Cold Copy (2023) Movie Script

Journalism isn't
a vocation. It's a persona.
It has to be.
You're trying to wrangle
deep uncomfortable truths
from people.
Truth that, if revealed...
Okay we're inbound.
Ready on set.
...can change the course
of their lives.
You don't think it speaks to
the credibility of your campaign
that you were intimately
involved with a member
of your campaign staff?
It's not about me.
This story's about you.
Truth that can shake
and tip the seats of power.
Truth that can make
a difference.
It takes a particular kind
of person.
I want you to know that
I do not underestimate
this opportunity.
For me
For me, journalism
is about one thing.
Truth. The truth.
And I just think
it's so important
so fucking important to hold
power to account
and I know, I know
that you feel the same.
But for me
it's the stories.
It's what they did.
I mean, there are people
in jail, political movements,
whole systems that now function
completely differently
because those words hit that
front page at that precise time.
That's what journalism is to me.
That's what I'm going
to use it for.
That's why I'm here.
Alex? Are you okay?
Are you interviewing
for Heger's class too?
I fucked up.
I drank too much last night.
I'm in no state
to be interviewed.
Hey. Everybody's
really nervous.
I can't do it.
I can't go in there.
Can you do something for me?
Can you give her this?
If I email it'll just get buried
in all the others.
You're going to be fine.
I can't.
Thank you.
I stayed up all night
and I still feel...
This is way too...
Mia Scott?
You got this.
It's a no.
The guy has more balls
than brain cells.
Yeah, the favor was getting him
in the room
and he did less than nothing
with it.
Well I can detail his slip-ups
over the phone
but you'll have to move
your 10:00
and then I'll do it
but I'm very thorough.
Yeah, wise choice.
Well, I hope the next one
turns out smarter.
Congratulations by the way.
Mia Scott.
I'm a journalism post-grad
focusing on investigative
I know.
Thank you so much
for meeting me.
I want you to know that I do not
underestimate this opportunity.
What kind of stories
do you want to tell?
Well for me there's nothing
more important than truth.
Ooh, true stories. Brilliant.
That's exactly what journalism
needs, more blue-sky thinking.
I'm sorry.
So what are you going
to do with the truth?
You're going to handle it?
You're going to speak
it to power?
I just think it's
so fucking important...
So important.
Just so important.
Cursing is a weapon that you
don't have on air or in print.
I know you think it sells your
passion but it makes you seem
like you're trying too hard
so try again.
I just think it's so important
to use journalism
to shake the power structure.
Great. That's what I think.
Now tell me what you think.
That is what I think.
Well, with all due respect
you don't have a monopoly
on that point of view.
But you knew I held it and you
were aching to come here
and repeat it.
Mia, journalists with degrees
make less money than girls
posting from their bedrooms
about succulents and kombucha.
It's not about the money.
I'm not making a point
about money.
I'm making a point about risk.
Have you ever taken a risk, Mia?
You're so focused on trying
to look the part,
you're not actually playing it.
You know how I know that?
Because right now in this room
I am power.
And you're breaking
out the loot.
Well, that was quick.
You know you can slam the door
on me as hard as you like
if that's what gets you off.
But in a week I'll have
opened ten more,
and years down the line
when you're hosting
some geriatric talk show
on a streaming service
no one cares about,
I'll thank fucking God you did.
Have you ever been
to a Hammam Mia?
Steam room.
It's such a good way to let go
of a stressful day.
I'm not sure that humiliation
sweats out
but it might help you
find a more...
suitable direction.
You clapped back didn't you?
Harder than intended.
She probably liked it.
I'm going to end up running
copy for cereal boxes
and growing old
in my Dad's attic.
Relax. You're a fucking
good journalist.
Have some faith in yourself.
Diane Heger doesn't.
So? Come on, like Diane's
whole attack-mode thing
it's all a performance.
It gets results.
It gets eyeballs.
She exploits her subjects
for views.
She's Dr Phil, not Marie Colvin.
If you hate her so much
why are you taking her class?
Well, I'm not allergic
to success.
Look all I'm saying is Heger's
not the best role model.
What's the point in making it
if the price is everything else?
There isn't anything else.
What are you doing?
His name is Felix.
Ugh. No.
You know I was at this photo
shoot with six other guys
and they singled me out.
Like this is what
we're looking for.
The other guys just couldn't
understand why it wasn't
a big deal to me.
It's like surrender
your ego, right?
Just take everything
as it comes.
So, uh, where's this party?
Okay, up front?
There isn't one.
Sorry, I just panicked.
