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Newsroom cast

"The Newsroom" review by Jan
Sundays at 10 pm on HBO

Aaron Sorkin, of The West Wing fame, brings to us yet another drama, a behind the scenes cable-news program - HBO's "The Newsroom". And from what we see in Episode 1: "We Just Decided To", as informative, intense, and yes just as entertaining.

In the beginning scene we see Will McAvoy, played brilliantly by Jeff Daniels. We quickly discover that Will has developed his news persona as a man that does not reveal his preference to a party, never offending anyone - dubbed the Jay Leno of the News, but this has come at a cost. Where this has probably served him well as a news anchor it seems that he has sold out as to what his ethics in journalism had once been. During this event at a panel discussion at Northwest University he is on the other side of an interview and he dances around the questions asked of him with snarky, witty answers until the host demands a real "human answer" to his question. Having, what my tv guide described as a meltdown during a panel interview at a college, I personally found to be more of a honest direct answer, with a perspective that was right on target to reality about current real life politics and the state of our country not actually being "The Greatest Country in the World" and why. This is much more than the crowd or host expected to hear. After the interview was over and they leave the stage he's bombarded with questions from his co-guests until he looks at them and reveals he hadn't a clue what he'd just said, "what did I say out there?", hence being called a "meltdown".

Next scene - 3 weeks later Will returns to work after a "vacation" where nobody could reach him, to find his crew has jumped ship to work on another show that is to start in 2 weeks. Will's not very pleased so he tells them all to take a paid 2 wk. vacation and leave now. His asinine past treatment of his crew is quite evident and we discover that the meltdown was not the reason for their choice in job transfer, but instead his ill treatment of his staff. This leaves Will with a very small new replacement crew hired by Charlie Skinner, played by Sam Waterson, which we discover may be the best thing that has happened!

Will is especially unhappy when he discovers one of his new crew members is MacKenzie McHale played by Emily Mortimer as his new highly respected news producer he once was romantically involved with! MacKenzie has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan for over 2 years and they've not spoken in all that time. Though they seem to have a rocky relationship due to their past, MacKenzie appears to be exactly what Will needs. Will of course has traded in several million dollars of his contract for the opportunity each week to fire her at week's end if he so desires - typical it seems of Will, but MacKenzie knows how to handle Will which is revealed during the first very successful show. MacKenzie knows how to manipulate him to being the best he can be. There are also still sparks there between the two, the history yet to be revealed.

MacKenzie brings with her Jim Harper, played by John Gallagher, Jr. who had covered the news with her abroad. Jim quickly reveals what an asset he is when he actually listens to the new crew and determines very quickly that the news trickling in about an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is much more than initially thought to be. Contributing to this quickly developing story is intern Margaret Jordan played by Alison Pill who quickly rose to associate producer, Don Keefer played by Thomas Sadoski who was his former executive producer who decides to stay on, Neal Sampat played by Dev Patel covered the London subway bombings with his camera phone and now writes Will's blog that Will just discovers, "I have a blog", scours the internet for stories and is the first to hear of the oil spill, and Sloan Sabbith played by Olivia Munn as the network's financial news reporter.

Gruff as he appears, Will listens to what this crew has to say, even though some of the sources for the story aren't your typical sources, but trusts the crew mostly because MacKenzie trusts Jim and Will trusts MacKenzie. They go live, breaking a story that nobody else in news media has covered.

I expect each week we'll see more intense news drama, based on real news, while revealing much more intense character development as the show continues. This is one show you really need to check out.

Watch the premiere online for free at HBO

Follow @HBO and use the hashtag #Newsroom to join the conversation during the show each week on Twitter

Join The Newsroom on Facebook 

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Page updated 6/28/12

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