Episodes
Pam finds love on a movie set when she’s cast opposite superstar comedian Richard Pryor. She sets out to change Richard’s self-destructive ways, and succeeds – for a little while. She then immerses herself in a difficult new role, a role that gives her nightmares but could spark a comeback. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/29/22
As the Blaxploitation craze comes to an end, Pam fights for better roles and hobnobs with the biggest names in showbiz. She meets the love of her life, a hot young comedian named Freddie Prinze -- whose personal demons lead to heartbreak and tragedy. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/22/22
Published 11/22/22
Pam is almost killed when a horse goes wild on the set of a gladiator movie. But instead of losing her life, she meets a new friend, who just happens to be one of the most famous filmmakers in the world. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/18/22
Pam’s career hits new heights as Black-themed movies take the country by storm.  She stars in four low-budget films in the span of one year, including two bonafide hits: Coffy and Foxy Brown.  Yet her celebrity is tied to controversy, as Blaxploitation gets criticized by the Black community and snubbed by the Hollywood establishment. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/15/22
Pam heads to the Philippines to star in a pair of “women in prison” movies, where she endures volatile weather, skimpy costumes, and cobra encounters. She studies acting and learns everything she can about filmmaking, and her raw talent is soon recognized on the set. But Pam’s relationship with Kareem is tested when his religious convictions clash with her feminist ideals. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/08/22
Newly arrived in Los Angeles, Pam learns underground filmmaking at UCLA and sings backup for some of the biggest musical acts of the 60s. She also has her first serious romance, with a towering basketball phenom named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Then, a chance audition for a low-budget movie leads to Pam’s first opportunity in front of the camera, as an actor. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/01/22
Growing up in Colorado, young Pam Grier endures racism and trauma, but finds solace in horses and the beautiful countryside.  As a teen, she visits Los Angeles for the first time, and gets caught in the middle of the historic Watts Rebellion.  But after winning a beauty pageant, she meets a Hollywood agent who encourages her to give L.A. a second chance. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 10/25/22
This is the story of Pam Grier as only she can tell it. Her sudden stardom, her iconic roles, her fights against the system. It’s a story of bravery, both onscreen and off. It’s a story about race in Hollywood and race in America. And it’s a story about how real life is a lot messier than the movies. Pam Grier joins host Ben Mankiewicz for a new season of The Plot Thickens, starting October 25. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 10/04/22
Ben Mankiewicz speaks with the Oscar-winning actor about playing William Frawley in Being the Ricardos, and how Frawley's tumultuous relationship with Vivian Vance informed the characters of Fred and Ethel Mertz. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 02/01/22
Ben Mankiewicz speaks to three celebrity fans about how they were influenced by Lucille Ball, Lucy’s incredible talent for physical comedy, and why I Love Lucy is still beloved today. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 01/25/22
Ben Mankiewicz speaks to Aaron Sorkin, the writer-director of Being the Ricardos, about what drew him to Lucy’s story, Lucy and Desi’s intense relationship, and the danger they faced when HUAC thought Lucy was a communist.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 01/11/22
More from Ben Mankiewicz's fascinating interview with Lucie Arnaz, who speaks about working with her mom, growing up on the RKO studio lot, and what made I Love Lucy special. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 12/21/21
Lucy sinks into a depression after the failure of her newest show and becomes a reclusive, fiercely competitive backgammon player. Yet she's still revered, and following a memorable final appearance at the Academy Awards, her heart gives out. As the memorials pour in, the public clamors to learn everything about her life, while those closest to her wonder if they ever really knew her at all. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 12/14/21
Escaping Hollywood after her split, Lucy heads east for a chance to star on Broadway. There she meets a new man, a Borscht Belt comedian with a bad toupee and even worse business sense. The new couple returns to Hollywood when Lucy takes on a surprising new role: as the first female head of a major studio. But she still prefers acting, and makes plans to return to the big screen – with disastrous results. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 12/07/21
Lucy and Desi's studio expands as they buy the RKO lot and produce new shows under the Desilu banner. The strain of running an empire takes its toll, and Desi falls further into gambling, drinking and philandering as a refuge from work. Lucy doubles down on her career, but after shooting a tearful final episode of her signature TV show, her marriage reaches its breaking point. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/30/21
At the height of Lucy’s popularity, the government kicks off a political investigation that threatens to ruin her career. Why had Lucy registered as a communist 20 years earlier? On the verge of her being blacklisted, Desi goes on the offensive to save his wife and their livelihood.  But his infidelities soon become tabloid fodder, and their love affair begins to crumble in full view of the public.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/23/21
With a TV deal from CBS, Desi assembles a ragtag team of collaborators to make a new kind of program, one that would rewrite the rules of television. And they do it while hiding Lucy’s newest surprise: after ten years of trying, she’s about to have a baby. The result is the biggest hit in TV history, one that showcases Lucy's fearlessness and comic timing, and she becomes beloved by millions of fans from coast to coast. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/16/21
From the start, Lucy and Desi fight as fiercely as they love. After a spur-of-the-moment elopement, the newlyweds buy a small ranch north of Hollywood and call it “Desilu.” They suffer miscarriages and career setbacks, which causes Desi to take his band on the road – where he frequently cheats on his wife. Lucy considers divorce, but when a TV offer comes in, she uses her stardom to keep Desi by her side. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/09/21
Forced from his native Cuba by violent revolution, 17-year-old Desi Arnaz is a stranger in a strange land. Armed with an appetite for girls and gambling, Desi sparks a dance craze in the nightclubs of Miami and sweet-talks his way into New York society. After a syphilis scare threatens his Broadway debut, his ambition leads him to Hollywood, where his head is turned by an older actress named Lucy. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 11/02/21
For her first movie role, Lucy wears a flesh-toned bodysuit and waist-length blonde wig while chained to a rock. But her clowning on set gets her noticed, and she begins to land larger and larger parts. Soon she signs with RKO Pictures where she's mentored by Ginger Rogers’ demanding and powerful mother, Lela. She also meets a young Cuban musician, the man who would become her closest partner both on and off the screen.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 10/26/21
Lucy heads back to Broadway where she meets her first girlboss: fashion baroness Hattie Carnegie, who hires Lucy to model coats and dresses for New York high society. But a mysterious ailment sends Lucy home to Jamestown, followed by a bizarre medical treatment. Still determined to make it in the big city, Lucy returns to Manhattan one more and is discovered on the streets, landing the role that would kickstart her career. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 10/19/21
In a small town in New York, young Lucille Ball becomes enamored with showbiz after watching vaudeville acts and silent movies at the amusement park near her home. As a teenager, she falls for a handsome 21-year-old bootlegger, and is promptly shipped off to drama school in New York City. But Lucy soon returns home as a life-altering tragedy threatens to tear apart her family.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 10/12/21
From her early years as a model to her triumphant takeover of television, this is the story of Lucille Ball, as never heard before. Join host Ben Mankiewicz as he delves into the private world of America’s funniest redhead and hear for yourself the many triumphs and tragedies, with surprising revelations at every turn. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Published 09/07/21