FX’s new dramatic series Trust is inspired by true events and focuses on the Getty family, in particular the events surrounding the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. Episode one airing March 25, 2018 and titled “The House of Getty” begins with John Paul Getty III (Harris Dickinson) racing through a field of flowers. He’s obviously running from someone, but his pursuer remains unseen.
The scene switches to a wild Hollywood party. It’s 1973 and beautiful people are mingling at a pool party outside a mansion, drinking, and listening to a live band.
A woman screams for George to open the garage door while inside George (Filippo Valle) is freaking out. More women arrive to pound on the garage’s glass windows as George picks up a large two-pronged barbecue fork and stabs himself in the chest.
The location switches to Sutton Place, home of one of the richest men in the world: J. Paul Getty. The Getty patriarch (Donald Sutherland) wakes and his butler, Bullimore (Silas Carson), prepares his morning drink containing a raw egg while he lays in bed. Bullimore then dresses his boss and brushes his teeth while James Fletcher Chace (Brendan Fraser) reveals the results of George’s autopsy. George was high when he stabbed himself, and J. Paul Getty is indignant that the report lists George’s death as a suicide. James promises to take care of it.
J. Paul Getty’s mistresses assemble for breakfast and he asks which one of them loves him best. After that bit of teasing, he expresses outrage over the tiny rise in the price of the newspaper, and then wonders who among his mistresses he’ll leave his fortune to. He then warns them a new woman, Teresa, will soon be added to his collection.
That afternoon, J. Paul Sr speaks at his son’s funeral, calling him the son upon whom the future of Getty Oil rested. He thinks fate robbed George of his destiny.
After the funeral service, the senior Getty’s sons – Ronald, John Paul Getty Jr, and Gordon – hide in the restroom and smoke pot, joking about who will fill George’s role in the Getty Oil business. Ronald’s a movie producer, Gordon’s writing a symphony, and Paul is a drug addict. It appears no one wants the job except Paul whose current relationship with his father is non-existent.
J. Paul Sr rants about his feckless heirs and expresses jealousy over his peers’ families, including the Kennedys.
John Paul Getty III arrives late to the funeral, making quite an impression in long hair, casual shirt, and bell bottom jeans. His arrival interrupts his father’s talk with J. Paul Sr. Just as Paul confirms he wants back in the oil business, John Paul Getty III (who also goes by Paul) causes a stir with his disheveled appearance. He heads straight to the food as all conversations come to a halt.
J. Paul Sr introduces his grandson to the funeral attendees and they applaud.
Minutes later, J. Paul Jr speaks to his son outside and demands to know why he decided to attend the funeral. J. Paul Jr believes it’s because his son needs cash and doesn’t listen to his response, driving away before John Paul Getty III can explain.
Funeral over and his father gone, the soaking wet Paul is told by Bullimore to ask the lady of the house if he can stay. The women are immediately infatuated with this good-looking young hippie.
The cook has Paul strip out of his wet clothes and dries him with a towel. She’s kind to him and seems happy to see him in her kitchen.
Later, the women and J. Paul Sr. are relaxing as Paul looks around the room. He finds a statuette he assumes is expensive and asks about it. J. Paul Sr leaves the room with one of his girlfriends without discussing the piece.
After everyone goes to bed, Paul explores the house and hears his grandfather having sex. He heads back to the room, silently grabs the statuette, and returns to his bedroom where he packs it away in his belongings.
The miserly J. Paul Sr rinses his socks and hangs them on a line in his bathroom to dry.
The next morning, Paul realizes his grandfather’s butler has unpacked his bags and folded and put away his clothes. Paul begs Bullimore not to tell his grandfather he was stealing the statuette, and Bullimore explains that his grandfather’s attitude is that property is tax deductible. However, he won’t tell J. Paul Sr because he doesn’t want him to be disappointed in his grandchildren.
J. Paul and his grandson bond over their appreciation of art. The senior Getty is impressed his grandson is well versed in works of art, including the Elgin Marbles the senior Getty’s attempting to procure from the British Museum. While they discuss art, Paul says he wants to go to Morocco and tells his grandfather there are Carthaginian and Rome artifacts just lying about in the dessert waiting to be discovered. J. Paul’s impressed and a bit shocked he didn’t know about that.
Surprisingly, the two seem to actually enjoy each other’s company.
J. Paul takes his grandson on a tour of three oil rigs out in the ocean. They discuss the history of oil and the approach to drilling taken by other nations. “Oil is everything. Everything!” says J. Paul, describing shampoos, clothing, shoes, and even toothbrushes as being made of oil. He assures Paul that everything is dependent on oil.
