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Original Airdate 10-20-04

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Will Donna die? Will the President settle the Middle East mess once and for all? Screenwriter John Wells ramps up the fireworks as the sixth season begins. Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is entering lame-duck territory, so maybe he wants another Nobel Prize to cap his career. In any event, the Gaza terror attack has the Mideast on the brink, and Bartlet's reluctance to strike back irks nearly everyone. Meanwhile, Donna, a victim of the attack, has taken a turn for the worse.
From NBC:
With Palestinian leaders surrounded in their compound, Israel is willing to sit down with the US and moderate Palestinians to discuss a peaceful solution to the latest outbreak of fighting. Surprising everyone, however, the Palestinians publicly thank the US for inviting them to the negotiation table. Also, Donna (Janel Moloney) is rushed into surgery for a pulmonary embolism.
From Warner Bros.:
From his office in the White House, President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) leads the most powerful nation on earth. Directly descended from one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, New Hampshire Democrat Bartlet exudes a country-lawyer charisma that complements his brilliance, his deep conviction and his devotion to what he believes is right for the country. A brilliant academician in her own right, first lady Dr. Abigail "Abbey" Bartlet (Stockard Channing) staunchly supports her husband but does not hesitate to keep him in line when necessary.

As always, professorial Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer) resolutely serves as Bartlet's political and emotional right hand, while Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) keeps his highly regarded political mind in overdrive. Donna Moss (Janel Moloney), Josh's capable assistant, more than holds her own in their friendly verbal sparring.

Despite the constant media scrutiny in the briefing room, Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) remains cool and competent. Stoic Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), the rumpled and sleepless communications director, stays focused, while brash new Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper (Mary McCormack) and Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the Vice President Will Bailey (Joshua Malina) continually rise to the occasion. Also proving himself more and more valuable each day is the President's brilliant young personal assistant, Charlie (Dulé Hill).

In the aftermath of the Gaza Strip attack that seriously wounded Donna and killed Admiral Fitzwallace and two American congressmen, Bartlet faces strong opposition to his peace plans. Defying the wishes of the majority of Congress--including some of the White House's Democratic allies--the American people and the Vice President, Bartlet persists in the hope that inviting Palestinian and Israeli leaders to participate in peace talks will forestall the necessity of a U.S. military retaliation. Even Leo feels that the President should order an attack to make a decisive statement on terrorism. Bartlet's only hope is that a risky secret negotiation will deliver the leader responsible for the bombings into U.S. custody. Meanwhile, Josh hovers worriedly by Donna's bed in a German military hospital. As doctors try to stabilize Donna's deteriorating condition, no one knows whether or not she will suffer brain damage if she survives.



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
Joshua Malina as Will (William) Bailey Vice President's Chief of Staff
Mary McCormack as Kate (Katherine) Harper Deputy National Security Advisor
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    
Armin Mueller-Stahl as Eli Zahavy Israeli Prime Minister
Jason Isaacs as Colin Ayres Photojournalist
Lily Tomlin as
Debbie (Deborah) Fiderer President's Secretary
Guest Starring    
Terry O'Quinn as General Nicholas Alexander Chairman of the Joint Cheifs
Steven Culp as Jeff Haffley Speaker of the House
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Natalija Nogulich as Shira Galit Israeli Ambassador
Michael Kagan as George Arnold FBI Director
Marcelo Tubert as Saeb Mukarat Palestinian Prime Minister
Eli Danker as Doran Mazar Israeli Defense Minister
Tim Lounibos as Colonel Leahy Surgeon
Charlotte Colavin as Sheila Fields Member of Dem. Leadership
Makram J. Khoury (uncredited) as Chairman Nizar Farad  
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Mindy Seeger as Chris Reporter
Tom W. Chick as Gordon Reporter
Novella Nelson as Gail Fitzwallace Adm. Fitzwallace's Wife
Ann Ducati as Maya Zahavy Israeli Prime Minister's Wife
Anneliza Scott as Second Nurse  
Leesa Severyn as AFT Anchor  

Information Links



Humanitas Prize

Win for
John Wells

Media Quotes

I heard Mark Goffman (WW writer) speak this afternoon at Harvard; he said that he went on his summer break two days ago, and that they had written the first two episodes of Season 6 before vacation; the writing staff will re-congregate on a retreat in June.

