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Night Five

Original Airdate 02-06-02 Rerun 07-10-02

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It's five days after the Iowa caucuses and the President hasn't slept a wink, so he sees a shrink (Adam Arkin), the same one who treated Josh Lyman after he was shot. Meanwhile, Toby clashes with his ex-wife, Rep. Andrea Wyatt (Kathleen York), over an upcoming Presidential speech on foreign policy; a former White House reporter is missing in Congo; an office temp (Alanna Ubach) accuses Sam of "demeaning" Ainsley Haynes (Emily Procter); and a college friend of Donna's (Paul Fitzgerald) offers her a job at his dot-com startup.
From NBC:
President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) consults a psychiatrist (Adam Arkin) for a troubling sleep disorder -- and gets a sobering personal assessment -- while C.J. (Allison Janney) lobbies hard to help secure the release of a White House reporter who's been taken hostage on assignment in the Congo. Elsewhere: Toby (Richard Schiff) knows he will be visited by his irate ex-wife (Kathleen York) when he writes an inflammatory speech that condemns Islam for fanaticism; Sam (Rob Lowe) asks Republican lawyer Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter) to review a proposed act that calls for payment of U.S. back dues to the United Nations in exchange for special requests; Donna (Janel Moloney) is stunned when she is offered a prestigious and well-paid new job outside the White House.
From Warner Bros.:
Bartlet consults a psychiatrist, Dr. Stanley Keyworth (Adam Arkin), for a troubling sleep disorder and receives a sobering personal assessment. C.J. lobbies vigorously to help secure the release of a White House reporter who has been taken hostage while on assignment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Toby risks the wrath of his ex-wife, Congresswoman Andrea "Andy" Wyatt (Kathleen York), by writing an inflammatory speech condemning Islamic fanaticism. Sam asks Republican lawyer Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter) to review a proposed act that calls for payback of U.S. debt to the United Nations in exchange for special requests. Donna is stunned when she is offered a prestigious and lucrative new job outside the White House.


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    
Adam Arkin as Dr. Stanley Keyworth ATVA Psychiatrist
Emily Procter as Ainsley Hayes Associate White House Counsel
Guest Starring    
Kathleen York as Rep. Andy (Andrea) Wyatt Congresswoman
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Alanna Ubach as Celia Walton Office temp
Carmen Argenziano as Leonard Wallace  
Nancy Cassaro as Janet Price Wife of missing reporter
Basil Wallace as McKonnen Loboko "McKennen" /
Congolese attaché
Paul Fitzgerald as Casey Reed Donna's college friend
Kim Webster as Ginger Assistant to Communications' Director
Devika Parikh as Bonnie Communications' Aide
Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell (last name) / Reporter
Kris Murphy as Katie Witt (last name) / Reporter

Information Links

History of the White House


Emmy Awards

Submitted for consideration after Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Nomination by
Martin Sheen
Submitted for consideration after Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Nomination by
Richard Schiff
Submitted for consideration for Outstanding Drama Series Win

Media Quotes

An NBC advertisement promoting next week's episode of the network's hit drama "The West Wing," in which an American reporter is kidnapped, was pulled after viewers pointed out the disturbing resemblance to the plight of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal correspondent who has been held captive.

"It could seem distasteful," said John Miller, president of the network's in-house advertising firm. "We hadn't made the connection to Pearl until it aired last Wednesday and people called in and said, 'do you realize that what's on "West Wing" is happening in real life.' "

Mr. Miller said that the promotion had been broadcast only once and that his department produced a new spot on Thursday that will begin airing next week. It focuses on a different angle of the plot. "If Pearl is released safely we might go back to the first trailer," Mr. Miller noted. "But as long as he is in jeopardy, it seemed inappropriate."

The show, written last December, foreshadows the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal correspondent who was seized in Pakistan late last month and has been held for nine days. Tonight, there were conflicting reports about whether he had been killed.

There are no plans to replace the West Wing episode, which features a White House correspondent who is kidnapped during an ambush by rebels while on assignment in Congo. Aaron Sorkin, the show's creator and chief writer, said the kidnapping is "not a big part of the episode," and that he wrote it to dramatize the warfare going unheeded in Congo.

"'West Wing' Withdraws Ad"
by Alessandra Stanley
February 2, 2002
New York Times

Aaron Sorkin, the creator of "The West Wing," said that he was dismayed when he saw the original promotional material. "I saw the promo and it seemed to tie the show to Pearl," he said. "I wish they wouldn't do that."

