Alaska Daily has the makings of ABC’s newest hit drama.
The series has a lot going for it—two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank, beautiful scenery, and diverse characters seeking out the stories that matter to local journalism.
But most importantly, it’s tackling the murders of indigenous women that happen all too often and are swept under the rug and ignored by police, political figures, and everyone in between. It’s the story that Big Sky should’ve told in its first season but failed to.
Overall, the premiere of Alaska Daily is a solid intro to the series, including Eileen Fitzgerald, a ruthless and stone-cold reporter in New York who has had an impressive career before it all comes crashing down when she publishes a scathing report about a general who rips apart her source. It’s hard to feel bad for Eileen during this scandal considering how rude and dismissive she was to the research fact-checker who tried to convince her to hold off on publishing. This was of her own doing. And though her gut was right about the general being a bad man, you can’t lead with your gut. She isn’t Olivie Pope. The narrative that the public was latching onto that she was abusive towards women also didn’t work in her favor. Abusive seemed rather harsh, but she was definitely not the friendly co-worker you’d like to grab lunch with, that’s for sure. She was, as the youths would say, canceled. And when she refused to retract and re-write the story, she found herself out of a job.
It was a huge wake-up call for Eileen, who was quite entitled. She believed she could do no wrong because she earned it; she paid her dues, as she told Stanley when he came to encourage her to take a job in Anchorage, Alaska. She thought that going to a local paper was playing for the minor leagues, but without many options being offered to her—and with the investigative journalist fire still burning deep within her—she accepted the job and hopped on a plane. One panic attack later, she was in the dingy newsroom (one I’ve seen all too many times while working in local TV news) to tackle the story of Gloria’s disappearance and learn just why local journalism still matters, sometimes more than the big leagues.
Gloria’s murder was just the tip of the iceberg as she was just one of many indigenous women that have suffered a similar fate, but her mother, Sylvie, wasn’t all that willing to talk considering how the paper previously covered her story. That’s when Stanley pulled yet another card from his pocket, teaming up Eileen’s one-woman show with Roz, a native woman who had a personal connection to the story as her cousin Laura was also a cold-case murder. These two are going to do incredible things and be a source of inspiration and guidance for each other, I feel it.
Eileen’s no-bullshit attitude came in handy in the newsroom; it was the wake-up call they needed to put pressure on Anchorage PD to comply and for reporters to pursue a story no matter the fallout because it’s important and it’s necessary. Based on that ending scene with Luna, Eilene is going to be a great mentor for everyone here, directly contributing to the rise of more incredible journalists who believe in the value of the story.
However, it’s clear that she has plenty to learn here as well, and it would be wise to sometimes take a step back and listen to the people who know the land and know the locals.
In her few short days, she also managed to piss a lot of people off, including Bob, the assistant editor, and a concerned citizen, who made a rather threatening call telling her to hightail it back to New York and stop causing trouble. The unidentified male could be anyone—but it seems as though the person truly doesn’t want her to investigate Gloria’s death out of fear that she has what it takes to uncover the truth.
My money is on Jamie, the man Eileen meets at the bar. The pilot poet is charming, but it’s all too coincidental that the woman who never really shared her life with anyone immediately fell into a relationship with the first man to buy her a drink. I’ve watched enough television shows to know when it seems too shady. Though, I hope I am wrong about Jamie because the view from his place was stunning.
There was a point when the pilot got a little too stuffy. While Luna’s big story was interesting as it unearthed the corruption within the Alaskan Investment Fund with Teller‚ which directly impacted the people, while also revealing his personal affair, it could have been saved for a later episode. It would have made a bigger impact and likely not overwhelmed audiences. We were just getting to know Eileen, discovering her story, and meeting her new team—it was too much.
But with Eileen around, it seems as if The Daily Alaskan will finally go back to breaking hard-hitting stories, regaining the trust of the public, getting more pageviews, and stirring up a lot of controversy in the process–which seems to be on-brand for Eileen.
I love that the series gives an unfiltered look at the inner workings of an authentic newsroom, while also championing journalists for showing up day in and day out even when things get tough. It’s not something we see on TV often, but it’s a good reminder of what goes into the work. Journalism is not dead. I love that we get Jeff Perry back on our screens every Thursday night. You’ve been missed. And I love that the series seems dedicated to tackling mental health and panic attacks in an honest way, which is often ignored or glossed over but affects so many people on a daily basis.
I’m eager to see the headway Eileen and Roz make while pursuing justice for their victims, I’m intrigued to get to know the supporting characters a bit more because there seem to be a lot of promising personalities, and I’m wondering if we’ll ever see Eileen’s previous life and story rear its head again.
