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The Newsroom

Season 2 Episode 1

First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Jul 14, 2013 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
62 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Will answers questions from the corporate lawyer in relation to a wrongful termination suit and gives an account of a journalistic disaster that, except for an extraordinary confluence of events, would never have happened.

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  • Solid season opener, slightly disappointing single episode

    The Newsroom First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers opens up 14 months after the end of Season One in a scene which Will sits down with a group of ACN's lawyers to discuss the series of events that led them to cover a questionable news story (the show's first fictionalized story).

    Although it appears this bookend flashback setup is going to be used throughout the season, most of the events take place just weeks after Will goes on the air and calls the Tea Party the American Taliban. The resulting cold shoulder gets ACN locked out of important broadcasting meetings on the hill, less access to Republican presidential nominees, and gets Will pulled from the 9/11 anniversary show by Charlie.

    Although we get an awful lot of talk about drones the season premiere isn't really built around a single news story as its more concerned with setting up three season long arcs involving Occupy Wall Street, "Operation Genoa," and the continued fallout from Will's relentless attacks on the presiding members of Congress.

    You can find my full recap and review (with pics and video) at RazorFinemoreless
Aya Cash

Aya Cash

Shelly Wexler

Guest Star

Benjamin Koldyke

Benjamin Koldyke

Cyrus West

Guest Star

Nick Gehlfuss

Nick Gehlfuss

Ross Kessler

Guest Star

Marcia Gay Harden

Marcia Gay Harden

Rebecca Halliday

Recurring Role

Chris Messina

Chris Messina

Reese Lansing

Recurring Role

Hamish Linklater

Hamish Linklater

Jerry Dantana

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The episode timeline puts the House SOPA meeting on August 23, 2011. This is off by almost six  months. The senate passed PIPA in June 2011. The House did not unveil their competing legislation SOPA for meetings and comments until November 2011.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Rebecca Halliday: Fourteen months ago, you went on the air and called the Tea Party the "American Taliban."
      Will: I did.
      Rebecca Halliday: And?
      Will: The Taliban resented it.

    • Rebecca Halliday: (about Maggie) I'm her lawyer and your lawyer and Mackenzie's and everybody's, and if you don't let me do my job-
      Will: You're gonna do what, jump up really high in the air and swat my chin? (aside to Mark Gage) I have the confidence of a tall man.
      Rebecca Halliday: Lose. I was going to say "lose." And no one responsible for Genoa will ever work again, including, and especially, the anchor and executive producer. If Jim Harper hadn't gone to-
      Will: No.
      Rebecca Halliday: Let me finish the question.
      Will : We don't have that kinda time. No, if Jim hadn't gone to New Hampshire, if Dantana hadn't come up to cover for him, if West hadn't been on the drone panel, if 17 different things hadn't conspired in just the right order we wouldn't be sitting here.

    • Leona: Do you know how much we lose every year to piracy?
      Charlie: No.
      Leona: No, me neither. Could be $10 billion, could be $100 billion. Let's just assume it's $10 billion.
      Charlie: Okay.
      Leona: I want the $10 billion! We own intellectual property, and I want the ****ing pajama people to stop stealing it.

    • Charlie: Hey, money skirt?
      Sloan: The day will come when we have an HR rep who cares what goes on on this floor, and on that day, sir, I will dance upon your grave.
      Charlie: Reciting stock quotes and wearing a skirt?
      Sloan: How much time do I have to formulate a comeback?
      Charlie: That was it. The first thing out of your mouth is the comeback. You wasted yours on a question about comebacks.

    • Sloan: Why does it have to be like this?
      Charlie: Because you're a nerd and I'm a nerd, and you make nerds look bad.
      Sloan: No, I make nerds look good.

    • Tess Westin: What everyone's asking is why would a senior producer, four months before Iowa--
      Don: No. No. The clock's run out on this conversation. If I'm gonna sit in in your rundown meetings, they can't get mired in these kind of detours. It's like playing golf behind a foursome of blind people.

    • (Don shows Maggie the YouTube video of her outburst to the Sex and the City bus.)
      Don: I know that Jim was on the thing. He heard you say all that.
      Maggie: My cousin told you?
      Don: She doesn't like you... and she has a crush on me. And, she's gonna get married and stab her husband one day, but that's beside the point.

  • NOTES (9)

    • Music:
      Rebecca Black's "Friday" (sung by Will during a location segment )
      "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison (Will sits on his balcony smoking a joint)
      "You Better You Bet" by The Who (Mackenzie and Will at the bar through end credits)

    • The episode's title is taken from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2: Act 4, Scene 2 in which the rebel Cade describes the world he would rule and the butcher tells him the first thing he must do to achieve the goal.

    • This season's overarching storyline is inspired by the CNN "Tailwind" debacle. On June 7, 1998, CNN's NewsNight premiered with a disputed version of the reason for and actions of Operation Tailwind during the Vietnam War. CNN fired producers and executives, conducted internal investigations, and issued retractions. Two producers involved sued CNN for wrongful termination.

