Is Neal on 'The Newsroom' Going To Jail?

The Newsroom is back, and taking on more than just the headlines of yesterday this season. No, I'm not talking the "Genoa" fiasco that happened last year. There are no Steven Glass types to be found. However, The Newsroom Season 3 premiere revealed that blog writer Neal is currently in possession of over 27,000 classified government documents. Is Neal going to jail for his role in the leak? It's quite possible, honestly.

Someone asked for Neal's encryption key, which Hallie put on his desktop under "cat food." Hallie and Neal were definitely flirting. I hope we get back to that later, even if it's during visitation hours. Because our baby Neal Sampat is a big time criminal now. His source asked for a higher level of encryption and then told him to get an "air-gapped computer," one that has never been connected to the internet and contains a gap of air between it and the rest of the world. In a scene borrowed from The Godfather, Neal goes to a restaurant bathroom to retrieve the flash drive. After looking through the documents, Neal asked his source for more and then instructed him on how to send it to him. That, boys and girls, is conspiracy to commit espionage. As Will pointed out, he induced this anonymous individual to commit a felony by asking for further information.

The information he received detailed how the US Government has caused riots in Equatorial Kundu, a fictional nation in Africa. It was also a fictional country in the second season of The West Wing . What happened was a PR firm ran false propaganda stories that resulted in multiple deaths. Scary stuff. You can see why Neal would want to run the story, even if it means implicating himself in a crime.

Dev Patel's character often makes some contrived, questionable choices on this show. I will never forget when he advised Jim to go on a Sex and The City bus tour in order to learn more about the show and impress his girlfriend like Wikipedia doesn't exist and you couldn't just spend a few hours reading episode descriptions free of cost. So, I'm not necessarily surprised that he didn't think this was a bad move. Maybe he was too wrapped up in pretending to be Michael Corleone.

I'm conflicted here. As a Newsroom viewer, that's business as usual. I feel like keeping Neal out of jail will be the "puzzle" that the characters have to solve this season. I want to like Neal. I just don't think they can pull it off. He did a greedy, obviously illegal thing. I don't see any way out of it.

However, I'm interested in how this story plays out no matter the outcome. I admittedly didn't understand much of the technical details. Did you know there was a secret internet that the government uses? That's not a conspiracy theory. That's the truth, Ruth. It's times like this that make me wish I was the hacking kind of nerd.

Image: Giphy