What did you think of the Alaska Daily premiere? Were you impressed? Will you be tuning in again next week?
Alaska Daily Review – Truth Is A Slow Bullet (110)
The penultimate episode of Alaska Daily Season 1 Episode 10 made plenty of headway in the Gloria Nanmac case, largely due to Eileen and Roz’s determination to find the truth and get justice.
While on the surface Alaska Daily is an entertaining murder mystery, the series taps into the beloved genre to create a movement and inform the masses of the crimes against native women, which isn’t a widely talked about topic. It’s a shame that the series isn’t getting enough attention as it’s trying to bring attention to something so important and overlooked as missing women and a justice system that fails them on the daily. Not to mention, the lack of infrastructure and resources in Alaska that’s allowing these cases to be swept under the rug.
The episode revealed that there are villages that don’t have their own police department and are forced to rely solely on volunteers from the community to keep the peace and order, which should be unheard of in this day and age.
It also dug into Rule 40, which Eileen explained protects domestic violence abusers and allows them to hide in plain sight. I’m not entirely clear on the law, though I did find this, however, the episode establishes that Rule 40 is largely to blame for allowing Ezra Fisher to get away with abusing women.
He clearly has a pattern, but since every case was dropped or dismissed, it never had to be logged on his records and thus, in the eyes of the law, he had no criminal past when his name came up as a suspect in Gloria’s murder. Toby Crenshaw looks guiltier as he was involved in a bar fight not too long ago, which indicates a violent past.
There were so many frustrating layers discovered as Eileen and Roz tirelessly pursued the truth, eventually realizing that none of their work actually mattered if they couldn’t do anything to change the outcome. The DA wasn’t interested in looking into Ezra again because everyone was just happy that justice was being served on a platter and in a nice bow—no one actually seemed phased that they were putting the wrong man away for a crime he didn’t commit and due to a false and coerced confession. And that’s strange considering Rule 40 was put in place so that a man’s reputation wouldn’t get tarnished by false allegations. It made no note of a scenario in which the allegations were real and true, so I guess the government only cares when it benefits them… or a white male. No surprise there.
However, the evidence against Ezra is unraveling at a rapid pace and becoming harder to ignore. He lost his alibi when Eileen and Roz got their audio guy (also the weed guy, which tracks) to isolate the background noises and realized that Ezra was at Skeeter’s party with his son instead of leaving the party to go pick up his son. Ezra wasn’t willing to speak to them, which wasn’t much of a surprise, but after they pulled all of his prior offenses against women and presented them to Taylor, she knew she had to do the right thing. While the DA was rather dismissive of a child’s testimony, 10-year-old Jackson painted a picture of what transpired that night—Gloria was hurt, she passed out and Ezra drove her home while leaving his son behind at the “adult party.” He then told the kid not to say anything. And that last part honestly tells you everything you need to know about the man.
I don’t know how anyone could ignore that evidence, especially when they have a recording of Gloria begging Toby for help and telling him she loves him. That absolutely would never happen if Toby was the assailant. Hopefully, once they print their story and make the public aware, there will be enough outcry that the DA and everyone else involved in the case will have to take pause and take a look at the facts… the real ones this time.
The Daily Alaskan has thrown itself behind Gloria’s story wholeheartedly, including Bob, who channeled his inner Fitzgerald to get his friend Gary to send over the confidential phone records. I always knew Bob had it in him. Alaska and Eileen’s colleagues at the Daily Alaskan seem to be rubbing off on her—she asked Bob how he was doing and genuinely cared, and she didn’t jump at the New York Times offer when she should have—but Eileen is also rubbing off on them and making them better reporters.
Bob doesn’t need to burn bridges daily and enact pushy tactics, but this was a situation that called for it—they want justice for Gloria, but they also want to help her cancer-stricken mother find peace.
Those phone records proved to be more crucial than anyone could have ever imagined as they revealed that Gloria placed a 9-1-1 call two days after she was reported missing, which means she was alive and begging for help all while police refused to search for her. Eileen and Roz basically hit a gold mine with this because they are coming for the broken system in place that is letting these women down and allowing them to slip through the cracks. Gloria deserved better—and everyone who let her down needs to be held accountable. It also changes things because it means that Gloria likely froze to death, which they would have known if anyone did their due diligence, or, I don’t know, their job!
This changes the whole trajectory of the case because as Stanley pointed out, it’s now a dialogue with the Alaskan people. They are speaking for them, they are advocating for them, and they are unearthing issues that directly affect them.
