McCarthy chronicles the rise and fall of Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin Senator who would test the limits of American decency and democracy. Free of restraint or oversight, he conducted a crusade against those he accused of being Communists and enemies of the state, a chilling campaign marked by groundless accusations, bullying intimidation, grandiose showmanship and cruel victimization. Finally, after years in the headlines, he was brought down by his own excesses and overreach. He died a broken man, but his name lived on. For more than half a century, it has been linked to an all-too-familiar phenomenon, the modern-day witch hunt we call McCarthyism.
American Experience: McCarthy, Monday at 9 p.m. on PBS 6.