Lou Grant

Season 4 Episode 13


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Feb 16, 1981 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
7 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The planned installation of a new computerized system promises to cause the loss of many jobs, and the Trib's printers vote to go on strike. The reporters honor their picket lines, but Lou is reluctantly forced to remain at work because he is now part of management. Tensions rise as the strike continues for several weeks.moreless

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  • Proves how good television can be

    This episode is what makes Lou Grant a truly exemplary television drama (from any era). It also makes routine, mediocre TV shows look even worse than they are, because the bar is set so high with an episode like this. Again, story editor April Smith writes a top script, and it features some very thorough research about what happens when a strike occurs, especially one involving a large city newspaper. The strike of the real-life Washington Post is referenced in this episode and I'm sure Ms. Smith used that event as one of the main inspirations here. What gets me, is that 30 years later, strikes still occur like this. In Hollywood, the writers guild has gone through similar ordeals, complete with scab writers and negotiations where the major studios were careful not to give the store away to the unions (most recently involving royalties on DVDs). It should be noted that SAG (the screen actors guild) has had several strikes, too, and that Ed Asner was the president of SAG during production of this series. I think it's significant that as Lou, Ed does walk the picket line toward the end of this episode. But what's really great is that April Smith shows the more human side of this situation, that neither side is a true villain, and that eventually there has to be a compromise on the numbers. I liked the scene where Lou tells Rossi to leave, when Rossi's temper flares and he purges the story he's working on as the strike begins. And I thought the part where Billie gets injured was very realistically staged. Also worth noting are the historical aspects of this story, in terms of where print media was and how technology was evolving. There are several scenes where we see how news layouts are being done and how the process is being modernized.moreless
Nancy Malone

Nancy Malone

Ivy Norris

Guest Star

Tom Atkins

Tom Atkins

Jim Bronsky

Guest Star

Bruce Kirby

Bruce Kirby

Gus Murray

Guest Star

Allen Williams

Allen Williams

Adam Wilson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Art: I never know what to wear on a picket line.

    • Mrs. Pynchon: There has been no sabotage?
      Lou: Nothing important. Just the freight elevator.
      Mrs. Pynchon: Oh dear, how long will that take to repair?
      Lou: As soon as someone figures out a way to get the forklift out of the elevator shaft...

    • (Lou decides to join the strike.)
      Charlie: So you're leaving me alone holding the Alamo. How am I supposed to feel?
      Lou: That at least you're not friends with a jerk.

  • NOTES (1)

    • The injury that Billie sustains during the strike is carried over for the next several episodes. She wears a cast/sling and the strike is referenced again, by her and the other characters. This may not be a long-term storyline necessarily, but it shows that the writers are interested in maintaining the show's narrative continuity in a realistic way.