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The West Wing
Season 1 Descriptions



Episode Index  |  Main Index  |  Information Index
1.1 Pilot  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 09-22-99 Rerun 12-08-99 and 08-07-00 10 p.m. and 02-25-01 and 05-14-06 7 p.m.

The entire White House staff bristles with activity when it's learned that the President (Martin Sheen) injured himself during a bicycle accident, and his absence becomes a factor as chief of staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer) must juggle a host of impending crises, including a mass boat lift of Cuban refugees approaching the Florida coast and the reaction of conservative Christians to a controversial televised comment by deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford. Meanwhile, Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), the trouble-prone deputy communications director, unknowingly spends the night with a call girl (Lisa Edelstein) and then makes another critical error during a children's White House tour.

1.2 "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc"  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 09-29-99 Rerun 12-29-99

Despite warnings from fellow office workers, infatuated White House staffer Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) presses his luck when he continues to publicly pursue a high-priced call girl (Lisa Edelstein) with whom he shared a night of passion. Press secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) tries to defuse a potentially nasty public clash between the President (Martin Sheen) and his willful Vice President (Tim Matheson) concerning the Veep's quotes about a bill favored by the chief executive. Exasperated political consultant Mandy Hampton (Moira Kelly) drowns her troubles when her only client ignores her advice and agrees to bottle up a key bill in committee that could have been costly for the President if put to a vote. The President forges a kinship with a young African-American Navy captain (Reuben Santiago-Hudson) who's substituting for his regular White House physician - so much, in fact, that he asks him to assume the position on a full-time basis.

1.3 A Proportional Response  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 10-06-99 Rerun 01-19-00 and 07-18-01

Still seething over the downing of an fully loaded American jet in the Mideast, a vengeful President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) overrules the joint chiefs' plan for a "proportional" military strike and demands a more severe attack that would result in thousands of enemy and civilian casualties. While Leo (John Spencer) and other advisers try to cool off the Commander-in-Chief, Press Secretary C.J. (Allison Janney) scolds a wayward Sam (Rob Lowe) over his potentially explosive private crusade to rescue a well-known call girl from her profession. Feeling overlooked during the hubbub surrounding the military options, Josh (Bradley Whitford) interviews a shy African-American teen (Dulé Hill) as a potential personal aide to the President.

1.4 Five Votes Down  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 10-13-99 Rerun 02-02-00

Presidential Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer) needs five more House votes to pass a bill restricting the sale of automatic firearms -- but the cost might be too high, especially if he has to go to the unpredictable Vice President (Tim Matheson) to help put them over the top. The staff's annual financial disclosure statements prove to be thorny for Toby (Richard Schiff), whose innocent technology stock purchase last year proved to be wildly profitable, which raises eyes due to his association with an expert in the field. In addition, Leo's long hours on the job cause an unforeseen crisis at home, and the President (Martin Sheen) unintentionally mixes up the potent medications he receives for his ailing back.

1.5 The Crackpots and These Women  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 10-20-99 Rerun 07-12-00

Josh (Bradley Whitford) is troubled when he receives a special card informing him of where to safely go in the event of a nuclear attack -- a privilege denied to most of his White House co-workers -- while Leo (John Spencer) instructs the senior staff to meet with various special interest groups, some of whom have wacky agendas. Prior to an important press conference, Toby (Richard Schiff) voices strong opposition to many of President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) plans for an upcoming California trip and later checks out the rumor that he was not the chief executive's first choice for the job. The President, meanwhile, virtually orders his staff to sample his prized chili when he arranges a reception for his Georgetown-bound daughter (Elisabeth Moss)

1.6 Mr. Willis of Ohio  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 11-03-99 Rerun 03-08-00 and 08-08-01

Toby (Richard Schiff) and Mandy (Moira Kelly) work to convince some congressmen -- including the nervous Mr. Willis (Al Fann), who assumed his late wife's office -- to approve a commerce bill that includes a vital census-counting provision. The President's daughter (Elisabeth Moss) gets into an ugly fracas in a Georgetown bar along with Josh (Bradley Whitford) and Sam (Rob Lowe). Elsewhere, C.J. (Allison Janney) swallows her pride and asks Sam for help to understand the basic components of the administration's stance on random census-taking in 2000, and a peeved President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) scolds Leo (John Spencer) when he learns that Leo's wife has left him.

