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Talking Points

Original Airdate 04-21-04

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Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Media Quotes


On a day the president is to travel to Brussels to sign a trade pact, Josh learns that a U.S. tech firm will outsource 17,000 jobs to India. Meanwhile, C.J. tries to get reluctant reporters to write about an FCC media-consolidation ruling that smells fishy to her; Josh and Donna are feuding; and Bartlet has an awkward discussion about U.S.-French relations with a new NSC deputy (Mary McCormack).
From NBC:
On the eve of the President's (Martin Sheen) visit to a controversial trade summit in Brussels, Josh (Bradley Whitford) feels torn when he learns that free-trader Bartlet will reverse his position about sacrificing American jobs to foreign lands -- while C.J. (Allison Janney) takes out her frustrations with a new FCC ruling allowing multimedia companies increased ownership of TV stations. As the administration fights to spin the job-loss fallout, Donna (Janel Moloney) tells Josh about her dissatisfaction with her limited role on his staff. In the midst of it all, Kate Harper (Mary McCormack) steps in as the brash new Deputy National Security Advisor.
From Warner Bros.:
On the eve of the President's controversial trade summit meeting in Brussels, Josh is troubled when he learns that Bartlet will reverse his position about sacrificing American jobs to foreign lands. C.J. is frustrated with a new Federal Communications Commission ruling allowing multimedia companies increased ownership of TV stations. Meanwhile, the administration tries to downplay job-loss statistics, and Donna tells Josh about her dissatisfaction with her limited role on his staff. In the midst of it all, Bartlet meets Kate Harper (Mary McCormack), the brash, new deputy national security advisor.


Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Joshua Malina as Will (William) Bailey Vice President's Chief of Staff
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    
Mary McCormack as Kate (Katherine) Harper Deputy National Security Advisor
Jesse Bradford as Ryan Pierce Intern
John Amos as
Admiral Percy "Fitz" Fitzwallace Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
Lily Tomlin as
Debbie (Deborah) Fiderer President's Secretary
Guest Starring    
Anna Deavere Smith as Dr. Nancy McNally National Security Advisor
Steven Culp as Jeff Haffley Speaker of the House
Sam Robards as Greg Brock Reporter
Brian Kerwin as Ben Dryer C.J.'s College Boyfriend
Daniel Hugh Kelly as James Cook JCN Lobbyist
Wayne Duvall as Bill Parons CWA Leader
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Peter James Smith as Ed Congressional Liaison
William Duffy as Larry Congressional Liaison
Wendy Schenker as Diane Golden CWA Worker
Jim Gleason as Steve Hubbard CWA Worker
Mindy Seeger as Chris Reporter
Ben Siegler as George Reporter
Saida Rodriguez-Pagan as Anchor #1  
Penny Griego as Anchor #2  

Information Links


Media Quotes

Mary McCormack ("K Street," "Private Parts") will guest-star on a four episode arc on NBC's Emmy Award-winning "The West Wing" (Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m. ET) as the President's (Martin Sheen) new deputy National Security Adviser whose first encounter with the Chief Executive proves to be more brusque than she expected. McCormack's first episode, "The Promise," [changed to "Talking Points"] will be broadcast later this spring. In the storyline, she plays Kate Harper, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and military prodigy who is not afraid to stay true to her advice and convictions.

March 29, 2004

Mary McCormack, last seen in USA Network's druggie drama Traffic, is on the move. Starting April 21, Howard Stern's big-screen wife will appear in at least four episodes of The West Wing as the Prez's Deputy National Security Advisor.

"Heading West"
by Michael Ausiello
March 29, 2004
TV Guide Online

The vice-president's top aide, Will Bailey, is explaining the "talking points on the VP's energy speech" to White House press secretary C.J. Cregg so she can help him "control the media."


But Malina, 38, certainly wouldn't want to fluff any lines on this occasion. Richard Schiff, who co-stars as communications director Toby Ziegler, is directing for the first time and recently the cynical Ziegler and the opinionated Bailey have been in conflict. "Luckily we don't get along in real life," Malina jokes, while expressing admiration for the way Schiff is handling the task. This particular episode, The Promise [Talking Points], airs 9 p.m. EDT Wednesday, beginning a four-episode story arc that ends the series' fifth season.

"Josh Malina has been clever add to West Wing"
by Bridget Bynre
April 19, 2004
Canadian Press

This week's B plot focused on the White House press secretary's outrage over media consolidation and the unwillingness of reporters employed by conglomerates to tackle the issue. C.J. (Allison Janney) is met with blank stares when she complains that the FCC, by raising the station ownership cap to 39%, is "posting bail for huge companies that were illegally gobbling up TV stations like greasy hors d'oeuvres."

The episode cites Viacom, News Corp. and a fictional company that all exceed the 35% ownership limit that stood before the commission revised the rules. NBC, by the way, is still slightly under the old cap, while Time Warner -- whose Warner Bros. TV unit produces the show -- doesn't own stations.

"It's ironic that an issue that was completely unreported on NBC News is getting more treatment in entertainment," said Jeff Chester, exec director of Washington, D.C.-based Center for Digital Democracy and an outspoken critic of media concentration.

"Inside Move: 'Wing' flies in face of FCC"
by Brian Lowry
April 21, 2004

And when I was walking out of the room at the end, I caught him telling somebody that Eli Attie's wanted to use this week's walk-not-talk conceit for a long time.

Posted at Forum
by EustBev
April 24, 2004
Notes from seminar at Harvard with Mark Goffman

Schiff said filming "The West Wing" is like creating a movie each week. One of his best experiences was directing a show called "Talking Points," the 19th episode. "The experience made me truly appreciate the talent, quality and work the crew and cast put into making the show," Schiff told The Dispatch.

""The West Wing" films on location in Thurmont"
by Michele Cuseo
May 19, 2004
Emmitsburg Dispatch

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