Series Finale



Scene Title Series Finale
Synopsis The Advocate airs what Brad believes will be its swan song.
Date November 10, 2011

Studio K

The Advocate looks vastly different than it has in its recent airing. After a months long hiatus, the fall premiere of the show boasts a different format — one akin to those Kristen and Russo had opted for whenever something had gone vastly wrong in New York. The picture pans to the host sitting behind his desk; a position he rarely takes when addressing the situation at large.

The theme music for the Advocate plays and Brad manages a faint curl of his lips. “Good evening folks, this is the Advocate and I’m Bradley Russo. We’re filming from New York City, and unlike normal, we have no live studio audience tonight.” He glances to where one would be, but his chin drops towards his chest with a kind of silent masochism that he lets hang in the air.

“As I’m sure rumours have spread over the last few months, I’d like to start this episode, one that is very important to me as journalist, on a personal note. As many of you have heard, I did a recent stint in rehab for alcoholism.” Brad manages a ghost of a smile, “This wasn’t my first, and likely won’t be my last. Deeply personal loss sent me into a tailspin. That said,” his throat clears, “my time in rehab was short-lived. The last six months have been spent fact-checking the story I aim to share tonight.”

But he’s still not there yet. “But before I share it, I’m going to be frank with all of you viewers. I know that in the coming days, following this episode, many will try to besmirch my name.” He manages a flash of his teeth into a charming smile. “As of now, I’ve already admitted to an ongoing alcohol addiction. I am SLC-Expressive. I’m a New Yorker, so, of course, I’ve seen a shrink,” his sense of humour will not be suppressed. “Despite that, I have no known mental illness, have never had any delusions, and was never medicated for anything to that end.”

Blue eyes train on the screen to better engage the viewers. “But this story isn’t about me. It’s about you. For years this country has fostered a sense of fear about its own citizens. It’s ramped up measures that have claimed to mitigate tensions while simultaneously creating them. It’s separated, segregated, and imprisoned people who have committed no crimes. This story is about how our government did that.”

“The interview we’re airing tonight was actually conducted in April. Following my discussion with two different people, I felt it prudent to fact check and verify all of the information featured here. I spent ample time underground doing just that to ensure we had no interference. While I know that not all of this evidence can be readily provided, in the coming weeks, publications across this country will be featuring stories based on this concrete evidence. Because ultimately, you are the subject of this story because you are the only one who can do anything about it.”

“And now, without further adieu, this is the interview.”

The video plays from April, in its entirety — completely unedited, even with Russo’s note that he’d have to edit it.

Once the video is complete, the screen switches back to Brad’s desk. “Our government conspires against us. We don’t know why. But let me be clear, laws that confine citizens and prevent movement, that lock up the innocent, and that negate people who cause no harm, are laws to be resisted. And that is why you are the only one that can change them. Governments create fear because they manage the propaganda machine. But let me be clear: People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.”

Brad treads out from behind the desk and strolls towards the camera, never taking his eyes away from it. “So do everything you can to resist. If you are SLC-Expressive, evolved, whatever you want to call it — do not take the medication. Do not give in. Keep fighting. If you are not, voluntarily take the drugs. Create so much demand that a shortage runs out and rumours begin that I bought stock in big pharma. We need to stop this machine. We need to take to the streets. We need to stand up and stand out because ultimately, the only people who can fix this is each of us. And today you decide if you’re going to be someone who makes a stand for justice. This isn’t charity. This isn’t evolved and non-evolved. This isn’t manifested and unmanifested. This is about justice. What is just? Because at the end of the day we’re all people. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. You’re a human being. Unite with other human beings. Stand for other human beings. Stand for liberty — it’s what this country was founded on.”

His throat clears. “Registration was supposed to prevent the state of affairs we’re currently in. Which begs an important question: what is its purpose? Is it to keep us safe? Do you feel any safer? Do you feel any better with so many locked away?” His tone quiets and his expression softens, "I'm guessing not. Not when there are things this government won't take account for. Not when there are too many questions and not enough answers. And not when the truth gets buried deep enough that most of us can’t easily see it."

“As some of you may already know, Studio K has been downsizing the last few weeks. Throughout the last year, our leadership team has pronounced resistance as our mantra.” His eyebrows knit together. “Our senior staff took a field trip to Coyote Sands to investigate a lead.” Evidently this one isn’t up for debate or conversation tonight. “Our late senior producer, Kristen Reynolds, died trying to uncover the truth. She got sick following a story. Tahir Dunham of Up All Night had his set destroyed because he resisted. Do whatever you can to stand up. Do everything you can to stand up. And do not give in. Do not lose hope.”

“And know that if there is breath in my lungs, I will continue to do my job. I am a journalist, and I am committed to truth. The Advocate will no longer be airing in this way, but tune into your radios, same bat time, just scan for the right bat channel and you will find me until they decide otherwise.” His expression turns solemn. “If I’m silent?” Russo’s expression darkens but he offers no further commentary on the topic, leaving it to the viewers’ imaginations, and own conclusions.

The music for the Advocate plays and a charming rehearsed smile tugs at Brad’s features, but it has a bittersweet quality as his hands clasp in front of him. “Thank you for tuning in tonight and these last few years. When we started the idea of this show, back in radio, Kristen and I never really believed it would become what it has. Thank you for being with us on this ride. Thank you for caring about your city. Your state. Your country.”

He manages one last bittersweet smile, his eyes glossy as Brad stares into the lens once more. “When we first discussed the title of the show, The Advocate didn’t seem like a good title. Advocates are people who support something. But when we pushed our ideas, it became clear, that the show we wanted was to be an Advocate of democracy — of the people. This show has always been about bolstering your ability to see the issues; to make politics understandable. To hear perspectives. Ultimately, this show has always been about you.” He swallows hard. “So draw your line in the sand.”

Brad’s chin dips towards his chest a moment and he assumes a single moment of silence before readdressing the camera.

“Thanks for joining us tonight. I’m Bradley Russo. Goodnight, New York.”

Previously in this storyline…

The End of Studio K

Next in this storyline…

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