The Newsroom (2012–2014): Season 1, Episode 1 - We Just Decided To - full transcript

April 20, 2010. Will McAvoy comes back to his national news anchor desk two weeks after a PR disaster at a college forum. He discovers that most of his staff are following his executive producer to another show, and his boss has hired Mackenzie MacHale as the new EP. McAvoy wants nothing to do with her and talks to his agent about getting her fired. While he and MacHale hash things out in his office, the news wire carries a report about a fire at BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well. McAvoy's old EP dismisses the intelligence that MacHale's assistant is discovering. How will McAvoy handle the opportunity to devote an hour to this news - and can the team put a show together on the fly?

- LEWIS: Sharon is a very funny woman,

but she has less faith
in American individualism than I do.

SHARON: Hang on, I have plenty of...
When did I ever express any lack of faith?

LEWIS: I didn't say and never said
that Barack Obama was a socialist.

- Seriously?
- What I said and I have always said...

Lewis, you are begging me
to run a sound package

Monday morning that
shows you hundreds of times

calling the president a socialist.

I'll read your columns on the air.

The policies are, look up the definition,
my friend, they're socialist.

By your definition, so were Ronald Reagan's.

- What do you think taxes are?

That was the last great president.

SHARON: American individualism
can't build roads.

- An individual...
- LEWIS: Go on, get it all out.

SHARON: Thank you,
since the question was addressed to me.


An individual can't build a school
or assemble an army...

LEWIS: No one's talking about
disbanding the army.

So we can agree
that the government is good for that?

LEWIS: Yes. Fine.

- A fire department, good idea or bad idea?

You are getting so worked up, Sharon.

I'm afraid you're gonna start shooting
light out of your ass.


SHARON: Good idea or bad idea
on the fire department?

Or should it be a private fire department

that only comes to your burning house
if you paid your monthly fire bill?

LEWIS: I am more than happy to pay
for a fire department.

I am not happy to pay for a painting

that I don't wanna look at,
poetry I don't wanna read.

You can't skip right to the NEA!

LEWIS: And you cannot skip right to the army.


SHARON: 0.00004% of the federal budget

and is code for New York,
Jewish, perverted and gay.

- Yes, sir.

Anything to add?

I think we'd need a more
precise definition of "perverted."


We'll go on to the next question.

- You, sir.
- My name's Steven.

I'm a junior
and my question is for Will McAvoy.

Do you consider yourself a Democrat,
a Republican or Independent?

I consider myself a New York Jets fan, Steven.


Since it's been brought up,

you've almost religiously avoided stating
or even implying a political allegiance.

Is that because as a news anchor

you feel the integrity of your broadcast
would be compromised?

That sounds like a good answer. I'll take it.


There was a short piece
on Vanity Fair's website

by Marshall Westbrook, you probably saw it,

where he calls you
the "Jay Leno of news anchors."

You're popular
because you don't bother anyone.


How do you feel about that?

- Jealous of the size of Jay's audience.

Are you willing to say here tonight
whether you lean right or left?

I've voted for candidates
run by both major parties.

Let's move on to the next question.

- Go ahead.
- Hi. My name is Jenny.

I'm a sophomore,
and this is for all three of you.

- Can you say in one sentence or less...

Um, you know what I mean.

Can you say why America
is the greatest country in the world?

Diversity and opportunity.


Freedom and freedom.
So let's keep it that way.


- The New York Jets.

No, I'm gonna hold you to an answer on that.

What makes America
the greatest country in the world?

Well, Lewis and Sharon said it,

diversity, and opportunity,
and freedom and freedom.


MODERATOR: I'm not letting you
go back to the airport

without answering the question.

Well, our Constitution is a masterpiece.
James Madison was a genius.

The Declaration of Independence is, for me,
the single greatest piece of American writing.

You don't look satisfied.

One's a set of laws
and the other's a declaration of war.

I want a human moment from you.

What about the people? Why is America...

It's not the greatest country
in the world, Professor.

That's my answer.

- You're saying...
- Yes.

- Let's talk about...
- Fine. Sharon, the NEA is a loser.

Yeah, it accounts for a penny
out of our paycheck,

but he gets to hit you
with it any time he wants.

It doesn't cost money, it costs votes.
It costs airtime and column inches.

You know why people don't like liberals?
Because they lose.

If liberals are so fuckin' smart,
how come they lose so goddamn always?

- Hey...
- And with a straight face

you're gonna tell students

that America is so star-spangled awesome

that we're the only ones
in the world who have freedom?

Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom.

The UK, France, Italy,
Germany, Spain, Australia.

Belgium has freedom!

207 sovereign states in the world,
like 180 of them have freedom.

- All right...
- And, yeah, you, sorority girl.

Just in case you accidentally wander
into a voting booth one day,

there are some things you should know,
and one of them is

there is absolutely no evidence

to support the statement
that we're the greatest country in the world.

We're seventh in literacy, 27th in math,
22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy,

178th in infant mortality,
third in median household income,

number four in labor force,
and number four in exports.

We lead the world in only three categories,

number of incarcerated citizens per capita,
number of adults who believe angels are real,

and defense spending where we spend
more than the next 26 countries combined,

25 of whom are allies.

Now, none of this is the fault
of a 20-year-old college student,

but you nonetheless are without a doubt

a member of the worst period
generation period ever period.

So when you ask what makes us
the greatest country in the world,

I don't know what the fuck
you're talking about.


We sure used to be.

We stood up for what was right.

We fought for moral reasons, we passed laws,
struck down laws for moral reasons.

We waged wars on poverty, not poor people.

We sacrificed. We cared about our neighbors.

We put our money where our mouths were,
and we never beat our chest.

We built great big things,
made ungodly technological advances,

explored the universe, cured diseases,
and we cultivated the world's greatest artists

and the world's greatest economy.

We reached for the stars,

acted like men.

We aspired to intelligence.
We didn't belittle it.

It didn't make us feel inferior.

We didn't identify ourselves
by who we voted for in the last election,

and we didn't... We didn't scare so easy.



We were able to be all these things
and do all these things

because we were informed.

By great men, men who were revered.

First step in solving any problem
is recognizing there is one.

America is not the greatest country
in the world anymore.



- What the fuck was that?
- Are you out of your mind? That was a kid.

I'm sorry! I'm taking medicine for vertigo,
and I think it works because I've got it.

You're in trouble, man.
You can't talk to me like that.

- Do you need a doctor?
- Jesus Christ.

Listen, listen!

What did I say out there?


DON: I'm excited to meet them, too, but...

I'm excited to meet them, too, but not tonight.
It's just too soon.

When did you decide that?

I really can't pinpoint the time.
I have to get back into my meeting.

It's not a meeting, it's a party.

- There's pizza.
- We've been dating for four months,

and I think that's too soon
to meet her parents.

That's like level three stuff.
We're at level two. Can I get a ruling?

When your conversation
started in front of my desk,

I was concerned that I'd been caught
in the middle of something personal,

but I can see now
that I was worried for nothing.

I think it's too soon to meet your parents.

I'm not comfortable with it.
Can you respect that?

(SIGHS) I've been telling them
about you for months.

What am I supposed to say?

- That I had to work late.
- Why?

Why does anybody ever have to work late?

They don't. They're usually lying.

That's true, but I know that you can sell it.

Now why would you make a dumb decision
when I'm offering...

Loyalty, I'm making a dumb decision
out of loyalty.

- You're making a smart one out of ambition.


He can't remember your name, Maggie,
and I'm the asshole.

I was an intern,
and he promoted me to his assistant.