"'West Wing' ad about kidnapping is pulled"
by Unknown
February 2, 2002
Associated Press

Despite its sensitive storyline, tomorrow's scheduled episode of The West Wing "most likely" will run, NBC spokesman Curt King said yesterday.

In the segment, press secretary C. J. Cregg (Allison Janney) lobbies President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) to secure the release of a reporter being held hostage by rebels in Congo.

In real life, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was taken hostage on Jan. 23 in Pakistan. His captors have threatened to kill him unless Pakistani prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are set free. As of press time, there was no word on his status.

Naturally, NBC won't reveal the outcome of tomorrow's episode - written in December by West Wing mastermind Aaron Sorkin.

Unofficially, however, NBC is closely monitoring the Pearl situation, and if there is "a tragic outcome," the episode may be pulled, sources say. NBC last week withdrew a promo that included the hostage storyline. It pulled the plug after one airing because the network "wanted to be sensitive to the real-life situation," King said.

Should NBC decide to replace the episode, it may be forced to go with a West Wing repeat during this month's important ratings sweeps.

Sorkin is notorious for going to the last minute before delivering scripts, and there are no original episodes in the can.

P.S. The title of the episode - "Night Five" - refers to how long Bartlet has gone without sleep. He confers with a shrink (Adam Arkin) about his insomnia.

"Airing of a timely 'West Wing' may depend on events"
by Gail Shister
February 5, 2002
Philadelphia Inquirer

NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker said that the episode was written in December, well before Pearl went missing. He also said that NBC programmers have not considered pulling tonight's show.

NBC executives did shelve a "West Wing" promotion last weekend that highlighted the reporter story line.

"After seeing that promo on the air, in light of what is going on in Pakistan, we decided that the subject isn't something we want to plug on a daily basis," said Zucker.

"We just didn't feel comfortable promoting it, given the real-life situation of Daniel Pearl," he added. "We didn't want anyone to think we were trying to exploit that."

Zucker said NBC decided instead to promote another story in tonight's show that revolves around a speech that White House communications director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) is writing.

The speech condemns Islam and is meant to be the first draft of an address that President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) will deliver to the United Nations General Assembly.

It's the second time this season "The West Wing" has dealt with issues surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Shortly after the attacks, show creator Aaron Sorkin wrote and produced a special episode on terrorism, which kicked off the delayed fall season.

This time, however, the fictional story was not inspired by real life.

"Certainly, the missing reporter will attract a lot of attention, but the speech that Toby has written is incredibly dramatic," Zucker said, "and I expect that it will raise as many eyebrows as the story line involving the reporter."

"A Touchy 'West Wing'"
by Donna Petrozzello
February 5, 2002
New York Daily News

I saw Aaron while he was writing this episode and I was bugging him about where Charlie's sister was.

Posted at
by List Owner
February 7, 2002
Message 15014

If you asked most people around here they'd tell you that "Gone Quiet" was the weakest show we've done. It was the only episode that USA Today has liked this season. I'm mentioning this because of the very unscientific yardsticks by which we measure how much the public enjoyed a particular episode, places "Night Five" among the TOP five we've ever done. Alot of us agree (including me, I'm afraid.) Does that make someone wrong for not liking it? Of course not. - Aaron "Benjamin" Sorkin

Posted at Forum
by Aaron "Benjamin" Sorkin
February 11, 2002

"In the West Wing world, the cards aren't up there about too many shows in advance," Schlamme said. "Certainly that idea -- exploring the demons in all of us, using the president of the United States -- is something that will not be left aside. Whether it's always a shrink or whether it's a relationship with his wife or someone on the staff, some deeper, more personal exploration of the president's psyche is something we don't stop doing at this point."

He added: "It's not going to be The Sopranos, where every episode the president goes upstairs and has a session."

"('Wing')-ding puts Tommy Schlamme in the spotlight"
by Mike McDaniel
February 12, 2002
Houston Chronicle

Someone asked the reasoning behind having the President see a psychiatrist. Aaron said he just liked being able to see the President in situations you wouldn't see in the media. And if anyone needed someone to talk to, it would be the President. He knew he wanted to have Adam Arkin back, because he really liked him in Noel.

Posted at
by Catherine from Sam Seaborn Central
July 21, 2002
Message 21557
Notes from a L.A. book signing with Aaron Sorkin

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