Lou Grant

Season 1 Episode 2


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 27, 1977 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
8 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


A gunman takes the Tribune newsroom hostage, ordering Rossi to rewrite his story about the man's brother, who was supposedly killed by a store owner while committing a robbery.

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  • 'Hostages' and the theme of terrorism, Carla vs Billie

    I thought this episode was well done, and strikingly relevant today, even given the dated style of TV melodramas in the '70s & '80s. The script of the exchange between Mrs. Pynchon, Lou, and Charlie in the last 5 minutes regarding their opposing views on how to handle a story generated by "acts of terrorism" could have been placed verbatim in any show today and carried the same resonance. As a viewer, I initially wanted to see Grant get his way and run with the personal interest story on the whole captive hostage experience, but Pynchon's stance of not allowing acts of terrorism to become glamorized in the media, especially in a publication she owns, was a very believable depiction of how this event could have been handled... but upon reflection, perhaps idealistic. Fast-forward to today, it could very well be that any "media mogul" would be inclined to capitalize on the exposure that a terrorist story would generate, which leads to this contrast: the flip in the roles of terrorism v media from the 70's - today, it could be argued that the media has the tendency to exploit terrorism to satisfy its agenda.

    On a lesser note, I enjoyed Rebecca Balding in this episode. I know that she's generally unpopular among Lou Grant fans and nothing more than a brief anomaly in the show's history, but I found nothing lacking or distracting about her performance here. In the first three episodes (and beyond), there are occasional "green moments" displayed by a lot of the actors, especially considering that the show had yet to establish its rhythm and momentum. As a matter of fact, it's within this episode that I found Robert Walden's portrayal of a scared-out-of-his-wits Rossi upon being taken hostage by Martin to be cringe-worthy, yet he is said to have set the bar far beyond Balding's capabilities as an actor by writer Leon Tokatyan. (Granted, this was an uncharacteristically weak moment for Walden)

    Overall, I find the gritty, assertive, down-to-Earth nature of the Billie character to be a better fit than Balding's sassy sexy bomb-shell reporter Carla. But that's the script & role Balding was given, so I suspect that there's a possibility the writers had a change of heart with the Carla character after seeing her come to life in those first episodes. It's always easy for a writer to blame an actor for a character not working, but that's mere speculation of possibility on my part. Initially, Linda Kelsey was considered for the role of Carla, not Billie - the Billie character was conjured after Balding's dismissal. So if Kelsey had been cast as Carla, would we have seen her plugged into the same character delivering the same lines? Then dismissed just as Balding was because the sassy cutie-pie reporter turned out to be a mistake within the core vision?moreless
John Rubinstein

John Rubinstein

Andrew Martin

Guest Star

Patrick Tovatt

Patrick Tovatt

Sgt. Pierce

Guest Star

Joyce Jillson

Joyce Jillson

Cathy Anne Wills

Guest Star

Michael Irving

Michael Irving


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • In addition to occasional day-player Gordon Jump, this episode featured brief appearances by Tim Reid and Richard Sanders who also went on to star in 'WKRP In Cincinnati'.


  • QUOTES (3)

    • S.W.A.T. officer: (to Art Donovan while trying to think of a plan to infiltrate the newsroom being commanded by the gunman Martin) I've GOT to get in there and get a close look!"
      Donovan: "Your uniform is going to spook the kid."S.W.A.T. officer: "Yeah, I know… change clothes with me!Donovan: "That won't work! This suit will never FIT you! It's WAY too small in the shoulders."
      S.W.A.T. officer: We've got a crazed GUNMAN in there, not a fashion editor!Donovan: "What if you get a BULLET HOLE in it???
      S.W.A.T. officer: They do great re-weaving today!

    • Martin: (with his gun on Rossi) "Alright - where's your office?"
      Rossi: "It's that desk over there."
      Martin: "That's it? Just a DESK? I thought you were an important guy!"
      Rossi: "Well, it's one of the newer desks…"

    • Martin: (Holding a gun to Rossi's head as they walk into the newsroom) If anybody moves, I'm gonna blow his head off!
      Rossi: Take it easy. I don't have a whole lot of friends in this room.

  • NOTES (1)


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