''Jessica Novak,'' clearly designed as the female equivalent of ''Lou Grant,'' offered the adventures of a television news correspondent. Jessica, played by Helen Shaver, was supposed to be a light-features reporter, but her irrepressible moxie kept getting her onto headline stories. Good looking, openly sentimental, fiercely ambitious, she was the Geraldo Rivera of her fictional Los Angeles station.
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Recaps1x7: The Reward recap
: A chance encounter with a mother worried about her two children eventually leads to Jessica's becoming directly involved - and getting an exclusive story on - the plight of the distraught father holding the children at gunpoint in a motel room. Max orders a live television transmission from the scene as Jessica, properly equipped with a lapel microphone, enters the motel in an effort to calm the man.
Breaking down, he supplies the social relevance by explaining that he has lost his job because of all those cheaper cars made by the Germans and Japanese. ''It's not my fault,'' he cries. Jessica gets her man, of course, and an opportunity to wrap up the live report with some tremblingly profound words about what has happened to the American dream. Watching the feed back at the office, her colleagues burst into spontaneous applause, which, given the cut-throat competition among all television performers, constitutes the episode's most unbelievable moment.
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