The Paper Chase: Season 1, Episode 16

A Matter of Anger (13 Feb. 1979)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
7.6
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An affirmative-action law student chafes at her admission status. This is compounded by the fact that her mother is employed as a maid/waitress at a university tea party honoring the law ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
James Stephens ...
Tom Fitzsimmons ...
...
...
Francine Tacker ...
Elizabeth Logan
...
Donna Scott
Jack Manning ...
Dean Rutherford
Royce Wallace ...
Mrs. Scott
Charles Hallahan ...
Betty Harford ...
Mrs. Nottingham
Alex Curi ...
George
...
Gagarian (as Stanley De Santis)
Brock Michaels ...
Student
...
Blair Correll
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Storyline

An affirmative-action law student chafes at her admission status. This is compounded by the fact that her mother is employed as a maid/waitress at a university tea party honoring the law students, where the student ends up making a scene in front of Kingsfield and the dean. Written by JEFJR

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13 February 1979 (USA)  »

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(RCA Photophone Sound Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Addressing a tough and divisive subject.
25 April 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In "A Matter of Anger", Denise Nicholas plays Donna Scott--a first year law student who is struggling in Professor Kingsfield's Contract Law class. She is angry and defensive and this is impeding her progress in the class. Some of this is understandable--she knows she was admitted as a result of affirmative action* and she's scared. And, when she's scared, she lashes out at others. This is an even more serious problem now that a famous lawyer (William Prince) is visiting the campus--presumptively to look for minority students who do not deserve admission to the program.

At the same time, Hart has a problem. His student loan check has not arrived--and unless he comes up with the money ASAP, he'll be placed on academic probation. When he goes to Kingsfield to discuss this, Kingsfield sees a way to help both students--to have Hart tutor Donna and give her confidence. Can Scott manage to impress AND control her anger? Like many touchy subjects of the day (such as the disabled), I really have to admire "The Paper Chase" for addressing the issues. And, it's interesting that although the show seems to be pro-affirmative action, it chose a very unlikable character to do so. Thought-provoking and well done...as usual for this likable series.

Outside the US, you may not be familiar with the term 'affirmative action'. This is a practice where targeted disadvantaged minority groups are given preferential treatment (such as slightly lower standards in some areas) in seeking jobs or college admission. It's been ruled illegal IF the standards are monolithic (i.e., specific quotas), though race MAY be used in consideration.


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