He didn't promote you, honey.
He thought you were his assistant.

You have to go back to your pizza meeting,
but could you do me a favor

and not talk about us in front of...

Everybody here knows. Nobody here cares.

They will once we start fighting
in the middle of the newsroom,

and one of us is gonna get fired.

Do you think it's gonna be the hotshot EP
out of Columbia J-school

or you think it's gonna be the intern
who got accidentally promoted to assistant?

You're making a mistake.

I'm used to them by now.

- Loyalty?
- Yep.

He just walked into his office
without noticing that his staff isn't here.


Text me when you're done
with your parents tonight.

Where's... Where is everybody?

Welcome back, man.

Thanks. Where is everybody?

You gotta go up to see Charlie.

Okay. Where is everybody?

I have strict orders from Charlie not to say
anything until he's talked to you first.

I've got a meeting.

What's going on?


Okay. Ooh!

Couldn't say the answer from over there?

- Welcome back.
- Thank you.

Charlie Skinner needs to see you in his office.

- Now?
- He said as soon as you come in.

What's... You're Ellen?

- Maggie, Margaret.
- What's going on?

We know as little as you do.

- Really?
- Almost as little as you do.

What's the part that you know that I don't?

- You should talk to Charlie Skinner.
- Where's Karen?

- There's no one who works here named Karen.
- My assistant.

- I'm your assistant.
- You're Ellen.

- Margaret.
- Okay.

Uh, I'll let his secretary know
you're on your way.

Her name is Karen.

No one's named Karen. No one.

- All right.
- I'll call up for you.

Angela, hi. It's Maggie from downstairs.

- You can go on in. He's waiting for you.
- Thank you.

MAN: (OVER PHONE) You own this now,
my friend. You have bought it.

You have paid for it and you have the receipt.
I wanna be crystal clear, this is yours.

- You're wearing it.

- Henry wants me to make sure you know that.
- CHARLIE: Wait.

Mr. Will McAvoy has just
stepped into my office,

so I need to walk him through this.

- Shit, how much does he know?
- You're on speaker.

I don't know anything. Who is this?

- Heh-hey, Will! How was the vaca...

Welcome back. You look great.

I don't know what just happened there.

Two weeks in Saint Lucia
was just what the doctor ordered, literally.

- You've got pictures?
- No.

Don't worry about it. TMZ does.

- You were down there with Erin Andrews.
- There's a picture?

No, that was a trap,
but I knew you were seeing her.

- All right, seriously, what the hell's going on?
- Something exciting.

Hardly anybody who works for me
is where they usually are.

- I was in a bar in Da Nang.
- Just now?


I was embedded with
the 144th Artillery for UPI,

and I was sitting there with a warm Coke,
watching a beautiful Vietnamese woman

doing an exotic dance
right in the middle of everybody.

A beautiful, beautiful woman.

And I thought to myself,

"I will never know what it is
to be with a woman like that."

And at that exact moment,
the woman spun twice,

teetered over, and fell right into my lap.

That was a story about how sometimes
things fall right into your lap.

Where's my staff?

The answer to that question has several parts.

First, we're gonna try Elliot out at 10:00.
He's starting in two weeks.

Good. Thank you.
With the right EP, he'll do great at 10:00.

I think so, too, and I know how much
he appreciates your lobbying hard for him.

He really looks up to you.

What's this got to do with my staff?

- He's taking your staff.
- What are you talking about?

Well, strictly speaking, he's taking your EP
and your EP's taking your staff.

- Wait, Don's going with Elliot?
- Listen...

- Where is he?
- There's no need...

- Where is he?
- They're both...

Don got everyone pizza.
They're in one of the conference rooms.


I gave him his first job on the air
his first job on a panel,

his first job as a substitute anchor.

I make it known to anyone
who matters I'd like to see him at 10:00.

- He poaches Don.
- Elliot didn't poach him. Don asked to go.

- He asked to go? He asked to go?
- Yeah. Yeah.

- Because of what happened?
- Absolutely not. That's over.

It's not over. The story won't end.

Did anybody hear
the second half of what I said?

- I made a rousing call...
- It's not why Don's leaving.

Why is he leaving?


Yeah, I get that there are moments,
small moments, infrequent moments,

where I'm not the easiest guy to work with,

- but who the hell is?
- I am.

Well, it helps
that you're drunk most of the time.

It certainly does. Do me a favor...

This is more than unprofessional,
it's uncivilized.

But more than that, it's unprofessional.

- Just do me a favor, okay?
- Sure.

- Try not to make a scene...
- Hey, dickless!

- Not you. You're in a minute. You.

Hey, Will.

Congratulations on the show.
You're gonna do great.

I'd have called you,
but I didn't know where you were staying.

I kept getting an out-of-the-office reply.

You're taking my executive producer?

Before you go any further, I strongly objected.

- Did you?
- For all the reasons...

- I think this conversation's about me.
- Catlike instincts.

I tried to get in touch with you,
but Charlie said...

- You asked to leave?
- I did,

- but we have two weeks before...
- Because of what happened?

Because the second half
was a rousing call to...

- It has nothing to do with what happened.
- The timing is curious.

Didn't you tell him it doesn't have anything
to do with what happened?

Yes, and talk to him
when you're talking to him.

After all the time
we spent working side by side?

I've been your EP for 13 weeks.

That's the longest
I've ever worked with anybody!

I mean, you were the one. You were my guy.
We were like the Everly Brothers.

You'll interview some good candidates.

Don, please, I'll replace you in 15 minutes.

You know, it wasn't
the anti-American thing, Will,

or even that you aimed a profanity-laced
tirade at a college sophomore...

She's talking about suing the university
for mental anguish.

- Talking about it to who?
- Mostly Kathie Lee and Hoda.

- Guess who her lawyer is.
- If you say Gloria Allred...

- It's your personality.
- What?

The reason I'm leaving
and the reason the others are.

I'm affable!

To strangers, to people who watch you on TV.
You yelled at me in front of the crew.

- That's what this is about.
- DON: Yes, that's what this is about.

Yeah, you know, I thought
you were talking into my ear.

DON: That's what I'm supposed to do.

I had Stanley McChrystal
on satellite from Kandahar.

He's being shot at by the fucking Taliban,
and you were yakking in my ear.

I wasn't yakking.
I was telling you not to let him off the hook.

Was that something
that really needed to be said four times?

Yeah, because you let him off the hook,

as was pointed out by everyone
with Internet access.

You blew that interview,
and you took it out on me.

It was two days
after the thing with the student.

I thought it would be a good idea
to show deference to a three-star...

You took it out on me,
you did it in front of the staff,

then you took it out on the staff
the way you're doing right now.

The staff isn't here!

You're taking the department heads.
Who the hell knows who they're taking?

Maggie's standing right there.

Her name happens to be Ellen!

DON: It's Margaret.

And simply put, you are a smart,
talented guy who isn't very nice

and the countdown
to your retirement from relevance...

- All right.
- ...started the moment you called

conservatives idiots and liberals losers.

- That's enough.
- A bad reaction to vertigo medicine?

- Don.
- Did you just send that gift-wrapped

to every comedian in the world?

I didn't have a lot of time to think.

- Do you think maybe if you'd let me prep you!
- Don.

- You had a brand!
- I'm a Marine, Don!

I will beat the shit out of you!
I don't care how many protein bars you eat.

Hey, hey, hey, hey. All right.

All right, look, I'm sorry I said all that.

No, it's easier to say than the truth.

- What?
- You're jumping a sinking ship.