Sometimes I say the wrong thing,
and I was having fun talking
to you
and wanted to keep talking
to you,
and maybe we could just go
to my place?
Uh, okay I'm going to go home.
What? No no no no no.
Come on.
Don't be like that.
Hey. Come on.
-Whoa, dude.
-I opened up to you.
Hey, it's just not going
to work out, okay?
Is it that you think I'll think
less of you if you act on it?
Because I won't.
Whoa, get off of me.
You bitch, just stop
a sec, okay?
Get the fuck...
Dude! Take a hint!
Whoa, what are you? 12?
Yeah. Hit a kid,
that'll definitely get her off.
You're into that, right?
Get the fuck out of here.
No, I'm good.
Like there's literally no choice
here except you leaving
that doesn't make shit
way more awkward.
What the fuck?
Fuck this.
Fuck you.
Oh, my God.
Are you okay?
Yeah. Are you good?
Hey, you need me to walk
you home or something?
No, I live like
right over there.
Okay well, should
be easy then.
You know that guy?
Not really.
And you went on a night time
walk with him?
I didn't expect him
to go all...
No, he killed people.
Good thing I was here then.
Actually, do you want to come in
for a bit?
Uh, no, no.
I'm good thanks.
Alright. I'll see you around.
You live here?
You sound surprised.
Well, yeah.
Okay what's your name?
Mine's Igor Nowak.
Mia Scott.
What's this?
It's brandy.
It's what you give to people
after shit happens.
Uh, yeah I'm good thanks.
Hm, did your Mom or Dad
draw these?
Oh, she's not here.
Dad's an executive.
Neither can draw for shit.
So, you did them?
You like them?
Yeah, they're incredible.
So what do you do?
What happened to your face?
Maybe you're not the only damsel
I saved tonight.
Well, uh... this has been
fucking weird, dude.
I was just helping.
Igor means 'warrior of peace'
in polish.
So, you know, just buy me lunch
or something.
Or something?
You all should know by now
that this class
involves a significant
story assignment.
A word of warning...
this is a very competitive
It's competitive to get a job.
It's competitive to keep a job.
If you get it,
and if you keep it,
you will be fighting over bagels
in the break room.
I'm going to treat this class
exactly the same way.
Over the next few weeks,
each of you will research,
shoot and produce a 20-minute
investigative segment.
Choose your topic carefully.
Hi, my name is Mia Scott.
I was wondering if there's
someone I could talk to
about writing a potential
article on your company.
Okay, yeah, sure.
I'm looking for insight.
I don't want to hear
that homelessness is hard
or that racism is bad.
Hello? Hi, my name is
Mia Scott. I'm a student.
I was wondering if you'd be
interested in having an article
written on your company.
I want to feel angered.
What's behind the
millennial rise of astrology?
Okay, yeah, sure.
Thanks for your time.
How do sewage workers
risk their lives
to keep things running?
I want an actual story.
Yeah, I was hoping to do a story
about Senator Bekerman
and his resounding
election victory.
And I don't care if your
subjects end up hating you.
What do you struggle with
the most?
You are not there...
Mia! get emotionally
involved or to make friends.
You're there to do whatever
it takes to get the truth.
What about the accusation
that the only reason
you're in this position is
because of your parentage?
I think it's a smear...
And whichever one of you
bring me the best story...
Hi I'm a student,
my name is Mia Scott.
I'm a journalism student.
My name is Mia Scott.
Mia Scott.
It's Mia Scott.
It's Mia Scott.
Oh, hello?
Hi, I was wondering if you...
Thank you.
...your segment will air
on the night report.
You talk a lot about preserving
white American identity
but isn't it true that your
former leader had an affair
with a Black woman?
What about your staff's
accusations of discrimination?
For the rest of you...
You have defrauded hundreds
of thousands of dollars.
Do you care to comment?
I have no comment at this time.
Isn't that hugely ironic
given your own company's...
You'll be lucky if you
get a letter of recommendation.
We believe journalists
like yourself are so important.
The senator thinks of you
as bastions of our democracy
and the fact that you are
pursuing this profession
should be a source
of real pride.
However, we get so many
interview requests from so many
reputable publications
and even they often-
You're early.
With nothing to show for it.
I'm working on it.
You don't need to.
What do you mean?
I mean...
if you want to drop the class
there's no shame in it.
No, no no no.
I want to be here.
I put you in a really
tough spot,
giving you a place when I wasn't
sure if it was for you.
It's for me.
It's for me.
Who's read Lippmann?
The Almond-Lippmann
consensus states...
I'm sorry, can someone get
this girl a megaphone?
