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Original Airdate 10-22-03

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On the day that Rep. "Bingo Bob" Russell (Gary Cole) is confirmed as vice president, a North Korean pianist visiting the White House tells the president he wants to defect. His timing could be better: the State Department is holding secret nuclear-arms talks with the Koreans and the defection could upset them. Meanwhile, the staffers search for "language" to describe the softening economy and Will (Joshua Malina) is at a loss for words as he tries to write remarks praising Bingo Bob.
From NBC:
A renowned North Korean pianist is greeted in the White House for a solo performance but the formalities hit a sour note when he slips a message to the President (Martin Sheen) stating that he wants to defect -- and despite CJ's (Allison Janney) passionate argument, others counsel Bartlet that doing so would endanger crucial ongoing negotiations with the nation. Also on the front burner, is the backstage campaign to get the President's choice for Vice President (Gary Cole) unanimously approved by both houses of Congress -- but there's one holdout whose nay vote could embarrass everyone. In addition, Toby (Richard Schiff) and Will (Joshua Malina) get playful while composing a speech and Donna (Janel Moloney) takes her Midwestern aunt and uncle for a tour.
From Warner Bros.:
A renowned North Korean pianist is greeted at the White House for a solo performance, but the formalities change when the musician slips a message to the President stating that he wants to defect. Despite C.J.'s passionate argument, others counsel Bartlet that granting the defection would endanger crucial ongoing negotiations with the nation. Also, members of the staff work hard to get the President's new choice for Vice President, Colorado Congressman Robert Russell (Gary Cole), unanimously approved by both houses of Congress--but there's one holdout whose "nay" vote could embarrass everyone.


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 Deputy Communications Director
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-Louise Parker as Amy (Amelia) Gardner FLOTUS' Chief of Staff
Jesse Bradford as Ryan Pierce Intern
Gary Cole as Robert "Bingo Bob" Russell Vice President
Guest Starring    
Ron Canada as Theodore "Ted" Barrow Under Secretary of State
Christopher Cousins as Congressman Thiele Rep. from Rhode Island
Tony Lee as Jai Yung Ahn Pianist
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Benjamin Brown as Mike Wayne Associate Counsel
Kim Webster as Ginger Assistant to Communications' Director
William Duffy as Larry Congressional Liaison
Peter James Smith as Ed Congressional Liaison
Kris Murphy as Katie Witt (last name) / Reporter
Randolph Brooks as Lyle Arthur Leeds / Reporter
Nathan LeGrand as Commerce Secretary said "R" word in Economics meeting
Ron Marasco as OMB Director Economics meeting
Byron Chung as N. Korean Handler  
Tom Yi as Translator  
Sean Smith as Immigration in Mural Room
Ben Siegler as George Reporter
Mary Linda Phillips as Aunt Barbara from Wiconsin
Gil Glasgow as Uncle Ted from Wiconsin

Information Links


Media Quotes

Adding to the realism, the new vice president, played by Gary Cole, will be in place by episode four or five, and around more than predecessor Tim Matheson.

"He needs to be brought up to speed," Wells says of the character. "He's also very ambitious."

"'West Wing's' fifth season: Politics NOT as usual "
by Jill Vejnoska
September 24, 2003
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

And, like Sorkin, who called his show "a valentine to public service," Wells believes the show's foundation is still good government, "without being Pollyannaish about the sausage making that is politics."

"Big changes await occupants of the "West Wing" White House"
by Gail Pennington
October 17, 2004
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

She [Paula Yoo] last wrote episodes for 2002-2003 season, leaving after creator Aaron Sorkin's departure. Her last script was "Han" about a defecting North Korean pianist, with inspiration from Yoo's five years in Korea and time as an accomplished violinist.

"'Sixteen' for Sammy and Yoo"
by Samson Wong
May 27, 2005
Asian Week

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