You've always been
the smartest guy around here.

I appreciate you promoting me up
as fast as you did.

And I will work with whoever you hire

to make it a smooth transition
over the next two weeks.

- Is that the afternoon brief?
- Yeah.

I'm... I'm sorry about all this.

No, no, no. Good luck with the show, man.
I'm here for whatever you need.

You did let McChrystal off the hook because
you were gun-shy after Northwestern.

- He was right about that.
- WILL: I didn't let him off the hook.

He's a general.
He's a professional strategist, Charlie.

He's schooled in evasive tactics.

Against armies, not journalists.

Chief Brody, Hooper, and Captain Quint didn't
let Jaws off the hook is what I'm saying.

All right.

- I didn't know.
- What?

I didn't know that people
didn't like working for me.

- Do you care?
- No.

Of course I care. Anybody would care.

But honestly, I don't.

I do. I am a perfectly nice guy
and I have the focus group data to prove it,

so maybe the problem lies not with me...

- I hired a new EP for you.
- What do you mean?

I hired you a new EP.

You hi... You...

I'm never going on vacation again.
You hired a new EP without my meeting him?

- Her.
- Without my meeting her?

- No, you've met her.
- Who?

Charlie, have you hired to run my show,
without consulting me...

You were unreachable.

Only one person knew
how to get in touch with you.

- It was you!
- I had to right the ship.

You know that for this particular job,
there's no one better.

You're not talking about MacKenzie.

I had to right the ship.

You're too big an asset to screw around with

and your focus group data
isn't saying what it said three weeks ago.

- Charlie...
- She was in Peshawar...

- Oh, my God.
- For four months.

The Green Zone for a year before that.
Her guys were filing stories from caves.

She comes home, she wants to be
an EP again, have a normal life,

and there's nothing for her at CNN,
nothing for her at ABC.

- I knew that.
- She's exhausted.

Not like at the end of a long day.
She's mentally and physically exhausted.

She hasn't had four hours' sleep in two years.

She's been shot at
in three different countries.

And she's been to way too many funerals
for a girl her age.

- She wants to come home.
- Yeah, look, I don't blame her.

They don't have a job for her in Atlanta,
DC, or New York.

MacKenzie... Line up any 10 people,

eight of them will tell you
she's the best EP in the business

and the other two will be stupid!

I'm one of the eight,
but it's not gonna happen.

- It's happened.
- No.

She's coming up from DC today
with one of her people.

No, listen to what I'm telling you.
I can't give my approval.

The deal's a day away from being signed,
three years.

I have approval over my executive producer.

- You would think so, wouldn't you?
- I would, yeah.

Business Affairs
went through your whole deal.

I don't have contractual approval?

- No. But you know what?
- I don't have contractual approval?

You're up for renegotiation in 18 months.

I'd have your agent put that clause...

No, I'm walking down the street
to William Morris.

- I'm gonna renegotiate my contract right now.
- It's not gonna go your way.

I generate an annual profit
of $210 million on my own.

That's not counting the lead-in freight
I push to 9:00 and 10:00.

That may be tipping money for this company,
but it's not nothing.

- Will.
- What?

When was the last time you saw her?

I don't know. About three years ago.

that's the last time you were a nice guy!

Would you like another, Mr. Skinner?

Yes, please.

Most notably Lehman's
former CEO Richard Fuld,

seen here testifying to the House Oversight
Committee on Capitol Hill.

The 2,200 pages report a serious lapse
by top executives

and details the accounting gimmick
used by Lehman,

including the use of something
they call the Repo 105

to move about $50 billion
in debt off of the books.

They say the company withheld information.

They further outlined an auditor failure,
saying that

Ernst & Young basically was performing...

- Excuse me.
- Yes?

- I'm MacKenzie McHale.
- How can I help you?

I'm supposed to be meeting with Will.

Oh, my God! I'm sorry.

- You're MacKenzie.
- I am. And you are?

- I'm Mag...
- Mac.

- Hey, Don.


MacKenzie gave me
my first summer internship.

Don't tell me you're here
to interview for my job.

No, I'm here to do your job.

- Are you serious?
- Yeah.

- I don't understand.
- I don't understand.

When were you hired?

- Is Will in his office?
- He's not, but his agent's office

is just down the street,
and he should be back any minute.

- He's at his agent's office?
- Yes...

- I'm sorry. I gave too much information.
- Yep.

- Now I understand.
- What's your name?

- Maggie.
- Maggie.

Let me try to guess at something,
and you tell me how close I am to being right.

This whole move was done behind Will's back
and he just found out now,

and he stormed off to his agent's office
to see why he doesn't have approval.

- Mm-hmm.
- Okay.


All right, you're going to see some things.

I'm just gonna sit here till he gets back.

I'm going to sit here.

Good luck.

This still looking good to you?


You said your name was Maggie?

- Yes, ma'am.
- Ma'am? How old do I look?

No! No, no, no.
I heard you were embedded for a while.

Twenty-six months.
Anything happen while I was gone?

- That's why I called you ma'am.
- So did the Marines.

You sure don't look like you've been in a war.

The first thing I did when I got back
was buy women's clothes.

I maxed out three credit cards.

But I figured, "Hey, the economy's booming,
so what the heck."

- Oh, God.
- I'm kidding.


- Oh, excuse me.
- It's all right.

Hi, Dad. I'm fine.

I left a message for you and Mom at the hotel

because I wanted to let you know
it'll just be the three of us for dinner tonight.

Don can't make it.

He has to work late.

He just does. You know, with him
running 10:00 now, he's so...

And he feels terrible about it.
He was really looking forward to meeting you.

I know, but in this case it's true.

So, great.
So I'll meet you guys in the lobby at 9:15.

Okay. Bye, Dad.



You Okay?

Oh, I've just got an allergy.

To what?

- Oysters.

- I hate lying to my father.
- I wasn't lying.

Yeah. Why won't Don go to dinner?
He thinks it's too early?


- Don's not my boyfriend.
- He's in a picture on your desk.

It's with a couple of your friends
so it's not obvious,

but it's a picture of your boyfriend.

- I don't care. I'm not reporting you to HR.
- Thank you.

Does he want you to do things in the bedroom
you're uncomfortable with?

- No.
- Damn it.

These are just routine questions.

You put that all together really fast.

It's not an original story.

My dad knew I was lying.

Now he's gonna hate Don,
and that's not what I wanted to happen.

- Oh, I'm fine.
- Your eyes are red.

Turn and face me.

When he calls you tonight at 11:00
and wants to come by,

don't lay on a tone of voice,

just tell him real nice
that you're hanging with your roommates

and you'll see him at work.

Do that three times. He'll get the idea.

Are you going with Don to 10:00?

- No.
- Why not?

It's just that I was...

Loyalty. I'm Will's assistant.

No, associate producer.

You're an associate producer now.

I'm crazy about loyalty.

- You'll report to him.
- Mac! Mac!

Did you know, did you know...

- Are you all right?
- Jim, that's Louis Vuitton luggage.

I'm fine, thank you.
Can I talk to you a second?

Sure. James Harper, this is Maggie...

- Margaret.
- This is Maggie Margaret.

Margaret Jordan. Maggie's fine.

Nice to meet you. Now, please.

- Did you hurt anything?
- Everything, I think, but please...

Did you know that Will McAvoy
didn't know that you were hired as EP

and that he's at his agent's office right now?

I didn't know that when the day began,
but I know it now.

I quit my job for this, Mac,

and so did the three other people
you told me to bring.

Our show was canceled,
so we were out of work anyway.

