Famed Apple TV+ hit The Morning Show, starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, is back for Season 3, but has a particularly high stress, chaotic beginning.
The season starts in 2022, following the height of the pandemic, and TMS staff, specifically Alex Levy (Aniston), have committed to being part of tech billionaire Paul Marks' (Jon Hamm) maiden voyage on the Hyperion One Rocket.
At the same time Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon) is trying to pursue a story about access to abortions in Texas.
We'll skip over revealing how those two pursuits pan out, but the second episode of the season thrusts the story into a complete frenzy.
While TMS is in the middle of a live broadcast, the connection is lost. Then staff realize doors are locked and the lights have gone out as well. This is a result of a hack that infiltrated the whole UBA system, and the hackers want $50 million in 48 hours.
With this hack impacting everything on the network, that also means personal messages, videos and communications from staff members on corporate devices can be made public. The board believes this is a Russian attack, which could have a devastating impact on the war in Ukraine, and they need to determine whether it's in their best interest to pay the ransom.
'It's back to my action days'
The first two episodes of Season 3 of The Morning Show were directed by the fiercely talented Mimi Leder, who also serves as executive producer of the series.
Specifically in shaping what we see when the hack hits UBA, Leder is able to create this feeling of utter chaos, a completely frantic environment, which is particularly critical to set the tone for the season. Watching it you're hit with a very real, uneasy feeling as people at the comapny are running through the halls, trying to figure out what to do.
"I wanted to create chaos and put our characters into darkness, and something we hadn't seen before on the show," Leder said. "They're hacked and they're on air, the lights go out. We did testing as to what we wanted that to look and feel like."
Leder went on to explain that going back to the pilot, it was important to established what that on-camera look would be in The Morning Show, where everything is "bright" and "welcoming." But as the series dives into the personal lives of these characters, that visually needed to contrast the on-air look. That contrast was amped up to the next level for Season 3, specifically with this hack.
"This was literally the lights going out and playing in darkness and fear," Leder said.
The famed director and producer made the decision to go handheld to move the camera during the big hack moment, choreographing those key elements in the chaos.
"It was finding those key moments, and just rocking and rolling through those hallways," Leder explained. "Feeling the fear of those characters, feeling the uncertainty of what was happening."
"The lights going out. Being rushed to the room. Was there a shooter in the building? It was fun. It's back to my action days. I'm ready to shoot another action movie."
While Leder has worked on other dramas like The Leftovers, ER and Nashville, she also directed famed action movies, particularly The Peacemaker and Deep Impact.
Where to watch 'The Morning Show'
The first two episodes of Season 3 premiered on the streaming site Sept. 13, with the rest of the episodes releasing weekly through Nov. 8.