'The Newsroom' Series Finale: News Night Signs Off

The Aaron Sorkin drama ended its three-season run Sunday
Courtesy of HBO

[Warning: Spoilers ahead from the Dec. 14 series finale of HBO's The Newsroom.]

The Newsroom’s series finale unfolded like an ode to the late Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston), taking place at his funeral and often flashing back to earlier moments in the drama between the beleaguered newsman and his team. The finale also tied up a number of uncertainties from earlier in the show, while dealing with the fallout from Charlie’s death.

It is revealed at the funeral that network owner Lucas Pruitt (B.J. Novak) is in the middle of a public relations nightmare, resulting from a hard partying, but oddly eccentric lifestyle. Leona (Jane Fonda) tells Pruitt that he needs someone to push back at him, and convinces him to promote Mac (Emily Mortimer) to news director and President of ACN, who in turn promotes Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) to executive producer of ACN's flagship program, News Night. Jim then tries to promote girlfriend and producer Maggie (Alison Pill) to senior producer, but she shoots him down in favor of a potential position as a field producer in D.C.

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Mac reveals she's pregnant, while her panicking husband Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) spastically throws out a pack of cigarettes declaring that it is "suddenly important that I live a really long time." It isn't long before everyone in the office learns the couple's news. 

With the source of the confidential government documents dead, Neal (Dev Patel) returns from his self-imposed exile in Venezuela, and finishes what Sloan Sabbath (Olivia Munn) started last week: eviscerating his replacement at ACN's digital team who implemented a celebrity stalking app on the network’s website. The best part? Neal calls his "replacements" embarrassing.

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Charlie’s wife also tells Don (Thomas Sadosky) that Charlie did not want him to run the controversial Princeton campus rape story, and prayed that he would fight him on it.

Flashbacks included throughout the hour also revealed how Mac and Jim ended up at News Night. Another illustrated Charlie reaching out to a drunk Mac in a bowling alley when he originally hired her for the job, declaring that she was his best hope for turning ACN’s flagship news program into "something they could be proud of." He encouraged Mac to see Will’s speech at Northwestern University that was featured in the series premiere's opening moments. 

The finale brought the series, which questioned journalists and their value systems as well as the responsibility of news networks, full circle. Off-screen, The Newsroom also ended as it began — dividing critics and with an air of admiration. "There are a great many people who weren’t just disappointed with The Newsroom, but really maddened by it,” series creator Aaron Sorkin told THR in June. "But you’re playing a dangerous game if you write to try to change people’s minds."

What did you think of how The Newsroom ended? Were you satisfied with where everyone from the ACN team ended up? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Correction 10:43, 12.14.14: An earlier version of this story misidentified the colleges where storylines took place as University of Virginia and NYU. The Hollywood Reporter regrets the error.

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