HOLLYWOOD, California–Not long after moving to Los Angeles last year, I did what every transplanted East Coast hack out here does and pitched a series.

It was satire on our current obsession with foreign interference in American democracy , nominally about a Russian oligarch( running title: Oligarch ) who lives and thrives in Manhattan and genuinely loves America: its culture, its politics, its no-strings perks for the super-rich. Yury had grown up reading Friedman and Hayek under the covers and badly wishing he was part of the cartoon depravity depicted in Soviet propaganda, and now he is. But, because he's Russian, he's still beholden to the system that created him and that means doing as he's told whenever the motherland has a special request. A big one has just come in.

The intelligence organs back home want him to swing a U.S. Senate race in New York by secretly financing an online alt-media outlet called The Whole Truth.

Yury believes the plan is insane. For one thing, he's on intimate terms with the putative targets for such active measures. He throws fundraisers for celebrity charities in East Hampton, he endows wings at Lincoln Center and is on cheek-kissing words with the mayor. Yury