I can't hear you.
You want to try that again?
The Almond-Lippmann consensus
states that public opinion
is volatile and irrational
Oh, it was the text.
Does anyone want to offer
some actual insight?
Well I think that one of the
problems with the consensus
is that it relies on the idea
that people's views
are easily shifted.
And when you look
at voting records
or electoral races
or at Page and Shapiro
survey suggests that...
Someone challenge her.
She goes really hard.
So did you.
Well, I'm just glad the words
came out.
Fifty-fifty it was going
to be puke.
Hey so guess what?
My story came through.
The senator's office?
They ghosted me.
Dumped me by a voicemail.
Oh well I guess
I just got lucky.
I found a source on the inside
with some juice
they want to share.
You already knew
someone there?
I wish. I just asked nicely.
Sounds excellent, Connolly.
Good work today.
Is everything okay?
Okay, done my half.
Hey, do you remember, um,
Charlotte Nowak?
Yeah, the famous
children's author?
The Wilson Burrow series.
Dream Stealer and Light
in the Tunnel.
Didn't she accidentally
Holy shit.
So you want to stalk me?
Shadow you.
Like hide in bushes
and garbage and stuff?
Asking you questions.
Like what?
Like how come you never
told me your mom was famous.
Look. Thanks, but
I'm not feeling it.
What? Why?
I've done this whole dance
a bunch of times.
Everyone acts like they want
to know me,
but they just want to know
about my Mom.
What she was like at home,
some book she never published or
who found her when it happened.
I don't care about that.
I think you're interesting.
Yeah, school kid wandering
around at 3:00 AM
getting into fights with creeps.
I didn't get into a fight.
Still. There's a story.
Trust me, there's not.
Hey, what about your art?
You like it?
Yeah, I love it.
Maybe I can give you a voice.
Show all the artistic talent and
character and coolness you have,
despite who your mom was.
Okay, pick a better word.
So this is just about me?
My life and my voice?
Yeah, yeah.
I mean, your Dad will have
to sign a release form
since you're a minor, but...
Only on paper.
Miss Heger?
I'm just grateful
I never had kids with him,
that's all I have to say
Oh right, one
kid's enough, huh?
Miss Heger?
Who's this?
I'm tempted to ask the same.
She's joking.
How can I help you, Mia?
A student.
Ah, not a broken spirit.
That's something.
It's lovely to see you
in the wild.
I have a story.
I just need to talk to you
just for a second.
Could we?
Just for a second.
Ella here is with The Guardian,
so you have got two expert ears.
What about yours?
Oh, I was talking about mine.
Go ahead.
Did you come here
to tell me tomorrow?
Can I sit?
Shh! She's pitching.
Okay. Okay, um.
It's like a profile piece.
The other night I was out on
this date and the guy starts...
Don't make the story about you.
It's not, it's not.
It's this kid.
He's like barely 15,
he just appears out of nowhere,
stands up for me,
gets knocked down.
Seems like this Dickens urchin
but I go back to his place
and it's huge.
Turns out, he's Charlotte
Nowak's kid,
you know, the writer?
Hm yeah, that story was milked
to death for about a week.
I seem to remember your hands
all over those letters.
That isn't the story.
Well the story is a strange
woman alone in a huge house
with a kid who's a minor.
No, it's...
I lost my mom too.
Excuse me?
Well I assume you're telling me
that because you have some sort
of personal insight here
so I'm clarifying.
Uh well, it's complicated.
What I can tell you is that
everybody talks about
these tragedies like they're
statistics but never about
the ones who aren't
in the numbers.
Never about what can grow
from the darkness.
Like he's this amazing artist
so it would be like
a phoenix in the ashes profile.
No one cares about a kid.
A lonely kid drawing in a big
house is not a story.
No, but, I mean,
you do have something.
Pretty sure the Nowak's refused
all interviews
in the wake of Charlotte's death
and that's why there was
so much speculation.
Now if you've got an in
with one of them,
I think there could be more
to uncover there.
If you can.
I also think I need
the restroom.
Good luck.
Thank you.
You could have put
all of that in an email.
Or a bottle in the ocean.
She liked it.
She was being polite.
You know, you're going to have
to work twice as hard.
You're going to be clamoring
over so many people
who are way more talented
than you are nervous.
You're going to need
to be exceptional.
I can get something compelling.
Well get it.
This seems like a great way
to get arrested.
Don't worry about it.
Shouldn't you be in school?
I go sometimes.
But not always? Why?
What would your Mom say
about that?
Oh so it's about my Mom again.
So you never think about
the future?
