‘White House Plumbers’ Episode 5 Recap & Ending, Explained: What Are Hunt And Liddy’s Fates?

Loyalty is a two-way street, but unfortunately, it’s often the higher-ups who seem to forget that they need to repay the loyalty that once saved their skin. The same thing quickly transpired in the final episode of the HBO miniseries White House Plumbers, as events picked up right after Dorothy’s death in the plane crash. As the trial for bugging the DNC reaches a tipping point, Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy start thinking of ways to approach the matter individually, though vastly different in their manner of approach. Let’s find out what all happened in the White House Plumbers finale.

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens During The Trial Phase?

During Dorothy’s funeral, All that Gordon can do is ask the grieving Howard if he’s still writing the tell-all book exposing the involvement of the higher-ups. Apparently, right before Dorothy got on the plane, she’d gotten $200k in insurance, and Howard couldn’t shake off the feeling that the FBI had her killed, more so because Jim Gordon dropped by with some concerning news. Despite his kids’ requests for him to give up the names of the sharks who got Howard into this muck, the former CIA spy held onto hope that President Nixon would pardon him and his crewmates and refused to name anyone during the trials. Of course, Gordon had his own show going and disturbed the court as frequently as possible. Interestingly, Judge Sirica seemed especially keen to establish that Howard, Gordon, and the Cubans acted only on their own with no other involvement. Doesn’t it sound like he’s acting to cover up certain other individuals’ involvement?

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What Was The Verdict Of The Jury?

The only defense that Howard has to his name is the collection of the Gemstone files that implicate John Dean for signing off on the plans, which are basically the blueprint on how to re-elect Nixon. However, while looking through the evidence with the prosecutor, Howard comes to the shocking realization that the Gemstone files have been removed by none other than Dean, who’s desperate to save his hide. With no other evidence that can keep him out of jail without Howard having to produce any files, he realizes that when the going gets tough, loyalty shrivels up like a grape left in the sun. With the walls closing in on Howard, he hands his eldest daughter Kevan the ledger where Dorothy used to maintain the money trails as Kevan packs for college.

On the date of the final judgment, before the jury can announce its decision, Jim Gordon reads from a note that says perjury has been committed, and there are other members involved in the Watergate scandal who have not been named. Sirica has every defendant, but Gordon stands for the jury to declare them guilty; the Cubans get 40 years, Liddy gets 25, and Howard gets 35 years in prison. Inside the prison, all the Watergate convicts are clubbed together, and they begin counting down the days until Nixon is struck by moral sense and pardons them all.

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What Were The Nixon Tapes?

However, Liddy and Gordon discover on the news that White House counsel John Dean has gone on the back foot and implicated the President after the President decided to throw Dean under the bus. Nixon stated that the buck stopped at Dean, and he wouldn’t be taking it lying down. Instead, Dean came up with his own statement, where he revealed that the President had tried taping his own conversation with Dean, where the counsel was asked to write reports, with the hopes that Dean would implicate himself. Realizing the fraudulent schemes of the President he was in cahoots with to re-elect, Dean broke off his ties with Nixon and went his separate way. He got a chance to speak before a full audience and even published a book, but he had no idea that he came within inches of having a pencil lodged in his brain by Liddy because he wouldn’t stop talking.


Why Is Howard Disillusioned? 

Dean’s betrayal proved disastrous for the plumbers because now there was in-fighting with the parties that were supposed to get them out. While Gordon kept up his eccentric ways even in prison, Howard’s kids became incessantly frustrated with their father holding on to his loyalty as everyone else around him cut corners to save their own skin. Unable to deal with the immense stress, Howard has a stroke and wakes up in the prison hospital to find Kevan sitting before him. She’d gone through the ledger and given her father an ultimatum: lest he comes clean to the prosecutors, she’d drown everyone else involved. Moreover, his youngest son David is taken away by his godfather, Dr. Artime, to Miami, and Saint John stoops to drug use. Howard and Liddy have a severe argument and almost come to blows, and Howard goes to the Senate to read his statement.

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What Is Howard Hunt And Gordon Liddy’s Fate?

Despite reading the statement, Howard’s situation has barely improved, and all the good it brings him is being moved to a minimum-security prison, where he learns that Nixon resigned and left his plumbers hanging. Howard’s disillusionment with the government he sacrificed his life for is complete, and he realizes the extent of his mistake. He served two and a half years in the minimum-security prison and was released after Kevan brought the ledgers to President Jimmy Carter’s notice, and Howard ended up reconciling with his children later on.

Gordon Liddy, on the other hand, stayed vigorously true to his goals and rejected every plea deal to uphold his ideals of loyalty. Instead, he began helping the black community in prison with their prison deals and got a Jewish man his Kosher meal, earning a standing ovation from all the inmates. Such jubilation proved too emotional for Gordon to handle, and he began singing in German and was taken away moments after he began the Nazi salute, thereby showcasing his true identity. He was released four and a half years later, and Liddy would remain in the spotlight for the years to come, given his electric personality. The two masterminds of the plumbers, Howard and Gordon, never spoke to each other after their departure from the prison.


Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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