Lou Grant

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 20, 1977 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
14 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


50-year-old Lou Grant, down on his luck, is hired by his old friend Charlie Hume to be the new city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune. He is immediately faced with a dilemma, when brash young newshound Joe Rossi accuses the paper's veteran police reporter of covering up a scandal concerning cops having sex with underage girls in a police-sponsored soccer league.


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  • Great Ending

    The scene at the end with the exchange between Lou & Mrs. Pynchon is great. Lou's waiting for a bus since he's new in town and doesn't even own a car yet. It's at night after his shift, and he's heading off to see a house for possible rental. Mrs. Pynchon sees Lou at the bus stop and pulls up in her Cadillac to offer Lou a ride home. Their initial meeting was tense and rocky, but they eventually ironed out their differences and came to friendly terms, so what a perfect ending to see Mrs. Pynchon offer Lou a ride. However, Lou mentions that he's going to go see the house "all the way out in Silver Lake". Pynchon says that it's no problem, to which Lou replies: "Are you sure it isn't out of your way?" Pynchon then says: "Aaw, as a matter of fact it is; I'll see you

    She punches the gas and leaves Lou in the dust.

  • Half a pilot, half an episode.

    I remember watching this episode in the seventies, incredibly curious to see how a character from a sitcom could make it in a drama. Since then we know that it's possible. Watching it again, I noticed how they did it. The first twenty minutes show Lou arriving in Los Angeles and struggling to get along with people and trying to find himself a job. Quite a lot of it is done without dialogue, and the dialogue scenes contain a fair amount of humor. A clear transition from the sitcom world. Then the plot suddenly shifts to a newspaper story, the possibility of a police scandal. What would normally be handled in fifty minutes is rushed in twenty-five minutes. It gives us a taste of what the show would become. More importantly, we get to see the side of Lou Grant, the principled journalist, that was perhaps not that apparent in the Mary Tyler Moore Show, where he was just a disgruntled newsroom boss.

    Some shows would spend an entire episode to set up a new series, others decide to start off running. 'Lou Grant' found a way in between.moreless
  • Interesting example of a new genre at the time - more characters and issue, less melodrama and music. This episode doesn't quite fill the shoes.

    Lou joins the paper and immediately has to make a judgement call about whether to run a sensitive story.

    I liked this series, but looking back at it, it straddles a line that many of the first "issues" dramas had to face - how much depth to put into the topics at hand. In this case, the plotline of whether to report or even investigate a police officer sex scandal is pretty broad in scope, with rather naive references to sources (the off-the-record hints to the newspaperman are pretty shallow, Rossi's first draft is laughably over-dramatic and inaccurate). As is typical, "Lou Grant" almost always falls into the trap of having reporters "solve" crimes or mysteries or become part of the stories themselves.

    What is good is that there is a lot of talent in this episode, Nancy Marchand has great lines (including facing death threats for no longer running "Little Orphan Annie" in the comics), Peter Hobbs is good as the police beat reporter, Gordon Jump steps in for a brief turn as the national news editor. And the main cast works pretty well. On the down side, Rebecca Balding as the female reporter (before Linda Kelsey) is very bland and it's pretty easy to see why she was replaced within weeks.

    This is an interesting episode, you don't really get to see how a newspaper runs but the dialog and intent is such as to give a glimpse into an approach that went further with programs like "Hill Street Blues".moreless
Peter Hobbs

Peter Hobbs

George Driscoll

Guest Star

Norman Bartold

Norman Bartold

Commander Phillips

Guest Star

George Cooper (II)

George Cooper (II)

Deputy Chief

Guest Star

Laurence Haddon

Laurence Haddon

Foreign Editor

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Mrs. Pynchon faces retaliation by angry readers when she discontinues the Orphan Annie comic strip. The popular comic strip ended its nationally syndicated run in 2010, after 85 years in print.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Charlie: Lou, it's incredible! How can a guy look the same as he did twenty years ago?
      Lou: I don't.
      Charlie: You sure don't. What happened?

    • Rossi: Paydirt!
      Lou: I assume that's your cute way of saying you've got a lead?

    • Lou: Take a week off. Relax. Go fishing.
      Driscoll: I don't fish.
      Lou: I didn't say you had to catch anything.

    • Lou: (on their way to see Mrs. Pynchon) What did you tell her about me?
      Charlie: Nothing. And don't mention that you worked in television. She hates television.
      Lou: Then what do I tell her I was doing the last ten years?
      Charlie: Tell her you were in jail.

    • Lou: Getting back on a newspaper is like being with a woman who doesn't shave her legs. Reality. Maybe you don't like it, but it's real.

  • NOTES (1)


    • When Lou asks Rossi for his name, the young reporter jokingly replies: "Bella Abzug". Bella Abzug (1920-1998) was an American social activist, congresswoman and a leader of the Women's Movement.

    • The newspaper's name is completely fictitious. The Los Angeles Tribune is possibly an allusion to the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, two of the more famous big city papers in the U.S. These news organizations are still in operation as of 2010... though the business of gathering and reporting news has changed considerably due to internet technologies.