I was offered any other show I wanted at CNN.

- I know, but I wasn't.
- That's not the point.

Excuse me.

It's aggravating when you rise to a position
of, you know, a certain position of...

I put down first and last month's rent.

- Do I have a job in New York?
- Yes, of course you do.

- You're sure?
- No.

I'm calling Tom Walton and begging for a job.

- I'll cover hurricanes.
- Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim.

What? And why didn't you tell me there's
some kind of problem with you and Will?

Because that's personal.
Do you see me asking personal questions?

Now, when was the last time
you were in love with a woman?

- What?
- When was the last time

you had a passionate
relationship with a woman?

Like Hollywood love, high school love?

You know the only reason
I'm still standing here

is that I have nowhere else to go, right?

I do know that. When was the last time?

- Never. That's never happened.
- Right.

And you know
how you've always had a crush on me?

I have never had a crush on you.

You've always had a little crush on me.
It's been cute.

Never had a crush on you, but go ahead.

The girl you just met, Maggie,

she's me before I grew into myself
and got hotter with age.

I don't understand why
you chose this moment to lose it!

- Just...
- Why are you afraid to see Will McAvoy?

- You have to tell me.
- Hey, jughead, I ain't afraid of nothing

except jellyfish, which is completely normal.

- Now look at the girl. Not a big look, stupid.
- I didn't look at ail.

You're right. Okay, just glance over.


Cupid, bam!

Can we cut to the chase?
What's in this for you?

Now why does it have to be like that?

It doesn't, but it is.

I need Don Keefer to help me
through this transition.

It turns out Don's dating Maggie,
and I'm not sure he's right for her.

Really? After knowing them
as a couple for this long, you're not sure?

He's going to be threatened by you,

so he'll try to impress Maggie,
who's staying with Will.

- You understand?
- Yeah, I'm calling Walton.

- Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim.
- What?

You're right.

You've done enough.

You've done everything
I've ever asked you to do

and a ton of stuff I'd never ask anyone to do.

Tell me where you want to work,
and I'll make the call.

- Look...
- Fly away, little bird.

- Jesus. You know what...
- Something great is about to happen here,

and you're gonna want to be a part of it.

Tell me what the problem is with you and Will.

I can't.

Put the phone away.

This is a solid promise,
we're going to do the best news on TV.

- Either that or...
- We'll all be filling out job applications

at Dave and Buster's,
but we'll be doing it together.

Now you just sit here a minute, all right?


- Do you know how to flirt?
- Yes.

Show me.


Okay, just sit here. We're gonna be great!

- Where's the rest of the staff?
- They left.

Hi, Will. It's good to see you.

This is Jim Harper, my senior producer.

- The others are coming up...
- Let's go in my office.


Somebody wanna tell Don
the lunch party's over,

and I need someone on the assignment desk

in case there happens to be,
what do you call it, news?

Can I get you some coffee or anything?

- Water or maybe...
- WILL: We're fine.


I tried to get in touch with you
while you were on vacation.

Nobody seemed to know how to do that.

Or at least they weren't willing to say.

Actually, I've tried to get in touch with you
a lot of times in the last three years.

Did you get all those e-mails?

- Yeah.
- What did you think?

I didn't read them.

I understand. There's no need to apologize.

Thank you.


You look good after your vacation.

You look rested.
I've never been to Saint Lucia.

- Is it great?
- Yeah.

You were down there with Erin Andrews?
It's not my business.

You can go anywhere with anyone.

Thank you again.

Hey, this can work.
In fact, it's gonna work great.

I asked my agent to negotiate
a three-year contract.

You know me,
I think that's the longest contract...

It's not a three-year contract anymore.

- I'm sorry?
- It's not a three-year contract anymore.

It's a 156-week contract
that gives me the opportunity

to fire you 155 times at the end of each week.

We'll wait a few months
to make sure it's not a story

Bill Carter can shove up my ass.
We'll do it, then.

How did you get my contract changed?

I gave the network back
some money off my salary.

- How much money?
- A million dollars a year.

- You gave back a million dollars a year?
- Yeah.

You paid a million dollars
to be able to fire me any time you want?

$3 million. And not any time I want,
just the end of each week.

How the hell much money do you get paid?

- Don?

You should meet James Harper,
MacKenzie's senior producer.

- Jim.
- Were you with MacKenzie in Afghanistan?

Yeah. And Iraq.

And sometimes when you're in Afghanistan,
it turns out you're really in Pakistan.

- Twenty-six months.
- You ever produce from the studio?

For about a year in Atlanta
before MacKenzie took me out.

- She's crazy, you know.
- I know.

I've never seen anyone love
being an American so much.

And when you factor in
she isn't an American, it's all very...

Yeah, she is American, actually.

Her dad was Margaret Thatcher's
ambassador to the UN and she was born here.

Yeah, and immediately locked in her room

and shown Frank Capra movies
until she was 21.

She's like a sophomore
poli-sci major at Sarah Lawrence.

Exactly like that. Yeah.

I guess the only real differences
are her two Peabodys

and the scar on her stomach
from the knife wound she got

covering a Shiite protest in Islamabad.


I'm just taking your temperature.

On a scale of 1 to 10,
how much trouble am I in with you?

I'm over it.

Hey, do this to me.

Do this to me all you want,
but you can't do it to them.

- Who?
- People followed me here...

Jim Harper, my senior producer, bookers,
H&A producer, desk editors, field producers...

- They can't possibly be my problem.
- Will, come on now.

What do you want from me, MacKenzie?

They're in the process of moving.
They've put down security deposits.

They found roommates.
They're looking at preschools...

Yeah, they fucked up, Mac! They trusted you!


You've got a news alert.


Pardon me, Don.

You've got a news alert.

It's yellow.


There's been an explosion
off the coast of Louisiana.

How can there be an explosion
in the middle of the water?

- JIM: An oil rig.
- An oil rig.


"Well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico."


All right, Tess, get on the assignment desk
and see if this goes anywhere.


"Flames reach 150 feet in the air."

If you had read any of my e-mails
or answered my calls,

you'd know that I take responsibility
for everything and...

I already did know that,
and I already didn't care.

That I'm sorry.

- Are you?
- Yes.

(SIGHS) MacKenzie, I...

I just, you have no idea how I've longed
to hear those words. I...

I forgive you. Can you forgive...

- You're being sarcastic.
- Oh, how you know me.

TESS: "Emergency rescue crews
arrive on location

"at burning well located 50 miles offshore.
Twelve to 15 people believed missing."

- It's still yellow.
- Still yellow.

Don, they just haven't changed the color yet.
Somebody should tell Will or at least...

I'm not knocking on Will's door right now,
and you don't work here yet.

- So, dude, relax. Anything new?
- MAN: No.

- There might be.
- There won't be.

An oil rig in the Gulf exploded.

- Persian Gulf?
- No, the Gulf of Mexico.

- Kendra.
- KENDRA: BP Deepwater Horizon.

It's about 50 miles southeast
of Venice, Louisiana.

The Coast Guard evacuated seven people,
all of them critically injured,

and they're searching
for 11 confirmed missing.

Still yellow.

Isn't it possible that AP's busy right now,
and they've got an intern on the updates?

They may have bigger problems
than the missing crew.

What do you mean? What do you mean
bigger problems than the missing crew?

Hang on! Hang on! Listen to what he said.

What did you say?

I said they may have bigger problems
than the missing crew.

JIM: Why?

I checked out BP Deepwater Horizon.

That rig is drilling
at 18,000 feet below sea level.