It’s a good thing Gabriel decided to return to the newsroom because his expedited project with Jindaháa and the other volunteers only emphasized the importance of the work Eileen and Roz were doing. Visually seeing the faces of the missing women come to life was even more gut-wrenching than just hearing their stories. It’s crucial to drive even more people to speak out and hold their government accountable.
And the MMIW project is the very reason that I believe Eileen and Roz are both going to turn down their respective offers from The New York Times and The Washington Post. Both of those offers are a dream come true and would give them the career advancement that they want, but the work they are doing right now is just too important. Neither of them can give up, nor can they walk away from a paper that, though holding on by a thread, is so vital to the people of Alaska. Eileen, in particular, has seen firsthand and understood the power of local journalism, and there’s simply no going back from that. This seems to be the first time she’s ever felt passionate about the story she was seeking out, and it’s the first time she’s ever had a “family” at work. Yes, she could choose to go back to NYC and work out of a swanky office and throw a big middle finger to cancel culture, but none of that matters if her heart isn’t in it. I dare say covering the local beats has made her a better reporter.
Not to mention she has two potential suitors—Conrad Pritchard and the pilot. Even if Alaska has its fair share of problems, she has so much going for her.
The same can be said for Austin, who is in a contentious battle with his ex, Anna, who wants to accept a new job in Chicago and move their son Zach there. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to advance in your career, Anna isn’t respecting Austin’s point of view. Her solution was to basically have him uproot his whole life and move if he wanted to stay in his child’s life. That’s not a fair compromise. Her argument that Chicago is safer than Alaska because there was one shooter in the newsroom is also laughable—and I’m glad Austin brought that up. Does she know what happens in Chicago? I live here, and while it has its perks, I wouldn’t say it’s a safer place to raise a child.
Anna does bring up some good points about being closer to family, but the fact that Austin is even considering if she has a point proves that he’s a good dad who only wants what’s best for his son. And if his son is happy in Alaska, why ruin a good thing? Things between them are going to get even uglier as things head to court, but I’m kind of hoping the judge will rule in Austin’s favor.
Austin also can’t give up his life in Alaska because of Yuna! That kiss was electric, and the idea of them as a couple is so exciting! Newsroom romances tend to be my favorite.
The season finale is coming up next week, and hopefully, Eileen and Roz will be able to see this through and emerge victorious in putting the right man behind bars for Gloria’s murder.
What did you think of the episode, Cravers?
Alaska Daily Review – Rush to Judgment (109)
Could it be that Eileen and Roz have had Gloria Nanmac’s killer on their radar this whole time? And it isn’t Toby Crenshaw like the system and the state of Alaska wants everyone to believe on Alaska Daily Season 1 Episode 9.
Eileen and Roz have been invested in Gloria’s case for months now, but as the story gained momentum, it suddenly began to spiral out of control and out of their grasp. With every publication all of a sudden invested, it was hard to keep up while still trying to prioritize the facts.
I guess there is such a thing as too much attention on something. As Roz explained, the facts barely mattered anymore, all that anyone cared about is pinning it on someone, and as she underscored, it was especially convenient that it was a Native man.
After years of not doing anything, the system and those benefiting from it were now taking all the credit for catching Gloria’s killer and patting themselves on the back when really, all they did was destroy yet another life by forcing a fake confession from an innocent man.
The more Eileen and Roz dug into Toby as a prime suspect, the clearer it was that he was not their man. And they seemed to be the only ones doing their due diligence when it came to the story, which is concerning considering the huge press turnout at the event.
The series actually highlighted a real issue within the journalism industry—cementing the idea that someone is guilty before they’re even given a fair trial. If people see the suspect blasted all over the front pages with a jumpsuit and handcuffs, they’ll be swayed into believing the narrative that’s being sold about him. Everyone seemed to have made up their minds about Toby as the follow-up piece questioning whether his confession was coerced—it was—didn’t get any clicks, traction, or community interest. Sensationalism sells, and it’s heartbreaking.
But the truth is that Toby was in a loving relationship with Gloria, and deeply regrets not accompanying her to Skeeter’s party up in Meade on the evening of her death. He also regrets not picking up numerous phone calls that evening because of a little spat they had. If he did, maybe she’d still be alive.
As Roz pointed out, feeling guilty and being guilty are not the same thing, so while he was willing to accept his fate, I’m glad someone was fighting for him. And that information was so crucial, it led to the break they so desperately needed in the case. So many people turned a blind eye to the broken system, which failed not only Gloria but also Toby, but the law won’t be able to avoid irrefutable proof like Gloria’s voicemail to Toby mere moments before she died in which she begged him to pick her up because she was scared.
