Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977): Season 5, Episode 19 - The Shame of the Cities - full transcript

A death threat against an old news colleague who was working on a story concerning corruption makes Lou yearn for the days when he was a reporter uncovering hard news stories. Lou wants to be the one receiving death threats. As Mary is now producer, she talks Lou into going back and working on such a story for a documentary. Lou decides to go into the political realm. Eventually, he works on a story of Charles Hartney, a city councilor who has aspirations to be governor. Lou can feel that Hartney has some major skeletons in his closet. With Mary and Murray helping him, Lou can feel that he is getting closer and closer to uncovering something big and dirty about Hartney. After three weeks of working on the story night and day, Lou receives information from his secret source that Hartney is the cleanest politician there ever was. Lou is depressed. But Mary thinks they can turn around the story for it to be a good news one. Despite Lou believing that the public only wants to see the grimy underside of life as news, Lou goes ahead with Mary's idea. Will the documentary be a success and as such will Mary prove Lou's theory wrong?

♪ Who can turn the
world on with her smile ♪

♪ Who can take a nothing day ♪

♪ And suddenly make
it all seem worthwhile ♪

♪ Well, it's you, girl
and you should know it ♪

♪ With each glance and every
little movement you show it ♪

♪ Love is all around
No need to waste it ♪

♪ You can have the town
Why don't you take it ♪

♪ You're gonna
make it after all ♪

♪ You're gonna
make it after all ♪♪

Hi, guys. Hi.

Hello. Here's your
humorous filler for tonight.

I don't get this.

Never mind, Ted. We'll
use something else.

Explain it to me. I
want to understand.

Firemen are supposed
to put out fires.

But their building burned down.

Probably an accident.

Oh, say, Lou! Lou.

I'd like to talk to you about my
blazer. What about your blazer?

Don't you think it's about
time I got a new one?

Something in keeping
with my personality?

Oh, sure, Ted.

How about a white canvas one with
long sleeves that buckle behind your back?

[Door Slams]

See? If you want anything around
here, all you have to do is ask for it.

Seems like a good day to
stay out of Lou's way. Right.

- [Door Opens]
- Mary.


Yes, Mr. Grant?

I called you in here because I
wanted to apologize for snarling at Ted.

Tell Ted I'm sorry.

- Well, why don't you tell him?
- I'm not that sorry.

It's just that I'm in
a lousy mood today.

I was reading the paper
this morning and saw

something about a
friend of mine in Detroit...

that really made me mad.

He was doing an article on some
mobster, and somebody took a shot at him.

- Oh, gee, that's terrible.
- Yeah. Why couldn't it
have been me they shot at?

Nobody ever shoots at me.

There was a time when I was
out there digging for news too.

I was one heck of a reporter.

I was really good.

Made Time magazine
under "Press."

"Detroit's Grant: A taste
for booze, a nose for news."

Listen, what you do here is
pretty important too, you know.

Nah, all we do around here is rip the
news out of a wire-service machine.

In those days I used to
go out and get it for myself.

I'll bet you were some reporter
too. You wanna see something?

You know what this is?

Well, it looks like an old,
dusty, broken-down typewriter.

Yeah, but it's not just any old,
dirty, broken-down, dusty typewriter.

This is my
grandfather's typewriter.

- Was he a newsman too?
- No, a pharmacist.

He banged out a lot of
pill labels on this baby.

I banged out a lot of
exclusives on it too.

I ever tell you about the time
they threatened to kill me?

- Really?
- Mmm. I was working in Chicago.

I was doing a story on racketeers
in the nightclub business.

These two gorillas
came up to me...

and they said,

"Grant, drop the story, or tonight
you'll be sleepin' with the fishes."

- What'd you do?
- I dropped the story.

I didn't wanna
sleep with no fishes.

- Yeah?
- Nah.

I know. I printed a story.

Boy, those were great days.

I really felt I was doing something
useful, something worthwhile.

Now look at me.