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

The stars were preceded Tuesday by a location manager who visited the city to look at whether it would be possible to film a military funeral downtown, said Miron, a sometime fan of the show.

The scene would involve a church -- though probably not the real Naval Academy chapel -- and apparently the filming team has had to ask for clearance to fly a helicopter below the minimum altitude to get aerial shots of the scene.

The more important question to fans of the show was who on the cast will be killed off.

"I asked who on 'West Wing' is going to die," Miron said he asked someone with the Maryland Film Office. "She said, 'I can't tell you that.' "

The description of the scene, however, touched off speculation that it might be Adm. Percy Fitzwallace, a recurring character in the show played by John Amos. The Fitzwallace character graduated from the Naval Academy.

"Market House Tenants Hire Lawyer "
by Nelson Hernandez
May 6, 2004
Washington Post

The show will be taping scenes around St. Anne's Episcopal Church on Monday for next season's premiere in September.

After that, they'll move to Quiet Waters Park, where Anne Arundel County police will assure residents the gunshots they hear aren't really a sign of mayhem.

"'President' Causes Traffic Changes In Annapolis"
May 10, 2004

Sun-tanned and smiling, actor Martin Sheen strolled up Duke of Gloucester Street in Annapolis yesterday, causing something akin to mild hysteria in the historic waterfront city.

"Omigod, there he is," screamed a gaggle of teen-age girls, snapping photographs of Sheen as he made his way toward Church Circle, where more than 100 cast and crew members of the NBC show The West Wing descended for the day to film next season's opening episode.

Sheen stopped frequently on his way up the street - glad-handing with star-gazers, signing autographs, even cradling one woman's baby in his arms and cooing, "Aren't you beautiful?"

Followed by several burly men wearing all black and murmuring into walkie-talkies, it seemed for a moment as if the actor - who portrays President Jed Bartlet on The West Wing - was performing his part off-camera.

"Martin eats all that up," said Neal Ahern, the show's producer, referring to the crowds of fervent fans who gathered around St. Anne's Episcopal Church in the midday heat to catch a glimpse of Sheen.


For 6-year-old Taylor Wimbrey of Baltimore, the show's Annapolis shoot meant the opportunity to appear as an extra on the award-winning drama, playing a granddaughter of the character who is killed off in the season finale, which airs May 19.

"I want to sing and dance and be an actress," said the tiny girl, dressed for a funeral in a black dress, crisp white socks and patent-leather shoes.

For the St. Anne's segment of the show, which will run about 12 minutes, producers cast more than 150 extras, 85 of them from the parish. Also cast were Annapolis and Anne Arundel County police, who appear in a motorcade scene, and at least a dozen Navy and Army officers. After filming at St. Anne's, the cast and crew moved to the city's Quiet Waters Park, where one of the actors was filmed shooting skeet.

Although most episodes are filmed in Los Angeles, a location manager said the show's cast and crew travel to Washington at least three times a year to film segments around the capital. Because the show's season premiere will center on the funeral of a naval officer, Ahern said he and his co-producers settled on Annapolis.

"The connection to the Naval Academy made sense," he said. "But it's also quaint and beautiful."


To film the $2.2 million episode, Ahern said the cast and crew will spend nine days on location in Maryland.

Despite complaints about the traffic, which was backed up on every corridor leading into Church Circle, Ahern called Annapolis one of the most friendly cities the show has filmed in.

"This place is a love fest," he said, gazing across the street at a crowd of more than 200 fans, who kept snapping pictures and shouting out the occasional "Mar-tin!" late into the afternoon.

