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We Need to Know: On The Newsroom, Who is Will’s Secret Source? 


After watching HBO’s The Newsroom “Red Team III” at least three times myself, I keep wondering who is Will’s silent source? Is Will hiding something, protecting someone or is he a pawn in the Genoa story? Before I share my conspiracy theory, let me recap the most STUNNING episode of the season to date. 

Thanks to Rebecca and her ongoing depositions, we finally know what lead to the train wreck causing ACN to air an inaccurate story and losing the trust of its viewers.

The episode begins with Don’s deposition. He can’t wrap his mind around the fact that Jerry is suing ACN to the tune of $5 million bucks. In fact, Don pretty much sums it up, “he digitally re-mastered an interview, that is the all of it, that’s it, there was no institutional failure.” And frankly, I agree with him. Then again, I’m not a lawyer.

In my opinion, Jerry’s unethical actions do not represent an “institutional failure”; however, I think Mac should be held accountable for her mistakes as well. I’m still trying to figure out why a high-powered, executive producer, charged with such a huge story like Operation Genoa wouldn’t go back and check and recheck every single detail before it went to air. Like I said, it’s just my opinion or is it? In the final scene, Leona tells “McMac” (her new nickname for Mackenzie) “you’re head is up your ass” – I’ve been thinking the same thing all season.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Emily Mortimer and she’s been playing the role of Mac just the way it has been written for her, but it’s tough to watch. Then again, as a former news producer, I have to remind myself, “this is just fiction.” But wait, this season is based on a similar report that aired on CNN in 1998. In the end, two producers were fired and both received money after filing a lawsuit against the network. You can read more about it by going to

Getting back to the episode itself, Jim, Neal and Sloan are deposed and while we as viewers sit in on the Red Team III and the postmortem meeting, we find out many things including the fact that Will has a source too. This comes as a shock to everyone. Who knew? With both Will and Charlie having what everyone thinks are “solid” sources, Genoa was good to go, or so we thought.

There was one notable difference. Will’s source was reachable by telephone and Charlie’s was not. This leads to one of the most shocking moments of the night. It turns out that Charlie’s source set him up.

We learned that Shep Pressman, the man who provided Charlie with the Helo Manifest was out for revenge. He was waiting for the right moment and Jerry Dantana provided him with it when he started asking questions about Operation Genoa.

After learning that Shep’s troubled son committed suicide when he was fired from his internship at ACN, Charlie showed no sympathy and coldly replied, “He deserved to be fired.” Who knew that Charlie could be so chilly? Charlie paid the price. When the Helo Manifest was held up under the light, the only thing it said was, “F–k you Charlie” – no one saw that one coming, not even Rebecca.

About Will’s reaction, there were only two times that I thought he showed any “real” emotion during this episode.

The first time is when he found out that the broadcast had garnered him 5.8 million viewers, “they were “I Love Lucy” numbers” and you can’t argue with him on that point – except for one thing – there was a problem with the story.

The second time was when Will was being deposed by Rebecca, ”sometimes it is just the one thing, he lucked out; he wouldn’t have been able to do it if there had been action in the frame.” Will was referring to the glitch in the “shot clock” that was in the background of Jerry’s interview with General Stomtonvich. Not only did Jerry “cook” up the interview, he really “sliced and diced” his version of the footage, by forgetting about the basketball game that was playing in the background. If it wasn’t for that shot clock – hmm?

In order to prove my conspiracy theory, I first have to ask these questions. First and foremost: who is Will’s source? Why was Will so “stone-faced” during all of the Red Team meetings? Why did it take him so long to admit to everyone including Mac, that he had a source of his own? I hope it doesn’t turn out to be Nina Howard. It’s not impossible. Will’s been depressed for most of the season and for a short time, he even cozied up to the untrustworthy gossip columnist. We never really saw what happened between them after he kicked her to the curb for the second time in two seasons.

If Will’s source turns out to be Nina, she’s probably not working alone. Think about it, who is really out to get Will and Charlie fired? Reese Lansing.

In the season premiere, he wasn’t very happy. Remember, Reese wasn’t allowed into a meeting with the U.S. House of Representatives because of Will’s comment in the season one finale when he referred to the Tea Party as the American Taliban.

Also, don’t forget about the showdown between Reese, Leona, Charlie and Will over the hacking of the phones. If Reese is behind all of this, does he really want to get rid of Will? Before Charlie hired Mac, Reese and Will met daily over coffee and discussed the nightly numbers. I can’t think of a better way to get back at Charlie and Will by firing Mackenzie or forcing her to resign. With only two episodes remaining, hopefully we’ll find out who is Will’s source and if Leona’s power hungry son did indeed set the wheels in motion for Operation Genoa.

There’s no episode tonight; however, The Newsroom will return to HBO on Sept. 8 at 10/9c. The season two finale is set to air the following Sunday on Sept. 15.

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1 Comment

  1. Gabriel

    I don’t buy the Nina theory.
    Will said something along the lines of..
    “Is my source POTUS? No. It’s better”
    Nina doesn’t fit that description.

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