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"Reclaiming the fourth estate. Reclaiming journalism as an honorable profession. A nightly newscast that informs a debate worthy of a great nation. Civility, respect and a return to what's important; the death of bitchiness; the death of gossip and voyeurism; speaking truth to stupid."

-MacKenzie, "We Just Decided To"

MacKenzie Morgan McHale, commonly known as "Mack", is the Executive Producer of the PrimeTime 9:00pm "News Night" broadcast at Atlantis Cable News, where she works alongside her husband Will McAvoy, the broadcast's lead anchor and managing editor. Sharp, virtuous and loyal, she is the driving force behind the revamped News Night layout, choosing to focus not on shallow, short-term human interest stories but instead on delivering coverage of important issues and relevant matters that the American public should be fully informed on, especially in the voting booth. She cares nothing for ratings and idealistically believes in the higher calling of journalism, something which repeatedly puts her at odds with her superiors.


MacKenzie Morgan McHale was born to British parents during their time in the United States, in which her father was the British Ambassador to the UN after being appointed by Conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. As she was born to parents who were in the United States on diplomatic status, she was not eligible for birthright citizenship. She attended the University of Cambridge and was one of the first women Presidents of the Cambridge Union.("Election Night, Part I")

Personal life[]

Will McAvoy[]

In late 2005 or early 2006, MacKenzie began dating News Night anchor Will McAvoy. During this time she was his Executive Producer.

On September 21, 2006, MacKenzie introduced Will to her parents for the first time, he decided to take her father to the Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers game. The Baltimore Oricles beat the Tigers 4-3. Only in 2010 after the two broke up did Will admit that the two were drunk when they met MacKenzie and her mother for dinner later the day,withholding only intended having one beer, they ended up drinking three. ("We Just Decided To")

In 2007, MacKenzie's relationship with Will broke down after she revealed she had been cheating on him with her ex-boyfriend, Brian Brenner, for four months before her confession, and the two broke up. This broke his heart, as he loved MacKenzie very dearly. It was only during the four months she cheated on him, that she realised she loved him too. ("News Night 2.0")

MacKenzie refers to Will as 'the perfect guy' on numerous occasions, and is evidently still caught up on their previous relationship (on one occasion questioning why Sloan had set up 'her boyfriend' [with Nina Howard] before correcting herself) ("I'll Try to Fix You"), and her attempts to move on has ended negatively.

Her past relationship with Will is apparently almost constantly on her mind, reminding herself that 'she's thirty feet away from the life she could have had' had she not betrayed Will in an almost unforgivable manner. On May 1st 2011 Will left a voicemail message to Mackenzie saying 'I never stopped loving you'. Yet the message was hacked by gossip writer Nina Howard. Mackenzie found it out later and pestered Will about the message only to get the answer " I couldn't remember".

In light of the Genoa fallout Will realized he couldn't let Mackenzie take the blame for everything. So he went to propose on November 7, 2012. Mackenzie came up with a logical response ' what in the fxxk is happening right now?' Then Will convinced her that no matter what she said he would never hurt her again and would always love her. Eventually Mackenzie said yes and they announced their engagement to the whole newsroom.

Brian Brenner[]

In 2005, MacKenzie was in a long term relationship with Brian Brenner, who dumped her. Dealing with the rejection poorly, Mac saw Brian's calls in 2006 during the time she was dating Will as a form of redemption, a way relieve the feeling of rejection she felt when he had broken off that relationship, and began an affair with Brian for four months during her relationship with Will. She ended it when she realised she much preferred Will who was a better man.   There ensued several months of dating  (not right away)  until she thought Will was going to marry her. At that point she told him that she had been seeing Brian for four months during their relationship.

Wade Campbell[]

From August 2010 through to 2011 Mac dated Wade Campbell, an Assistant District Attorney. This was her response to a flurry of dating by Will who, from the outset, was dating a stream of women (with digitaly remastered breasts)  who would meet him at the studio after work in Mac's presence.She brought Wade into the News Night studio to watch their live coverage of the 112th Congressional Elections in November 2010, later remarking that they had been together for three months at that stage. ("The 112th Congress")

She also brought Wade to the News Night New Year's Eve Party on 31 December 2010. He approached Will about possibly running a story regarding his work. ("I'll Try to Fix You")

The relationship ends when a TMI story announces that Wade is planning to run for office, calling into question Mac's integrity given that she has had him as a guest on News Night. Mac realizes that he is using her to gain publicity and breaks up with him in February 2011. ("Amen")

Reporting career[]

After her break up in 2007 with Will and ended her affair with Brian, MacKenzie moved to Atlanta where she met Jim Harper. In January 2008 Mac and Jim left the United States for the Middle East, reporting stories from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. She won two Peabodys, possibly during this time, and received a knife wound while covering a protest in Islamabad.

