Sports Night

Season 1 Episode 2

The Apology

Aired Tuesday 9:30 PM Sep 29, 1998 on ABC

Episode Recap

Dana and Casey's Office: Natalie comes in to summon Dan and Casey to the studio prior to going on the air, as they finish up some stories. Natalie asks Dan about a piece covering him which is apparently coming out in the next Esquire magazine. Dan seems distracted, but claims it's not about the upcoming Esquire piece, but that he thinks he has a stalker. Casey is trying to drag a bit of info from a source on the phone, and pulls Kim in to schmooze the guy as he walks towards the studio set.

Studio/Control Room: There's a lot of banter and snarking about Dan's stalker. Dana's insistence on teasing a possible no-hitter has Jeremy pointing out that doing so is a jinx. Dana blows him off and orders the teaser.


Newsroom: Casey is sitting on a desk, reading the Esquire article repeatedly. Apparently, there is something of concern in the article, but, also, Casey is unhappy that the article suggests that Dan is hip and Casey is not. Dana comes in and Casey brings this up, and Dana suggests it is true. They head into the conference room.

Conference Room: Dan asks Dana how much trouble he is in, and the conclusion is a fair amount. Some attorney and a guy from Standards and Practices are there to speak about something Dan said for the piece, which is then revealed to be the fact that he supports an organization that promotes the legalization of marijuana. Casey continues to be concerned about the perception of him as unhip. Dana leaves, and Natalie enters. Natalie asks Casey to check over a tape that Jeremy is editing for the evening's broadcast as they leave the conference room for Dan and Casey's office. Natalie admits she doesn't want to do it herself because she feels something for Jeremy and fears for her objectivity. They enter the office.

Dan and Casey's Office: The conversation continues until it starts to get a bit direct, and Casey indicates it's not where he'd have things go. Natalie leaves as Dan enters. Casey twits Dan about his supposed stalker, who clearly showed no interest in him in the elevator that morning. Dan, meanwhile, has a meeting with Isaac and the corporate reps which he is deliberately being late for. Casey asks Dan about the issue, and Dan gets defensive about his belief in the legalization of marijuana. Casey then segues into the issue of his being unhip, which Dan confirms while noting that he has soft-pop 70s tunes playing in his car, particularly Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight". Casey asks Dan to help him be hip again, while Dan suggests that part of the problem is the notion that he was ever hip. Dan continues to blow off the meeting, until Isaac walks in and testily tells him to get into Isaac's office for it. He quickly complies.

Isaac's Office: The corporate attorney and the man from Standards and Practices are arguing over what was said, their interpretation being that Dan was encouraging people to take drugs. Dan's interpretation is that the whole drug war thing is out-and-out wrongheaded. In the end, Dan gets blackmailed into making a public apology on air that night. Isaac doesn't think it's fair, but he doesn't think it's worth the fight. The two network guys leave, and Dan and Isaac continue to discuss the matter, with Dan leaving with an order to apologize and none too happy about it.

Studio, Craft Service Table: Casey walks over to where Jeremy is, and talks to him about his first promo tape (which Natalie asked him to review earlier). He says it's not just good, it's very good... but it's a bit overlong. Normally, they allot about 30-40 seconds per game. Jeremy's tape ran 8-and-a-half minutes. It appears that Jeremy is having a hard time cutting out basic, unimpressive events because he sees the context they are in and wants to keep that. Jeremy argues for the length of the piece, unsuccessfully, of course. In the end, Casey tells him to cut it back to 30 seconds.

Control Room: Dana, Natalie, Kim, Eliot, Will, and Chris are talking about some technical aspect of the show, and Dana mentions that Dan is going to use 45 seconds of airtime to apologize. The others are surprised by this, as it seems out of character for him. Dana and Natalie leave the control room and walk down the hall.

Hallway: Natalie metaphorically pushes Dana towards Casey in a flagrant matchmaking attempt. Behind them, in the editing room, Casey is trying to help Jeremy grasp that the context of the game isn't worth 8 minutes of airtime. Natalie leaves, and Dana sticks her head in to tell them both exactly which parts of the game she wants in the tape. Jeremy objects, but knows that he can't argue with Dana. Dana and Casey walk back into the hallway. Dana asks Casey about things in an awkward conversation which deals in a literal way with some of Natalie's metaphorical suggestions to Dana about Casey.


Studio: The show is in progress, and the time is near for Dan's on-air apology. He starts off with a lead in that sounds more like an act of defiance to the instruction, but makes his statements and their sources clear as it progresses. He believes in marijuana legalization, but does think it can be a bad thing, and the apology he writes is to his dead younger brother, Sam, who idolized his older brother, including, unfortunately, Dan's rather free attitude about using grass and driving. On Sam's 16th birthday, armed with his new driver's license, he went out celebrating with friends, and, high as a kite, ran a red light and was killed by a semi. He ends with a repetition of his apology to Sam for being young and foolish and misleading him into irresponsibility. The show closes with Casey continuing to argue with Dan about the hipness of the Starland Vocal Band and "Afternoon Delight" which is playing in the background.

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