The West Wing Episode Guide -
Bookmark this Site

War Crimes

Original Airdate 11-07-01 Rerun 03-20-02

Previous Episode  ||  Season 3 Episode Index  |  Main Index  |  Season 3 Information Index  ||  Next Episode
Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Awards  |  Media Quotes


The legal machinery in the MS matter begins to grind in earnest in this tense episode.
The first to feel it is Donna (Janel Moloney), who must give a deposition to a House committee. Questioning her: Cliff (Mark Feuerstein), the Republican counsel she's been seeing. Meanwhile, the President and the Vice President (Tim Matheson) clash over gun control; a hot-shot foreign correspondent (Michael O'Keefe) who's new to the White House beat gets hold of an embarrassing quote of Toby's; Leo and an Air Force general (Gerald McRaney) cross swords over an international war-crimes court; and Sam is intrigued by a proposal to abolish the penny.
From NBC:
The President (Martin Sheen) asks the reluctant Vice President (Tim Matheson) to speak at an anti-gun rally in Texas after a church shooting but the uneasy allies have a starkly candid showdown while Donna (Janel Moloney) goes before a Congressional committee investigating Bartlet's lack of disclosure -- and she lies to her inquisitor (Mark Feuerstein). Elsewhere, Leo (John Spencer) debates an old friend and Air Force officer (Gerald McRaney) about the United States' future stance regarding the War Crimes Tribunal; C.J. (Allison Janney) informs Toby (Richard Schiff) that a reporter (Michael O'Keefe) heard his comment that puts the President in an unfavorable light; and Sam (Rob Lowe) tries to find common sense when a Congressman (Bob Glouberman) proposes legislation that would eliminate the penny.


Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Stockard Channing as Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D. First Lady
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    
Michael O'Keefe as Will Sawyer Reporter
Gerald McRaney as Alan Adamley Air Force General
Tim Matheson as John Hoynes Vice President
Guest Starring    
Mark Feuerstein as Cliff (Clifford) Calley Donna's Boyfriend
Renée Estevez as Nancy Aide
Bob Glouberman as Congressman's Aide Terry Beckwith
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Kim Webster as Ginger Assistant to Communications' Director
Mindy Seeger as Chris Reporter
Charles Noland as Steve Reporter
Randolph Brooks as Arthur Leeds (last name) / Reporter
Chris Ufland as Benton  
Mary Ostrow as Sharon  
Keith Pillow as Klesko  
Marcy Goldman as Reporter  

Information Links



Emmy Awards

Submitted for consideration after Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nomination by
Janel Moloney

Media Quotes

... after the crowd of usually jaded reporters went into feet-stomping applause for Martin Sheen to do his impersonation of Sinatra. (He didn't, saying it works only on the set.)

"Cast Aside"
by Ken Parrish Perkins
January 26, 2000
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"I'm only working on the second episode now, ... but you can sense the integrity on this show. I mean, at least we're actors who believe in what we're doing, rather than politicians who only wind up being performers." - Mark Feuerstein

"Shoeless, but Decorum Intact"
by Unknown
September 7, 2001
New York Times

Channing guffaws at the Internet crowd, who have announced she is to become hooked on prescription drugs later this season by self-medicating. "I've got Episode 5 right here. We're shooting it next week. Nobody knows what's in Episode 6. If those Internet people know something else, then they know more than Aaron Sorkin does."

"Stockard Channing takes wing"
by Richard Ouzounian
September 23, 2001
Toronto Star

... there's another episode ... where a foreign correspondent temporarily assigned to the White House because he's been kicked out of the Third World country that he covers and considers the White House to be real low rent because as he says 'No news ever happens here, it's just gossip' clearly referring to Gary Condit and Monica Lewinsky and what kind of diet are you on right now and that kind of thing. Does a whole speech about how the real news is happening on the other side of the world, well at some point I'll get around to rewriting and reshooting that scene because it's preposterous. - Aaron Sorkin

From Sublime Primetime : An Evening with Emmy-Nominated Writers
October 5, 2001

Sorkin described to me the episode that they were about to film when the terrorists struck. A foreign correspondent, deeply disappointed about being reassigned to the White House, goes off with typically Sorkinian bombast about about how "with the Larry King-ization of everything from Monica to Gary Condit to shark attacks, television has abandoned the notion of reporting altogether. He talks about a mother taking her kids to school in Bosnia, and the implication is that real news is something that happens somewhere else, not here." Sorkin pauses. "Well, now Bosnia has come to our front yard."

"Aaron Sorkin Works His Way Through the Crisis"
by Peter de Jonge
October 28, 2001
New York Times

OK, answering myself, but - Aaron just confirmed that Leo is the only one who knows. [that Vice President John Hoynes is an alcoholic]

... and then ...

All he said was, Jed doesn't know. Only Leo.

Posted at
by List Owner
November 8, 2001
Messages 11230 and 11234

And, according to the show, the only reason pennies are still being used in our state's toll booths is because favorite son Abe Lincoln happens to be pictured on the copper bits.

Not exactly. Illinois tollway officials have discussed not taking pennies, but they know that on an average day, more than 800,000 pennies are dropped into Illinois toll baskets.

"Pennies still make sense to state, not to 'West Wing'"
by Ellen Warren and Terry Armour
November 12, 2001
Chicago Tribune

"And I just began reading Frank Bruni's campaign book," [Aaron] Sorkin continued, referring to the Times reporter's "Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush," "which begins with Candidate Bush at a service in Texas for seven people who were killed in a church by a crazy gunman. ..."

by Tad Friend
March 4, 2002
The New Yorker

Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, points to an episode in which pro-gun-control Bartlet engaged in a spirited disagreement with his vice president. "Both sides brought up real issues," he says. "There's so much senseless violence on TV. ... What I like about 'The West Wing' [is that] it makes people think."

"Getting President Bartlet's ear"
by Mark Jurkowitz
March 27, 2002
Boston Globe

What's up with Josh calling Miss Moss "Donnatella"? Is that really her first name? "Yes, in fact. In the first scene of us together in the pilot, he called me Donnatella," Moloney reminds us. "Whenever I get in trouble or he's making a point, he calls me Donnatella. And when I testified [in court], I said my real name."

"West Wing's Love Dilemma"
by Daniel R. Coleridge
May 19, 2004
TV Guide Online

If living by the whims of Hollywood is hard on an actor, it may be harder on the spouse. Mary O'Keefe is a lawyer and a poet who understands a thing or two about the vagaries of the acting life. Her brother is Michael O'Keefe, who won accolades in his early 20s as the son in "The Great Santini" and in "Caddyshack." Watching his career soar and dip - O'Keefe is currently on Broadway in "Reckless" - his sister learned early on that there are no such things as rules in Hollywood. Nine years ago, she married [Michael] O'Neill anyway.

"The Conversation"
by Mary McNamara
November 28, 2004
Los Angeles Times

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
Previous Episode  |  U.S. Flag Main Index 3 Cast Season 3 Episode Index U.S. Flag Season 3 Information Index  |  Next Episode