In November 2008, Mac, Jim and their crew covered the 'Green Zone' in Baghdad in Iraq until November 2009, when the crew moved to Peshawar, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

In March 2010, MacKenzie returned to the United States after 26 months of reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan, searching for a job as an Executive Producer.

News Night[]

News Night 2.0[]

April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon rig off the coast of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, causing MacKenzie, Jim, and the members of the crew who followed her to News Night to begin early.

Unhappy with the way ACN and News Night was covering the news, MacKenzie proposed "News Night 2.0", a complete overhaul of the way the news was covered. "News Night 2.0" became more elitist with the stories they covered, disregarding the amount of viewers they would reel in each show, and ignoring the iPhone prototype left in a bar and various McDonalds sandwiches, armed with three "I"s: 1) Is this information we need in the voting booth? 2) Is this the best possible form of the argument? 3) Is the story in historical context? ("News Night 2.0")

Though her plan for News Night was endorsed by Charlie Skinner and Will, the 44th floor, the owner of the ACN Network Leona Lansing and her son, Reese Lansing objected, as "News Night 2.0" disgruntled members of congress whom ACN was in business with, and angering David and Charles Koch. After losing a large proportion of their audience due to their refusal to cover tabloid news stories, the News Night team come under pressure to change their stance from Reese Lansing. Finally, realising that the only way they will win the opportunity to trial their new debate format is to increase their audience figures. Reluctantly, the News Night team bow to pressure and cover the Casey Antony and Anthony Wiener stories in depth.

On air apology[]

Following the years of disastrous broadcast, Will prepared and issued an on air apology on behalf of ACN for his failings as Managing Editor of News Night. He pledged to do better in reporting the news to inform the electorate. Mac welcomed the move and helped Will to craft the speech, including a rehearsal in front of their staff. The apology aired at the opening of the show on Monday, April 26, 2010, and increased the infuriation of the 44th floor. ("The 112th Congress")

Times Square bombing attempt[]

On Saturday, May 1, 2010 a bombing attempt in Times Square, New York City is diffused without casualties after street vendors report a smoking vehicle to the police. On Monday, May 3, 2010 the perpetrator Faisal Shahzad is arrested at John F. Kennedy airport. At a News Night staff meeting on Tuesday, May 4, 2010, they decide not to criticize the system which successfully caught the would be terrorist bomber when he was boarding the plane. Despite the failure of the airline to update their files in time to recognize that he had been added to a no fly list a second line of checks by Customs and Border Protection led to his successful arrest and Jim characterizes this as the system working. They agree to cover the story in just 3 minutes at the opening of their program and not to sensationalize the arrest or the religious beliefs of Shahzad.

Maggie brings up international coverage of the story during the meeting and explains that while t-shirt vendor Lance Orton contacted the police it was a Senegalese Muslim immigrant who first noticed the smoking vehicle. He asked Orton to contact the authorities because he was concerned but did not want his poor English to garble the message. Maggie successfully argues that if the religion of the bomber is relevant then so is the religion of the man that saved hundreds of lives. News Night is one of the few American networks to report that the danger was first recognized by the Muslim street vendor. ("The 112th Congress")

The 112th Congress elections[]

News Night focuses a portion of its coverage on the Tea Party and their views, funding and co-opting of the Republican Party. The incisive coverage culminates with a live broadcast in November 2010 on the day of the 112th Congressional elections where the Tea Party win many seats. ("The 112th Congress")

End of 2010[]

The staff meet and decide to pursue stories about misrepresentation; particularly of both The President's gun control record and his diplomatic trip to India. Mac is frustrated when Will's philandering earns him gossip column inches. ("I'll Try to Fix You")

Gabrielle Giffords shooting[]

News Night reports on the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday January 8, 2011. During the show's coverage, a false report spreads on Fox, CNN and MSNBC that the Congresswoman is dead. Reese Lansing charges into the studio to convince Will to report her death but Will refuses. Moments later reports that she is alive and in surgery are confirmed. ("I'll Try to Fix You")

