On the most recent episode of HBO’s critically acclaimed Watchmen series, showrunner Damon Lindelof and writer Cord Jefferson managed to reinterpret — nay, reinvent — Hooded Justice, one of the founding members of the Minute Men in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s graphic novel. Instead of being a man whose marginalization was based on his homosexuality, he was actually Will Reeves, Angela Abar’s mysterious grandfather, who was actually segregated because of his skin color. Yet as big as this was, “This Extraordinary Being” also included something else, something far more hidden.
Vox addressed the issue in its recap and io9 subsequently dove even deeper into it with a play-by-play, but they were simply expanding on something Watchman viewers on Twitter had noticed during the broadcast. That is, that a character named Fred, played by Glenn Fleshler (Billions, Barry), felt like a stand-in of sorts for none other than Fred Trump, the late father of President Donald Trump.
Nice, subtle touch in this week’s episode of #Watchmen, “This Extraordinary Being.”
“Fred” may possibly be Fred Trump. He’s involved in the Ku Klux Klan, he operates out of Queens, and his business is marked as “F.T. and Sons.” pic.twitter.com/ifcN5iOatP
— Darren Mooney (@Darren_Mooney) November 25, 2019
During Angela’s visions of Will’s past, we’re introduced to Fred, a white grocery store owner whose connections to “The Cyclops,” a white supremacist group not unlike the show’s Seventh Kavalry, prevent him from being booked by the police. Will arrests him after witnessing him in the attempted arson of a deli owned by a Jewish family, but a white police officer takes over the investigation and sets Fred loose. Will keeps tabs on the free man and later learns of his role in a growing conspiracy involving film projects and encouraging black people to attack each other.
Of course, the character’s simply being named Fred, having a mustache, owning a grocery store, and being associated with a Ku Klux Klan-like organization are not enough to claim that he is actually Fred Trump, whose name became notorious during the 2016 presidential election. That’s when several outlets dug up a 1927 New York Times article in which a man named “Fred Trump” was arrested along with several other individuals at a “near-riot” involving the NYPD and the KKK. President Trump has long since denied the two men were the same person, and both sides of the argument have managed to offer evidence confirming and contradicting the claim that that Fred Trump was the man in the article.
— Dustin Quillen is no turkey (@DustinQuillen) November 25, 2019
Even so, the possible connections between the Watchmen character and the actual man are astonishing, to say the least. Many on Twitter, as well as writers at Vox and io9, managed to string together several points of similarity — their family businesses, which were named “E. Trump & Son” (real) and “F.T. & Sons” (Watchmen) respectively and had to do with supermarkets; their first names and initials; their alleged proximity to the KKK.
There’s also what Lindelof has said regarding the inclusion, potential or otherwise, of Trump or any Trump-adjacent characters in the world of Watchmen. Speaking with Uproxx, when asked about why he chose to make Robert Redford president instead of Trump, he explained that “having Donald Trump be the president in an alt-history makes it less of an alt-history.” Over a year earlier, however, Lindelof wrote on Instagram that while the Watchmen graphic novel “was specific to the Eighties and Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev,” the show “needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin.”