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Tara Ariano

S03.E04: Contempt

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Another scene that took me out of the episode: when Hallie just shows up because she still has her security pass. Really? In this day and age of tight security, and with a workplace that deals with classified documents, no one thought to ask the fired employee for her pass when she left?  C'mon, Sorkin. You could have figured out another way for her to get in to see Jim.

 

The security pass part really bugged me, too.  That is one of those things that a pesky HR department would definitely confiscate, even if they were too busy screwing with Don and Sloan.  And in a corporation this big with confidential files/documents/etc. security would watch you pack your things and escort you from the building.

 

I fell asleep either right before or during the wedding scene so will have to watch that part again.  Jim and Hallie's storyline was awful.  And the Hustler reference was the other thing that really took me out of the episode.  They are both way too young for that to be a relevant reference.

 

ETA:  The parts with the judge were well done.  His reluctance and the conversations in chambers quite believable.

Edited by polyhymnia

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I think the fucking massive red EYES ONLY and whatnot would have tipped off even a rookie journalist that these docs were not ones which were released with consent by the gov't, never mind a veteran journalist. But regardless...Reese killed the story because Pruitt's lawyers indicated that the government would sue the fuck out of them for airing it, basically bankrupting them. So, why would any other agency take that risk?

Nothing was released with the consent of the government. Mac (maybe it was Charlie) said that they would look at the documents and make sure they worked with the government to release only what did not put people in danger or whatever they would work with (That's what the big media orgs. that received the wikileaks documents did). 

The journalist is not a rookie either, she is seasoned one who does not get good assignments anyone because of her age. We are to assume she would work with the government in the same way.

Nobody can tell journalists what they can or cannot publish once they have the information.

Pruitt was afraid of fines, and I don't know if the government can fine media organizations. I don't think they can, but that was what Reese said. Maybe because Will is in contempt, but I still don't see how this would be a thing. 

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Pruitt was afraid of fines, and I don't know if the government can fine media organizations. I don't think they can, but that was what Reese said. Maybe because Will is in contempt, but I still don't see how this would be a thing.

 

I think it's because the media organization--in this case, ACN represented by Neal--committed a crime. Evidence collected illegally isn't admissible in court and reporters aren't protected by the First Amendment if they get their information while they personally are committing a crime. (Meeting with a source isn't a crime, but teaching someone how to steal from the govt is.) So the govt could sue ACN for publishing information that it had obtained illegally from its representative, Neal. But since the AP reporter and the AP didn't get the information while committing a crime, they aren't culpable in the same way. At least, that's what I think. I'm not a constitutional attorney, though.

Edited by madam magpie
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I think the lunch with Sloan and Charlie just inspired her and she went looking for a news channel/network on her own.

 

Actually, she was already looking for a network to buy and wanted to buy the rival network. The guy buying ACN (don't like him...don't care what his name is...) said that the very reason she took Charlie and Sloan to lunch at the sushi restaurant (despite the suggestion, by Charlie, that she obviously didn't like sushi because she just pushed it around her plate) was because she knew a board member from the rival nework would be there. They would see her meeting with Charlie and Sloan and fear that she might buy ACN instead. Thus, she could get the network she really wanted at a more competitive price. 

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 So the govt could sue ACN for publishing information that it had obtained illegally from its representative, Neal. But since the AP reporter and the AP didn't get the information while committing a crime, they aren't culpable in the same way. At least, that's what I think.

 

I'm assuming that's the reason for why AP can deal with it but ACN can't, but it still strikes me as weird.

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I don't often play the nitpick game, but yes, Hailey having a functional ID card meant that someone in IT or building security had seriously screwed up. I make video games at my office--a much less risky endeavor than cable news--and we deactivate those door keys pretty much AS the employee is having the Talk.

 

Heck, sometimes you find out you're being fired before "the talk" when your pass card or computer password stops working because someone jumped the gun a little too quickly.

 

I would definitely watch a show about Don and Sloan as long as it doesn't include Maggie and Jim (could live with cameos by the rest).

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I still can't wrap my head around a VP, who just started with a company, claiming "boredom" and choosing to harass and essentially prank a producer and on-screen analyst.

 

Who does he have dirt on that he feels secure enough in his hiring to pull such shit?

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I thought he was the current VP, and he would be out when they sold the ACN, and that's why he was messing with them.  I don't know, really.  That whole thing was confusing, but I was amused by Don and Sloan's antics.

Edited by izabella

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I thought he was the current VP, and he would be out when they sold the ACN, and that's why he was messing with them.  I don't know, really.  That whole thing was confusing, but I was amused by Don and Sloan's antics.

 

Unless I misheard, Don introduced Gary and that blond who filed a complaint to the NEW VP of HR. The guy also said that his predecessor tended to be lax about enforcing the 'relationships in the work place' rule.

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I should have worded it better. I don't know why CATHOLIC. I was referring to a wedding ceremony. I have no idea if non-catholics play/like Ave Maria. I am an atheist and hate wedding ceremonies. 

 

Just so you know, Ronald Reagan was a Presbyterian. Ave Maria was sung on his funeral, in an Episcopal Cathedral. Point is, one does not need to be Catholic to like Ave Maria or to have it performed.

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I still can't wrap my head around a VP, who just started with a company, claiming "boredom" and choosing to harass and essentially prank a producer and on-screen analyst.