February 2011[]

News Night covers civil unrest in Cairo after the Egyption president refuses to leave his post despite losing the election. Elliot Hirsch travels to the area to report on scene but is injured in the rioting and returns home. Neal Sampat books a local stringer using the alias "Amen" to get coverage for the show. Mac convinces him to use his real name to give him credibility and his first appearance goes well. Neal and the staff are distraught when Amen goes missing after appearing on the show. They find that he has been imprisoned by the military, who are demanding a huge ransom. Will pays for Amen's release. Mac arranges for the staff to each give Will a cheque to contribute, mimicking a scene from one of Will's favorite films, Rudy.

Maggie Jordan catches wind of a new story during the broadcast; a protest in Wisconsin that is condemning the governor's plan to balance the budget at the detriment of teachers and other public sector union employees. After the show, Mac chairs a staff meeting where a new story about the Koch brothers is discussed. They have linked their involvement with Citizens United to a plan to eventually abolish workers unions. News Night covers both stories.

Mac is embarrassed when TMI run a story about Wade's plans to run for office, calling her integrity into question because she booked him as a guest on the show. She realizes that he was using her and ends the relationship. She is both pleased and annoyed when she realizes that Will is considering paying off TMI to protect her and tells him that she can look after herself.

Mac approaches Sloan about getting some tutoring as she has been booked to speak about the economy on a panel and actually knows nothing about the subject. Sloan tries to teach Mac some fiscal lessons over drinks but Mac is preoccupied with her personal life. ("Amen")

April 2011[]

Will conducts a disastrous interview with Sutton Wall, the homosexual former Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Rick Santorum. He ends the show by reading out website comments lauding Will's attack on Wall. Will is chagrined and decides to introduce a registration policy for website comments to remove the safety of anonymity from commenters.

Will interviews Phylis Greer about the building of a Muslim community centre at Ground Zero in New York. This is quickly followed by Will receiving a death threat from someone who has hacked into the site. Greer, and the hacker, were vehemently against the idea. The threat causes Will's insurance company to insist on Lonny Church guarding him.

Sloan Sabbith is given the opportunity to stand in for Elliot Hirsch on the 22:00 show and cover the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. Sloan asks Will for advice before going on air and he harshly criticizes her for letting interviewees get away with lying on air. She is disappointed with her guest for sticking to the company line, and more so with his translator, who she feels is misrepresenting her words. Despite warnings from Don Keefer, Sloan announces information she had obtained off the record live on air. Charlie Skinner is furious with Sloan for crossing reporting boundaries and suspends her with pay. Will feels responsible for provoking her reckless act. Charlie later comes up for a way to Sloan to save the reputation of Tanaka; she has to lie on air and say that she made an error in translating what he said. She is dubious but Will tells her it is the best thing to do and she acquiesces.

Mac has Jim Harper and Maggie Jordan conduct "opposition research" about Will in advance of a sexual harassment complaint hearing. Maggie tells Jim that the complaint is about Will shouting at her for making a mistake, and that she does not feel it was sexual harassment. Their research uncovers very little, except that Will had a job offer to host a talk show for Fox just before he discovered Mac was cheating on him.

Mac confronts Will about the job, accusing him of already having one foot out the door before their relationship ended and he tells her that he was thinking of proposing to her at the time. He shows her an expensive engagement ring and she is mortified.

Will struggles with a bout of insomnia and starts to make errors during broadcasts. Mac gently mocks him suggesting that he needs an eye test. He tells her that he is going to go back to therapy with Dr. Habib and she says that she is pleased for him. ("Bullies")

Behind the scenes[]

Mac is a major character in the first season. She is played by starring cast member Emily Mortimer and debuts in the series pilot "We Just Decided To".


Season 1
"We Just Decided To" "News Night 2.0" "The 112th Congress" "I'll Try to Fix You" "Amen"
"Bullies" "5/1" "The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn" "The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate" "The Greater Fool"
Season 2
"First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers" "The Genoa Tip" "Willie Pete" "Unintended Consequences" "News Night with Will McAvoy"
"One Step Too Many" "Red Team III" "Election Night, Part I" "Election Night, Part II"
Season 3
"Boston" "Run" "Main Justice" "Contempt" "Oh Shenandoah"
"What Kind of Day Has It Been"

See also[]