"Annapolis winging it for show's shooting"
by Molly Knight
May 11, 2004
Baltimore Sun

According to Donna's portrayer, Janel Moloney, Josh and Donna will grow closer as she recovers from her injuries in that German hospital. "You get to see the relationship become very intimate," she tells TV Guide Online. "There's an intimacy and an emotionality that you haven't seen between them."

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

"I think three-quarters of the fun is just, you definitely wanting them to get together," she [Janel Moloney] says. "One of the incredibly artful things about this accident and him coming to Germany is you get to see the relationship become very intimate. There's an intimacy and an emotionality that you haven't seen between them that's pretty fun, I think.

"'West Wing' Romance?"
by Rick Porter
May 19, 2004

Dozens of U.S. Navy members on leave or liberty -- and hundreds more allied military and local civilians -- descended on historic St. Anne's Church May 10 to play small roles as "extras" in a filming of the popular television program "The West Wing."


The scenes filmed at St. Anne's, an Episcopal congregation first established about 1695, involve the formal funeral ceremony for a Navy admiral. While no one on the show was commenting specifically, the only "admiral" regularly seen in this fictional White House is Adm. Percy Fitzwallace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, played by veteran actor John Amos.


Among Naval personnel volunteering their off time to be in the show were members of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, who play a large part in several of the simulated funeral scenes. But for others, some only sitting in the church as "military background mourners," the brush with TV fame was less prominent.

"It was a long day of 'hurry up and wait.' It wasn't much different from a command inspection and change of command ceremony rolled into one long day," said Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Barringer. Seated in the front row of the church during a key shot, Barringer may survive the editing process and be seen in the program.

"The personal interaction with the headline stars made the event worth the effort and the 'extra's cameo' shot was an added bonus," he added. "It was a long eight-hour day for perhaps one or two minutes of usable footage. I am [still] standing by for my close up."

Show officials couldn't say when the funeral episode featuring Naval personnel would air. However, except for ceremonial guards, U.S. Navy participants were instructed to wear Service Dress Blue uniforms, telegraphing that the program will air in the next TV season at a time when the Navy has changed out of summer white uniforms.

"Sailors earn 15 seconds of fame on TV's "The West Wing""
by JOC Daniel Charles Ross
May 21, 2004
The Waterline

The lucky two, 1st Lt. Scott Corey and Staff Sgt. Richard McAfee, spent the entire day immersed in the intricacies of TV production.

"It's very interesting the amount of coordination and time that goes into a shoot," said Lieutenant Corey, executive officer for the 11th Medical Group. "The lights, camera angles, amount of extras and waiting. The director was very young."

The scenes, shot at St. Anne's Church in downtown Annapolis near the waterfront, follow the show's current storyline and depict the military funeral of the show's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Percy Fitzwallace, who was killed in a car explosion while part of a congressional delegation to Gaza.


"He was very accommodating," Lieutenant Corey said, who got his picture taken with the veteran actor


"He [Martin Sheen] was very nice and appreciative of what the military is doing," added Sergeant McAfee.

""Lights, camera, action" for Bolling members"
May 28, 2004
The Beam

The Josiah Bartlet administration is coming to an end at the close of the upcoming television season -- only three years into his second term, NBC suits report. But they insist that does not necessarily mean "The West Wing" will be canceled. Thus continues the slow, painful uraveling of the once-great White House drama series.

" 'West Wing' was ratings-challenged" last season, NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly told critics over the weekend, stating the obvious.

"John Wells is not in denial about it," he said of the man best known for executive-producing "ER," who took over "The West Wing" when its creator, Aaron Sorkin, was shown the door.

"I can't reveal too much; all I can tell you is it's not going to be business as usual," Reilly continued. "The one little thing I could say is that the Bartlet administration is clearly coming to the end of its term, and I think that's going to foster some really interesting developments. . . . So we're going to try to juice up that show creatively this year, and I'm excited about what I've heard."