The discussion turns to money and J. Paul draws a diagram of how his money goes from the Sarah Getty Trust to oil fields to shipping to refineries to gas stations to hotels – all under Getty Oil’s control. Paul’s a quick learner and knows just what to say to keep his grandfather talking. The way it’s set up, J. Paul has the business registering a loss because the profits are poured back into the business. That way he doesn’t pay taxes until the money’s drawn out of the trust, which he never does.
J. Paul realizes his grandson needs cash, and Paul admits he ran up debts that he needs paid off…$6,000 to be exact. He claims it’s due to his drinking and going out too much and lies when J. Paul asks if he does drugs. J. Paul’s fine with the fact chasing women caused the debt, but not drugs. J. Paul reveals every women he has sex with has to sign a contract first renouncing all rights, and Paul jokes it’s a “financial condom.”
Next, J. Paul gets his daily briefing on telexs and mail, learning about a letter from a woman who claimed to know him intimately. He’s told Teresa will be arriving tomorrow.
Back at the estate, J. Paul’s mistresses watch Paul swim and fantasize about the handsome young stud. Then, one of the women reveals Paul has a spread in the current edition of Playmen Magazine. The women giggle.
J. Paul arrives and proposes a deal. He’ll give Paul $6,000 if he does six months on an oil rig. He can quit after six months, but J. Paul assures him that in two years of working for him “he won’t just visit Morocco, he’ll own Morocco.”
That night, Paul uses the pay phone inside the Getty Estate to inform Martine Zacher (Laura Bellini) and Jutta Winklemann (Sarah Bellini) he hasn’t received any money yet. They tell him the man he owes is watching their house and they’re scared. Paul tells Martine not to worry, he loves her and will take care of everything.
John Paul Getty Jr and his girlfriend Victoria (Hannah New) receive an invitation back to Sutton Place. He doesn’t want to go, but Victoria thinks it means the job is his for the asking.
The party is to celebrate the arrive of Teresa, and the staff works double-time to prepare for the formal event.
John Paul Getty Jr and Victoria do attend, and J. Paul Sr appears to be happy to see his son. He then asks his women, including Penelope (she’s the leader of the group and the one he considers his girlfriend), to follow him into the hall to meet Teresa. J. Paul calls out to her and the women scream in fright and flee back to the party when they discover Teresa is a lion.
John Paul Jr sits near his father at the dining table during the party, assuring his father he’s completely ready to take on the job at Getty Oil. J. Paul Sr compliments him, but then swiftly tells him it’s his son who’ll be taking on George’s role in the company. J. Paul Sr is bypassing the father to give the coveted position to his grandson, asking his guests to raise their glasses and toast John Paul Getty III.
J. Paul Jr’s shocked and angrily races from the room, his plans destroyed by this new relationship between his father and his son. Angry and wanting to ruin this new arrangement, J. Paul Getty Jr returns and confronts his father. He shows him the spread in Playmen Magazine, catching J. Paul Sr by surprise. The senior Getty thumbs through the pages and it’s clear he disapproves.
Later that night after all his guests have left, J. Paul receives an injection into his penis so that he can have sex. He warns the doctor this injection better work. Before he has sex, he pens a letter and passes it to Bullimore to be given to Paul.
Bullimore delivers the letter which only includes the phone number to purchase an airline ticket to Rome. Paul is to leave immediately without the money he needs to pay off the criminals/mafia. Paul can’t believe his grandfather won’t give him any money and then Bullimore reveals J. Paul knows the debt came from purchasing champagne and cocaine. Paul says he never wanted to be a Getty and has been trying to hide from his family name all his life.
Paul, crying, asks Bullimore what to do, and Bullimore hugs him. “If you really don’t want to be a Getty, Paul, leave this place and never ever come back,” suggests Bullimore before wishing him luck.
Rome one week later: Paul runs wildly through the streets and into a club, obviously high and out of control. He buys a beautiful woman a drink in a club, ecstatic he’s just himself. He thinks he’s free now. Suddenly, his mood is ruined by the appearance of a man who’s after him to repay his debt.
Paul runs out of the club and into the street. He dunks his head in a fountain as a car races toward him. Men exit the car, give him a hood to place over his head, and toss him in their vehicle.
The final scene of Trust season one episode one is a repeat of the episode’s opening with Paul running through a field of flowers.
More on Trust:
- Exclusive Interview with Sarah Bellini and Laura Bellini
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 2 “Lone Star”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 3 “La Dolce Vita”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 4 #That’s All Folks”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 5 “Silenzio”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 6 “John, Chapter 11”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 7 “Kodachrome”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 8 “In the Name of the Father”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 10 “Consequences”