White House Plumbers (HBO Miniseries Finale), Episode 5: Recap & Ending, Explained – What happens to Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy in the end?

White House Plumbers Series Finale Episode 5

White House Plumbers (HBO Miniseries Finale) Episode 5 Recap & Ending, Explained: In the climactic finale of the HBO miniseries, “White House Plumbers,” events unfold as Liddy confesses to John Dean, expressing his genuine concern regarding Hunt’s emotional stability.

Meanwhile, Hunt’s daughter finds a confidential notebook, using it to persuade her father to embrace honesty during his Senate testimony. At the same time, as the President’s resignation looms, a devastating ripple effect follows, leaving lives irreparably shattered and forever changed.

*Spoiler Alert*

White House Plumbers (HBO Miniseries Finale), Episode 5 Recap:

“True Believers”

In this episode, Dorothy Hunt’s funeral takes place after her tragic death in a plane crash. Howard Hunt is devastated by the loss of his wife, while Gordon shows genuine concern for Howard’s well-being. Back at home, condolences are offered to Howard, and Gordon approaches Saint John, urging him to support his father. Gordon also inquires about any books Howard may be working on, leaving Saint John confused.

Meanwhile, Howard converses with Fran, who offers her assistance. Howard expresses his distress over feeling betrayed by the country he once served with loyalty. Suddenly, James McCord visits Howard to offer condolences and reveals that President Nixon appointed Egil Krogh as the new undersecretary of transportation. James highlights that Krogh now has oversight over FAA and NTSB investigations, including the plane crashes. While Howard initially dismisses the connection as a coincidence, James encourages him to consider the possibility of a deliberate association.

Howard informs Gordon about Dorothy’s life insurance policy and the odd circumstances surrounding her flight, including the sudden rerouting and the FBI’s swift arrival at the crash site. He speculates that the government might have orchestrated the plane crash to silence him and prevent any mention of the Watergate scandal. Howard also suggests that Dorothy may have been aware of something or encountered someone suspicious, adding to the mystery surrounding the incident.

While clearing out Dorothy’s belongings, Howard comes across the account books that the Hunts used to manage the funds sent by the government. He takes the book and gives it to his daughter, emphasizing that he trusts her.

Next, we see Gordon calling John Dean, expressing his concerns about Howard’s stability. Dean reassures him, stating that Gordon should inform Howard that the government will handle everything. They will provide an annual sum of $30,000 along with legal fees. Although both Howard and Gordon would go to jail, it would be in Danbury, and they would receive a presidential pardon within two years. However, Gordon remains unsure if Howard can maintain silence, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Nixon’s name out of the public eye.

James orders him not to break any more laws and disconnects the call. He then proceeds to meet the president right after the call. We then hear an audio recording of President Nixon affirming that James Dean conducted an investigation that concluded no one from the White House was involved in the Watergate scandal.

The Trial of Breaking into the Democratic Party Headquarters

Throughout the trial, Judge John Sirica makes sure to grill the group that includes Howard, Liddy, and the co-defendants to bring out the truth. All six defendants remain loyal despite their superiors trying to alienate the Nixon administration from the scandal.

However, James McCord breaks his word in a moment of change of heart (or being scared of getting behind the bar). He reveals to the judge that he possesses additional information about the break-in and wishes to disclose it, resulting in leniency in his sentencing compared to the others.

The group is eventually found guilty, with the burglars receiving 40-year prison terms, Howard sentenced to 35 years, and Liddy receiving 25 years. While others are imprisoned, McCord stays free and publicly exposes James Dean and the CRP’s involvement in the Watergate break-in.

Does Howard Hunt decide to testify?

A still from White House Plumbers Series Finale, Episode 5.
A still from White House Plumbers Series Finale, Episode 5.

While in prison, Howard Hunt maintains his loyalty to President Nixon and refuses to disclose any information about the CRP’s involvement in the break-in. Being a Republican, Hunt is rigid against Democrats, especially George McGovern, whom he thought of being a leftist.

We then see Howard and his lawyer William Bittman request access to the evidence presented against him during the trial. He believes the White House office’s cabinet holds information connecting the CRP and John Dean to the Watergate scandal. However, he finds that all the documents relating to higher officials to the crime have been removed and are not part of the court’s evidence. Hunt feels that John Dean pulled these papers to protect himself and the CRP, ditching him and Liddy alone.

However, things turn south when James Dean turns against his superiors and begins cooperating with investigators. Following McCord’s disclosures, it becomes evident that the White House is involved in the crime. President Nixon blames his White House Counsel, John Dean, claiming ignorance of any plans to bug the DNC office and suggesting that Dean must have ordered it. Dean, however, discloses to Senate investigators that Nixon had secretly recorded their conversations in his office, implying Nixon’s attempts to frame him as the actual perpetrator. Hunt realizes that higher officials would easily sacrifice him to save themselves, eventually pushing him to consider revealing the truth.

In the meantime, Howard has a stroke due to the constant pressure around him. His daughter Kevan visits him and threatens to publicly release the account book details if he doesn’t come clean to the investigators. Howard tries to convince Gordon also to come forward and reveal everything related to the Watergate break-in, but Gordon remains loyal to his word to the president. We then see Howard going to Washington with his lawyer, revealing everything to the investigators.

White House Plumbers (HBO Miniseries Finale), Episode 5 Ending, Explained:

What happens to Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy in the end?

Howard Hunt is transferred to the Federal Minimum Security prison in Allenwood after cooperating with the investigation leading him to serve a sentence of two and a half years.

On the other hand, Gordon Liddy maintains his word about him operating alone, and the White House had nothing to do with his plan of action. He is in prison for four and a half years before President Jimmy Carter grants him clemency.

Meanwhile, we see James Dean publish a book on the Watergate scandal, leading him to earn humongous profit and a reputable image. The series finale of White House Plumbers ends with Howard learning about Nixon’s resignation while in prison. The show also shows that Howard is only remembered as a mere burglar who once jokingly confessed to killing  John F. Kennedy.

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White House Plumbers (HBO Miniseries Finale) Episode 5 Cast – Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux, Lena Headey, Judy Greer, Domhall Gleeson
Where to watch White House Plumbers
Deepshikha Deb

Quit my job to watch movies with my husband and occasionally write about it. I am also a social media and momo tasting expert, who loves Masala Dosa and Tilda Swinton.