The Best Episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2019

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was one of the most literate, realistic, and enduring situation comedies of the 1970s. Mary Richards was the idealized single career woman. She had come to Minneapolis after breaking up with a man she had been dating for four years. Ambitious, and looking for new friends, she moved into an older apartment building and went to work as an assistant producer of the local news show on television station WJM-TV. In her early 30s, Mary symbolized the independent woman of the 1970s.

Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite

#1 - Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite

Season 4 - Episode 21

After a heavy self-promotion campaign, Ted wins his first Teddy Award. When Walter Cronkite comes to the newsroom, Ted assumes that he will be hired by the networks.

star 8.64
11 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Ed Weinberger
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Once I Had a Secret Love

#2 - Once I Had a Secret Love

Season 6 - Episode 18

Lou has spent the night with Sue Ann, and confides in Mary. Their friendship is almost ruined when Mary is unable to keep the secret.

star 8.50
6 votes
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The Snow Must Go On

#3 - The Snow Must Go On

Season 1 - Episode 8

A snowstorm leaves Mary producing her first program, broadcasting the results of the local elections. The show has to remain on until a winner is declared and no word is received at the newsroom.

star 8.48
33 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Lorenzo Music, David Davis
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Mary Richards: Producer

#4 - Mary Richards: Producer

Season 5 - Episode 16

Mary doesn't feel she deserves the title of producer and asks Lou that she be given the chance to produce The Six O'clock News alone.

star 8.40
10 votes
Directors: Norman Campbell
Writers: David Lloyd
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Room 223

#5 - Room 223

Season 2 - Episode 4

Mary and Rhoda enroll in a night school course in journalism and Mary begins dating the lecturer.

star 8.39
23 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Susan Silver
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A Boy's Best Friend

#6 - A Boy's Best Friend

Season 5 - Episode 11

Ted is shocked when he finds out his mother does not intend to marry her boyfriend, but will live with him.

star 8.38
8 votes
Writers: David Lloyd
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Sue Ann Gets the Ax

#7 - Sue Ann Gets the Ax

Season 7 - Episode 17

Sue Ann's Happy Homemaker show is canceled but she is determined to stay at WJM and asks Mary to give her a job in the newsroom.

star 8.33
3 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Bob Ellison
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The Last Show (Curtain Call)

#8 - The Last Show (Curtain Call)

Season 7 - Episode 24

WJM-TV has some personnel changes in the executive department (again), and everyone except Ted Baxter is fired. The new station manager wants to see the WJM News the highest-ranked in Minneapolis, and for some reason feels that Ted can help him make it happen. (Seems a little odd, eh?) The gang says goodbye to each other in the form of a long, hard cry. Mary thanks them all for being her surrogate family, and Lou finally sentimentally says, "I cherish you people." They bravely march out the office doors singing, "It's a long, long way to Tipperary." At the last moment, Mary leans back through through the WJM-TV doors and turns out the light. So long, WJM-TV.

star 8.33
9 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Allan Burns, James L. Brooks, Ed Weinberger, Stan Daniels, David Lloyd, Bob Ellison
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The 45-Year-Old Man

#9 - The 45-Year-Old Man

Season 1 - Episode 24

When Lou is fired, Mary goes to confront the station owner, Wild Jack Munroe.

star 8.32
22 votes
Directors: Herbert Kenwith
Writers: George Kirgo
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Thoroughly Unmilitant Mary

#10 - Thoroughly Unmilitant Mary

Season 2 - Episode 8

The writing and technical unions go on strike, leaving only Lou, Mary, and Ted in the newsroom. WJM-TV makes Lou be second cameraman on "The Chuckles the Clown Show". Because an upset Murray is on strike, Mary has to write the news stories. They are terrible, and when Lou criticizes them, she starts crying. Things take a turn for the worse: Ted's union strikes, and Lou has to fill in as anchorman! On his first brodcast, he has "clammy hands", and he bombs. At a local bar, Murray, Gordy, & Mary share a laugh over this. After drinking before his 2nd brodcast, he is "as cool as a cucumber"--that is, until he falls asleep at breaktime. Herb fills in for Lou for the rest of the brodcast. The next day, the unions come to an agreement, and everything goes back to normal. Rhoda Morgenstern & Phyllis Lindstrom do not appear in this episode.

star 8.30
23 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Martin Cohan
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We Closed in Minneapolis

#11 - We Closed in Minneapolis

Season 1 - Episode 19

Murray's play, All Work and No Play, is finally produced but his happiness is short-lived when he discovers that the leading role will be played by Ted.

star 8.25
24 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Gail Parent, Kenny Solms
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Two Wrongs Don't Make a Writer

#12 - Two Wrongs Don't Make a Writer

Season 4 - Episode 23

Ted joins Mary at a night-school class in creative writing, and winds up plagiarizing her assignment.

star 8.25
8 votes
Directors: Nancy Walker
Writers: David Lloyd
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What Are Friends For?

