“Fight for your rights” could well be the mantra of the Season 2 finale of “The Newsroom.”
Various staffers of Atlantis Cable News do just that on Election Night 2012, as a script by series creator Aaron Sorkin wraps up the HBO drama’s sophomore round Sunday (Sept. 15).
Charlie (Sam Waterston) wants to resign without being sued over it by network owner Leona (Jane Fonda); Mac (Emily Mortimer) wants her erroneous Wikipedia page fixed; Sloan (Olivia Munn) wants to know who made the winning auction bid on an autographed book she actually didn’t sign; and Will (Emmy nominee Jeff Daniels) … well, what he wants most becomes clear in the episode’s last five minutes.
And Don (Thomas Sadoski) wants to do his producing job without worrying about a lawsuit filed against him by another producer, fired from ACN after tampering with an interview crucial to the network’s ultimately flawed Operation Genoa investigation.
“It’s one of the things I enjoy most about the character,” Sadoski tells Zap2it about Don’s fierce sense of justice, “and I think it’s one of the things that rubbed people the wrong way about him early on. Don is very level-headed — he has a very accurate and stable moral compass — but he’s sort of exasperated by the stupidity of the world around him.
“His way of dealing with it is to sort of charge right into the fire, maybe not in the most pleasant way. This season, I think you’ve seen the side of Don that’s more for the good.”
Sadoski is pleased that’s been supported by conversations he had with Sorkin after Season 1. “Neither one of us thought of Don as being dismissible, or as a bad guy, so I think we were both pretty surprised by the response to him early on. Nothing was specifically said, such as Aaron thinking, ‘I’m going to set out to change people’s minds about him.’ We just saw the character this way from the beginning, and the story caught up with that.”
A veteran of Broadway and Off-Broadway who has spoken the words of such noted playwrights as John Guare (whose “The House of Blue Leaves” paired him with “Newsroom” colleague Alison Pill), Lanford Wilson, Neil LaBute and Jon Robin Baitz, Sadoski considers Sorkin’s dialogue in the same league.
“Aaron is basically writing theater for television,” he reasons. “It’s big and it’s romantic and it’s aspirational. And it’s fast and it’s alive, and that’s sort of his trademark, but it comes from that theater background Aaron has. And we all fit right into it.”
Indeed, Sadoski also is grateful Sorkin wanted theater-based actors for his “Newsroom” ensemble from the start. “It’s an embarrassment of riches, it really is,” Sadoski maintains. “This is an actor’s dream. This is the ‘family’ you want if you’re going to go into battle … and in a way, that’s what ‘The Newsroom’ is.
“We get these huge scripts and have nine days to shoot them. We get them maybe three days before we start, so we have a lot of work to do in a real short amount of time. We’re very aware that we’re going to get knocked around by critics and all of that, and if you’re going to go up against that, you want to do it with a great group. And this group is the best, really smart and committed and professional.”
Sadoski anticipates being back with them before long: HBO hasn’t given the official word yet, but like co-star Daniels, he reports “The Newsroom” will have a Season 3.
“There’s nothing else I could have asked for, quite honestly,” he reflects. “In my wildest dreams, I don’t think I could have put together a work environment like the one we get to have. These are incredibly talented people who are also just great folks to spend time with.”