In the last episode of Season 3 of HBO’s “The Newsroom,” Will (Jeff Daniels) called what he believed to be an FBI bluff by refusing to give up the name of Neal’s (Dev Patel) anonymous source, believing the FBI would never charge a television star with contempt. However, he was surprised at the end of the episode when he was issued a subpoena. In episode 4, “Contempt,” he would have to appear in court to address the escalating situation.
The episode began with Will and the ACN team still at the White House Correspondents Dinner, processing Will’s subpoena to appear in court. Meanwhile, Mackenzie (Emily Mortimer) was stressed after being approached by the anonymous source (Clea Duvall) who threatened to go public if ACN did not run the story in the next few days.
However, Will and Mackenzie had to get it together to meet with Lucas Pruit (B.J. Novak), who was Charlie’s (Sam Waterston) only hope for a buyer to save ACN. However, after Pruit revealed his plan to use crowdsourcing and social media to fuel a revamped news network Charlie stormed out vowing to have nothing to with Pruit and his lack of ethics and professionalism.
Elsewhere at the party, Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) and Hallie (Grace Gummer) were still having trouble making peace over Hallie’s new job at Carnivore. When the start-up site leaked the story Will had been subpoenaed, Jim suspected Hallie, who admitted to having tipped off her new employers, leading to another fight.
Back at the station the next day, Wyatt (Keith Powell), the new human resources vice president, was still prying into the relationship between Don (Thomas Sadoski) and Sloan, trying to expose the couple.
Charlie, on the other hand, was investigating Sloan for another reason. He wanted her help to find an alternative buyer for ACN. She agreed to set up a secret meeting with another potential buyer.
Mackenzie had to meet with the source again after Don found out the reporter who wrote the falsified articles was still on the ground in Kundu and could be at risk if they reported the story too soon. However, when the source refused to push back the deadline Mackenzie threatened to give the source’s name to the FBI if she went public instead.
Back on the Jim and Hallie front, Hallie wrote an article after another fight with Jim about her job, essentially transcribing their fight for her site. The article led to a screaming fight on the ACN balcony that toed the line between a debate about journalism ethics and a good, old-fashioned couple's quarrel. The result, though, was that Jim and Hallie were no more. The article also caused a fight between Maggie (Alison Pill) and her new boyfriend when her overzealous defense of Hallie made it clear she had unresolved feelings for Jim.
The next day, the Kundu reporter finally made it out of the country so ACN was free to go with the story. However, Reese (Chris Messina) called Mackenzie into his office to inform her she could not run the story anyway as it would ruin Atlantis’ deal with Pruit for ACN. Mackenzie left furious it was all for nothing.
To make matters worse, Sloan’s alternate buyer turned out just to be meeting with ACN as leverage in the purchase of another media company. Charlie was left with no other option but to let Reese sell the station to Pruit.
On a lighter note, Wyatt turned out to be giving Don and Sloan a hard time just for fun, with no danger to their jobs.
At Will’s grand jury hearing the anchor refused to give the name of the source once more and was found in contempt of court, a decision that would land the television star in prison.
With her fiancé about to go to jail, Mackenzie, in a surprise change of events, decided she wanted to get married that day before Will went to prison. They gathered their friends and colleagues at the courthouse chapel for the impromptu ceremony, a rather ornate affair -- featuring a violinist performing “Ave Maria” and Mackenzie sporting a stunning dress -- despite the last-minute preparations. After the wedding Will reported to be taken to jail.
Mackenzie, meanwhile, sent the Kundu documents to the Associated Press, ensuring that the important story would be reported.
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