Al Franken to play senator in Netflix comedic drama about the White House

<span>Al Franken on Capitol Hill in Washington DC in 2017.</span><span>Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP</span>
Al Franken on Capitol Hill in Washington DC in 2017.Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

Al Franken, the former Minnesota Democratic senator, will play a senator on TV in a Netflix comedic drama about the White House.

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The show, called The Residence, is based on the residence at the White House, the president’s private home while in office.

Netflix has billed the show as “a screwball whodunnit set in the upstairs, downstairs, and backstairs of the White House, among the eclectic staff of the world’s most famous mansion”, according to Deadline. The show, first announced in 2022, was delayed by the writers’ strike.

Franken, a longtime comedian and one of the original writers on Saturday Night Live, represented Minnesota in the US Senate from 2009 to 2018. He wrote a key provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, the most important US healthcare reform bill since the 1960s.

The former senator was forced to resign at the height of the the #MeToo movement in 2017, after several women accused him of inappropriate kisses and touches. He later told the New Yorker that he regretted resigning, and that it led him to reflect on themes of due process and proportional punishment. Several senators later said they viewed his case as “mishandled”.

Franken’s role in the show was announced this week, alongside the involvement of Giancarlo Esposito, who will succeed Andre Braugher as one of the show’s central characters, following Braugher’s death last year.

Braugher, an actor best known for his role as Captain Raymond Holt in Brooklyn Nine Nine and described by critics as a man “blessed with incredible gravitas”, died in December at the age of 61.

Esposito and Braugher had a long professional relationship, beginning decades ago on the set of Homicide: Life on the Street, a police procedural that ran for six years and chronicled a fictionalized Baltimore police department.

Esposito will take over Braugher’s role as White House chief usher AB Wynter.