The call also came from another number, not Gloria’s, which gives Eileen and Roz something to work with. Though the number is now disconnected, it can potentially lead them to the killer as there’s a huge chance that it is the owner of the phone. And if not, at the very least, the killer was one of the last people to see Gloria alive and could have additional information.
The upcoming promo seems to suggest that Ezra Fisher is responsible for Gloria’s death, but we’ve seen what rushing to judgment can do, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt until proven guilty. Or until he confesses willingly.
There’s likely no shortage of suspects considering the party was full of sketchy people.
Eileen and Roz may have made a few missteps, and started to feel as though they were complicit in pushing the case, but the reminder that they were the ones that lit the fire was necessary so that they would be motivated to regain control of the narrative and keep digging until they found something.
They pushed for DNA testing, they pushed for accountability, and now, they need to bring it home and push for the justice system to actually work in favor of the people.
The Daily Alaskan knows a thing or two about ruffling feathers, and in addition to Gloria’s case, it did just that when Stanley took aim at Conrad Pritchard. The thing I love most about this is that Stanley didn’t care about the newspaper’s connection to the Pritchard, nor did he consider the implications it may have had for Aaron—he was determined to report the facts to prevent a potential environmental crisis.
He didn’t jump the gun, however, assigning Claire and Austin to do some digging to get a full picture of what was happening before they sounded the alarms.
Aaron wasn’t exactly thrilled to be exposing his father, particularly after he promised not to report on his deals if he would sell him the paper, but he also wasn’t against it as he understood that they owed it to the people. Conrad had a senator in his pocket to change legislation on protected lands to allow for mining, all so he could make more money. The greed never stops, and Conrad needs to be held accountable.
I’m glad that the apple fell entirely too far from the tree because, with each passing episode, Aaron’s character just gets better and better.
Of course, Conrad then promised to wage war against his son and the newspaper, and while they might not have the funds he does, they have something much more powerful—the truth.
Everyone in that newsroom is prepared for a fight because they are fully aware of the implications of their stories—both the good and the bad—so bring it on, Pritchard.
And after picking up and throwing those cement blocks, you know Gabriel and Yuna are ready.
What did you think of the episode?
Alaska Daily Review – Tell a Reporter Not to Do Something and Suddenly It’s a Party (208)
Alaska Daily Season 2 Episode 8 resumed its regularly scheduled programming and got back on track by reprioritizing the Gloria Nanmac case.
Following the ordeal that went down in the newsroom between Concerned Citizen and Eileen, everyone was a bit on edge, but aside from a brief chat with a therapist and a few days off, nothing was getting in the way of Eileen getting back to her job.
The therapy session may have been mandated, but I do think that it’s necessary, and once Eileen warms up to the idea, a lot of good can come from it. She’s clearly been dealing with some unresolved trauma, including PTSD from her time in Afghanistan and likely the explosive end of her career in New York Confiding in someone and talking through things is beneficial, especially considering the panic attacks that have begun since she’s come to Anchorage, is crucial.
We didn’t get to see much of it in this episode—and hopefully, that will change in the future—but the therapy session did shine some light on Eileen’s backstory, particularly why she’s so steadfast in reporting the truth, uncovering corruption, and holding people accountable. As she informed the therapist, both her mother and her father lied to her and broke her trust, so her dedication to the job and pursuing the truth is personal.
It’s likely also what makes her such a good reporter because she wholeheartedly believes that people deserve answers and unbiased reporting.
While Gloria Nanmac’s case is layered and deeply unsettling, it’s important, and getting back to it gave Eileen a sense of purpose so she wasn’t just sitting around and simmering on what happened when she was held hostage at gunpoint.
As she threw herself right back into work, putting pressure on the state to reveal why they didn’t run a DNA test in Gloria’s case, Roz traveled back to Meade to investigate Pastor Reed Gallahorn.
Admittedly, the storyline took a few turns that even I didn’t expect. Eileen managed to convince the public safety commissioner to reclassify Gloria’s case as a homicide—threatening to expose internal corruption and the misappropriation of funds will get anyone to change their tune—so that they could run the DNA test.
Meanwhile, Roz’s confrontation with Gallahorn got heated almost immediately, and while he didn’t offer up much information at the beginning, the gut feeling that every woman has about this dude is on point—he’s an absolute creep and manipulator who definitely played some kind of role in Gloria’s death.
