Lou Grant

Season 5 Episode 7


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Dec 14, 1981 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
7 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Charlie tries to help his nephew, a young man recovering from a nervous breakdown. The reporters at The Tribune become obsessed with the story of Ziggy, the bear who escaped from Los Angeles Zoo.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Not great, but not bad

    This episode definitely focuses more on the domestic life of Charlie and his troubled nephew, but it is not entirely a melodrama. There are still plenty of scenes at the news office, and there are scenes at a throwaway publication office where Scott Hume goes to work. Character actress Conchata Ferrell appears in an early role as the throwaway publisher. Personally, I thought the scenes that played out in the Hume home were very good. The part where Scott locks himself in his bedroom, and Charlie breaks the door down only to discover him watching cartoons was very interesting. Peggy McCay is on hand once again as Charlie's wife Marion, and James Callahan, who appeared in another role back in a season 4 episode, provides good support as Charlie's brother. But what really makes this episode stand-out, in my opinion, is the commentary about mentally ill patients that were released back into mainstream society during the Reagan administration. The use of drug therapy is mentioned, but as Scott Hume says, he may be existing, but is he really able to function? The scenes with him disappearing in the middle of the night suggest otherwise. The subplot for this episode is about a missing bear that has escaped from the L.A. Zoo. I suppose the zoo may qualify as a metaphor for an institution, and the bear represents Scott Hume's being lost. We see updates back at the Trib office, as Billie stays on the story. At one point a tracker is hired to pinpoint the animal's exact location. We never see the bear and are required to use our imagination about its journey through the Burbank area.moreless
  • Why didn't anyone remember that this is a show about a newspaper?

    In the fifth season of Lou Grant things seem to go seriously wrong. Several episodes center around one character, away from the newspaper offices. In this one we get to see the problems of a young man suffering from mental problems. In the old days that would have been the topic of a news article. Here it is an annoying story line linked to Charlie's personal life. Unfortunately it practically descends into tearjerker territory. Meanwhile the other characters are busy with a frivolous story about an escaped bear. Lou, Rossi and Billie barely (no pun intended) get to do anything. Where are the days when reporters looked at a controversial story from different angles? From this episode we merely learn that people with mental difficulties should keep taking their medicine and that relatives should not feel guilty about their loved one's condition.moreless
W.K. Stratton

W.K. Stratton

Scott Hume

Guest Star

Tom Atkins

Tom Atkins

Dr. Sorenson

Guest Star

Conchata Ferrell

Conchata Ferrell

Myra Wexler

Guest Star

Peggy McCay

Peggy McCay

Marion Hume

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Lou: I can catch Charlie and let him know that he can't pull this running out on meetings stuff.
      Adam: You are going to run out of a meeting to tell him that?

    • (The story about an escaped bear causes some headaches.)
      Lou: All we have is a police composite which - believe it or not - makes him look like a psychopath.
      Charlie: I want you to send someone to the zoo to take a picture of his mother.
      Adam: A concerned relative is always good.
      Billie: We may not get the photo by deadline. His mother is at the San Diego Zoo.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The subplot involving the escaped bear requires viewers to use their imagination. No animals are used in the episode. Most of the story occurs off-camera with Billie and the others providing updates of what's happened to the bear.

    • Nancy Marchand does not appear. Robert Walden has less than a minute of screen time in two short scenes.

    • Guest James Callahan played a different character in season 4's 'Venice.'