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And It's Surely to Their Credit

Original Airdate 11-01-00 Rerun 01-31-01

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Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter) meets her new boss, White House counsel Lionel Tribbey (John Larroquette), and receives her first assignment: clean up after two domestic-policy staffers who presented inaccurate testimony before a House committee. Meanwhile, Sam hits upon the idea of Josh suing the hate group whose members shot him; and C.J. stares down a soon-to-retire general (Tom Bower) who's planning to blast the Administration on TV talk shows.
From NBC:
President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) controversial -- and conservative -- new choice for associate White House counsel (Emily Procter) has rough sledding on her first day when she suffers the wrath of her hostile boss Lionel Tribbey (John Larroquette), gets a chilly reception from her co-workers and is humiliated by two other staffers, Mark Brookline and Steve Joyce (Steven Flynn and Paul Perri). Also, when Josh's (Bradley Whitford) insurance company turns down his claim for his recent life-saving medical bills, Sam (Rob Lowe) tries to convince him to sue the people who shot him -- the Ku Klux Klan. In addition, C.J. (Allison Janney) tries to shame the outspoken General Ed Barrie (Tom Bower) who is critical of the President into meeting with her.


Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Stars    
Stockard Channing as Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D. First Lady
John Larroquette as Lionel Tribbey White House Counsel
Guest Starring    
Emily Procter as Ainsley Hayes Associate White House Counsel
Daniel Roebuck as Lieutenant Buckley Aide to General Barrie
Tom Bower as General Ed Barrie Army Chief of Staff
Paul Perri as Steve Joyce Governmental Affairs
Steven Flynn as Mark Brookline Governmental Affairs
Kathryn Joosten as Mrs. Landingham President's Secretary /
Delores (first name)
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Kim Webster as Ginger Assistant to Communications Director
Karen Lockhart as OEOB Staffer  
Jack Shearer as Engineer  
Bradley James as Donnie Secret Service Agent

Information Links


Media Quotes

Sorkin says he's relishing the upcoming tension between his Republican addition to the White House staff and the Democratic regulars. In fact, he's asked returning consultant Dee Dee Myers for a memo on how the White House staff might torture the new recruit.

Myers's answers:

They could stick her in a horrible office. David Gergen, a Reagan and Nixon consultant who joined the Clinton staff, was put in the old White House barbershop.

The White House cafeteria might refuse service to the newcomer. You can't eat there if the proper paperwork hasn't been filled out.

And it's easy to get lost in the White House if no one guides you.


The central conflict of the episode he is working on involves the president and his wife, played by Stockard Channing (who had a memorable showdown with Bartlet during the first season: "You don't handle me, Jed!"). They are trying to find time in their schedules to... have sex.

"The writers came to me and said, 'Here's an idea you're gonna hate. But sleep on it,'" says Sorkin, pulling off his geek-chic horn-rimmed glasses and rocking back in the leather chair behind his desk. The locks that fall across his forehead are brown, but his sideburns have gone grey. He is lean, wearing a green, button-down polo shirt and jeans, and chain-smoking. "They were right. It seemed silly to me." Pause. "And now I'm having the best time writing the story."

Does he think it wise to mix the presidency with sex given, y'know, the Clinton thing? "Well, you think about it," he acknowledges, "but I have faith in the show... I believe that people will see episode five with Martin Sheen trying to have sex with Stockard Channing and not say, 'Well, why doesn't he just grab an intern in the hallway?'"

Dee Dee Myers has given Sorkin a memo detailing appointments that might keep a first lady busy (and thus unavailable for sex). Myers has suggested a dedication of a statue, among other things, which Sorkin has seized upon. He plans to have the first lady lecture the president for his offhand put-down of the statue subject, nineteenth-century journalist-adventurer Nellie Bly.

There are other strands in the works: one about military readiness in which press secretary C.J. faces down a general. There's also a story line related to the civil rights activist organization Southern Poverty Law Center, which Sorkin declines to discuss. Could it relate to our skinhead shooters?

"Inside The West Wing's New World"
by Sharon Waxman
November 2000
George Magazine

I brought it up to Aaron that everyone loved John Larroquette's performance and the character of Lionel Tribbey in general, and asked if he'd be back, and this was his answer:

I thought John was great and I like the character, so sure, why not? - Aaron Sorkin

Posted at
by List Owner
February 1, 2001
Message 2178

Allison Abner joined the staff last year and often has the unenviable task of calling the Pentagon for their input just a week after C.J.'s dressed down the Army Chief of Staff. I've never seen her blink. - Aaron "Benjamin" Sorkin

Posted at Forum
by Aaron "Benjamin" Sorkin
July 22, 2001

He [Aaron Sorkin] also mentioned that he stays away from contemporary pop references, as in, we'll never hear them discussing Britney Spears, and/or "Survivor" (personally..that could be one hell of an interesting episode... ) and that's why he uses things like Gilbert and Sullivan.

Posted at
by Kel
October 6, 2001
Message 9150
Notes from Sublime Primetime : An Evening with Emmy-Nominated Writers

"I never have a lot of medical terminology. They learned that about the first or second year of 'West Wing.' I'm hopeless at it. They just let me go with other stuff. On take 10, they said, 'This is the end of this. This is clearly not her forte.' I don't see how they do it on 'ER.'" - Stockard Channing

"Channing Returns for More 'Practice'"
by Kate O'Hare
March 22, 2006

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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