    • This episode marks a revised theme for season two and changed opening titles. The music has a piano intro that merges into a quieter version of last season's theme. The titles, instead of the black-and-white pictures of journalist greats, have pictures of the city, and work done at the station.

    • Season two, originally given 10 episodes, was reduced to nine because of Aaron Sorkin, not the network. Sorkin had written the first three of the season's episodes and shot two of them before he acknowledged the warnings others had given him that structural decisions he had made would affect the whole season. According to an interview in The Hollywood Reporter, he went "hat in hand" to the network and asked to start again. Ultimately, after a week shutdown that cost the tenth episode, the third episode was completely rewritten, parts of the first and second re-shot, and certain scenes in the first and second put in different places in order to retain as much footage as possible while changing the forward motion of the story arcs.

    • Sam Waterston and Jane Fonda received "and" billing for this episode.

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Turkey: September 11, 2013 on CNBC-e
      Finland: March 19, 2014 on YLE TV1

    • Crew Additions and Clarifications:
      Jonathan Arthur (Libyan Stunt Performer), Max Daniels (Libyan Stunt Performer), Mohamed Ibrahim Elkest (Libyan Stunt Performer)
      Francine Maisler (Casting Consultant)
      Emily Bruza (Art Production Assistant)
      John Pollard (On-Set Dresser)
      Carrie Dacre (Set Costumer), Ruben Calderon (Set Costumer), Summer Browning (Set Costumer)
      Jane Galli (Department Head Make-Up Artist), Sharon Rivera (Department Head Hair Stylist)
      Sean J. O'Shea (A Camera First Assistant Camera), Brian S. Wells (A Camera Second Assistant Camera), Coy Aune (A Camera Second Assistant Camera), Rich Floyd (B Camera First Assistant Camera), Kristiona Arnds (B Camera Second Assistant Camera), Mike Langford (Digital Loader), Corey Gibbons (Digital Utility)
      Kevin Faber (Utility Sound)
      Christie Mullen (Location Manager [New York])
      Matt Morrissey (Video Effects Supervisor), Dave Henri (Video Content Supervisor), Steve Irwin (Playback Engineer), Mark Scott (Playback Engineer), Gabriel Morley (Playback Engineer), James Visconti (Playback Engineer), Jim Sevin (Video Tech), Deborah Ricketts (Archival Footage Clearance), Randall Green (Playback Production Assistant), Lillian Kingery (Video Content Production Assistant)
      Eric Davidian (Lighting Technician), George Lozano, Jr. (Lighting Technician), Ron Provenzano (Lighting Technician), Kevin Wilt (Lighting Technician), Conan Mastrangelo (Lighting Technician), Curtis Andrews (Rigging Chief Lighting Technician), Lyle P. Robbins (Rigging Assistant Chief Lighting Technician)
      Chris Scurria (A Dolly Grip), Pete McAdams (B Dolly Grip), Ronald A. Miller (Key Rigging Grip), Travis Pafford (Best Boy Rigging Grip)
      Christopher Silverman (IFB Talent Mixer), Srdjan Popovic (IFB Talent Mixer), Tom Rowe (Studio Camera Operator), Robert Patoriza (Studio Camera Operator), Zeke Hernandez (Studio Camera Operator), Jesse Acosta (Jib Camera Operator), Michael Baird (Tech Utility), Tom Schurke (Tape Operator), Tim Widdet (Tape Operator), Max Cornejo (Tape Operator)
      Jeff Tartaglini (General Foreman), Emmanuel Garifallakis (Labor Foreman), Kevin Mahoney (Paint Foreman), Rick Belosic (Toolman), Luis Aguilar (Stage Foreman)
      Andrew Haspel (Second Assistant Accountant), Justin A. DeSantis (Clerk)
      Jason Saunders (DOT Administrator)
      Orlando Chongo (Assistant Craft Service)
      Jason Shrier (Assistant to Mr. Rudin), Dan Sarrow (Assistant to Mr. Rudin), Daniel Leviton (Assistant to Mr. Poul), Kelly Kreiser (Assistant to Mr. Biggs)
      Mallory Squeo (Set Production Assistant), Jennifer Tunberg (Set Production Assistant), Alex Betuel (Set Production Assistant), R. Ben Parker (Set Production Assistant)
      Lauren McMeikan (Post Coordinator)
      Daniel Nakamura (Mix Stage Technician)
      Lori Jones (Deluxe Post Supervisor), Pankaj Bajpai (DiTV Final Colorist), Dan Booth (DiTV Dailies Colorist), Karen Boyle-Anastasio (Smoke Artist), Scott Milne (Senior Visual Effects Supervisor)

    • Company Credits: Rich King Casting (Extras Casting), Ken & Art's Catering (Caterer), Hollywood Babble On (Loop Group), MFX (Visual Effects), Encore VFX (Visual Effects), Huge Designs (Main Title Design), Deluxe (DiTV Services), Todd AO Studios (Post Sound Services), EPS-Cineworks (Avids), Evan M. Greenspan, Inc. (Music Licensing), PIX System (Digital Dailies), Otto Nemenz (Alexa Cameras), Filmed at Sunset Gower Studios, Hollywood, California