1.7 The State Dinner  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 11-10-99 Rerun 03-15-00 and 07-26-00

As a night's stylish state dinner honoring the Indonesian president looms in the background, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) keeps his eye on a spate of potentially explosive problems: an FBI hostage standoff with dozens of militant survivalists, a Class-4 hurricane bearing down on a carrier group at sea and an impending national trucker's strike. Behind the scenes, the gracious First Lady (Stockard Channing) prepares to host the dinner, a pushy reporter (Timothy Busfield) flirts with C.J. (Allison Janney), Josh (Bradley Whitford) and Toby (Richard Schiff) corner an Indonesian government official (Peter Kors) to ask a favor, and a surprised Sam (Rob Lowe) spies his call girl friend Laurie (Lisa Edelstein) at the event.

1.8 Enemies  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 11-17-99 Rerun 07-19-00

A crucial banking bill is at risk when political rivals of environmentally sensitive President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) attach a land-use rider to it that would allow strip-mining some of the Montana wilderness. C.J. (Allison Janney) tries to stamp out rumors that the Chief Executive chastised the Vice President (Tim Matheson) during a cabinet meeting. An overworked Leo (John Spencer) isn't too keen on his independent daughter Mallory (Allison Smith), dating the handsome Sam (Rob Lowe). C.J. continues to fend-off the romantic charms of a perceptive reporter (Timothy Busfield) with a knack for sniffing out juicy stories. Former lovers Mandy (Moira Kelly) and Josh (Bradley Whitford) clash over the administration's attempt to jettison the land-use rider that might also ruin passage of the more important banking bill.

1.9 The Short List  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 11-24-99 Rerun 03-29-00 and 07-11-01

When a Supreme Court justice retires, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) has a golden opportunity to impact the court's composition by nominating a favorite judge (Ken Howard) -- but when further study reveals the candidate's conflicting ideology, the President might change his mind and opt for another judge. In addition, a headline seeking congressman (Holmes Osborne) on the House Government Oversight Committee accuses the White House staff of substance abuse -- a dicey issue for one important member.

1.10 In Excelsis Deo  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 12-15-99 Rerun 04-12-00 and 02-25-01 10 p.m.

As Christmas Eve approaches, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) eagerly sneaks out of the White House for some last-minute Christmas shopping, while a haunted Toby (Richard Schiff) learns more about a forgotten Korean War hero who died alone on the district's cold streets wearing a coat that Toby once donated to charity. In other hushed corridors, Sam (Rob Lowe) and Josh (Bradley Whitford) ignore Leo's (John Spencer) advice and consult Sam's call girl friend (Lisa Edelstein) concerning her confidential clientele when one political rival hints at exposing Leo's previous drug problem. C.J. (Allison Janney) wonders aloud about the President's public response to a notorious hate crime while her personal resolve weakens as persistent reporter (Timothy Busfield) continues to ask her out.

1.11 Lord John Marbury  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 01-05-00 Rerun 04-19-00

The Kashmir border powderkeg becomes more explosive when the Indian army invades Pakistani-held territory, making the threat of a nuclear confrontation frighteningly real to President Bartlet (Martin Sheen), who calls in Lord Marbury (Roger Rees), an eccentric British diplomat with ties to both warring nations -- and a weakness for booze. An angry Josh (Bradley Whitford) is subpoenaed to testify as the investigation into substance abuse among White House staffers grinds on towards its inevitable target: chief of staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer). Mandy (Moira Kelly) floats a trial balloon among the staff to test their reaction to her notion of representing a liberal Republican. The President is surprised when Charlie (Dulé Hill) asks him if he can date his willing daughter Zoey (Elisabeth Moss).

1.12 He Shall, From Time To Time...  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 01-12-00 Rerun 06-21-00

The White House staff is in full crisis mode when President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is found unconscious as he prepares for the State of the Union speech while the India-Pakistan border skirmish flares again when a fearful Pakistan gives its field commanders control of its nuclear arsenal. While the President's condition is officially blamed on the flu, the First Lady (Stockard Channing) knows better, and Toby (Richard Schiff) is too busy to notice as he polishes his boss' upcoming address. Equally distracting is the inevitable disclosure of Leo's (John Spencer) former substance-abuse problem by political rivals, as well as the reappearance of the amusing Lord Marbury (Roger Rees) -- a besotted ladies' man who doubles as a key adviser on the India-Pakistan conflict. Despite the crises, C.J. (Allison Janney) and Mallory (Allison Smith) express their romantic feelings about two very different men.

