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The Morning Show's Mimi Leder on Why Bradley's Secret Defines Season 3's Battle for the Truth

What is she hiding?

Hunter Ingram
Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

Apple TV+

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the first two episodes of The Morning Show Season 3, now streaming on Apple TV+.

Bradley Jackson has never been someone to mince words, so it's notable how often she's at a loss for them during the two-episode Season 3 premiere of The Morning Show.

The series' long-awaited return on Apple TV+ serves as a one-two punch for Bradley (played by Emmy nominee and executive producer Reese Witherspoon), who is seemingly riding high compared to when audiences last saw her desperately searching for her missing addict brother in the final moments of Season 2. She also saw her love interest Laura (Julianna Margulies) flee to Montana at the onset of COVID-19, while her boss and UBA network president Cory (Billy Crudup) confessed his love for her.

But those troubles seem to be a thing of the past as Bradley strides into the season premiere with her head held high — for now.

"She seems to be thriving," says acclaimed director Mimi Leder, who directed the season's first two episodes and serves as an executive producer on the series. "She's where she wants to be at UBA. She finally has the anchor chair at the Evening News, she's winning all these awards. But something is missing in her life and we don't know what it is yet. We can see she is not with Laura or Cory, and she has this secret she is carrying."

The cracks begin to show when Stella (Greta Lee) informs Bradley she can't cover a story about abortion accessibility she has fought hard to report on because it might alienate conservative viewers in her new role as the face of Evening News. After that damning directive, her frustrations spill over at an event honoring her work capturing the chaos inside the U.S. Capitol Building during the Jan. 6th insurrection. Folding up her prepared acceptance speech, Bradley chooses instead to offer a single, succinct warning — "There will always, always be someone who tries to silence you. Don't let them."

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"We can see she is troubled and something is wrong," Leder says. "She's holding something very close to her that is painful, so she gets drunk and she calls out Cory, without saying the words. That moment really sets the tone for the season. One of the themes in our show this year is the state of the truth. The truth in journalism, the truth in the world, and the lies we tell ourselves."

But the secret that is fueling Bradley's unrest will remain under wraps for at least half the season, according to Leder.

"In Episode 5, we see what Bradley did, what she's hiding, and we will see if she can do the right thing by the end of the season," Leder teases. 

But the ramifications of her very public and pointed speech are overshadowed in Episode 2 when UBA is completely taken off the air by a cyberattack that exposes all of the network's data, including the personal information on the phones of its entire staff. Among the data stolen is a private video Bradley sent to then-girlfriend Laura that's very NSFW. The hackers eventually demand $50 million to stop the release of the video, but the network's board of directors refuses to pay up.

It is Cory, along with Stella and Laura, who informs Bradley of the compromising video, leaving her speechless and more vulnerable than she's been since audiences first met her in Season 1. Adding insult to injury, she has to be the one to break the news of the hack on the Evening News.

But the hack won't just put Bradley in a tough spot. Episode 2 ends with Stella digging up a potentially compromised — and incriminating — photo she had on her phone of herself as a younger woman standing with tech billionaire Paul Marks (new cast member Jon Hamm), whom Cory has identified as the savior of the floundering UBA network. Her ties to the controversial figure will make things dicey as Paul sinks his billion-dollar fangs into the business.

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"Stella's got power now, she can make decisions without going through Cory," Leder says. "She has come into her own. But then we find out she has a secret. In walks this tech genius billionaire to save the day and she has to face something from her past that she doesn't want to. She is faced with a big decision — can she trust herself to do the right thing?"

That question will plague almost every character this season, especially Alex (Jennifer Aniston), who finds herself drawn to Paul when Cory shuts down her attempts to get a seat at the network's management table.

Another wild card in all of this is the newest addition to The Morning Show. Nicole Beharie makes her debut in the premiere as Chris Hunter, a former Olympic runner who trades the track for television — a la Michael Strahan, as Leder points out.

While audiences are used to the infighting and opportunistic maneuvering behind the scenes of TMS, Chris is still getting her footing when she's faced with the hack and, as Leder teases, the show's exploration of systemic racism in the workplace.

"She's the new anchor on The Morning Show, and she's a natural," Leder says. "But she finds out this world is very different than the track where there's a clock, there's a beginning and there's a finish line. The UBA politics and the turf wars are new to her and confusing. What does winning even look like now to her? She is navigating that maze and she discovers a new side of herself."

It will all go back to that matter of the truth, which Leder promises will put every character in the hot seat.

"Are they going to tell the truth?" she says. "Are they ready to sacrifice their careers for their lies? And more importantly, how are they going to live with themselves if they don't do the right thing?"

The Morning Show Season 1 and 2 are now streaming on Apple TV+. Season 3's new episodes will air weekly on Wednesdays through November 8. The series has already been renewed for Season 4.