There are only a couple of things
that could have failed.

- And if it was the wrong one...
- JIM: Pressure.

It would be like trying to toss a hat
on a fire hose.

What the hell are you two talking about?

JIM: It's more than 11 missing guys.

There might be a massive oil spill
50 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

- I'm sorry, man. Tell me who you are again.
- I'm Jim Harper.

And I may or may not be, but almost
definitely won't be a senior producer here

under MacKenzie if she still has a job, which
sounds like she probably absolutely doesn't.

Okay, well, whatever it is
doesn't start for two weeks,

so you're still in my newsroom,

and you're behaving in a way
that is bothering me.

- Gotta be blunt.
- Got it.

The truck in Pasadena,
they're five blocks from the courthouse.

- Are they covering the Rose Bowl?

And I cannot look
at the same loop of people...

This is Jim Harper.

All right.

WILL: For the moment,
your people can have their jobs.

Like I said, I have to wait to make the move
because there was a press release.

But when I hire the new EP,
who I will hire by hiring them myself,

whoever it is, is going
to get to interview the new people.

All right.

Well, I appreciate that.

They're really good, Will.
You're gonna want to keep them.

- Don't just dump them because of...
- They'll get a fair chance.

- Okay.
- I haven't started my script.

I'll get out of your way.

There's nothing
that's more important in a democracy

than a well-informed electorate.

You know you're still on this side of the door.

When there's no information
or, much worse, wrong information,

it can lead to calamitous decisions
and clobber any attempts at vigorous debate.

- That's why I produce the news.
- We're all grateful to you.

- You're spinning out of control.
- No, I'm not.

You're terrified
you're going to lose your audience,

and you'd do anything to get them back.

You're one pitch meeting away
from doing the news in 3-D.

This isn't nonprofit theater.
It's advertiser-supported television.

- You know that, right?
- I'd rather do a good show for 100 people

than a bad one for a million,
if that's what you're saying.

What is it you're talking
to me about right now?

I've come here to produce a news broadcast
that more closely resembles the one we did

before you got popular
by not bothering anyone, Leno.

I think Jay and I would rather be employed
if it's all the same to you.

It's not all the same to me, you punk.

I've come here to take your IQ and your talent
and put it to some patriotic fucking use.

And where does it say
that a good news show can't be popular?

- Nielsen ratings.
- We're going to do a good news show

and make it popular at the same time.

- That is impossible.
- Between your brains,

- charm, looks, and affability and my...
- Refusal to live in reality.

- ...expertise in producing you... Ugh!
- It's impossible, Mac!

Social scientists have concluded
that the country is more polarized

than at any time since the Civil War.
The Civil War.

Yes, people choose the news
they want now, but...

People choose the facts they want now.

So what you've just described is impossible.

Only if you think an overwhelming majority
of Americans are preternaturally stupid.

- I do.
- I don't.

And if you let me, I can prove it.

You know what you left out of your sermon?

That America is the only country
on the planet that, since its birth,

has said over and over and over
that we can do better.

It's part of our DNA.

People will want the news
if you give it to them with integrity.

Not everybody, not even a lot of people, 5%.

And 5% more of anything
is what makes the difference in this country.

So we can do better.



I'm thinking.

Yeah, that whole speech did nothing for me.

- I'd like to talk to Don.
- Are you sure?

Right there.

JIM: Excuse me.

I don't mind if you sit
somewhere and observe,

but I mind you doing anything else.

You got it, but I just got a call from a source.

What kind of source?

I can't tell you much except that
he's an engineer with BP in London.

He says he's sitting in meetings
where they don't know how to cap the well.

- Who's the source?
- Can't tell you.

- (CLEARS THROAT) Anything else?
- A lot.

I got two pages of notes
from my conversation with...

- Oh, great.
- Okay. Yeah.


Thanks for calling back.


MACKENZIE: Now I'd like you
to listen to these words

which were written 500 years ago
by Don Miguel de Cervantes,

"Hear me now, O thou bleak
and unbearable world.

"Thou art base and debauched as can be.

"But a knight with his banners
all bravely unfurled

"now hurls down his gauntlet to thee!"

That was Don Quixote.

Those words were written 45 years ago
by the lyricist for Man of La Mancha.

Didn't think you'd know that

but the point's still the same,
it's time for Don Quixote!

- You think I'm him?
- No, I think I'm him. You're his horse.

- He rode a donkey.
- Well, I can't help you there.

- I have to write my script.
- I'll write it for you.

"The volcanic eruption in Iceland
is believed to have started on March 20th

"and has led to a worldwide
transportation disaster.

"The suspension of air traffic was in no way
caused by America, which I love.

"You have to believe me."

You want me in the same shouting match
as everybody else?

I want you to not apologize
for saying something...

All right!

You got yourself in the shouting match

when you took vertigo meds
and I'd have you winning it.

And what does winning look like to you?

Reclaiming the Fourth Estate,

reclaiming journalism
as an honorable profession,

a nightly newscast that informs a debate
worthy of a great nation,

civility, respect,
and a return to what's important,

the death of bitchiness,
the death of gossip and voyeurism,

speaking truth to stupid,
no demographic sweet spot,

a place where we all come together.

We're coming to a tipping point.
I know you know that.

There's gonna be a huge conversation.

Is government an instrument of good
or is it every man for himself?

Is there something bigger
we want to reach for

or is self-interest our basic resting pulse?

You and I have a chance
to be among the few people

who can frame that debate.

That's, it's...


- Don.
- Jesus Christ, we're on it, okay, Jimmy Olsen?

Listen, we've got 55 seconds for a phoner
with the Coast Guard liaison.

That's not nearly enough,
and you're chasing the wrong story.

Oh, brother.

Listen, Halliburton was the contractor
on this special type of concrete...

Seriously, you're being disruptive now.

Hey, how happy is Charlie Skinner gonna be

when I phone this over to CBS
and he finds out you had it first?

All right, that's it. Get the fuck out.

Okay. You're right.

Elevator's this way?

- God damn it.


I'm sorry to interrupt.
Can I talk to Mac for just a second?

Your guy here is a pain in the ass.

An oil well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Coast Guard's searching
for missing crew members.

- I'll fill you in at the 6:00 rundown.
- JIM: There's more.

- He doesn't need to hear this right now.
- Let's go outside.

No, if Don doesn't want me to hear it,
I'd like to hear it.

Oh, blow me.

I want you to not use
that language in front of women

and to forever not suggest that image to me.

What's on your mind? Who are you?

- Jim Harper, my senior producer.
- Senior?

- Is he old enough to drive at night?
- What happened?

Two calls within five minutes of each other.

The first one was from a friend of mine
at BP in London saying

he's sitting in meetings
where they don't know how to cap the well.

- Jesus.
- The oil is still spilling?

Yeah, at a pretty alarming rate.

The first estimate was
about 10,000 gallons an hour.

My guy says it's closer to 100,000

and could get as high
as a quarter of a million.

Why is this well different from other wells?

The depth.

I need one of your staffers.
I don't know his name.

He sits in the back. He's the one with...

Are you trying to say
the Indian stereotype of an IT guy?

- Yes.
- Punjab!

- I don't think that's his name.
- Why not?

Punjab's a character
from Little Orphan Annie.

Tell him about the pressure.

Uh, Deepwater Horizon is aptly named.
They're drilling at 18,000 feet below sea level.

Is that dangerous?

Take the Grand Canyon,
make it three times deeper,

fill it with water,
and poke a hole in the bottom.

You can't just yank the pin out of the planet,
and that's what's happened.