The only thing I gotta do around
here is pick out new blazers for Ted.

Well, Mr. Grant, if you miss reporting
so much, why don't you do some?

Now that I'm producer of the
news, you've got some spare time.

Why don't you take
advantage of it?

I'm just like this
old typewriter here.

My keys stick, my
ribbon's all faded...

my insides are
clogged with guck.

No, Mr. Grant, that's not true.

A little oil, a new
ribbon, a couple of

screws tightened, you'll
both be good as new.

You'll be uncovering so
much crime and corruption,

your life won't be
worth a plugged nickel.

You really think so?

[Doorbell Buzzes]

Who is it? Lou and Charlene.

Ta-da! Oh, Mary! Hi.

Have you been sleeping?

Uh, no. No, no.

I must have just dozed off...

while lying in bed.

Gee, we're sorry. It never occurred
to us you'd be asleep at 9:30.

Well, usually I'm not. I haven't
been to bed by 9:30 in years.

Usually I stay up, during the week,
to 11:00, 11:30, most of the time.

Gee, even on school nights?


Maybe we oughta go, Lou.
No, no, stay. I'll fix some coffee.

Mary, you won't believe
what I've got in these folders.

A guy over at Democratic Party
headquarters gave me their files...

on campaign contributions
in this whole area,

and I'll bet you
somewhere in here...

there's dynamite.

All you gotta do is find it.

- Me?
- Yeah, I have to have 'em
back there by midnight.

You and Charlene
go through them.

There's another lead
I wanna follow up.

I gotta meet this
ex-con at a pool hall!

Mr. Grant, why
are you so excited?

You know how long it's been
since I met an ex-con at a pool hall?

But listen... What exactly are
we supposed to be looking for?

Just make a list of who gave what to whom,
who got what, and who did what for whom.

But, Mr. Grant...
Forget it, Mary.

Just be thankful he
doesn't want pictures of

everybody getting it
and doing it and giving it.

Okay, let's hear what
everybody's got. Mary.

Well, Mr. Grant, after two weeks
what I've gotten mostly is discouraged.

[Murray] Me too.

I have never seen so
many honest elections.

Boy, it really makes
you... feel proud. [Knocking]

Is it okay if I join you?

This doesn't concern you, Ted.


Well, maybe you two
haven't come up with anything,

but good old-fashioned
legwork paid off.

I think I've found
our man right here.

I like him. He's perfect. Can I
be the one to tell Ted he's fired?

Never mind the jokes.

This is Charles Harkney,
councilman from the 17th ward...

and quite possibly the next
candidate for governor. [Knocks]

Why doesn't it concern me, Lou?

'Cause it's just for
newsroom staff, Ted.


Now, I did a lot of research,

and this guy strikes me as the
kind of subject we're looking for.

[Ted Groans]

Well, I've never heard
a word against Harkney.

And he's got an honest face.

I know that sounds dumb. I mean,
you can't tell a crook by his face.

But this guy looks
like... Well, he's got the

kind of face that people
would look at, and...

- What are you saying, Murray?
- I voted for him.

So did a lot of people.

And I'll admit his
record looks clean.

But I've heard a couple
of rumors. [Knocking]

Lou, I'm newsroom staff,

so this does concern me.

Mind like a steel trap.

Are you guys planning
a surprise party for me?

Ted, will you please
get out of here!

Hey, I know that guy... Harkness,
Harkley or something. He's a politician.

Should we invite
him to the party?

[Laughs] Oh, no, you don't.

You can't fool me. I
don't know Harkley.

Ted, believe me, what we're doing
here really doesn't concern you.

Yes, it does concern me. I wanna
know what's going on, or I tell.

Tell who? Him.

- Tell him what?
- Why should I tell you?

All right, all right. If
you wanna stay, stay.

But this is top secret,
so you be quiet.

I don't even
remember being here.

I think he means it.

What kind of rumors have
you heard about Harkney?

At this point it's just innuendo,
but I've got a newsman's hunch.

