season 2 returns to HBO on Sunday, July 14 with a one year time jump to cover the year leading up to the 2012 Presidential election. ACN struggles to deal with a controversy over Will's comments which affects not only News Night, but the entire cable news network.
I spoke with Thomas Sadoski (Don) about the upcoming season, including the love triangle between Maggie, Don and Jim. As well as, how Will's troubles affect Don's own show. Check out edited excerpts from the interview below.
Where do we find Don when the show returns?
We pick up Don in pretty much the same place that we left him -- running his 10:00 show but still helping the 9:00 show, the News Night show. And, sorta being the loyal opposition to Will and MacKenzie and trying to work on figuring out his relationship with Maggie. And, deal with the bombshell that Sloan dropped on him at the end of the first season.
Where are Don and Maggie in their relationship?
I think they are both working very hard at the beginning of the season to make their relationship work. They have both decided to commit to their relationship and we'll see how that turns out.
Sloan questioned whether Don really loved Maggie or not. Do you think it could have been more that he didn't want to see her with someone else versus that he was truly in love with her?
Well, that's interesting. I don't know. I think that's a little possessive. That's a little petty, you know. I think Don does legitimately feel he owes it to himself and he owes it to Maggie to make this commitment and work hard at this relationship in spite of the fact that Sloan has come along and thrown a wrench into the whole system. He sorta wouldn't have a leg to stand on in terms of him being upset about Maggie's relationship with Jim if Don ran off on Maggie the first opportunity that he got.
I think he does legitimately want to try and make it work. People may disagree with the reasons that he wants to do it. Or, may disagree whether he should do it or not but I think the motives are pure. I don't think it's because he's spitefully trying to keep Maggie from Jim or anything.
With News Night in the midst of a controversy, how does that affect the later show?
I think that in some ways they are different entities, but simultaneously they are on the same team. In order for Don and Elliott's show to do well, they need Will's show to lead them in well. They need the network as a whole to have the trust of the public, so that people will come and get their information and news from this network.
Not trying to make a differentiation between which anchor on the network they like more than the other. That they want to get their information from the network as a whole. I think it very much has an impact and affects Will's legal troubles and stuff affects Don and Elliott and what they are trying to do with their show. I think that's why Don's still involved to some degree with News Night and the production of News Night. He's an asset to the team because he knows what he's doing.
Plus, Charlie has decided he wants the 10:00 show to be a continuation of the prime time show. He wants the two of them to sort of be working off of each other and going more in depth on various different stories. That actually comes back to bite them in the end. We see how that plays out over the course of the season as the news they're chasing begins to unravel in front of them. The stories their reporting start to unravel.
In season 1, when Don moved to the new show, he wanted to do better. Is there still that competitive nature driving him or do they pull together as the ACN team?
Don definitely wants to succeed doing the news his way and I think there's a little bit of competitiveness, but Will's the face of the franchise. Don wants to succeed doing the news his way, a way that he's been told over the course of the first season is the "wrong" way according to MacKenzie. So, Don wants to succeed as validation for himself. But, simultaneously, they are part of the same family and they do work for the same goal and I think that's important for the character.
Was there a specific event that Don was specifically covering that you found interesting?
There was a lot. There were a lot of things that we sorta touched upon this year that were interesting or important. My character spends some time invested in the story of Troy Davis, a guy who was executed by the State of Georgia during the time that our season takes place. It was an interesting story for me to work on. But, the entirety of the season we touch on so many things that are interesting and we really get to sink our teeth into it was cool. It was a fun year.
How does the show approach the Presidential election?
We are sorta constantly touching on the campaign as that year that we cover in the second year progresses. We touch on it. We can sorta come back and check in on it. When important things happen in terms of the campaign, we touch on it. The last two episodes of the season take place on election night. It's a two-part episode that takes place on election night. Election night and the election itself sort of -- we don't have any specific comment on it, it sorta provides a background for our story to play out as we reach the climax of what we've been working on all season.
What is Don's progression throughout the season? Any area that he really grows?
No, not really. Nothing super specific. I think we continue to see the growth of a character that we started to see last year. We get to know he little bit more. We get to see his personal life develop and see Don continue with his struggle to fit in around the office and do his form of journalism and do it well. It's a very human arc that he has this year.
The Newsroom handles such serious material, are there moments of humor throughout the season?
There are great moments of comedy throughout the season. I don't want to give them away because it ruins the joke. Aaron [Sorkin] is always so good at finding comedy in sorta the strangest places, so there are definitely moments this year where there are some good laughs and were a lot fun to do.