Murphy Brown

Season 5 Episode 4

Black, White & Brown

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 05, 1992 on CBS

Episode Recap

At Phil's the staff of FYI bump into news chief Gene Kinsella. He informs them that he's been promoted to a meaningless position, i.e. pushed aside. Everybody is disappointed, except Frank, who believes Gene never liked him.

The next day everybody meets the new head of news. Mitchell Baldwin is a tall, African-American gentleman who wins them over with his charm and then announces a few drastic changes to FYI. His decision to cut the items on the show from twelve to ten minutes gets a feeble reaction from Miles. To Miles' surprise Murphy does not respond to the news.

Afterwards Miles faces Murphy in her office and accuses her of treating the new boss with kid gloves because he is black. Murphy doesn't believe this at first, but the others seem to agree with Miles. After all, Miles won't stand up to Baldwin because he is afraid of authority, Corky is embarrassed because she's from the South, Jim is in denial and Frank is just pleased that someone complimented him on his work. The only reason why Murphy didn't fight Baldwin's changes must have been her reluctance to argue with an African-American.

Murphy visits Baldwin at his office and explains that she has been behaving unlike her usual self, out of white guilt. Baldwin doesn't seem to be annoyed at all. He tells her he immediately realised that the white employees would treat him extra politely, and he decided to introduce as much change to the program as he could before the staff would get to feel comfortable with him. Murphy has to admit that she's been outclassed by a worthy adversary.