#13 - What Are Friends For?

Season 5 - Episode 10

Mary and Sue Ann go to a convention in Chicago and Mary finds out that Sue Ann leads a lonely life.

star 8.25
8 votes
Directors: Alan Rafkin
Writers: David Lloyd
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Lou Proposes

#14 - Lou Proposes

Season 7 - Episode 9

Lou realizes that he has feelings for Mary's Aunt Flo, a journalist with a similar pride and passion in the news profession.

star 8.25
4 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: David Lloyd
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Hail the Conquering Gordy

#15 - Hail the Conquering Gordy

Season 7 - Episode 18

WJM's former weatherman, Gordy Howard, returns to visit Minneapolis after becoming a highly successful network presenter in New York. Ted is desperate for a chance to join Gordy.

star 8.25
4 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Earl Pomerantz
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The Square-Shaped Room

#16 - The Square-Shaped Room

Season 2 - Episode 13

When Edie is out of town, Lou hires Rhoda to redecorate his living room. However, Rhoda's tastes are too modern.

star 8.24
17 votes
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Operation: Lou

#17 - Operation: Lou

Season 3 - Episode 13

Lou goes to hospital to have a piece of World War II shrapnel removed and, surprisingly, he and Ted become best friends.

star 8.23
13 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Elias Davis, David Pollock
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Love is All Around

#18 - Love is All Around

Season 1 - Episode 1

The classic series begins its classic 7-year run in Mary's apartment. Mary Richards, a 30-year-old single woman, has left her long-time boyfriend, Bill, to be with her old friend, Phyllis Lindstrom, in Minneapolis. (Mary originally lived in Roseburg, MN.) Why did Mary leave Bill? After promising to her that he would marry her right after his internship at the hospital, he said, "Why rush into things???" Meanwhile, she's already having troubles with her new apartment--a bitter upstairs neightbor, Rhoda Morgenstern, insists that she owns Mary's apartment! Later, Mary goes on a job interview at WJM-TV's The 6:00 News for a secreterial job. Lou Grant, the boss, tells her that the job has already been filled, but he does say that the job of Associate Producer is open. Sure, it offers $10 less per week than the secreterial job, but Mary is fine. "If you can get off with $15 less per week, I'll make you Producer," he says. She declines, then goes on to meeting Ted Baxter, the ridicul

star 8.23
127 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Allan Burns, James L. Brooks
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A Friend in Deed

#19 - A Friend in Deed

Season 1 - Episode 22

An irritating childhood friend drops by Mary's apartment, making use of her connection as Mary's former camp mate to introduce herself to the newsroom's staff.

star 8.21
24 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Susan Silver
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A Girl's Best Mother Is Not Her Friend

#20 - A Girl's Best Mother Is Not Her Friend

Season 2 - Episode 5

When Ida, Rhoda's mother, visits, she sees how well Phyllis and Bess get on, and how closely Mary appears to her mother when they chat on the telephone, that she tries to be Rhoda's "friend".

star 8.21
24 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: David Davis, Lorenzo Music
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The Birds . . . and . . . um . . . Bees

#21 - The Birds . . . and . . . um . . . Bees

Season 2 - Episode 1

In the second-season premiere, after Mary Richards produces a "What's Your Sexual IQ?" documentary for the Six O'Clock News, Rhoda confesses to failing and Phyllis says that young Bess watched it. Phyllis calls on Mary to teach Bess the facts of life, but it turns out that Bess already had learned it from her friends. Meanwhile, the WJM-TV newsroom is shelled with phone calls responding to the documentary. According to Mary, more people are appalled by it than anything else.

star 8.20
30 votes
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Didn't You Used to Be . . . Wait . . . Don't Tell Me

#22 - Didn't You Used to Be . . . Wait . . . Don't Tell Me

Season 2 - Episode 7

Mary attends her high school reunion and meets up with her former boyfriend Howard Arnell, who continues to have feelings for Mary. Meanwhile, Rhoda tags along believing that people will "remember" her although she didn't attend Roseburg High.

star 8.20
20 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Allan Burns
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I Love a Piano

#23 - I Love a Piano

Season 5 - Episode 6

Murray meets an attractive woman at one of Mary's parties and considers having an affair. On the pretext of buying her old piano, he goes to see her.

star 8.20
10 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Treva Silverman
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Menage-a-Phyllis

#24 - Menage-a-Phyllis

Season 5 - Episode 8

Phyllis dates a man on a platonic basis, but he is attracted more to Mary and begins seeing her.

star 8.20
10 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Treva Silverman
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The Boss Isn't Coming to Dinner

#25 - The Boss Isn't Coming to Dinner

Season 1 - Episode 21

Lou and his wife Edie separate and Mary becomes involved when she is asked for advice.

star 8.19
21 votes
Directors: Jay Sandrich
Writers: Lorenzo Music, David Davis
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