Like, what do you want to be?
What about your Dad?
What does he think?
Well, my Dad is usually at work
and my Mom lacks
corporeal form at this point so
I sort of just do my own thing.
Oh you're doing like
that journalist thing where
you don't say anything
so I end up spilling like
deep shit, right?
I don't do that.
What about this place?
I like it.
Because it's cool and no one's
here so I can do what I like.
Like an escape?
You know what,
it doesn't suit you.
Your reporter voice?
I don't do a voice.
Yeah come on, you're like
all stern and serious.
Did you start coming here
after your Mom
Watch this.
I think this should be
your intro.
Igor Nowak!
So, your Mom?
Did she get you into drawing?
No, I got me into drawing.
Do you have a boyfriend?
Hey, I'll ask the questions,
I'm serious.
Come on, what do you do
for fun?
It's kind of boring.
Well, not to me.
Hey, how are you so okay?
You know, after...
I just think the good
stuff wins.
You know, all the fun memories.
I'm going to have to hide
overnight in your trash
to get juice on you, aren't I?
Wait, does that mean
you'll spend the night?
Oh my God.
Observing me in
my natural habitat?
I just wanted your thoughts.
You just got an hour of them.
I mean on my footage.
Very artistic.
Light and sugar.
Keen eye for detail.
I enjoyed every frame.
And the story?
What story?
What are you looking for?
From you?
From them?
It's an entry-level position
for TNR.
You ever hire a student?
Goodbye Mia.
On July 21, 2019,
Charlotte Nowak,
author of the wildly popular
Wilson Burrows series,
was found dead at her home.
A week later, authorities
revealed her cause of death
to be an accidental overdose
of anti-anxiety medication
and sleeping pills.
She is survived by her
husband and son,
both of whom have declined
to comment except to ask
for total privacy.
The clich is giving
something back, right?
But to me that implies
what you have
was given to you
in the first place.
I don't teach out
of a sense of duty,
I teach because I want a new
generation of journalists
with the right set of skills.
Hey! Stop trying to move, bro!
Oh my God.
Are you okay?
Yeah, yeah...
Oh my God.
Let's um...
Why are you here?
Well I was waiting for you.
My Dad's home and I can't
go back like this.
That's okay, let's get you
cleaned up, okay?
Come on.
This is Igor.
I'm her story.
Hello, story.
What did she do to you?
Said it'd make me feel
more sympathetic.
Shut up!
Sit down.
Let's get you cleaned up, okay?
You should see the other guy.
Well I got there
too late, so...
Like he's literally folded
in half.
Has to walk like a crab now.
Yeah? I think you're good.
You got any brandy?
How old are you?
He's kidding.
I've been trying to get her
to lighten up.
How's that going?
Your room is kinda messy,
but I dig it.
Thanks. I was waiting
for your approval.
Was that your Mom?
She's hot.
What does she do?
Not much.
What does that mean?
It means we have something
in common.
Oh shit, what happened?
How many have you had?
None, I'm sixteen, dude.
Are you okay?
You were actually
fun tonight.
Yeah, because I wanted
to get more out of you.
Oh, right. That was
just like journalism.
You always want to be
a journalist?
Yeah, I guess
since I was like eight.
Why eight?
Like I said, we have something
in common.
And I guess I wanted to pick
my own stories
because the one
I was in sucked.
You should try and focus
on the good stuff.
Like the other day, I just
remembered this random song
my Mom used to sing to me.
Didn't even know I knew it,
but I guess my brain
figured I needed it.
Everything you know,
everywhere you've been,
my beautiful boy.
Every time you cry,
every time you laugh,
my beautiful boy.
Then you would say
when I grow up,
I want to be just like you.
And I would say
when I grow up,
I want to be just like you.
That's all I remember.
That's nice.
Be nicer if you could sing.
We should get you home.
Still up?
Yeah. I think I have nothing.
I think it's real.
I'm the one with nothing.
So last October, a bunch
of voters in this district
never got a registration
for the Senate election.
No letter, no email,
no text, nothing.
Massive fuck up by the Senator's
office, of course.
They fired an admin,
and apologized.
But then, I found this source...
As if you would know
who they are.
I have connections.
Dude, come on.
Okay but this is
for your ears only.
Of course.
Name's Rachel.
She's just admin, not top tier.
But she says that there
was an email circulating
that proves it was deliberate.
Clear cut suppression.
That's huge.
Except it's not.
Rachel never got
the email herself.
She just saw it on her
supervisor's computer.
She's trying to get a hold
of it now but...
I don't know.
I guess I just thought it
would all like blow wide open,
like boom.
