Sports Night

Season 1 Episode 5

Mary Pat Shelby

Aired Tuesday 9:30 PM Oct 20, 1998 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
45 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Dana is excited to be getting a notorious football player, Christian Patrick on the show. The staff is less excited when his lawyers force them to not mention the ex-girlfriend he badly abused, Mary Pat Shelby. When Natalie goes to pre-interview him, he assaults her. Dana's decision about whether to break the story is a difficult one, and it is not the same as Dan and Casey's. Also, Dan wrestles with whether or not to get a goatee, and Dana is made aware of her lack of comic ability.


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  • I have fifty words to write a summary...and all I can think about is how I'm going to find a way to say unbeleivably spectacular that actually takes 100 words!

    Unbeleivably spectacular. 98 to go.

    For a show that started out amazing in the first episode to grow by the fifth into something so unbeleivably spectacular is quite an acheivement.

    Drama, comedy, and real characters. Yeah, I said real. Friends. Friends don't let friends let criminals get away with abuse!

    I told you I was gonna crap out on this. This episode rocked. It wasn't as surprising as The Apology. There was no true "Oh S**t!" moment, but the power of the episode comes in the reactions of the various characters to their friend in need.

    Three more words: Exsquisitely Excellent Episode!moreless
Brad William Henke

Brad William Henke

Christian Patrick

Guest Star

Jon Simmons

Jon Simmons


Guest Star

Ray Wise

Ray Wise


Guest Star

Kayla Blake

Kayla Blake


Recurring Role

Greg Baker

Greg Baker


Recurring Role

Jeff Mooring

Jeff Mooring


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • In this episode, Natalie says she has a degree from Northwestern University.

    • In the episode, when Jeremy notices the mark on Natalie's arm, he says his sister had once given him a similar mark when she gave him an Indian Burn. He said he didn't know why she had done it and, later, that he should call her and ask. However, in a later episode, Jeremy tells everyone his sister is deaf, and that they only communicate by mail, making a phone call impossible.

      Aaron Sorkin says: "It was a mistake. Even as I was writing 'Dear Louise,' I wondered if anyone was gonna catch it. I'm pleased someone did."

      Note: In actuality, there are a number of mechanisms in place for the deaf to receive phone calls, and they have steadily advanced with time. At the time of the show, it was possible to call someone, and have a hearing person type the interaction (and read the response if the deaf person did not speak), using systems called TDD and TRS. These systems now (2006) can go so far as to have an operator act as a sign-language relay-translator (using webcams and a broadband connection) for a deaf individual. These systems are free, and are paid for via the Universal Access Charge tacked onto everyone's phone bill. Sorkin could have worked this into the story somehow and still had Louise be deaf, but apparently he had no actual experience with the deaf's problems and solutions.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Dana: Danny!
      Dan: Dana?
      Dana: How much do you love me?
      Dan: I want to grow a goatee
      Dana: Very, very bad idea. How much do you love me?
      Dan: I think it would look good.
      Dana: I think you would look like Colonel Sanders. How much do you love me?
      Dan: A little less than I did before the Colonel Sanders thing.

    • Casey: Hey, you want to get involved with this?
      Dan: I so don’t.
      Dana: (leaving) Thank you.
      Casey: Didn’t you used to care about these things? And it wasn’t that long ago that you did.
      Dan: No.
      Casey: I mean, it was like yesterday.
      Dan: Right.
      Casey: Now, when I say yesterday, I’m not speaking metaphorically. It was yesterday! What happened to your values?
      Dan: I find that maintaining them is a lot of work. I take a day off now and then.
      Casey: You take a vacation from doing the right thing?
      Dan: Yeah. I don’t loot store fronts or anything, but once in a while, when I consider the effort it takes to diligently adhere to a moral compass I take myself out of the line up and I rest for the next game.
      Casey: I swear, you could run for congress.
      Dan: Not if I grow a goatee.
      Casey: Yeah, that’s true.

    • Bill: This is a third place show on a fourth rate network.
      Dan: Yeah, but that’s all gonna change once I grow a goatee.
      Casey: He’s just crazy enough to do it.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Natalie: We all remember a Boston Globe reporter who was strong, Danny. There isn't a female sports journalist that didn't learn their lesson from it. She had death threats. The FBI had to open her mail.
      In 1990, Lisa Olson, a sports writer for the Boston Herald, expressed allegations of sexual harassment by five New England Patriots players in the locker room.