How do you know all this? You're the IT guy.

- I'm not the IT guy. I write your blog.
- Are you kidding?

I think we're in the first hours
of a serious story.

- No. I have a blog?
- Not the time.

How do you know this stuff?

I made a volcano in primary school.

So did I. I didn't know I was supposed
to learn something from it.

- What was the second call?
- My guy at Halliburton.

- What the hell is going on?
- Nothing, Charlie.

- Can we please get back to work?
- A rig exploded in the Gulf?

It's yellow.

Not anymore. It just got bumped up to orange.

It's orange.

JIM: Okay, the rig was due
to be moved to its next role

as a semi-permanent production platform
at a new location,

and Halliburton was hired to seal
the well with cement.

- CHARLIE: Who are you?
- Jack something.

It's Jim something,
and both of my guys are identifying

the failure of the cement's mix
as the cause of the explosion.

But here's the thing, Halliburton performed
tests on the cement mix,

and the tests showed it was gonna fail.

- Holy Mother.
- Yeah, hang on, Holy Mother.

I need to know who your sources are.

Hey, I don't know you, Scooter.

Look, you don't have to trust me.
She trusts me. You just have to trust her.

(SCOFFS) Try another strategy.
How high up is the guy at BP?

High enough to be in on the meetings,
and I never said it was a guy.

Actually, you did.
Does he have an axe to grind?

- No.
- What about the guy at Halliburton?

I didn't say he was a guy,
but we'll call him that.

And he is solid.
You guys have to follow up on this, all right?

You're gonna wanna open
with the Coast Guard search

and then pivot to this because...

NEAL: Neal.
JIM: Neal says...

It's gonna be the biggest
environmental disaster in history.

MACKENZIE: Oh, my God.
DON: Jesus Christ.

Can we please get back to work
and send the Hardy Boys to their room?

Neal, tell them.

After an explosion like that,
the first thing that's supposed to happen

is the underwater blowout preventer
should automatically close.

The flames are still 150 feet high,
so that obviously didn't happen.

Now when they get the fire out,

they're gonna send a submersible ROV
down there to turn the preventer on manually,

but my source says,
"At that depth with that much pressure,

"it has to be the mechanics
that failed and not the electronics."

In other words,
trying it manually isn't gonna work either.

So they're gonna have to build relief wells
and that's gonna take months.

Months of oil spilling into the Gulf
at a rate of 4.2 million gallons a day.

And just for the record, the Gulf of Mexico
contains 643 quadrillion gallons of water.

I think you may be overreacting.

You are dramatically underreacting.

I'm the only one who's not
dramatically doing anything.

In four days, it'll have spilled as much oil
as the Exxon Valdez.

It's a week before the oil
reaches Louisiana shores,

three days if the wind shifts.

Is the wind gonna shift?

Only if Louisiana's luck
stays exactly the same.

You've gotta tell him your sources.

I can't.

He can't trust you unless you trust him.

All right, the necessary people
go into my office, close the door.

- I want Mac as a witness.
- WILL: Fine.

The BP engineer is my college roommate.
He's a junior VP. He's been there a year.

And how do I know you're not
being fed misinformation by James O'Keefe

in the hope that I run with it
and make his day?

Who's your Halliburton guy?

My big sister.

She's got a PhD in mechanical engineering,
and she voted for McCain.

You're telling me you got not one
but two people to roll over

on their employers within five minutes?

I know, it's just lucky.

- WILL: How often do you get this lucky?
- This is my first time.

Um... It's a search and rescue operation
in which no one is going to be rescued

because Michael Phelps
with an outboard motor on his ass

couldn't out-swim that fire,
and you're letting a guy who you just met

and a woman who, I don't know what the hell,
spin this into the end of the world.

But forget that.

If you're wrong about Halliburton,
that's the first line of your bio forever.

"Isn't this the same guy
who said that Halliburton caused that spill?"

And, by the way, you publically accuse them
of negligent homicide

and you're wrong, they will take you to court.

They will win
and they will end up owning AWM.

They will have their own record label.
They will have theme parks.

Let's throw out the rundown.

- Attaboy.
- DON: This is out of control.

We're throwing out the rundown.

Gary, see if you can get me a spokesman
from BP on the phone.

- Get me anything...
- Where are you going?

I was told to put together a new show.

Guys, can I have your attention?

I'm sorry if I've been a little inaccessible
or terse lately or for several years,

but if I could just see a show of hands,
who's going with Don to 10:00?

All right, I appreciate all the hard work.

And as a token of that appreciation,

I'm giving you guys two weeks' paid vacation
starting right now.

Hold on.
You're gonna have her run the show?

- WILL: Yeah.
- Don't do this, Will.

I just offered her
the most humiliating contract

since Antonio got a loan from Shylock.

She took it.
I don't know what that is, but I like it.

You're gonna do a full hour
on an environmental story,

and you don't wanna at least wait until
there's film of an oil-covered pelican?

It's not just an environmental story.

Everywhere I look,
people are dressed up in costume,

screaming about how bad government is.

What's your position?

That people should know
what they're screaming about.

Are you ready to go on television and say

that this well wouldn't have blown up
if there had been more government oversight?

I'll give you my next paycheck
if it doesn't turn out

that some department was defunded
or some industry was deregulated.

He'll do it, too.

I didn't buy any of that bullshit
you said in my office,

but can you start two weeks early?

You plainly bought it a lot, and yes.

- I didn't buy it at all, and go.
- Okay.

But it's obvious now
that you ate it up with a soup ladle.

- Just go.
- Who's my booker?

- KENDRA: Right here.
- Jim's gonna tell you who to line up.

Everybody out who doesn't need to be here.


Seriously, though, I have a blog?

- Now!
- Yeah. It's Gary Cooper from News Night.

I'm good. I need to speak to someone
about recent legislation.

You go out around 8:20.

We could send a crew and do that
right from the Coast Guard station.

Hello, this is Jim Harper. I'm the senior
producer with News Night on Atlantis,

and we're looking into a story
about the BP Deepwater Horizon rig

- that just exploded in the Gulf.

This is Margaret Jordan from News Night.

We're looking for someone
from the EPA to comment

on the explosion at Deepwater Horizon.

Take him to our studio in New Orleans.

I'm so sorry.
Can I put you on hold? Okay.

Hi, Mike. It's Tess Westin from News Night.
We're doing a whole hour on the explosion.

I really need your input on this.

You're on speaker with me,
MacKenzie McHale and...

- Jim Harper.
- Jim Harper.

- Margaret. Can you do me a favor?
- Yeah.

There's a government agency called the MMA,
the Minerals Management Agency.

They have some kind
of oversight over offshore drilling.

I don't know anything about them.

- Can you write me a short memo?
- Sure.

- I'll do it.
- I can do it.

You're not the only one with loyalty.
I'm here. I'm not going anywhere.

- I can do this.
- JIM: Can you do this?

You can't just look it up on Wikipedia.

- He's right.
- I wasn't going to.

She's Will's assistant.

- I'm an associate producer.
- Since when?

- MAGGIE: About two hours ago.
- That's great.

And you're wasting my time.

You guys duke it out over who my boss is,
but I'd like to get this one thing right.

Knock it out of the park.

I need a geologist.
Don, who's our go-to geologist?

Our go-to geologist?
There's not a lot of breaking news in geology.

Dr. James Morris at MIT
and Dr. Marvin Hasbrook at Stanford.

Whoever answers the phone first.

Is the EPA ready to comment?

We're waiting for a comment from BP.