I'm just waiting to get chucked
out of class.
The stuff that I'm handing
it now it's just speculation,
office B-roll, stupid.
I'd watch that.
Fuck off.
I guess, it just comes
with the job,
the constant insecurity.
Yeah, you're right.
I guess you don't have a story
until you have it.
I thought I asked
for something compelling.
It's not that much.
It's a bar that you could
trip over
and yet some of you are
limboing underneath it.
I wish I had your knees.
No one is compelled
by viral food.
No one.
If it's possible for caring
to enter negative equity,
your grandmother's childhood
took me there.
Can anyone analyze the Fuller?
Class is done for today.
Connolly, a word.
Everything okay?
She asked me to be
a runner on TNR.
A what?
I know.
Are you serious?
You said you didn't
hire students.
Excuse me?
You said you didn't
hire students!
I very specifically did not.
Why her?!
Why who?
Why Kim?
Why did you hire Kim?!
I'm trying to do
something different!
Well I really look forward
to seeing
how that finally manifests.
Mia... this is something you
should work out privately.
My perfect boy.
I want you to know that
this is not your fault.
It's something deep and
fundamental and purely mine.
Know that I hope you'll
forgive me for leaving,
but that I'll understand
if you don't.
Know that you'll be great,
whatever you do
with all that talent
and kindness.
Know that you have a good,
gentle heart.
And know that I love you.
-See you.
I watched what you sent me.
And my father used to say
'never chew fat sober'
Let's go get a drink.
What are you having?
Whatever you're having.
Celentano G&T and not a lot of
ice, I want to taste it.
And we'll have two.
You took a risk.
And there was potential.
There's more than that.
Well there was one revelation,
and it was a big one, but you...
you don't have much
structure yet.
You're fighting
stronger stories.
Which ones?
I can't talk to you about
the work of other students.
You know the whole accusation
comes from one email.
All it takes is one lead.
It's a receptionist
with a grudge.
I ruled it out weeks ago.
It's a dead end.
But it's an end.
What are you aiming at?
That's the word you use when
you don't have an answer.
You're not mining the gold.
So there is gold?
His anger.
His vindictiveness.
Not the fact that
she killed herself?
What is that?
That's a sentence.
That's an in.
That's not a story.
What is?
That they hid it.
Why? Why?
Why did they hide it?
He has a secret and it's burning
him up inside.
I don't think it is.
I don't think he's vindictive.
His Mom bailed on him.
That can leave a mark.
And maybe he's overcome it.
I see what this is.
It's complicated.
Your Mom.
Maybe you want this story to
turn out grand so that you know
it's possible, but you've got to
follow what's in front of you.
Got to stop chasing the fun.
I'm not.
You are.
What you do becomes
the story, Mia.
Take us, right now, here.
What do you think people see
when they're looking at us?
At us?
I don't know.
That's not an answer.
Two women talking.
A professor and a student, why?
Because that's what we are.
Maybe they see
a mother daughter.
Or a friend.
Maybe more.
How I act towards you tells
people how to perceive you.
If you act like Igor is fine,
he'll look fine.
But what if he is fine?
Then where's the story?
What sorrows
are you drowning?
The usual.
How was work?
Uh, Diane is working
on a sex scandal story.
It's big, dude.
Especially if it turns out
to get legs.
Or other appendages.
Oh shit, um, do you know
who I'm working with?
That guy that that we knew
years back in undergrad
Dan something.
The lanky pretentious guy.
He's one of the production
Anyway, he let a stat error slip
and Diane unloaded on him.
You think she goes
hard in class,
you should see her at work.
I mean, I'm pretty sure Danny's
pants do not stay clean.
But, you know, it's mostly
just getting coffee
and typing up stuff.
Sounds good though.
Yeah, it kind of is.
I mean, before I was always
pretty focused on
the print stuff you know,
like maybe a couple regular
magazine columns...
So how are you?
I'm good.
There's a
critical difference
between truth and fact.
You can read a really good novel
and learn a lot of truth
about life and love.
But that doesn't mean
the text is fact.
Am I to infer that the first
55 minutes of my lecture
was not worth your time?
We can end class for today.
I'd like new footage by Thursday
and we will do some
interview role-plays.
You think I'm an idiot, Mia?
What's wrong?
You exposed Rachel, what
the hell is wrong with you?
You know who Rachel is.
You're the only one
I told about this.
Do you know she's fired now?
That's her life.
Well it wasn't me.
She took a risk.
I'm out of the fucking
class now.
It's like you said, you don't
have a story until you have it.
