'The Newsroom'

Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) checks out hate websites targeting him on HBO's "The Newsroom." (Melissa Moseley / HBO / July 18, 2013)

ACN staffers are drawn deeper into a story that could be their undoing in “The Genoa Tip,” Episode 12, of HBO’s “The Newsroom” dramedy.

Genoa was supposedly a black ops mission that freed American captives in Pakistan. But if Marines killed civilians with Sarin nerve gas during the extraction -- as they’re accused of doing -- government officials could go to prison for war crimes.

“News Night” executive producer MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) is skeptical when she hears about the secret mission from Jerry Dantana (Hamish Linklater), a hotshot producer from Washington. But Mac becomes intrigued when speaking with a retired Marine who claims he took part in the mission.

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

“They’re all dead,” he says of the Pakistanis.

Reporting such an explosive story, however, might be too much for controversial news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), who’s the target of online hate sites and faces condemnation by the House of Representatives for a tea party slur.

“I’m not who I used to be right now,” admits Will, who pretends that “it’s not a big deal” when he’s yanked from 9/11 10-year anniversary coverage for being damaged goods.

Elsewhere in the newsroom, associate producer Maggie Jordan (Alison Pill) confides in financial reporter Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) that she just split up with co-worker Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski). This after Don sees a YouTube video of Maggie screaming “like a lunatic” that she’s fallen for a guy -- senior producer Jim Harper (John Gallagher, Jr.) -- who’s dating her roommate, Lisa Lambert (Kelen Coleman).

To make that problematic clip disappear, Maggie and Sloan track down blogger-with-attitude Erica (Maria Dizzia) at a Queens laundromat. Sloan agrees to promote Erica’s tacky blog to 450,000 Twitter followers in exchange for taking down the video.

PHOTOS: 2013 Emmy nominees react

But Erica reneges on the deal, and Lisa soon learns Maggie’s true feelings for Jim. After a heated exchange, Lisa agrees to accept Maggie as a roommate -- but their friendship is over.

With her romantic life a wreck, Maggie wants more than ever to be the “go-to person” for news out of Africa, where America’s "war on terror" is shifting.

“You’re green, and it’s dangerous,” protests Mac when Maggie asks for an assignment in Kampala. But Maggie claims Uganda is safe, even though a deadly protest just erupted, so Mac relents.

Also determined to prove his journalistic worth is “News Night” Web master Neal Sampat (Dev Patel), who’s investigating the nascent Occupy Wall Street movement.

Neal grows closer to Shelly Wexler (Aya Cash), who’s helping organize the protestors with their multitude of demands, leaderless structure and annoying “jazz hands” signifying silent applause.

The first rally Neal covers goes bust when only 300 participants turn out. But when he attends a second rally, Neal gets caught up with protestors wearing Guy Fawkes masks. He’s promptly arrested by the NYPD.

VIDEO: Countdown to the 2013 Emmys

Bailing out Neal at the police station is Will, who can no longer hide the anger he feels for being publicly humiliated and the shame he feels for avoiding tough stories.

Troy Davis was executed in Georgia because he couldn’t afford a decent attorney, Will vents to a police sergeant. A predator drone strike targeted an American citizen. And now protestors are arrested on Wall Street for wearing Halloween masks.