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?
Is ‘Alaska Daily’ Renewed for a Second Season?
Alaska Daily is one of the best and most refreshing shows coming out of this fall/winter TV cycle, with Hilary Swank as Eileen Fitzgerald, a disgraced journalist who finds a new home in Alaska, bringing coverage to the often overlooked (purposefully ignored) stories of murderer indigenous women alongside her partner-in-crime, Roz Friendly played by Grace Dove.
With the season finale scheduled to air on ABC on Thursday, March 30, marking the season’s 11th episode, fans begged the network for a second season allowing audiences to follow Eileen’s adventures of pursuing truth and justice on a local scale.
Sadly, the series has not been given a green light by ABC, which means it was canceled and it will not return for a second season.
While the series has amassed a loyal and dedicated following—with many of you reaching out to me and noting that you wish the show received more publicity and promotion from the network itself—it wasn’t able to build up the audience or gain the momentum it needed in its short primetime run, which honestly, is a shame because of the important storytelling and refreshing and diverse cast propelling meaningful conversations and calling for change and action.
As Deadline reported earlier this year, the series has “sizable internal support but has not been able to break through in a meaningful way, making a Season 2 renewal unlikely.”
In terms of ratings, these series brought in about 2.7 million viewers weekly, according to TVSeriesFinale.
It may not be the news we wanted, but we’re grateful for the journey regardless.
Alaska Daily Season Finale Review – Most Reckless Thing I’ve Ever Done (111)
I thought I loved Alaska Daily when the series first premiered, but the season finale—hopefully not the series finale—made me fall in love with it even more.
You don’t go into a show like Alaska Daily, one that deals with tough subjects like crime, corruption, and the murder of missing indigenous women, expecting a happy ending, but it sure feels good when you get one.
Roz and Eileen gave Gloria Nanmac’s case their all, pursuing the truth and following every lead, wherever it took them. When they hit dead ends, they backtracked and kept digging. And they never ever gave up, not only solving Gloria’s murder but calling out the state of Alaska for the broken system that it had in place.
They did the heavy lifting that no one else wanted to do because it was important. It mattered. And it’s what sets apart The Daily Alaskan from the competition—they are determined to pursue the truth at any cost.
Several times throughout the episode, it felt as though the answers just fell into their lap while pursuing the real suspect in Gloria’s case, but there was always an air of believability. Eileen and Roz put in a season’s worth of research, so when things started presenting themselves, it was their hard work and perseverance paying off. They established credibility amongst the Alaskan people and were shining a light on issues that others likely wanted to be addressed for a long time, so not only did people feel like they could trust them, many wanted to lend a helping hand in any way that they could, encouraging them to keep digging and keep hunting.
When they finally located Clarence Redding, a.k.a Skeeter, he was the missing puzzle piece that could hammer home the timeline of events from the presumed night of Gloria’s murder. He wasn’t willing to blow up the life he’d created for himself, however, his partner and mother of his child insisted that he finally come clean and stop carrying around Ezra’s secret.
If it wasn’t for Gloria’s 9-1-1 voicemail setting everything into motion, Skeeter may not have turned on his former friend, Ezra, but since Gloria uttered his name while begging for help—and effectively being ignored by the people who should’ve been putting together a full-fledged search party—there was no denying his involvement.
Skeeter provided the insight, but he also handed over the smoking gun, or, as Stanley said, the smoking crutches, which linked Ezra to Gloria’s murder. Eileen and Roz’s gut instinct about the guy was right, and I’m glad that he won’t be able to get away with any more violent crimes.
Not only that, but they were able to provide all of the evidence before Toby’s trial started, which meant that the DA cleared him of all charges. Roz and Eileen obviously wanted to get justice for Gloria, but Toby was their motivation in the end because they were racing against a clock—and they couldn’t see an innocent indigenous man go to jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
And they didn’t stop there. Ezra may have led to Gloria’s murder, but there’s no doubt about it that the broken system in place played a role every step of the way. The fact that the mayor called their reporting “fake news” proves that the government wanted to wash its hands of it.
So many people failed Gloria, and other men and women like Gloria, but Eileen and Roz were determined to bring the corruption to light after getting a tip from an anonymous texter by the name “Disillusioned,” who turned out to be Commissioner Haynes’ assistant, Mary Anne. She knew that there was a report that provided some very basic solutions to the MWIW problem—something as simple, straightforward, and obvious as getting these small towns a functioning 911 system—yet they were ignored and pushed aside because they weren’t a priority when they should’ve been.
Eventually, Haynes did the right thing after realizing that Mary Anne got into public service because of her and left because of her. Haynes likely got in it for the right reasons once upon a time and then became a disappointment by always turning a blind eye when it was convenient. It was nice to see her finally come around and be on the right side of history after creating so many roadblocks for Eileen and Roz. Everyone views journalists as the enemy until they realize that it’s actually the system in place that’s doing a disservice to the people it’s supposed to be protecting.
Laying it all out there for the Alaskan people was a good start and a reminder of why they do all of this in the first place. They were holding the right people accountable for the first time ever. And it was also a reminder as to why local journalism matters and should be preserved. Sylvia’s visit and gratitude drove that point home as she wouldn’t have gotten the closure she needed if it wasn’t for Roz and Eileen.
Those two did not start on the best terms at the beginning, but by the end, they were two peas in a pod, bettering each other along the way. Stanley was right when he said that they could both learn a great deal from each other, and they went on one hell of an adventure together that really contributed to their respective character growth. Eileen still possessed the part that made her such a stellar reporter—her integrity never wavered—but she softened around the edges, opening up to the idea of being a part of something and learning new ways to get things done. She didn’t have all the answers when it came to figuring out the dynamics in Alaska, but by the end, she was part of the community that respected her for her work.
Most importantly, she stopped searching for that next big thing to consume her mind—she was finally comfortable where she was, informing Roz that she wasn’t going to take the job in New York and choosing to stay in Alaska instead. Not only did she have a family at The Daily Alaskan that she couldn’t leave behind, but she owed it to herself to explore a potential romance with the pilot poet, both on and off the ground.
I’m not confident that the series will get renewed, which is a damn shame because, with Gloria’s case wrapped up, there’s so much story left to tell in a series that has so much heart, warmth, and light, despite all the obstacles thrown in its way.
For starters, the situation between Aaron Pritchard and his father, Conrad, is intriguing, and I’d love to see how they would navigate a competitor daily. It’s one thing to say that they won’t be taking the bait and going into war with the Anchorage Eagle, but it’s another thing to actually see it pan out on screen when Pritchard’s money is pushing and pushing them against a wall.
I feel like things between Eileen and Aaron were also left up in the air, and while the pilot poet was the clear winner of her feelings, I don’t think Aaron would’ve been out of the picture completely. I could see them growing closer as they rallied to remain the best and most just publication in town.
Each newsroom member had storylines that didn’t get closure—from Bob’s sick wife to Yuma and Austin’s budding relationship, right down to Austin’s fight for paternity for his son.
We have a diverse cast of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages that bring so much to the table, and fans deserve more time with them.
On the other hand, if ABC never planned on renewing the series, it wasn’t the worst finale. I’d say it was the best possible finale we could’ve gotten—with the Daily Alaskan’s employees reinvigorated, and Eileen and Stanley soaking up their victory (and lamenting that embarking on this journey was the most reckless thing they’d ever done… though it paid off!) with the Northern Lights and a warm paper fresh off the press, proving that there’s still something to be said about the power of print and the written word.
What did you think about the season finale of Alaska Daily?
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 mounting 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?
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