Hey! Hey!
If you two want to kill
each other you do that
in a parking lot.
In here, you control yourself.
What was that?
No idea.
You come with me.
Did I stutter?
Where are we going?
Put a smudge on it
and you'll lose a hand.
You like it?
Good. Because I'll need
you to step in.
Yes? Great.
I like it black.
Right over there.
How was work?
This is my Dad's family
when they had a bakery.
That's my Grandma.
When she was young,
she got in trouble for swearing
at German soldiers.
What did she say?
I'm not sure.
Probably fuck off,
but in polish.
What do you tell people?
I tell my Dad
it's from football.
Hm. You play football?
Sometimes, I don't know, it
seems like you seek out trouble.
Just living my life.
It's letting two meatheads
beat you into the dirt?
Skipping school.
Breaking into factories.
Because it's fun.
Or maybe there's something
you're not dealing with.
You ever wonder if your Mom
could see her perfect boy now,
what she'd think?
Who are you?
I'm... I'm a student.
I'm writing an essay on
your son's artistic talent.
You are a journalist?
You've come in here to open
old wounds?
You think she's writing
about you?
Is it for TV?
There's a chance it could air
but it's really not likely.
So, you go behind my back,
you come into my home,
you talk to my son,
you invade our privacy?
I should have asked you first
You shouldn't be here
Okay, okay I apologize.
I just really think that this
story of loss and strength
will resonate with people.
Oh, there it is, cards
on the table now, huh?
You see that.
You see what you did,
you let this fucking vulture
into our home.
Can you please leave?
Yeah, of course.
Do we have any proof?
the source himself.
So that's a no.
you have enough.
One source.
How reliable?
It's David Qualley.
You know.
You know, the guy, the guy who,
the company CFO, you know the...
For Christ's sakes, you
couldn't talk yourself out of
someone else's parking ticket.
Forget the source.
Then what are we even
talking about?
You and I both know
that Markham is filthier
than your hard drive.
Let's make him defend himself.
I'm sorry, what?
If you're going to accuse
somebody of using
company expenses for
extramarital whoring,
you're going to need a metric
shit ton of proof.
I'm not going to accuse him.
The rumor is not the story.
His reaction is
the story Elliott.
He's a liar.
You've heard all the same
off-the-record stuff
that I have.
So let's present him
with an emotive narrative,
and a scandal, and watch him
squirm and stammer and deny.
That sells the truth.
No proof needed.
I don't like it.
I don't care.
You know, for someone
with your job title,
your legs are remarkably
So, we're decided then,
let's move on.
Is she busy?
You work here?
Yeah, I pretty much
just started.
Listen, do me a favor.
Can you give this to her?
Oh, yeah.
Who should I say it's from?
Tell her it's from Max.
What's the occasion?
She'll know.
Just make sure she gets it.
This is from Max.
He's trying to charm me into
signing off on our apartment.
Oh, he's your...
You want some?
Oh, I'm working.
No, you are just standing
in my dressing room.
Have some champagne.
I have something for you.
I used to wear that at
the start of my career.
I was on a show
just like this one.
It was worse, of course.
The Lowdown?
Very good.
Why are you giving it to me?
I wouldn't push you this hard
if I didn't think there was
something worth pushing for.
Down the line, I can see you
sitting in that chair.
Plus I think it'll look very
good with the lipstick
you seem to like.
Now earn it.
Got your form signed.
How, how did you...?
I told him that you were
my friend.
And that you saved me
from, you know.
I also told him that you're
too stupid to be a vulture.
More like a marshmallow
dressed up like one.
Well, thank you.
How did you know
that's what she called me?
What do you mean?
Perfect boy.
How did you know about that?
Almost like I'm a journalist
or something.
Hey, they get you again?
Maybe I got to them.
I didn't know.
I just know you.
What does that mean?
I never told you about my Mom.
She killed herself
when I was eight.
She cut her wrists.
Shit, I'm sorry.
It's okay. It's okay.
I was the only person in
the apartment at the time.
Suddenly I heard this screaming.
Calling my name,
telling me to call 911.
So I run and I find her
in the tub,
panicking because
she's changed her mind.
Now it's actually happening,
she wants to turn back.
And um, and...
she was screaming at me to go
and get towels to wrap around
her arms because her fingers
had stopped working.
Then um, I tried to go
to tie them
but my hands were trembling...
because I'm scared.
The blood wasn't stopping
and then she was screaming
at me about what 911
did I call, are they coming.
And I hadn't so I run to go
and do it,
and the ties were undone
and there was just never
enough time.
That's why I know where you
are now.
