Vernacular

On Sunday night, three excellent dramas darkened the screen. Two of them have something in common at the root of their scenarios.

The seventh finale episode of “The Loudest Voice” marked the curtain closure on the biographical life of Roger Ailes, who was the founder of Fox News.

The story begins with the death scene of Ailes, played with body weight additions and a four-hour make-up session each shooting day by Russell Crowe.

The storyline is based on a book by Gabriel Sherman and reveals plenty of Ailes’ documented actions in setting the hard-sourced course of the conservative news network.

Focusing on the past decade in which Ailes arguably became the GOP’s de facto leader, the series also touches on defining events in Ailes’ life, including his experience with world leaders that gave birth to his political career and the sexual harassment accusations and settlement that brought his reign at Fox News to a discontented end, when he was fired.

In the show, Gretchen Carson, played by Naomi Watts, persists in sexual harassment claims against Ailes and her accusations played a major role in his departure from the company he built.

He subsequently died on May 18, 2017, after he hit his head in a fall in his Florida home.  

By a curious coincidence, Sunday night offered the first episode of the second season drama, “Succession,” which has players loosely based on the family of Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and many other newspapers and enterprises.

The family members are said by some reviewers to somewhat resemble Murdoch’s family. The story is welded around a multi-billion dollar firm, headed by Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox, who was unconscious during part of season one.

He is trying hard to select someone to take his place as his health problems are worrisome.

Also on Sunday night, “City on the Hill” is a reflection of the criminal world of Boston, with Kevin Bacon playing an FBI agent, named Jackie, and Aldis Hodge, an assistant district attorney, Decourcy. The ninth episode is titled, “The Deaf Sage of Pompeii.” The title is explained in the show’s dialog.

The plotline is setting up for a confrontation between Jackie and Decourcy. There is a dark cloud that follows Jackie everywhere he goes, but he always makes being cornered an earned victory.

In one coincidental element, Decourcy is shown reading “Jazz,” written by Toni Morrison, who died on Aug. 5, long after the book scene was written and filmed.

The episode establishes that each character has a tragic past. The storylines focus on family and relationships.

While the earlier episodes produced gritty, dark crime drama, in reality, it is a show full of characters who have bonds with one another that run deep.

Who they are today is the result of choices they made in their past.

The show has seen multiple plotlines drawn since its inception and it is clear why these threads seem to exist. The creators have successfully tied up every loose end so far and power-packed performances by the large cast have made it a strong drama worth seeing.

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