The story The Newsroom has been building to all season finally hits the air as the News Night crew goes public with “Operation Genoa” to tremendous ratings only to come crashing down to earth as the glaring problems in the story soon become impossible to ignore. We also learn the name of the person suing ACN isn’t someone connected with the story, someone damaged by its reporting, or the source (Stephen Root) taken out of context but Jerry Dantana (Hamish Linklater) whose case is that he alone was scapegoated (for doctoring the raw footage of their expert witness) but wasn’t alone in the faulty reporting of the story.
Aside from Dantana’s editing of the raw footage, which MacKenzie‘s (Emily Mortimer) catches while re-watching the interview for the one-millionth time, ACN has to deal with the undisclosed brain trauma of their witness to the use of sarin gas, and Charlie (Sam Waterston) learns the true, and tragically personal, reason his old friend purposely sold him on a story that he knowing knew was false. I’ll admit the last of these feels a bit forced, even if the logic and motive of revenge certainly makes sense.
The episode offers more of Jim (John Gallagher Jr.), whose distrust of Dantana’s motives and sources continuest to be a sore spot, arguing against the story in the final Red Team meeting. Don (Thomas Sadoski) steals a couple of scenes when he takes his turn in debriefing (including his incredulity at the logic behind Dantana’s lawsuit), and Neal (Dev Patel) and Sloan (Olivia Munn) also get grilled by Rebecca Halliday (Marcia Gay Harden) and her team. By the time Will (Jeff Daniels) shows up to tell his side of the story the writing is already on the wall.
By the end of the episode Genoa has been proven false and the growing uncertainty in the newsroom stops those working behind the scenes from trusting sources to find the true reasons behind the Benghazi attack. Although the truth cripples the reputations of the those involved, and the public’s trust in ACN, “Red Team III” does end on a somewhat upbeat note as Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda) does the unexpected by refusing to accept the resignations of Will, MacKenzie, or Charlie.
With the show finally caught up, I’d expect far less flashbacks as The Newsroom moves ahead to its two-part season finale beginning in two weeks. For the first time this season we’ll be jumping in without the impending failure of Genoa looming over the storyline, although the fallout from the story is likely to continue to play a dominant role in the election night broadcast.