I bottled it up after.
I didn't talk about it and I...
pushed people away, I lashed
out, I got into fights.
You think it makes you stronger
but it doesn't.
You have a gentle heart.
And that's a good thing.
But because of the way you are,
because of what happened to you,
it makes you vulnerable.
And it makes you an easier
target for bullies.
I'm not a fucking target.
She was unhappy,
she bounced,
how does that make me
the vulnerable one?
And those two assholes
don't have a fucking brain cell
between them, and if
they try me again
I'll smash both
their fucking empty heads
into the fucking dirt.
They're nothing.
The only reason I let them
get away with it is
because they're not worth me.
Turn it off.
I said turn it off!
I'm sorry.
It's okay.
It's okay.
Turn it off.
Turn it off.
It's a demon's eye.
At first glance,
a picture perfect home.
The photographs.
And the houseplants.
And the light.
The smell of yesterday's
home-cooked food,
of air freshener and detergent.
But since that late day in July,
it's also been home
to a dark secret.
That Charlotte Nowak,
renowned children's author,
took her own life.
Addressed to her perfect boy,
Charlotte's suicide letter
praises his gentle heart,
his kind nature,
but those are hard to maintain
in the wake of tragedy.
Her actions were a part
of a dark cycle.
Hidden family struggles,
mental health,
culminating in a tragedy
that intensifies the darkness
in those left behind.
It shows us the true cost
of a lost life.
Shouldn't you be
in school?
I go sometimes.
It shows us the cost
of a dark secret.
She was unhappy,
she bounced.
How's that make me
the vulnerable one?
I'll smash both their
fucking empty heads
into the fucking dirt.
All that's left are the
ingredients of more tragedies,
more violence to come.
How do you think you did?
Just tell me.
The spot is yours.
Are you serious?
I am.
It's not a perfect piece,
but it's very emotive
and it's very good
and I would like to use it.
That's just some legal stuff
for TNR.
Gotta cover all our bases.
Don't tell anyone out there.
I like to see the disappointment
Want to join me?
Diane chose my piece.
That's great Mia, but I can't.
I have work.
What's work?
Um, I wrote up
the Senator story.
Said what I went in looking for,
how I failed to find it,
what it taught me.
I sent it to Ellipsis,
they said it was real, genuine.
Ellipsis Magazine?
Yeah. I guess we both got
what we wanted.
Have one for Mia.
You couldn't have
done this after?
You've been avoiding me.
Or you haven't been
trying hard enough.
I'm not here to flirt, Diane.
We found a buyer
for the old apartment.
Needs your signature.
There. You're finally
rid of me.
We have to get ready.
We're live in five.
A number of sources are adamant
you pushed for his resignation.
He's completely capable
of making his own decisions.
So you didn't pressure him?
We are speaking about an adult.
A respected politician
who's capable of choosing
what he does and does not.
So you're unwilling
to answer the question.
Again, he's not a child.
Thank you, Congresswoman,
I think the audience can
read the subtext.
And now we turn to a home
broken by strategy.
A story that we thought
we all knew.
At first glance,
a picture perfect home.
The photographs and the
houseplants and the light.
The smell of yesterday's
home-cooked food.
Of air freshener,
and detergent.
But since that late day
in July 2019,
it's also been home
to a dark secret.
What's this?
What do you mean?
Where's my voice?
It's supposed to be me talking.
Sorry, who are you?
...children's author
took her own life.
This is the wrong tape!
It's the wrong tape!
This is supposed to be me!
Can you shut it off?
No, you need to get out.
Can we get her out?
...recovered a note,
addressed to her perfect boy,
Charlotte's suicide letter
praises his gentle heart.
But those are hard to maintain
in the wake of tragedy.
It shows us the true cost
of lost life.
Shouldn't you be
in school?
I go sometimes.
She was unhappy.
She bounced.
How does that make me
the vulnerable one?
I'll smash both their fucking
empty heads
into the fucking dirt.
All that's left are
the ingredients
of more tragedies,
more violence to come.
What the fuck was that?
Watch your tone.
-Watch my tone?
You're a fucking liar!
Do you want to try that again?
I told you that your piece
would air on TNR.
It aired on TNR.
You stole my story!
It was an important piece, Mia.
It needed an established
voice behind it.
You can pretend that
I stole your story,
but the truth is I gave it
the push that it needed.
You don't know what
I had to do to get it.
Every story takes work.
It was my story!
It's my story!
It was my break!
I wrote it!
I wrote every fucking word!
I found it!
You didn't even think
that it was a story!
And you proved me wrong.