Something smells funny to me about
his campaign, and we're gonna root it out.


All right.

We're gonna dig deep.

And the first thing that means is
that we're subject to counterattack.

We've gotta be clean.

So if any of us has
anything in his background

that could compromise
our investigation,

I wanna know about it now.

Not me. Murray?

Well, uh, Lou, when
I was in college,

I belonged to this
organization, and, uh,

I was arrested once
during this demonstration.


A left-wing riot?

No. A fraternity panty raid.

Murray. A panty raid?

And all I got was a
pair of sweat socks.

Lou, I'm pretty clean.

Unless you count swinging.

I do.

I'm clean.

Okay, okay.

So, we go get the facts...
A full-scale investigation.

Now, that'll mean
long hours, hard work.

And I want to warn you,
this is a rough game.

It could mean threats, intimidation,
maybe even physical violence.

[Clears Throat] Well,
it's like you said, Lou...

If it doesn't concern me,
it doesn't concern me.

Mary, I'm expecting a
visitor... an important one.

- I'll buzz you when he
gets here. What's his name?
- [Chuckles]

This kind of guy, you
don't ask his name.

He's what we call a source.

He provides
information for money.

If anyone's got the goods
on Harkney, he does.

You mean, you're
paying for information?

It's a last resort, Mary.

I'm starting to get
a little discouraged.

In the past three weeks I've checked
out Harkney's income tax records,

his campaign finance
statements, his investments,

and so far I haven't found
one thing to write about.

The first day I took
out my old typewriter,

I spent a half hour
cleaning the keys.

They're still clean.

I have to keep my keys clean.

Otherwise, the E's
start looking like O's,

and before you know it Ted's announcing
that the cops have arrested a Pooping Tom.

I'm looking for Lou
Grant. My name's...

Uh, that's all right. I
don't have to know.

Hiya, Jack. Oh,
good to see you, Lou!

I got the information
you wanted.

I added a one-page summary.

Everything in a nutshell.

This is it, Mary... Our
million-dollar story.

No, it's, uh, 25 bucks, Lou.

Twenty-five bucks?
That's all you want?

Oh, I didn't do it
for money, Lou.

I did it for old times' sake...

and just enough money to
cover the xerox expenses.

Oh, hey, thanks, Jack. That's
terrific of you. That's terrific.

Twenty-five bucks. Yeah.

Uh, 25... I'm a little short.

Uh, eight. Mary?

Yeah, I'll look.
You take a check?

You've been out of the
business a long time, Lou.

Yeah. Five.

Five. That makes 13.

Ted, have you got 12 bucks?


Wait a minute. W-Wait
a minute. Murray!

What is it? Give
me 12 bucks, quick.

What is this, the
educational channel?

Like I said, Jack,
you're terrific.

Mr. Grant, what? What is it?

I kill myself investigating a
politician, and who do I pick?

A man who's totally honest.

You wanna hear the only
black mark against this clown?

Listen to this: "In April 1965,

"he got a $2.00 parking ticket.

His meter expired while he was
delivering Easter baskets to an orphanage."

Mr. Grant?

Mary, I'd better be alone now.

Believe me, you've never seen me
like this, and I don't think anyone should.

[Door Slams]

I'm going in there.
Mary, don't! That's crazy!

I know.

Did you buzz me?

I distinctly told you... I know,
Mr. Grant, and I'm coming in anyway.

Don't be concerned about my
not having seen you like this before.

- What's so different about
the way you're behaving?
- You want something different?


Well, that, uh,
certainly was new.

Do you think that you're going
to be wanting to do that again?

No. I feel better.

I've heard that letting it out really
helps some people relieve their tensions.

I don't think I ever
could because...

Mary! All right, chatting
fast is my way of screaming.

What is it you want
from me? You wanna give

me a pep talk? Well,
yes, I would like to.

Well, I don't think a pep talk's
going to help. I'll keep it short.

Good. Cheer up!

