The epic HBO miniseries Angels in America is directed by Mike Nichols and written by the play's author, Tony Kushner. This six-part drama is adapted from the two full-length award-winning plays (Part I: The Millennium Approaches and Part II: Perestroika) originally performed on Broadway in 1993. Set in New York City during the mid-'80s, the story follows the interconnected lives of several people affected by the AIDS crisis, intense spiritual experiences, and the Reagan Administration. Newcomer Justin Kirk plays Prior Walter, a young man dying of AIDS. Things are made worse when he's abandoned by his lover, Jewish court clerk Louis Ironson (Ben Shenkman). Then he's visited by an Angel (Emma Thompson), who keeps crashing through his roof and insisting that he's a prophet.
Meanwhile, conservative power monger Roy Cohn (Al Pacino) is also dying of AIDS, but he's in serious denial about it. While in the hospital, he's continually visited by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg (Meryl Streep), a woman he had sent to the electric chair. Roy's protégé is Mormon lawyer Joe Pitt (Patrick Wilson), who also tries to deny his own homosexuality. Joe's estranged wife Harper (Mary-Louise Parker) suffers from a Valium addiction and has an acute sensitivity to the world around her. Joe leaves her to start up a relationship with Louis, who works in his building. Jeffrey Wright reprises his stage role of the trusty friend and nurse Belize. Angels in America first aired in two parts on HBO during December of 2003.