Do you have any idea
the opportunity
that I am giving you here?
You won Mia.
Tell your fucking face.
Everything on front page is
a decision and breaking it down
in that way is the easiest
way to think about it.
What is each element's purpose
and what decision
should we make...
It's occupied.
I tried to find you
after Heger's class
but I heard you dropped
out weeks ago.
You know, she told me
she never got it.
I emailed.
There's no point in pretending.
Jesus, Alix.
Maybe she got it and hated it
and didn't want
to hurt your feelings.
Doesn't mean you have
to stalk me for months.
I trusted you.
Rumors that Diane Heger's
going to be launching
a new talk show on top of
her regular TNR gig,
where she'll talk to prominent
journalists and celebrities
about their struggles
with mental health.
It comes off the back
of her breaking
the tragic Charlotte Nowak
story last month.
A story that we were
all here to hear.
Hello, dropout.
I never gave you
Alix Neiman's portfolio.
And it got you a job.
Which you threw away.
But I already knew that.
Alix emailed me.
It was an accident.
Was it?
You know, you and I share
a rare trait.
Your goal first.
Do what has to be done.
There's always going to be
useless little weasels like
Elliott who obsess over every
tiny little ethical detail.
But you and I know,
story is king.
That's what got you on the air.
Because I only saw you.
Do you know where I grew up?
Tell me.
Chino Hills, California.
My Dad shined shoes
for a living.
Then he would drink
after work.
I had this one friend
and we would go to
the Chino Hills Mall, and we
would just talk and waste time.
If I was lucky my Mom
would call on the weekends.
That was it.
I knew I was going to come here
and I was going to be somebody.
My Dad used to say that
the odds were against me.
Little Black girl,
comes from nothing.
People don't assume you're
going to be a success.
And if you do it anyway,
they think it's because
of who you are,
not because of what
you've done.
You gotta make those two things
the same, no matter what.
I'm Diane Heger.
Journalist, host of
The Night Report.
I'm the iron hammer
of interviewers.
That's who I am.
That's what I've done.
Doesn't matter what people
know or not.
Is that why you stole my story?
You can pretend
that I stole your story.
But it was a home video
without me.
Nowak kid doing fine?
I made sure that you
pushed him to the brink.
I made sure that you edited
in the right direction.
Because that's what made
the story work.
And if you stick with me,
you will keep working.
You will keep climbing
to the top
until the Alex Neimans
and the Kim Connollys,
they'll be sitting on the other
side of your desk.
Laughing like you're
their best friend,
and it won't matter that
you screwed them over.
It doesn't matter the bridges
that you burn to get there.
Everyone else is just going to
build them back for you anyway.
Success is not the reward.
Success is a resource and if
people need something from you,
then you are never alone.
Yeah, um, get back to work.
Journalism isn't
a vocation, it's a persona.
It has to be.
You're trying to wrangle
deep uncomfortable truths
from people.
Truth that if revealed
can change the course
of their lives.
Takes a particular
kind of person.
They'll be sitting on
the other side of your desk,
laughing like you're
their best friend.
And it won't matter that
you screwed them over.
It doesn't matter the bridges
that you burn to get there.
Is that why you stole my story?
There's always going to be
useless little weasels
like Elliott.
You useless little weasel.
You useless weasel.
You obsess over every
tiny little ethical detail.
But it was a home video
without me.
Nowak kid doing fine?
I pushed him to the brink.
I edited in the right direction.
Because that's what made
the story work.
It's a rare trait,
doing what needs to be done.
Your goal first.
I will keep climbing,
and it won't matter
that I screwed you over.
Coming up next,
The Night Report.
It doesn't
matter the bridges
that I burn to get there.
you've reached Kim.
Leave a message
after the beep.
Everyone else
is just going to build
them back for me anyway.
Because I'm Diane Heger,
host of The Night Report.
I'm the iron hammer
of interviewers.
And this is coming
in right now,
breaking news about renowned
TNR host Diane Heger.
You can pretend
that I stole your story.
Where is everybody?
No, I need Kate to stand
in for Diane tonight.
What are you talking about?
The fuck did you do?
No no, when can she get here?
Good evening,
I'm Kate Merriweather
and you're watching TNR.
So I stole your story.
Get back to work.
-How do you respond to
the released reporting?
-Are there discussions about
your future at the network?
-How many other stories
have you stolen
or dishonestly edited.
I strongly deny any-
Please let me through.
-How do you defend
your decision?
-Do you intend to issue
an apology?
-Do you feel ashamed
of stealing this story?
-Ms. Heger were you driven
to do this...