I watched the episodes of The Morning Show with interest and a great deal of admiration for the performances of Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston. I read Tom Weiss’ review of the show  here with interest and pleasure.

Because I don’t disagree with the Weiss review in broad outline, I’m not lodging a dissenting opinion. But I do want to talk about opportunities missed as well as opportunities taken in the production, because there were some.

I can’t help but bring to the show my experience over thirty-plus years with sexual harassment claims. I have defended them, “prosecuted” them, mediated them, investigated them, and served as arbitrator in cases where sexual harassment was part of the mix of claims. I’ve conducted training in how to prevent such claims.

I doubt I’ve seen it all, although sometimes it seems as though I have. But I’ve seen right much. So I can tell you that these claims range all the way from complete fabrication and gross exaggeration to really ugly abuse. I’ve also learned that the reaction of large corporations is typically to make things easier on themselves by avoiding distinctions and lumping everything together. And as Weiss makes clear in his review, that’s exactly what the Network does when the co-host of the morning show is exposed as a sexual predator.

Slogans like #MeToo, “zero tolerance”, and “believe women” are ideal for large companies, because they can substitute rote application of labels for thought. Thus, minor violations are made major, and lower level employees are made to suffer the consequences of the misbehavior of the influential and powerful.

This what happens in The Morning Show, although the viewer must watch closely to see it. When celebrated co-anchor Mitch Kessler is outed as a serial harasser, the Network undertakes a comprehensive investigation of the entire production staff by a consulting or law firm brought in for that purpose. The announcement of the investigation is accompanied by pious and hypocritical imprecations of “no tolerance”, and snide assurances of a “safe” workplace, made by the same executives who tolerated Kessler for years.

Caught in the prop-wash of the investigation are Hannah, a booking agent who was one of Kessler’s genuine victims, but who accepted a promotion from the corporate CEO to remain silent about it, and Claire, a young production assistant who is engaged in a romantic affair with the program’s weatherman Yankel. When Hannah, who has learned of the affair, reports it to Human Resources, the investigation turns to Claire and her lover.

The investigator assigned to the project isn’t interested in hearing Claire’s protestations that what has been uncovered is an office romance and not harassment or abuse. She’d much rather hear an accusation of harassment, and keeps pushing Claire in that direction.

As for Hannah, she advises Claire to end the affair, because the “weather guy” isn’t important enough to get her a worthwhile position for her trouble. It takes Hannah’s suicide to send Claire back to her lover.

You can find this story of how the Network shrugs off Hannah’s real victimization because she already got promoted and tries to turn an office romance from a situation to be watched to a real violation in The Morning Show, but it tends to get lost among the corporate power politics of the executives and anchors.

Yet Claire and her lover, Yankel the weatherman, are victims of the corporate culture that substitutes buzz-words for meaningful reforms, and slogans for analysis. Not as much as Hannah, but victims all the same.

The Morning Show is every bit as compelling as Weiss suggests, but I wish these subplots had been given more attention. That’s a missed opportunity that I hope will be taken in another season, or perhaps another show.