1.13 Take Out The Trash Day  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 01-26-00 Rerun 06-28-00

While President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his staff debate the appropriate response to a controversial new sex education study, there are fears that the parents of a murdered gay teenager should be excused from attending the signing of a hate crimes bill because of the father's embarrassment about his son's homosexuality. Josh (Bradley Whitford) and Sam (Rob Lowe) meet with an appropriations subcommittee which is investigating Josh's lack of cooperation in the White House staff drug probe -- all of which is designed to expose Leo's (John Spencer) former substance-abuse problem. Toby (Richard Schiff) relishes his verbal duel with some congressmen who have held up the newest appointments for the Public Broadcasting Corporation. C.J. (Allison Janney) is advised to save a few embarrassing stories for release on Friday to blunt the effect on the media over the weekend, but she also finds time to continue her frisky flirtation with a White House reporter (Timothy Busfield).

1.14 Take This Sabbath Day  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 02-09-00 Rerun 07-05-00

After the Supreme Court refuses to stay the execution of a Federal prisoner convicted of killing two drug kingpins, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) must decide whether or not to commute his sentence in less than 48 hours, so he calls upon his sagacious childhood priest (Karl Malden) for guidance. Meanwhile, even Toby (Richard Schiff) feels the heat over the controversial issue when he hears a sermon on capital punishment from his rabbi (David Proval). Elsewhere, a hearing-challenged, combative campaign manager (Marlee Matlin) demands an audience with the President when her Democratic congressional candidate has purposely been underfunded by his party before the upcoming election to unseat an incumbent.

1.15 Celestial Navigation  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 02-16-00 Rerun 08-16-00 and 07-25-01

Sam (Rob Lowe) and Toby (Richard Schiff) are dispatched to Connecticut for some damage control and to secure the secret release of President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) choice (Edward James Olmos) for the Supreme Court, who has been jailed for alleged drunk driving and resisting arrest. Meanwhile, Josh (Bradley Whitford) is a guest lecturer at a college class to talk about working for the President and he recounts the previous week's flare-ups, which include: his feeble attempt to fill in as the White House spokesman at a press conference where he promises that the President has "a secret plan to fight inflation," and the media glare that engulfs the African-American HUD secretary (CCH Pounder) who publicly labeled a prominent Republican as a racist.

1.16 20 Hours in L.A.  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 02-23-00 Rerun 08-02-00 and 12-06-00

President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and several of his staff head to Los Angeles for a whirlwind visit that is topped off by a star-studded fundraiser hosted by a wealthy film honcho (Bob Balaban) who threatens to cancel the bash unless Bartlet announces his opposition to a congressional bill banning gays in the military. Back in Washington, Leo (John Spencer) tries to convince a stubborn Vice President Hoynes (Tim Matheson) to break the Senate voting deadlock over an ethanol tax credit favored by the White House. Elsewhere, Josh (Bradley Whitford) learns that feisty campaign manager Joey Lucas (Marlee Matlin) is staying in his Los Angeles hotel and he eagerly anticipates seeing her again. The President takes a meeting where he is warned about not supporting an amendment banning flag-burning and checks up on Secret Service security for his daughter Zoey (Elisabeth Moss) -- and is unafraid to close down a restaurant where she's lunching. Jay Leno, Veronica Webb and David Hasselhoff guest star as celebrities attending the Hollywood bash.

1.17 The White House Pro-Am  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 03-22-00 Rerun 08-08-00 10 p.m.

The President's (Martin Sheen) and First Lady's (Stockard Channing) staffs feud over rival agendas when her public statements about foreign child-labor abuse inspires a Congresswoman (Amy Aquino) to attach an amendment that will surely torpedo a long-delayed international tariff bill favored by the President. What's more, when the revered chairman of the Federal Reserve dies, the President is under pressure to name the former head's top lieutenant as his successor -- the same man who seriously dated the First Lady in college. Away from the White House, Zoey (Elisabeth Moss) clashes with her boyfriend Charlie (Dulé Hill) when she suggests that they not step out together at an upcoming club opening at the request of the Secret Service which is concerned about recent hate letters concerning their interracial relationship. Josh (Bradley Whitford) asks opinionated Toby (Richard Schiff) to mind his manners prior to parleying with important Congressmen.