Are you able to get the White House
on the phone?

- Yeah.
- Then do it.

Halliburton is in it, Sean. That ship has sailed.

MAN: Studio 1-A, this is Broadcast Center.
You're up on router 3.

Copy that, Center. Router 3.

No, throw out all the remotes.
It's a whole new rundown.

MACKENZIE; Thank you.

Joey, these three are confirmed,
but you should build all five.

- Got it.

Will, we've confirmed these three guests.
We're waiting on two others.

Two minutes.

Who's our wardrobe supervisor?

- We don't have one.
- Get one.

Charcoal gray, navy blue, and black.
Zegna, Armani, Hugo Boss.

He's not gonna look like
an elite Northeastern prick?

He is. Let's make that sexy again.

Was it ever sexy?

Ask the Kennedy brothers. Oh, Will?

Don't talk to me
unless you absolutely have to, all right?

MACKENZIE: I absolutely have to.

I thought this would be a good time
to get a couple of things straight.

I'm on TV in 90 seconds.

I don't think this is a good time
to get a couple of things straight.

That's funny, because I think it's the best time
to get a couple of things straight.

Can people hear me in there?

Not yet. Now they can.

WILL: Take me off.

So I did a terrible thing
and I don't expect you to forgive me.

Take me off.

You've got my contract,
but the thing you have to know

is that between 8:00 and 9:00,
you are completely mine.

For an hour, five times a week I own you.

But in my case,
it's for your own good and for the good of all.

Say "I understand" so I can
get these guys a sound level.

I don't see it working that way.

- You don't?
- No.


- Where's my graphics producer?
- JOEY: Right here.

I'm MacKenzie. What's your name?

DIRECTOR: Sixty seconds.
JOEY: Jo... Joey.

Can I get some quiet?

Joey, could I have your seat
for just a second?

Yes, ma'am.


There you go. Show that to Will, please.

- Are you serious?
- Yeah.

Will, check out your preview screen.

Get it off there!

MACKENZIE: Say you understand.
DIRECTOR: Thirty seconds.

Someone's gonna spill coffee on a button
and broadcast that thing. Get it off.

I've got a one-week contract.
I don't have a lot to lose.

I'm just glad nobody's invented a way
to digitally store images

and upload them onto a free website
where anyone can see them.

Has someone invented a way
to digitally store images?

You Tube! You Tube!

Now you're just the crazy guy
shouting "YouTube!"

- Oh, God...
- Just say you understand.

- I understand!
- Good!

You warmed up?
You wanna screw around some more?

- I'm good!

MAN: There's no script.
There's nothing on the prompter.

Nothing on the prompter
is where this man eats.

DIRECTOR: And rolling.



Stand by, Joe.


DIRECTOR: Stand by, Camera 1.

Good evening. I'm Will McAvoy.

Breaking news tonight
in what could be the biggest disaster

to hit the Gulf of Mexico
since Hurricane Katrina

and the biggest environmental catastrophe
to stain our shores

since the crash of the Exxon Valdez.

An oil rig in the Gulf,
British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon

50 miles off Venice, Louisiana,

exploded into flames
shortly after 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Seven crew members
have been evacuated to an area hospital

where they remain in critical condition,

and the Coast Guard is in the fifth hour
of a search and rescue mission,

in the hope of finding
11 crew members still unaccounted for.

Our coverage begins with Sherrie Stone

at the US Coast Guard station
in Baton Rouge.

- Sherrie?
- Yes, Will, the Coast Guard got...

MACKENZIE: All right, you'll be coming back

to Rear Admiral Loretta Hill
of the Coast Guard.

Just right after 3:00 p. m. Eastern time...

The missing men may be
only the tip of this tragedy.

ACN has learned exclusively
that senior level officials inside BP

are scrambling to figure out
a way to cap the well,

which, three and a half miles
below the surface of the Gulf,

is pouring oil into the sea
at a rate of 125,000...

I'm sure you'd like to see
some kind of statement on the screen.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with
the families of the missing crew members."

I can help you out with that,
but I'll also need a statement

that says at this hour
you don't know how to cap the well.

You have about 25 minutes.

Dr. Morris, this is New York.
Can you hear me? Good.

We'll be coming to you in about two minutes.

You've got to ask her
why there's no contingency.

Why is there no contingency?

Nancy, why are we drilling
three miles underwater

when we don't have the technology to fix
the world's most predictable emergency?



Jim. Jim.

Jim? You have a hold button.

- (NORMAL VOICE) Hold, please.
- (SHOUTS) Jim!

- You got it?
- I...

- Oh, shit.
- I got it and I think a little bit more.

- JIM: Come with me.
- Okay.

DON: Take the pad.
WILL: Thank you.

Dr. James Morris of the US Geological Survey

and Professor of Petroleum Geology at MIT.

BP Deepwater Horizon is engulfed in flames

and the search continues
for 11 missing crew members.

We'll be right back.


When we come back, it'll be Halliburton.
Are you ready?

- No statement from BP?
- Don't worry about BP.

You're going to Halliburton's
spokesperson Dick Warren.

This is beautiful.

Just sitting here, Charlie.
I'm watching the news.

Young lady, get on your Twitter account.

We're doing this whole broadcast on the fly.

Will doesn't have a rundown,

it's the EP's first show,
and she's got the whole thing in her head.

She's the only one who knows
where we're going next.

It's a feat that requires incredible trust
between the anchor and the EP.

Say all that.

I can only use 140 characters.

Figure it out.

- We are trying to gather information...
- WILL: Sir, please. Please! quickly as possible.
It isn't easy while we're being hounded.

- Let's just take a breath.
- I'm breathing fine.

Zoneseal 2000.

Your company was hired
to provide Zoneseal 2000 and SCR-100,

a synthetic, cement-like substance
meant to seal off the well, yes or no?

- Yes, we were, but now you're saying...
- That's all I was saying.

Now I'm asking if your company did tests
on the substance

before installing it at the base
of Deepwater Horizon.

We do exhaustive tests
on everything we manufacture.

Do you have the results of these exhaustive
tests done on Zoneseal 2000?

Now you're being unnecessarily flippant.

Look, I am not some college student
you can shout at.

We're not going to commercial
till he answers your question.

No, you're the spokesperson for Halliburton.

And I came on this program voluntarily.

I don't have subpoena power.

Everyone comes on this program voluntarily.

Understand that this is all happening fast

and that this is information
that isn't at our fingertips.

You don't have the test results
at your fingertips?

For the moment,
Halliburton's thoughts and prayers...

All of our thoughts and prayers
are with the missing crew...

Nobody's thoughts and prayers
are with the fire.

- WARREN: Sir...
- Good to see you again, Will.

Aren't the test results on a computer?
Are they buried in the middle of a wheat field?

- WARREN: We will make the test results...
- It's about time.

What's the Minerals Management Agency?

It's the Minerals Management Service,
the MMS,

and they have 56 inspectors
overseeing 3,500 production facilities

that operate 35,591 wells in the Gulf region.

That's according to the Interior Department,
not Wikipedia.

56 inspectors for 35,000 wells?

- It gets better.
- We're out. Back in 90 seconds.

- BP statement?
- Hang on.

Inspections for drilling rigs
are required monthly,

but Deepwater Horizon was only inspected
nine times in 2009 and six times in 2008.

- What's coming?
- MACKENZIE: Hang on.

The last inspection was done 20 days ago
by Eric Neal,

who was sent by himself even though
he had only just started his training

as a government inspector of drilling rigs.

- Are you kidding me?
- No.

