Boss Recap: Episode 5 - "Remembered"
By Michele Lenni in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 21, 2011 8:00PM
What is a legacy? Is it the path that one has set forth within their time here on earth? Is it the person's greatest achievement or is it their worst failure that they will be remembered for? Politcians spend a great deal of time determining what they want their legacy to be, but many times, what they are truly remembered for is their most epic failure. In the fifth episode of the Chicago-based political drama, a scandal is broken. The tremendous explosion may just dethrone the powerful Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) and the shrapnel of the cataclysmic blast my effect many generations to come.
A signed document verifying then-Sanitation Director Tom Kane authorized disposal of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene near O'Hare airport was made public by a blogger named "Chump Bait" on the internet for all to see. Sam Miller (Troy Garity), a reporter for the Chicago Sentinel, is revealed as the blogger. Miller received the document a few days earlier in a envelope marked simply with the word "Rosebud;" an obvious Citizen Kane reference.
The mayor's senior aide Ezra Stone decides on a three-prong strategy to combat the negative press that has arisen in the wake of the leak. First: blame the old administration and the former mayor and Kane's father-in-law Rutlage. Second: take the focus off Chicago and move to the scene of the contamination Bensenville. Third: Mayor Kane does a big PR push with the city of Bensenville, which Kane offers immediately to Bensenville's mayor, who refuses.
Kane then has a meeting with a man named Paul who drove the trucks that dumped the toxic trichloroethylene into the ground, which later leached into Bensenville's water supply. Kane determines that Paul is not the man that leaked the document and continues his search to find the rat. Kane then receives a visit from Alderman Mata, who assures Kane while he's in the bathroom dropping a deuce with the door open that none of his men are responsible for the leak. Kane, who is obviously very engaged in the conversation, then proceeds to finish his business in the bathroom and shake Mata's hand without washing his own.
Meanwhile, Kane's aides are desperately trying to create diversions to the scandal. In a press conference they address that Kane was not made Sanitation Director all those years ago because of this relationship with his wife Meredith, Mayor Rutlage's daughter. Ezra Stone stirs the pot in order to create a baggage handler's strike at O'Hare Airport and Kitty O'Neil continues to call television stations to try and make them emphasize the Bensenville angle by developing a small story on the foreclosure and dying house market in Bensenville.
Kane tries to drive a steak into the heart of the matter by meeting with the editor of the Sentinel, who tells Kane that Miller will not give up his source. The editor also tells Kane that Miller's focus has been Kane. "He has a real bee in his fucking bonnet for you," he tells Kane.
Upon learning this Kane arranges a meeting with Miller. During the meeting Kane abruptly leaves when he remembers where the leaked document originated.
He rushes to an abandoned office full of boxes of old files and rummages through them. Rutlage's nurse (who's also Kane's mistress) enters to see what all the noise is about and discovers Kane. She tells him that she already sent him files if he was looking for one in particular. Kane realizes the leak is the nurse. Kane strangles her in a rage and runs out of the office.
After Kane delivers water he bought from Bensenville stores and re-routes them to the Bensenville mayor's doorstep, the latter decides he'll take Kane up on his offer to do some PR to fight the dumping scandal. Kane's PR stunt draws a great deal of press and creates the first positive buzz during the scandal.
Reporter for the Chicago Sentinel Sam Miller receives another "Rosebud" envelope. Inside is a report directly linking the toxic chemical trichloroethylene and cancer. The report was developed by Dr. Gabriela Reyes, a scientist who worked for Kane during his tenure as Sanitation Director. Miller meets with Dr. Reyes and shows her a copy of this report. Just as things seem to have calmed down during the wake of the leak, Dr. Reyes does a press conference conveying the results of the study she conducted as a hired hand of Kane.
"Our results determined conclusively that there was a direct connection elevated levels of trichloroethylene in the soil and statistically abnormal incidences of cancer and liver disease in children in the local municipality," Reyes tells reporters. "Any reference to trichloroethylene was to be redacted from the report." Reyes tells them that she will no longer carry this burden and it is time for all of those involved to admit their wrong doing.
In a secret meeting between the city's aldermen, Governor Cullen (Francis Guinan) and his primary opponent Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner) decide that they are going to take down Mayor Kane. Zajac is to drop out of the race and then run for Chicago mayor in a year, and Cullen will continue his time as the state's governor.