What was on Tuesday 20th October
Lincoln’s Last Day
PBS America - 9pm
Who's in it?
Dramatic reenactments, expert testimonies and some rather awesome antiques all featured in this blow-by-blow account of Lincoln’s last moments.
In a nutshell
The second most famously killed US leader after Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln looms larger in history because he was the more important president. As this documentary emphasised, he had just been through a truly apocalyptic battle for the country’s soul – namely, the US Civil War – and it was just days after the carnage had ceased that Lincoln himself fell victim to a Confederate bullet. A dramatic story indeed, and the manner of the murder also practically begs to be mythologised.
The exhausted war leader, tall and gaunt and gothic looking, relaxing with his wife in a theatre box as a raucous comedy played out before him. Then shot from behind by a famous actor, a heartthrob even – the Brad Pitt of his day, some might say. Every ominous moment was played out here, in a programme that sometimes felt like CSI: Period Drama, with CGI maps and intensive analysis. Most fascinatingly we got to see Lincoln’s watch and the hat he wore on the day he died, as well as the assassin’s actual pistol.
What's the verdict?
Exciting, revelatory, and utterly compelling, this was not just an account of a murder but an homage to a great man who was felled after his greatest victory.