That's it?

I really trimmed
it down, Mr. Grant.

I just don't understand what's
so awful that's happened.

I killed myself working three
weeks on a documentary I can't do,

and you ask me what's so awful?

Why can't you do
the documentary?

Because he's an honest man!

Well, what's so wrong about doing a
documentary about an honest man?

Oh, Mary, that's stupid.

Mr. Grant, I don't think there's
any reason to be calling names.

Mary, you're a dope.

Mr. Grant, name-calling
isn't going to solve anything.

Look, I told you not to
come in here, didn't I?

You can't do a show
about an honest man.

People don't wanna
see that sort of thing.

Our job is to turn over flat rocks and
show people the slimy things underneath.

Don't say slimy.

Well, that's what life is.

I think people would love to see a
documentary with good news in it.

Anyway, you've spent all
that money filming Harkney.

You've already set aside an hour
of airtime. Why not give it a try?

No, Mary! The answer is no!

Well, that's just stupid,
Mr. Grant, and you're a dope!

Okay, you talked me into it.

I don't know why you're doing all this.
None of this stuff seems all that dusty.

Because I'm nervous. I
can't just sit around waiting.

What's to be nervous about?

Lou's gonna come
back from editing,

and either he's gonna say, "Mary, it's
a good show," or "Mary, you're fired."

- Yeah. Right.
- I know it's easy
for me to say.

But what is the point
of worrying? Huh?

I remember one ti... Oh, you don't
want to hear somebody else's dull story.

Yeah, sure I do. Maybe
it'll distract me. Go.

Well, the point is, I was
worried about a show once too.

I was playing Vegas
and dating a lot.

Friend of mine had fixed me up with Sinatra
the night before, and I was dog tired.

My arrangements
hadn't arrived, and I...

Frank Sinatra? Yeah.
And we'd been out late.

My arrangements hadn't arrived
and... You went out with Frank Sinatra?

Yeah, yeah. We'd been out late the night
before. My arrangements hadn't arrived...

You went out with Frank Sinatra?

Yeah. He was playing there too.

Anyway, my arrangements hadn't
arrived, so I had no chance to rehearse...

Old Blue Eyes? Yeah.

What was he like?
Nice. Nice guy.

Anyway, my arrangements didn't
arrive, I got three hours before show...

Did you date him more than once?

I don't remember.

Anyway, the show's about
to open, it's a sell-out crowd,

I have no arrangements,
no rehearsal,

and my conductor is fogged
in in an airport in San Franci...

You don't remember whether or not
you dated Frank Sinatra more than once?

[Doorbell Buzzes] It must
have been 10 years ago.

The point is, my worrying
turned out to be for nothing.

Hi. I think we can relax.

It looks good.


The show.

Aha! Oh, Mr. Grant,
that's wonderful! Wow!

You gonna watch it
with us tomorrow night?

I'd love to, but I gotta wor...

Oh, listen, there's
a TV behind the bar.

Why don't you both come watch
it with me? Fine with me. Mary?

Yeah, sure. Great. We'll
bring the whole gang.

Come on. I'm
double-parked. Okay. See ya...

Oh, and, Mary,
about Sinatra... Yeah?

You know how some guys sort of
get jealous about that sort of thing?

Yeah. So please don't say
anything to Robert Redford.


Hiya, Mar. Oh, Murray, hi.

Charlene Maguire, this is
Murray Slaughter. Murray.

Murray wrote tonight's show. Oh,
I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

Oh, it's no big deal.
Nothing special.

I mean, don't plan on being entertained
or amused or thrilled or anything.


That's all right, Mary. I wish somebody
had told me that about my second husband.

Anyway, I just wrote it. Actually, it
was Mary's idea. She coproduced it.

Thank you. I just hope it works.

I just hope people will
be interested in seeing...

a normal, decent human
being in a documentary.

Although I don't know why
not. That's what most people are.

She's never been chased by the
trombone section in a band bus.