My heart broke for Sylvie because she’s just a loving mother who wants to find out what really happened to her daughter to get some closure. When Reed’s name popped up, she was adamant that Gloria was not involved in his church because she wanted so badly to believe it—she wanted to believe that she raised her daughter better, and admitting that she may have strayed from the path was almost like admitting defeat.
Of course, none of what happened was either Sylvie or Gloria’s fault, and getting the truth about the latter’s connection to the church only inched them closer to the truth. Roz spoke to Gloria’s friend, Alice, who was still involved with Reed, and found out that much like the other victim at Reed’s former church who turned up dead due to an “accident,” Gloria was a liability because she wanted to expose him and his abusive practices.
Reed’s abusive tendencies were confirmed by his estranged son, who filed assault charges and then dropped them soon after due to pressure from his father, who then made him sign an NDA. While he wasn’t willing to go on record, he did reveal that his father was a sadist who believed that to truly understand the lord, you had to feel his pain. It was twisted, but it definitely proved that Reed was dangerous and had the motive to want to get rid of Gloria to protect his business.
Unfortunately, when Roz confronted him about Gloria’s death, he denied it, claiming he simply wanted to help a troubled girl. He also agreed to a DNA test and even had an alibi as he was with his wife that very evening.
After the DNA tests were completed, Eileen and Roz were stunned that Reed wasn’t their guy, and the commissioner was filing an arrest warrant for Toby Crenshaw, Gloria’s good friend. Teasers from the upcoming episode reveal that both reporters think a confession was forced out of him, which means that the person who was responsible for her death is still out there and has a lot of pull in hopes of making this all go away.
This cover-up is much more corrupt than Eileen and Roz could’ve ever imagined. They owe it to Gloria and all the other native women that the government would have ignored and pushed aside; it’s the least they can do.
With The Daily Alaskan pursuing real stories and gunning for the truth, it’s not surprising that they’ve made plenty of enemies, many of whom would like to watch it all burn to the ground. We already saw just how agitated Eileen’s reporting made Concerned Citizen, but there’s someone else, someone way more powerful, who also isn’t a fan—Conrad Pritchard, Aaron’s father. Wouldn’t it be crazy if he was somehow tied to Gloria’s disappearance?
Through her reporting, Eileen learned that Conrad was planning to sell the paper, which was news to everyone else, but a few leads later, the rumor was confirmed. Aaron confronted his father, who bluntly informed him that the paper was bad for business as the reporters never hesitated to paint his family, and their business dealings, in a bad light.
At the end of the day, it’s all about money, and Conrad would rather see local journalism die than be held accountable for his actions. Thankfully, in this situation, the apple fell far from the tree because Aaron knew that there was no way that he could allow the paper to get gutted. And in true Pritchard fashion, he treated to expose his father’s shady business dealings until he agreed to sell the paper to him instead. Turns out, Aaron is a good guy after all—and maybe that’ll get him on Eileen’s good side.
The situation between Aaron and Conrad was tense, and I’d actually like to explore that on a deeper level in episodes to come. This can’t be the last time Conrad’s business dealings are worthy of front-page news, right?
Being held at gunpoint in a newsroom—and then watching a man die—is a traumatic experience, and not everyone can pretend nothing is wrong and bounce back as quickly as Eileen. And truthfully, it didn’t seem like Gabriel wanted to either.
It was sweet to see everyone ignore his request for space and swing by his apartment to check on him, but the mood was soured by his announcement that he was not coming back to the paper.
Eileen is seasoned—she’s seen a lot in her career, so while she may be slightly shaken up, she’s not easily scared. The same cannot be said for Gabriel, who is still very green and has doubted himself numerous times since getting the job. It seems that this close brush with danger was a bit of a wake-up call for him, and he’s realizing that the job isn’t worth losing his life over. Or even some sleep.
However, it could just be a case where Gabriel is so terrified that this will happen again that he’s running away, and if that’s the case, I hope his good friends from the newsroom talk him out of it and he sticks the course.
There wasn’t a dull moment on Alaska Daily, a series quickly rising the ranks as one of TV’s most important and high-stakes dramas.
What happens next? Will Eileen and Roz find a way to backtrack and help clear Toby’s name? Are they finally realizing that they are stronger together? It definitely seemed that by splitting up, they were utilizing each other’s strong suits and skills. Will it be revealed that Reed is somehow involved? He’s too creepy not to be, especially since he talked to Gloria the night of the disappearance and “punished” her by making her stand in the freezing elements and get frostbite.
Will Eileen and Roz still expose his abusive ways even without the Gloria connection? He must be stopped.
Will Eileen give Aaron another shot? Will Gabriel be convinced that his heart belongs in journalism?
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