- WILL: Is it the BP statement?
- Oh, my God,

would somebody hit him with a stun gun?

DIRECTOR: 30 seconds.

What I wouldn't give
to have a phone hook-up with this guy.

- MAGGIE: You do.
- What?

He's On hold. It's this blinking light.

Maggie, I am taking you shopping!

- Will, listen up.
- Phone graphic, Eric Neal.

- N-E-A-L.
- Minerals Management is wildly understaffed.

- Jesus.
- We've got the guy on the phone.

Give me all the numbers.

MACKENZIE: Give him the numbers.

- Let's go!
- Okay. 56 inspectors.

- DIRECTOR: 10 seconds.
- 3,500...


Take it easy with him.
He's gonna be scared to death.

In three, two...


Welcome back to breaking news.

The oil rig BP Deepwater Horizon
has exploded into flames

50 miles off the coast of Louisiana,

leaving 11 crew members missing
and feared dead.

We're on the phone with Eric Neal
of the Minerals Management Service

Thank you for joining us, Mr. Neal.

ERIC: (ON PHONE) It's good to... Thank you.

Can you confirm that the MMS employs
56 inspectors in the Gulf region?

I believe that's correct.

And the 56 of you oversee 35,591 wells?

- I believe that's correct.
- That's 635 wells for each inspector.

The wells are required
to be inspected once a month.

- Is that correct?
- The drilling wells, yes.

Is it possible with so few inspectors
and so many wells

to properly inspect each platform
as scheduled?

(STUTTERING) Our budget's very limited.

A single inspector would
have to thoroughly review two wells a day,

six days a week for a year.

I know.

Would an easy solution be
to have the oil companies themselves

pay for the cost of a proper inspection?

- Isn't that what car owners have to do?

ERIC: Well, that isn't my field of expertise.

- Statement from BP.
- Right here.

Mr. Neal, you were sent to inspect
Deepwater Horizon 19 days ago,

April 1st, is that right?

I was, yes.

Were you aware that dating
back to September, 2001,

Deepwater Horizon had shown five red flags
or incidents of noncompliance?

ERIC: Um, I'm not sure
I'm authorized to speak about that.

I understand. I only have two more questions.

Prior to your inspection
of the rig on April 1st,

how many inspections
had you done of offshore oil drilling rigs?

ERIC: None.
WILL: None?

- Except in training.
- And how long have you been in training?

- Four months.
- Thank you very much.

That was Eric Neal
with the Minerals Management Service

- We have the statement.
- WILL: We now have a statement from BP.

We'll put it up on the screen for you.

"The thoughts and prayers..." (CHUCKLES)

"The thoughts and prayers of Tony Hayward

"and everyone at BP
are with the missing crew members

"of the BP Deepwater Horizon
and their families.

"We are looking at every possible solution
to the problem of capping the well

"and will, of course,
offer our complete assistance

"to the various US agencies
involved in repairing

"and cleaning up the damage done
by this terrible accident."

So, glass half-full.

They're offering to help clean up.

This is obviously just beginning.

We'll be bringing you more
as this story develops.

Terry Smith is coming up right now
with The Capitol Report from Washington.

I'm Will McAvoy. Goodnight.





WILL: Did the White House call?

Gibbs wants to know what we know
and how we know it.

We're not giving up the new guy.

Hey, the news alert's at red.

- We got it right.
- We got the spill right.

We don't know
what we're doing with Halliburton.

- We don't know what's gonna happen...
- God, you're a pussy.

- You know, I'm just being...
- And it's not like you said the sorority girl

is responsible for setting
the hemisphere on fire.

Give the Internet an hour.
That's exactly what it'll say we said.

I'm too old to be governed
by fear of dumb people.

I'm not.

You're older than you think.

Don't learn that the hard way.

You didn't bring her in to right the ship.
You brought her in to build a new one.

You knew Don would go with Elliot.

- You orchestrated the whole thing.
- Yeah.

For a long time now, I badly wanted to watch
the news on my TV at night.

Then it occurred to me, I run a news division.

She's indifferent to ratings, competition,
corporate concerns,

and, generally speaking, consequences.

Good, 'cause you just described my job.

I'm Don Quixote, you can be Sancho,

she'll be Dulcinea,
and everyone out there is the horse.

Donkey. How did you know
about that conversation?

I know everything.

Anchors having an opinion
isn't a new phenomenon.

Murrow had one and that
was the end of McCarthy.

Cronkite had one and that
was the end of Vietnam.

- I'm not those guys.
- I'm betting all my money on you're wrong.

You know what, kiddo?

In the old days of about 10 minutes ago,
we did the news well.

You know how? We just decided to.


I fucking loved
what you said at Northwestern,

and that's why I brought her here.


JIM: Neal.

- Welcome to the show, mate.
- Thanks for everything.

Take care.

- Hey, good show.
- Good show.

- Welcome.
- Thanks.

- Nice to meet you.
- GARY: Nice to meet you.

- Excuse me. Hey.
- Oh, hi.

I didn't have time before to say great job.

Are you kidding? You were like Batman.

I am, actually.

I felt like the cape was a little campy,
but I still have the car and the utility belt.

- Right.
- Yeah.

I shouldn't say things.

Well, that was huge.

- I just answered my phone.
- Well...

Don, we got off on the wrong foot.

- Can I buy you a drink?
- I appreciate that.

Another night when I haven't
spent the day getting my ass kicked, okay?

You got it.

- Are your folks down in the lobby?
- Yeah.

How about I come down and say hi?
We get to meet. I'll apologize in person.

I'll come back upstairs for a couple of minutes
so it looks like I'm working.

You call me when you're done with dinner.

It's a compromise.

WILL: You!

Your name is Margaret Jordan.

Yes, it is.

That was a good show, Will.

MacKenzie, I was wrong, you were right.

What did everybody else run?

What did they run, Don?

Flights resumed in Europe and
the iPhone prototype that was left at a bar.

They all closed with the oil rig, though.


Search and rescue.

We should go.

Goodnight, guys.



I don't know what you're miming.


You're fine.

Can I talk to you a second?

8:00 to 9:00 is over.

I understand.
I just wanted to mention something.

Hang on.
Enough of this shit about being disengaged.

Guys, great job tonight.

These things are done by teams,
and I've got the best team in television.

I'm gonna make sure
each and every one of you

knows how important you are to me.

- This isn't our control room.
- No.

Then screw it.


You won't remember this,

but the first time you met my parents,
you had flowers for my mother.

You took my father to an Orioles game,
and then you met us for dinner.

And I wanted to tell you...

That you were perfect.

Like I said, you wouldn't remember,
but I wanted to thank you...

The Orioles won 4-3
on a walk-off double from Miguel Tejada

with runners on first and third.

Your father ordered a beer,
and I ordered a Diet Coke.

And he said, "McAvoy,
you're a Republican nitwit

"and every word you've ever said or
written about China

"is incomprehensible bollocks.

"But for reasons passing understanding,
my MacKenzie seems to be in love with you.

"So you can have a pint on a hot summer's
day without earning my disapproval."

We ended up having three.

You two idiots were drunk
when you met us for dinner?

- Yeah.

Your dad's feeling all right?

Charlie says you're physically
and mentally exhausted.

I've been exhausted since I was 30.
Everybody's exhausted.

I just wanted to come back
and be in a newsroom.


Well, this one's yours for a week.

- Good show tonight.
- You, too.

It wasn't vertigo medicine.

I thought I saw you in the audience.
That's how I got flustered.

I thought I saw you,
but it turned out to be someone else.

No, wait.