The Young Pope

Sundays at 9 p.m. ET

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Synopsis

Jude Law stars in an HBO limited series about a newly elected pope – the youngest in history and first-ever American – whose audacity, independence and arch-conservatism wreaks havoc within the Vatican. From Paolo Sorrentino, director of the 2013 Oscar®-winning film The Great Beauty, and starring two-time Oscar®- nominee Jude Law, this ten-episode limited series tells the fictional story of Lenny Belardo, a.k.a. Pius XIII, the first- ever American Pope and the youngest elected by the College of Cardinals. At first glance, Lenny’s selection over older and more experienced clerics – in particular Cardinal Spencer (James Cromwell), a fellow American and Lenny’s mentor – seems part of a simple media strategy by Vatican elders, who no doubt expect the new Pope to toe the line and follow their lead. Instead, Pius XIII eschews the counsel of the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando), and enlists the woman who raised him, Sister Mary (Oscar®-winner Diane Keaton), to be his chief confidante. To the chagrin of Voiello and the PR reps who would market the handsome and charming young Pope, Lenny refuses to allow himself to be photographed (his first speech from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica is delivered in silhouette), and he announces a series of severe, hardline initiatives that confound the Vatican status quo. The Young Pope paints a portrait of a mysterious, complicated man fully aware of the contradictions and consequences of being the conservative leader of a billion followers in a changing world – but unwilling to bend in the execution of his duties.

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“Tenth Episode” (finale)

Reunited with a changed Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) at the Vatican, the pope (Jude Law) considers an appropriate course of action regarding Archbishop Kurtwell (Guy Boyd). Father Tomasso (Marcello Romolo) gets a promotion, while Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) takes on a new role. The prospect of a reconciliation leads the young pope to make an unexpected change of travel plans – and policy.

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“Ninth Episode”

Lenny (Jude Law) and Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) relive a momentous incident from the past as the pope faces the prospect of an unthinkable loss in the present. In New York, Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) faces daunting odds, including the threat of blackmail, in his ongoing investigation of Kurtwell (Guy Boyd), a powerful archbishop suspected of longtime sexual misconduct.

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“Eighth Episode”

Lenny (Jude Law) and Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) deal with a shared loss in their own peculiar ways. Returning to the Vatican, Sofia (Cécile De France) suggests that the new pope embark on his first trip abroad: a visit to Africa in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Sister Antonia’s (Milvia Marigliano) much-heralded “Village of Goodness.” Lenny is heartened by a visit from his favorite author, and dismayed by the sudden departure of a friend.

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“Seventh Episode”

Concerned by negative publicity surrounding the suicide of a would-be priest, Voiello (Silvio Orlando) ponders new and familiar scenarios to take down Lenny (Jude Law). Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) struggles with her conscience as Lenny is distracted by the possibility of a family reunion. In the disturbing aftermath of a social event in Rome, Dussolier (Scott Shepherd) informs the pope he wants to return to Honduras.

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“Sixth Episode”

Nine months after being elected, Lenny (Jude Law) has a testy first meeting with the Italian prime minister (Stefano Accorsi), a progressive at odds with Pius XIII's uncompromising vision of the church. Newly minted Cardinal Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) reluctantly moves out of the Vatican for his new assignment abroad. After a brief reunion with the faithful in Honduras, Dussolier (Scott Shepherd) assumes his new duties as Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, but is thrown by Lenny's strict guidelines towards prospective priests. Voiello (Silvio Orlando) is questioned about the disappearance of Tonino (Franco Pinelli), who is looking to break from the church. Ester's (Ludivine Sagnier) miracle comes true.

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“Fifth Episode”

Voiello (Silvio Orlando) orchestrates a scandalous scenario designed to cripple the pope. Lenny (Jude Law) decamps with old friend Andrew Dussolier (Scott Shepherd), both in the present and the past. As his ornate papal tiara arrives, Pius XIII decides the time has come to address the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel.

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“Fourth Episode”

Tonino (Franco Pinelli), a rural shepherd, appeals to the Vatican to recognize his miracle-working stigmata. Lenny (Jude Law) councils a nun whose sister is gravely ill in Sri Lanka. Ester (Ludivine Sagnier) is torn by a threat from Voiello (Silvio Orlando) and her devotion to the pope. Lenny makes a bold decision regarding a sex-abuse case in New York, deciding to send an unlikely envoy. A visit from the prime minister of Greenland (Carolina Carlsson) stirs Lenny’s musical sensibilities.

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“Third Episode”

Baffled by the pope’s intentions and desperate to retain control in the Vatican, Voiello (Silvio Orlando) considers his options in the face of public reaction to Lenny’s (Jude Law) speech. In a press conference, Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) outlines the pope’s policy towards questions and concerns from the media. Elder Cardinal Caltanissetta (Toni Bertorelli) enjoins Spencer (James Cromwell) to put his resentment aside and accept Lenny’s offer. Moved by Lenny’s message, Ester (Ludivine Sagnier) is summoned by Valente (Ignazio Oliva), the pope’s aide, to meet her pontiff. Gutierrez (Javier Cámara) finds that his shared confidences with Lenny are jeopardized by a secret.

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“Second Episode”

Sofia (Cécile De France), the Vatican’s marketing director, receives a surprise directive as Lenny (Jude Law) prepares for his first public appearance. While the cardinals await an audience with their new pope, Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) catches up with Lenny's childhood friend Andrew Dussolier (Scott Shepherd), another orphan-turned-cardinal. Lenny reaches out to Cardinal Spencer (James Cromwell) to take over a high Vatican post, but the meeting doesn’t go as he hoped. Ester (Ludivine Sagnier), wife of a Swiss Guardsman, eagerly joins the throng of followers in St. Peter’s Square on the night of Lenny’s first public homily as Pope Pius XIII.

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"Frist Episode"

Newly elected Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), a.k.a. Lenny Belardo, defies expectations as he settles in at the Vatican to begin his reign. The youngest and first American pope in history, Lenny’s ascension was orchestrated by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando), who mistakenly believed the young pope would follow his lead on policy and protocol. Instead, Lenny shuns Voiello and tasks his confessor, Don Tommaso (Marcello Romolo), to share details on the private thoughts and motives of those in his inner circle. Meanwhile, as Cardinal Spencer (James Cromwell), Lenny’s onetime mentor, stews about being passed over as pontiff, the new pope flies in Sister Mary (Diane Keaton), who raised him since he was delivered to an orphanage at seven, to serve as his chief advisor. While Sister Mary urges Lenny to put aside dark memories and focus on leading his billion followers, the young pope shows no inclination towards making himself available, either to the College of Cardinals or to the masses.

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