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'Death By Lightning': Exploring America's Forgotten Tragedy

Get to know the life (and death) of President James Garfield in this upcoming historical drama series.

Image: Tomas Mazowski
Updated: February 27, 2024

If you're hooked on historical dramas, then "Death by Lightning" might just be the lightning strike you're looking for. The upcoming Netflix series, produced by Game of Thrones duo DB Weiss and David Benioff, is set to go into production later this spring, and hopefully we'll get to see it on Netflix towards the end of this year or early 2025.

Based on the gripping novel "Destiny Of The Republic" by Candice Millard, "Death by Lightning" is a deep dive into the life and untimely death of James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, whose time in office was cut tragically short by an assassin's bullet.

What's the plot of 'Death by Lightning'?

The year is 1881, and James Garfield assumes the presidency of a nation still healing from the scars of the Civil War. Garfield, distinguished by his intellect and moral fiber, had not even sought the presidency. Nevertheless, he finds himself endeavoring to steer the nation through the complex challenges of political reform and to mend its divisions. Into this historical moment steps Charles Guiteau, pushed to the edge by a mix of rejection and delusional belief in a divine mission to alter the nation's destiny. The ensuing narrative is a poignant exploration of the potential that Garfield's presidency held for the United States and the harsh reality of a future abruptly curtailed.

Starring Michael Shannon as President James Garfield and Matthew Macfadyen as the troubled assassin Charles Guiteau, this series is all set to take you on a rollercoaster ride through one of the most shocking events in American history.

When is 'Death by Lightning' coming out?

No release date has been announced yet, but considering the series will go into production later this spring, we should expect to see it on Netflix towards the end of this year or at the start of 2025 at the latest.

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