Based on Leon Neyfakh‘s “Slow Burn” documentary, Gaslit (STARZ, 4.24) is the story of the colorful Martha Mitchell, the wife of former Attorney General John Mitchell and a Southern belle blabbermouth who was told to shut up about what she suspected about Watergate and yet refused to zip it.

Julia Roberts plays Martha, and a barely recognizable Sean Penn plays husband John. Costarring Dan Stevens, Betty Gilpin, Shea Whigham and Darby Camp.

From Martha Mitchell’s Wiki page: “Following the 6.17.72 Watergate break-in, Attorney General John Mitchell “enlisted security guard Steve King (a former FBI agent) to prevent his wife Martha from learning about the break-in or contacting reporters. Despite these efforts, the following Monday, Martha acquired a copy of the Los Angeles Times.

“Martha learned that James W. McCord Jr., the security director of the Committee to Re-elect The President and her daughter’s bodyguard and driver, was among those arrested. This detail conflicted with the White House’s official story that the break-in was unrelated to the CRP, and raised her suspicion.

“Martha unsuccessfully made attempts to contact her husband by phone, eventually telling one of his aides that her next call would be to the press.

“The following Thursday, on 6.22.72, Mitchell made a late-night phone call to Helen Thomas of the United Press, reportedly Mitchell’s favorite reporter. Mitchell informed Thomas of her intention to leave her husband until he resigned from CREEP. The phone call, however, abruptly ended. When Thomas called back, the hotel operator told her that Mitchell was ‘indisposed’ and would not be able to talk. Thomas then called John, who seemed unconcerned and said, ‘[Martha] gets a little upset about politics, but she loves me and I love her and that’s what counts.’

In her subsequent report of the incident, Thomas said that it was apparent someone had taken the phone from Mitchell’s hand and [Mitchell] could be heard saying ‘You just get away.’ Thomas’s account was widely covered in the news, and many media outlets made efforts to find Mitchell for an interview.

“A few days later, Marcia Kramer, a veteran crime reporter of the New York Daily News, tracked Mitchell to the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York. Kramer found “a beaten woman” who had “incredible” black and blue marks on her arms.

“In what turned out to be the first of many interviews, Mitchell related how in the week following the Watergate burglary, she had been held captive in that California hotel and that it was King that had pulled the phone cord from the wall. After several attempts to escape from the balcony, she was physically accosted by five men, which had left her needing stitches. Herb Kalmbach, Nixon’s personal lawyer, was summoned to the hotel and he decided to call for a doctor to inject her with a tranquilizer. The incident left her fearing for her life.”

Martha divorced John in September 1973. During her last couple of years she lived without funds and was close to destitution. Martha died of multiple myeloma on 5.31.76, at age 57.