 

Who does he have dirt on that he feels secure enough in his hiring to pull such shit?

 

If some new green neck HR flack was looking to harass a suspected couple working in their company for shits and giggles, then that person should be reported to for disciplinary actions. What other reason does this douche have, besides being a dickhole?

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But Wyatt knows that the entire company is about to be dismembered. He may have spent most of his time sprucing up a few decades'-worth of personnel files for the new owner to trash.  Meanwhile, it's so easy to rattle Don about Sloan.  Wyatt could get that done four times daily on his way to the men's room.

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I really want a show starring Don and Sloan. They might actually be my favorite Sorkin couple, because they seem like they actually like each other and have fun together. Don's no condescending asshole to her because she's awesome and they get along so well. I wish they could have a spinoff.

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But Wyatt knows that the entire company is about to be dismembered. He may have spent most of his time sprucing up a few decades'-worth of personnel files for the new owner to trash.  Meanwhile, it's so easy to rattle Don about Sloan.  Wyatt could get that done four times daily on his way to the men's room.

 

As I understood it, Wyatt wouldn't be THEIR vice-president any more since the news bit of ACN was going to be sold off, but he'd probably still work for the parent company...surely the news section of ACN doesn't have a separate VP of Human Resources? Still ridiculously unprofessional behaviour...

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I don't often play the nitpick game, but yes, Hailey having a functional ID card meant that someone in IT or building security had seriously screwed up. I make video games at my office--a much less risky endeavor than cable news--and we deactivate those door keys pretty much AS the employee is having the Talk.

 

At least it is still better than Lockhart/Gardner where everyone can not only go past reception / waiting area alone and unescorted but also to the partners' private offices and stay there at any time day or night.

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I think a big tell in this episode was Will's reaction when Mac told him he could drop referring to the leaker as "he" since Mac had met with her a couple of times.  It was then that Will immediately told her to shut up about it and never mention it to anyone ever again.  Assuming the woman Mac spoke to is the actual leaker (which it would seem she was) I don't think Will knew it was a woman.  I think either a)Neal gave him some guy's name and made-up job off the cuff or more likely b)Neal didn't tell him anything at all, and he's just been blustering through assuming they'd cave in.  Then there really would be no number of days of incarceration which would move him to talk - because he can't.

Edited by Totale

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Agreed -- Jeff Daniels played that as if Will were hiding his surprise that the leaker was a woman.  My first thought was that Neal never told him, but Will did state under oath before the grand jury that he had been told the leaker's identity, and I doubt he would perjure himself. 

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I think a big tell in this episode was Will's reaction when Mac told him he could drop referring to the leaker as "he" since Mac had met with her a couple of times.  It was then that Will immediately told her to shut up about it and never mention it to anyone ever again.  Assuming the woman Mac spoke to is the actual leaker (which it would seem she was) I don't think Will knew it was a woman. 

 

I think Will knows who the leak is; he just freaked out at discovering that Mac knew too. Will wouldn't worry about himself but he will worry if Mac could get in trouble. He doesn't want her to get implicated in all this, so he told her to never tell anyone that she knows.

 

He's ok to be a target but he wants Mac to be kept out of it. He wants to protect her, IMO.

Edited by NoWillToResist

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Re: Wyatt, and thinking about it - Don was pretty dick-ish to him in the first scene. Given that, I don't mind him dicking Don and Sloan around in turn. It was stupid, but it was stupid on all their parts.

Edited by romantic idiot

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Actually I'm a reporter and nobody thinks a well written essay is not something admirable. At least I've never re into it and there are well respected awards for them in the njpa and spj and they are highly prized. The ny times columnists, many of whom write in a personal vein, make six figures. It was just dumb. And it made Jim an extreme douche.

 

Mary Schmich, the wonderful Pulitzer-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, has written many a first-person column.

 

Also, I agree with Pallas and Totale that Jeff Daniels played the moment with Mac as if he were surprised the leaker was a woman. But I'm not sure whether he made the right acting choice. He could have meant to convey only that he was surprised that Mac knew what he knew. If so, this was a rare moment of unprecision for Daniels, who usually gets across text and subtext with the skill of a master. We'll find out.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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Let me throw this out there; however I'm unsure of the timeline regarding Mac telling Will she knows the leaker and when Will went before the grand jury. Let's assume Will was bluffing when he said he knew the leaker's identity, and Mac telling him it was a woman was a surprise to him and the first he knew of that. Could it be that when he testified that he DID know the identity, that he was referring to the information that Mac told him? And he couldn't reveal any more without involving Mac and getting her into serious trouble? Or is that too Byzantine - or just plain wrong with the time lines?

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Could it be that when he testified that he DID know the identity, that he was referring to the information that Mac told him? 

 

I don't think so, regardless of the timeline. Mac only told him she was a woman. He stopped her right there before she could name the woman. Just knowing the leaker's gender would not be enough for Will to be able to say he knew her identity.

 

However--even before Jeff Daniels' "whoa, wait a minute, SHE"S A WOMAN?!??" face, I've been thinking for a while that he's been lying when he says he knows the leaker. The purpose of the lie would be to take the heat off of Neal; Will's figured that the Feds might put Neal in Leavenworth, but they'd never do that to him. I haven't watched any episodes after this one, so I don't know how all that plays out, but that's been my hunch.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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