Cold Copy Ending, Explained: What Did Diane’s Nod for Mia Mean?

Journalism is a cut-throat field where you remain relevant as long as the stories you bring forward hold any relevance to the audience. On the surface, it might seem that truth is all that matters, but in ‘Cold Copy,’ we discover how truth is bent and broken into something spicier and much more exciting for the people because, at the end of the day, that’s what sells. While teaching a young Mia how to navigate the world of journalism, the veteran Diane tells her that the story should capture the audience’s imagination. It should lead somewhere the viewers would find something so deliciously appalling that they can’t help but take their eyes away.

It is quite a learning curve for Mia, who receives some of the most hard-hitting lessons of her life from Diane. But it isn’t until the end of the film that she proves herself fit to be a ruthless journalist for whom the story is above all else. There are two stories she produces at entirely different points in the film. While the first one shows how desperate she is for validation and to prove herself worthy of her profession, it is the second one, which she makes about Diane, that truly marks the development of her character.

Why did Mia Frame Diane?

It is one thing to sabotage others and something entirely different to have the same thing happen to you. Since the start of the film, we see Mia clamoring for Diane Heger’s attention and trying to prove herself worthy of it. She goes out of her way to make herself noticeable to Diane, and as rough around the edges, as she might be, Diane takes notice of her and teaches her all the things that would allow her to flourish in journalism. But all of these lessons turn out to be rather dark and something that Mia had not expected she’d have to do.

When asked why she was interested in journalism, Mia said it was about the truth. She kept repeating it as if trying to convince herself that’s what it was really about. But then, Diane breaks that pattern and tells Mia that the truth doesn’t matter as much. Only the audience’s attention matters and one must do whatever it takes to keep it. If not directly, and through her nudges and words of encouragement at the right place at the right time, Diane puts Mia down a dark path. This leads the young journalist to burn the few bridges she had built, and even when her story is selected at the end, she feels guilty for having committed the wrongs to get there.

But for everything she had to do, Mia told herself that it would all be worth it when her story appeared on the news segment, giving her the big break she’d been vying for all this time. She is eager to hear her voice narrating Igor’s story, even though she manipulated him and the things around him to get the story that she thought would have people listening to her and looking at her. It would be her moment in the sun, but with one master stroke, Diane takes it away from her. While the video remains the same, the audio changes from Mia’s voice to Diane’s.

While Mia is infuriated, Diane gives her the reasoning behind her action. She claims that the story wouldn’t have had half the weight if she wasn’t the one narrating it. If people heard the voice of some strange girl they know nothing about, they would be less likely to pay attention to it. But if they heard Diane Heger speaking, they would turn all their attention to their TV sets, giving the story the attention it deserves. The way she says it makes it sound like a logical thing, but it is clear that Diane has sabotaged Mia and taken the story for herself. No one would ask about Mia Scott now because Diane Heger claims to have come up with the story.

This is the moment when Mia realizes that she has fallen into the very pit she was digging for others. She was so focused on being the winner that she almost destroyed the career of her best friend, and her moral compass was so skewed by Diane that she manipulated a grieving teenager and made the most personal parts of his life public, something she promised she’d never do to him. She had turned herself into a person that even she herself would detest, and what was it all for? Nothing. The story that she thought would change everything for her, the very thing that Diane had told her didn’t hold any meaning in the beginning, was now credited to Diane, and she would be the only one to reap its rewards.

However, learning the lesson is not enough for Mia. She wanted to carry the message forward. She wanted payback, and it would be sweeter for the fact that it would teach Diane a thing or two. So, she came up with the idea of doing the same thing to Diane that she was told to do to Igor. She takes Diane’s words and twists them by editing them so that they would sound much more scandalous than they actually were. She knows what Diane really meant in their final conversation. She also knows that the editing audio completely flips the meaning of those words, but that doesn’t make them false. For Mia, this is Diane getting a taste of her own medicine, and isn’t that what she had taught Mia when she stole Igor’s story?

In teaching Diane a lesson, Mia also tries to patch things up with the people she’d hurt along the way. Had she not sabotaged Kim’s source, her story could have radically changed things for her. As an apology, Mia decides to give Kim something else as big, if not bigger, than the Senate case she’d been working on. It is not enough to mend things between them because it was quite a betrayal on Mia’s part, but it’s a start, and the fact that Mia is willing to take responsibility for her actions and is trying to make up for it says a lot about how far she has come now.

Diane Acknowledges and Validates Mia’s Actions

When someone ruins your career, it is logical for you to be angered by the sight of that person. Your anger might lead you to attack the person, no matter if you are in public. One would expect something similar from Diane, but those who know her better would know that anger is the last thing she feels for Mia. In fact, when she does lay eyes on the young journalist, Diane actually nods at her, short of a smirk that she usually reserves for the times when she has had the upper hand in a situation. This nod says a lot about Diane’s character.

Diane is many things, but what she is not is a hypocrite. Throughout the film, we find her pushing Mia’s buttons, getting her to approach the story differently, editing it to make it more interesting to the audience, and doing whatever it takes to get what she wants. Moreover, she doesn’t chide Mia for stabbing her best friend in the back, rather she validates her move by giving her Kim’s job at TNR. At one point, she even tells Mia that she pushes her so hard because she believes Mia has great potential. Even if it might seem like Diane is not interested in Mia and her work, she actually ends up taking the young woman under her wing, mainly because she sees a reflection of herself in Mia. She sees the hunger for success, the thirst for being at the top, to do whatever it takes to get to the top, something that Diane herself had when she was new to the industry.

In some ways, Mia reminds Diane of herself, and this makes her feel a sense of camaraderie, due to which she pushes Mia to do better, even if it turns her into a bad person. But in all this, Diane is completely aware of what she is turning Mia into. However, she doesn’t realize until it’s too late that the monster she is creating could come back to bite her. She says she saw Mia’s potential, but she didn’t anticipate how fast Mia would learn the lessons, and more importantly, she didn’t expect Mia to turn the tables on her.

In the end, when it happens, Diane is shocked but also, in some ways, not really surprised. She handles the situation with grace, knowing that the media will try its best to tear her down, which is exactly something she would have done had the story been about someone else. She knows how things work in the industry, which is why, she is not so easy to lose her cool. And it is also why she understands why Mia did what she did. She doesn’t take it personally when Mia does the very thing Diane had taught her. Rather, it confirms that Mia has learned her lessons well and has proved herself tough enough to not just survive in the field of journalism but also to flourish, something that Diane had always expected of her. Her nod towards Mia is her acknowledging Mia’s intentions and actions and, weirdly, giving her blessing as if telling her that her education is complete. The nod signifies Diane’s validation for Mia, something she had craved all along.

Read More: Cold Copy: Is the Movie Based on a True Story?