1.18 Six Meetings Before Lunch  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 04-05-00 Rerun 08-30-00

When Zoey (Elisabeth Moss) attends a college fraternity party in which one of her friends is busted for using illegal drugs, C.J. (Allison Janney) struggles to keep the embarrassing story out of the press while the White House staff celebrates the confirmation of their nominee, Judge Mendoza (Edward James Olmos, not seen), for the Supreme Court. An uncomfortable Josh (Bradley Whitford) is assigned to talk with the administration's controversial nominee (Carl Lumbly) for assistant attorney general for civil rights who advocates that African-Americans receive financial reparations for slavery. Elsewhere, Sam (Rob Lowe) crosses swords with Mallory (Allison Smith) over the issue of private school vouchers while Mandy (Moira Kelly) lobbies to secure two new pandas for the National Zoo.

1.19 Let Bartlet Be Bartlet  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 04-26-00 Rerun 08-09-00 and 08-01-01

Rumors percolate about a scathing memo that outlines the weaknesses of President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) administration for his political rival and grip the White House, until C.J. (Allison Janney) learns it came from one of the trusted staff. Now in someone else's possession, C.J. finally tracks it down to one reporter and tries to dissuade him from publishing it. Meanwhile, Sam (Rob Lowe) and Toby (Richard Schiff) meet with opposing military officers and congressmen to discuss amending the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy towards gays in the armed forces. When two members of the Federal Election Commission resign, Josh (Bradley Whitford) sees opportunity and moves fast to meet with contentious senator's staffers to suggest that the President appoint two campaign finance reformers as replacements instead of those wanted by the Senate leadership. Leo (John Spencer) not only has trouble with the White House's faulty e-mail system, he confronts the President and issues a challenge that could define or destroy his administration.

1.20 Mandatory Minimums  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 05-03-00 Rerun 08-09-00 10 p.m.

A newly energized President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) bucks tradition and throws down the gauntlet when he names two campaign finance reformers to the Federal Election Commission despite threats from his political opponents to introduce embarrassing legislation that would dare him not to sign. But the President wants to go further and floats a controversial new drug enforcement policy. In the meantime, the early reactions to his first announcement are not encouraging, especially from top-notch pollster Al Kiefer (John de Lancie) who is hired to take the public's "temperature". Kiefer's arrival means his attractive cohort, Joey Lucas (Marlee Matlin), accompanies him, and she again draws a smitten Josh's (Bradley Whitford) attention. Toby (Richard Schiff) agrees to seek out his ex-wife (Kathleen York), a breezy congresswoman, to gauge her response to any future narcotics legislation that would emphasize prevention over enforcement. Leo (John Spencer) -- uncomfortably aware of his own brush with drugs -- agrees to be the Chief Executive's front man for positioning the high-voltage issue of revising the drug laws.

1.21 Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 05-10-00 Rerun 09-06-00

While President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his staff nervously await the results of a poll to determine his favorability rating, he begins a heady transfer of ambassadors and members of the Federal Election Commission designed to kickstart campaign finance reform and defuse an embarrassing incident overseas. Specifically, wheeler-dealer Bartlet recalls the married ambassador to Bulgaria (Lawrence Pressman) who is discovered to be romancing the daughter of the country's Prime Minister, but faces another crisis at home when Sam (Rob Lowe) is photographed by a newspaper giving a graduation gift to known call girl (Lisa Edelstein). Meanwhile, C.J. (Allison Janney) anxiously paces the White House corridors and wonders if she is being marginalized by Leo (John Spencer) for past mistakes. In addition, Josh (Bradley Whitford) clashes with opinionated pollster Joey (Marlee Matlin)

1.22 What Kind of Day Has It Been  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 05-17-00 Rerun 09-13-00

President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) prepares for a town hall meeting with college students while the U.S. military races to find a downed American pilot in the Iraqi desert before the Iraqi military captures him. C.J. (Allison Janney) doesn't relish the notion of misleading the press over rescue preparations. Likewise, Toby (Richard Schiff) tries to ignore updates from the distressed orbiting space shuttle which includes his brother, a payload specialist aboard the craft which cannot close its cargo doors. Meanwhile, a huffing Josh (Bradley Whitford) is dispatched to run down and convince the wayward Vice President (Tim Matheson) to re-think his position on campaign finance reform.

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