Sam Donovan (William H. Macy) -- the ratings consultant Isaac (Robert Guillaume) hired to help the show -- has everyone feeling on edge. After Dana (Felicity Huffman) and Sam both agree that the last couple of shows have been stilted, Sam suggests Dana do something provocative such as sexily whispering cues into Dan (Josh Charles) and Casey's (Peter Krause) earpieces. Insulted, Dana instead takes out her anger on Dan and Casey during the next commercial break. Sam decides that his presence is throwing everyone off and decides to leave the set -- but not before taking the script and turning off the teleprompter, forcing Dana to cue Dan and Casey via their earpieces. Also concerned about the show -- but not necessarily for the people who work on it -- is CSC network bigwig J.J. (Robert Mailhouse), who descends upon the studio with his own ideas for boosting the ratings. Insisting on meeting with the senior staff to go through his notes point by point, he proceeds to totally alienate everyone and quite nearly fires Dana -- who has been contemplating other job offers since Sam's arrival. Sam confronts J.J. during a break in the meeting and demands that the network let him do his job as he kicks J.J. and his lackeys out of the studio.