferty: the White House Chief of Staff. Although he is depressed and hapless, he is often very insightful and is treated with respect and even fear throughout Washington. Ben shows little regard for his co-workers or his job, and appears to love his nine-cup coffee thermos more than anything else. Selina refers to him as a "burned-out loser", but he apparently considers her a close friend and resolves to help her become President. (season 3–present; recurring season 2)
- Gary Cole as Kent Davison: the Senior Strategist to the President. He is a number-cruncher, and is often referred to as being cold and robotic. His adherence to polling statistics is shown to negatively influence the President's decision-making during several episodes in the second season. He attempts to come between Selina and the President, and forced Selina to appear friendly with her hated ex-husband during the previous election campaign. It is implied that he and Sue are in some form of ersatz relationship. (season 4; recurring seasons 2–3)
- Sam Richardson as Richard Splett: an incompetent campaign aide who fills in for Gary during Selina's book tour. (season 4; recurring season 3)
Season Premiere Finale Season 1 April 22, 2012 June 10, 2012 Season 2 April 14, 2013 June 23, 2013 Season 3 April 6, 2014 June 8, 2014 Season 4 April 12, 2015 June 14, 2015 Season 5 April 24, 2016 June 26, 2016 Season 6 April 16, 2017 2017
The Thick of It Edit
Veep uses the same cinéma-vérité filming style as Iannucci's BBC television sitcom The Thick of It, which is set in a fictional department of the British government. The Thick of It was first broadcast in 2005, gaining a number of awards and in 2009 inspired a spin-off film, In the Loop, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
ABC pilot Edit
A pilot for an American version of The Thick of It was produced as a candidate for the 2007–08 season on ABC. The ABC pilot, also titledThe Thick of It, was developed for American audiences by writers Mitch Hurwitz and Richard Day and would have been about the day-to-day lives of a low-level member of the United States Congress and his staff. Original series creator Armando Iannucci had a production credit on the show, but he was not otherwise involved. The pilot was produced by Sony Pictures Television and BBC Worldwide. Christopher Guest directed the pilot.
In the pilot, John Michael Higgins played Albert Alger, a newly elected Congressman, and Oliver Platt played committee chairman Malcolm Tucker. Rhea Seehorn portrayed Ollie Tadzio, a young and ambitious speech writer, and Michael McKean played Glen Glahm, "a former campaign operative who's now the chief of staff" for the congressman.
ABC did not pick up the show for its fall 2007 schedule. Iannucci distanced himself from the pilot stating, "It was terrible...they took the idea and chucked out all the style. It was all conventionally shot and there was no improvisation or swearing. It didn't get picked up, thank God."
HBO development of Veep Edit
After The Thick of It was dropped by ABC, several networks including HBO, Showtime and NBC expressed interest in adapting the show. Iannucci re-entered talks with HBO (his initial preference) about adapting the series, with the result that a new pilot episode for a series based in the office of the Vice President of the United States called Veep (a nickname derived from the position's initials "VP") was commissioned in late 2009.
Iannucci was given much more creative control over the show and co-wrote the pilot with British comedy writer Simon Blackwell, who also contributed to the British series The Thick of It.HBO announced that it had picked up the show for a full season in April 2011.
Louis-Dreyfus has described Veep's intent not to have the President on-screen, or to reveal the political party of the characters.