Manhunt: Unabomber exclusive: Jane Lynch as Janet Reno in ‘Publish or Perish’

Jane Lynch as Janet Reno in Manhunt: Unabomber
Jane Lynch portraying Janet Reno in Manhunt: Unabomber tonight

Tonight on Manhunt: Unabomber, actor Jane Lynch makes an appearance as Attorney General Janet Reno.

In our exclusive clip, Lynch stars opposite Chris Noth as Don Ackerman, the Bay Area Divisional Head of the FBI who supervised the Unabomber Task Force.

Despite Akerman’s urging to go forward and publish the manifesto penned by the Unabomber — Ted Kaczynski — Reno expresses concern that this may become another disaster like the 1993 siege at Waco (Texas) where her decision to use tear gas and the government’s use of force was blamed for many unnecessary deaths.

The cast and producers of Manhunt: Unabomber were one of the most anticipated panels at the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) summer press tour — where Lynch was asked about her role as Reno.

Speaking about her preparation for the role, Glee star Lynch said: “She was one of those people who was just doggedly into the facts and fairness and justice and uncompromising in that.

“I was not only alive and well during the ’90s, but an adult where I actually knew a lot about her. I was fascinated with her. I admired her. I was charmed by her, and I talked to somebody who was her assistant for many years.

“[Reno] passed away right before we started shooting this. And she gave me some really great insights into her character that I was not surprised to find out — that she had a huge heart, she loved to laugh.

“But she was also extremely sensitive, and she made some mistakes…especially with Waco. She lived with the remorse of that. To her dying day, she even said that…I had that line in the show.”

Exclusive interview: Ted Kaczynski’s path from prodigy to killer

Speaking about Reno’s involvement in the Unabomber case, Lynch added: “She was just one of those people who went where the facts led and took a really big chance with this case in publishing that manifesto. That was a big risk, and it ended up paying off in this case.”

In the exclusive clip, Lynch’s Reno asks Ackerman if he is sure of his decision to publish. Lynch’s Janet Reno says: “Don, you’re nearing retirement aren’t you…you’re aware of the implications of this coming undone. You still want to do it?”

Noth’s Ackerman says: “What I don’t want to do is see any more pictures of ripped up bodies and I don’t want to pawn this
case off on the next guy coming after me. This [releasing the manifesto] is our best move. It’s risky, we got others, but this one’s the best…”

Reno says: “I just want to make certain that you’re aware of the consequences here. What happened at Waco — my decisions there will haunt me for the rest of my natural life and I can say from experience that everything is different when the camera’s pointed at you.”

Manhunt: Unabomber is the story of profiler Jim Fitzgerald, played by Sam Worthington, who pioneered the use of forensic linguistics to identify and capture the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, played by Paul Bettany.

In 1995, the Unabomber offered to stop bombing if his manifesto was published. Fitzgerald put everything on the line to push for publication, in a bid to uncover the Unabomber’s identity.

Manhunt: Unabomber airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on Discovery.

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