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The Newsroom recap: 'Main Justice'

A showdown between the Department of Justice and the ACN elders lands Will in even more hot water, and a prospective investor has Charlie grappling with a frightening future for his news network.

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The Newsroom Recap
Karen Ballard/HBO

The Newsroom

TV Show
Current Status:
On Hiatus
run date:

The only trade-off to making the first several minutes of “Main Justice” akin to symphonic perfection is that the rest of this week’s Newsroom episode was, at best, tedious. Yes, we had plenty of great Charlie Skinner one-liners to help us limp through to the finish line (“For now, just go drink—home! Just go home”), but unfortunately all the momentum was used up by the time Will McAvoy uttered the pun that would be his downfall: “I’m too big to jail.”

“Main Justice” begins with the ultimate fake-out: Before the lights even come up on the first shot, we hear the faint strains of Chris Chalk singing the upbeat Cole Porter standard “Anything Goes.” Open on Gary Cooper exiting the ACN elevator, bounding toward the newsroom, only to be stopped dead in his tracks with, “What the f— is going on?” Yep, it’s about a few minutes after “Run” ended, and the FBI is still swarming around every hard drive in sight. But Gary doesn’t have time to stand around with his mouth agape, because while MacKenzie McHale is sparring with her now-frenemy FBI Agent Molly Levy over the courtesy of wedding RSVPs (really, Mac?) and Will is calmly explaining everyone’s legal rights, the rest of the ACN crew play a game of Chicken with the windbreaker brigade.

Charlie gets on the phone, ostensibly to the L.A. studio (in reality, Domino’s Pizza) to announce the New York bureau will be cutting in with breaking news that the FBI is currently ransacking their newsroom. Sloan Sabbith gets miked up and takes her place at the news desk (Will is still in his T-shirt and jeans ensemble, so he’s not going anywhere near a camera). Gary grabs a camera and Don Keefer and Jim Harper start firing up the control room—even though only Maggie Jordan knows how any of the technology actually works (except for how to spell “Breaking News”—which initially appears on the chyron as “Beaking News”).

The scene is slick, smart, hilariously funny, and most importantly, it works: Molly gets spooked and she has her team stand down. Obviously the ACN crew is nowhere near out of the woods, but at least their little stunt bought them some time to figure out their next move while Neal Sampat is flying under the radar (needless to say, Dev Patel does not appear in this episode). Atlantis World Media lawyer Rebecca Halliday also worked her magic with the assistant attorney general, the U.S. attorney for the southern district, and the deputy director of the FBI, granting ACN a “one-week ceasefire” in order to prepare for a showdown at Department of Justice headquarters (a.k.a. Main Justice) in Washington, D.C. At said showdown, both Will and Neal (if he can be located) are expected to tell investigators everything they can without revealing the source of the 27,000 classified documents. Reminder: Neal gave Will the name of the source before he took off into the great unknown.

NEXT: The Justice League