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October 4, 2015

Sports Night: Ordnance Tactics

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 31st 2006 9:16PM

Sports Night(S01E20) While Isaac continues to recover from his stroke in the hospital, Dana is in charge, and the network execs are putting a lot of pressure on her. Meanwhile, Rebecca might want to go back to hubby Steve, which doesn't please Dan too much, and Jeremy wants to break up with Natalie, because there are way too many things happening right now, including his parents breaking up.

Oh, and there's a bomb threat called in to the building.

Great first scene, as it opens on a completely deserted studio, quiet except for a lone phone ringing in the background. Suddenly, the staff charges back into the studio and swings into action. Seems there was a bomb threat and the building had to be evacuated. Dan and Casey are still freaked out by the bomb scare and don't understand why no one else is. Everyone assures them that the bomb-sniffing dogs checked the whole building out, and Dan and Casey aren't convinced.

Dana has taken over for Isaac, and J.J. wants to help (on orders from above). And that means he wants Sally to help Dana with Sports Night, not Natalie. Dana doesn't want to, but it's not a suggestion. Dana agrees to do it because she doesn't want any more problems while Isaac is in the hospital.

Jeremy wants to "temporarily" break up with Natalie, because of everything's that's going on. She doesn't accept, saying he doesn't have any good decision making skills right now.

Rebecca wants to know why Dan avoided her during the bomb threat, and Dan says it's because he was engaged in ordance tactics, when he was actually avoiding her because she might want to go into couples counseling with her husband, who is a womanizer and a jerk. But Rebecca assures him that it's MIGHT, and it doesn't mean she doesn't want to stop seeing Dan.

Dan and Casey are fed up with the way everyone seems to not be affected by what's going on (Isaac's stroke, the bomb threat, etc), and decide to do a sort of reverse pep talk to Dana and Natalie, reminding them of the bad things happening. After the talk, Dana and Natalie tell them they're not freaked because they're women. But this makes Dana want to be in charge of Sports Night tonight, no matter what J.J. says, and Sally can just help them out.

For the record, Sally and Casey are still sleeping with each other, and Sally seems to be not only genuinely concerned about Isaac but wants to assure Casey she had nothing to do with J.J. and the execs wanting to take over the show.

The show goes on, with Dan and Casey afraid the set and wiring will collapse around them.


"Hey, you're afraid of fish, OK? I'm afraid of dying in a hail of schrapnel. Who's crazier?" - Casey, to Dana, about the bomb threat.

"I can't find my keys in an hour and twenty minutes." - Dan, about how long it took the bomb-sniffing dogs to search the building.

"These dogs...do they ever get colds?" - Dan, to Dana.

Rebecca (wondering where Dan was during the bomb scare): No, you didn't, and every time I tried to find you someone would say you just left the place that someone else had said you had been just before.
Dan: That was a truly spectacular sentence.

"Hey, good news! Pluto isn't being demoted as a planet!" - Natalie, to Jeremy.

Dan: I just wanted to say that if anything terrible had to happen to one of us, I'd want it to be you.
Casey: Thanks.

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I don't think you guys stressed the brilliance of that first scene enough. This long shot shows a complete sweep of the entire set and then maintains the shot as dozens of people come into the studio and then has a spectacular pan up to Dan and Casey standing in the room that moments ago had been completely empty. Ths is a technically phenomenal shot that required careful planning of the camera movements and coordinating the blocking of more than a dozen actors. Not even in some of the long shots from WW did the scenes take on this many turns or complexity. And when you watch the two eps back to back (Eli's then Ordnance) the effect is incredible. First the shocker, then the lull, then the storm. Sorkin and Schlamme at their best.

September 02 2006 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

pk - not in syndication, this is a "retro squad" recap. though about 2 years ago, comedy central did have it on (at like 1am) every night. you can pick up the dvd box set of the two seasons though.

September 01 2006 at 8:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is Sports Night back on the air (in syndication? I didn't think they taped enough episodes)? What channel/network? I loved this show and was very disappointed when it went off the air... Then The West Wing came out and the smart writing of Arron Sorkin was back so I was somewhat appeased... but now that The West Wing is off wouldn't it be a nice treat to be able to enjoy Sports Night again?

BTW, imho, this was a much better role for Felicity Huffman (sp?) than Desperate Housewives.

September 01 2006 at 2:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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