Hi, everybody. Hi. Hi.

Charlene, I'd like you
to meet Ted Baxter.

Hi, Ted. I've heard a lot about
you. You're, uh, legendary.

You chicks have some grapevine.

Hey, it's almost
time for the show.

Tony, will you turn on
to channel 12? Sure.

Uh, listen, everybody.

Normally I play a set right now,

but these are my friends and
they've done a television documentary,

and we'd like to watch it.

Of course, if any of you
would like to watch it too...

[Lou] Drinks are on me.

Want another drink, Mary?
Uh, no, this one's fine.

♪♪ [TV: Fanfare] I'm, uh,
dedicating this show to you.

Good evening.
This is Ted Baxter.

Tonight we're going to examine the
career of Councilman Charles Harkney,

right after this
commercial message.

Gosh darn, that guy's good.

This is a nightmare...
Ted in stereo.

What's on the tube?

It's a documentary...
Portrait of a Politician.

I'll tell you what you
missed. [Clears Throat]

Good evening.
This is Ted Baxter.

Tonight we're going to examine
the career of Councilman Harkney.

Then they showed a picture of some
guy taking a nap on a roll of toilet paper.

[TV: Ted] For the
next 60 minutes,

our cameras are going to
tag along with the councilman...

and record everything
he says and does.

We'll watch him
make his breakfast.

We'll go with him
as he drives to work.

We'll watch him
open his morning mail.

And that's a day in the
life of Councilman Harkney.

This is Ted Baxter saying,
good night and good news.

I hope you're satisfied.

We had a fire here once
and more people stayed.

Mary, I don't believe it.

You've done the impossible.

You've made Ted
Baxter look dull.

Well, I'm leaving.

Uh, the check
taken care of, Lou?

No, it isn't, Ted.
That's okay. No rush.

Well, I thought it was terrific.

I thought it was just terrific.

In fact, I think it was more
than terrific. I think it was...

terrific, and I am sure that
everybody really loved that show.



There were 20 people here.

Not one of them stayed.

The drunk at the bar watched for two
minutes and then went home to his wife.

Yeah, and he's been
divorced for 15 years.

Listen, I gotta go back to work.

Well, you just listen.

Just because people left doesn't mean
that they didn't really love that show.

It just means that they
had other places to go.

♪♪ [Piano: Soft Jazz]

What about the ones who
didn't finish their drinks?

Not thirsty.

Murray left after
the first commercial.

Well, Mr. Grant, I have my theory
that everybody loved the show,

and apparently you
have another theory.

What is, uh, your theory?

My theory is...

that if we showed this documentary
by satellite to the world...

Mm-hmm? this would no
longer be a crowded planet.

Well, let me just
say this to you then.

I know. You're right.

Nobody wants to watch the good
things that happen in a documentary.

They only want to
watch the rotten things.

Do you know what
that means, Mr. Grant?

That if it weren't for the rotten
things that happen in this world,

we couldn't put
on the news show.

We should be grateful to all the
people who do those rotten things.

We should stop them
in the streets and say,

"Thank you, Mr. Mugger.

Thank you, Mr. Thief.
Thank you, Mr. Maniac."

Thank you, Mr. Grant.

If it weren't for those people,
you and I would be out of jobs.

It's a lousy business
we're in, Mr. Grant.

I quit.

Mary, don't be silly.

It's a lousy business,
Mr. Grant, and it's a lousy world,

and I am going to Africa
to work with Schweitzer.



Albert Schweitzer is dead.

Do you see what I
mean, Mr. Grant?

It's a lousy, lousy world.

Sit down.

It wasn't such a bad
idea you had. [Sighs]

People probably do
want to watch good news.

You wanna know what
the trouble with tonight was?

I'll tell you what
the trouble was.

We put on a bad show.

You and I pooled our talents...

to produce the worst documentary
in the history of television.

We did a really lousy job!

Mr. Grant? What?

Are you sure you're not just
saying that to cheer me up?