"Juicing up" is not an expression "West Wing" fans want to hear in connection with the series. When you hear "juicing up" and "John Wells" in the same breath, crashing helicopters and tank attacks cannot be far behind.

On the other hand, Peter Roth, the man who runs Warner Bros. TV, which produces "The West Wing," yesterday told The TV Column it was too early to say whether the Bartlet administration would come to an end this coming TV season. And yet Reilly seemed pretty certain of what he was saying to a room full of critics and columnists here. But then Reilly is a guy who's capable of telling a room full of critics and columnists that the "Friends" spinoff "Joey" gave him "this magical feeling that happens only one in a great while," that he "feeds off the energy" of his boss, NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker ...

"Chatter Up! 'Hardball' Host Is Off and Running"
by Lisa de Moraes
July 12, 2004
Washington Post

"The West Wing" will return Oct. 20 with "a run of originals throughout the entire season," said Reilly. "All I can tell you is it's not going to be business as usual. The Bartlet administration is clearly coming to the end of its term and I think that's going to foster some really interesting developments."

"NBC Counting On 'The Contender' To Beat 'Idol'"
by Roger Catlin
July 12, 2004
Hartford Courant

"OK, 'West Wing' was ratings-challenged last year," NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly admitted. "John Wells is not in denial about it."


"We're going to try to juice up the show creatively this year, and I'm excited about what I've heard," Reilly told TV critics meeting in Los Angeles.

Saying he didn't want to reveal too much, Reilly noted that "the Bartlet administration is clearly coming to the end of its term, and I think that's going to foster some really interesting developments." Later, offstage, he added that he didn't mean President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) would fall victim to some sort of television coup, only that having the end in sight would raise the stakes for the administration.

"For "West Wing," it's not the economy, stupid; it's the ratings"
by Gail Pennington
July 14, 2004
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

There's a crisis brewing in The West Wing. With ratings down sharply, sources say this coming season will likely be the NBC drama's last--unless producers can figure out a way to drastically reduce costs.

"Political Upheaval"
by Michael Ausiello
July 18, 2004
TV Guide (American edition)

"I honestly don't think it's the last year, but maybe the year after that," he said Wednesday night before a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert sponsored by the Creative Coalition, of which he is a member.

"Television term limits"
by Christy Lemire
July 18, 2004
Associated Press

Episode 1 will clean up dangling storylines from last season. Donna Moss (Janel Maloney) will recover from wounds suffered following a terrorist bombing in the Middle East, and she and her boss, deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), will return to Washington.

"New flight for 'West Wing'"
by Mike McDaniel
October 14, 2004
Houston Chronicle

"We're trying to make it less predictable," Wells said. "You'll really see that's our objective."

There also will be more humor, Wells said. After 9/11, the show got more serious, though humor was one of the elements of its initial success.

"'Wing' a candidate for change"
by Richard Huff
October 14, 2004
New York Daily News

"There will be no pre-emptions and no repeats with the exception of the Christmas period," Wells says. "I think for this show, that's very important. We need that kind of continuous build and not to have people wonder if it's on that week."

The plan, Wells says, is to run nine episodes in a row beginning with the premiere. Then, after a couple of weeks off for the holidays, the show will return in January for an unbroken 13-week run to conclude its sixth season, most likely earlier than May sweeps.

"'West Wing' Campaign Proceeds Uninterrupted"
October 19, 2004

Now, Bartlet's trying to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process - an issue Wells believes is of vital importance.

"We spend quite a bit of time on that in the first couple of episodes," he says. "What we felt was that most of what we hear and see about the Middle East is presented to us in kind of bumper-sticker issues. What our audience hadn't seen was actually a more complicated and thoughtful discussion of the real issues that are on the table."

" In 'West Wing' time, it's more"
by Virginia Rohan
October 20, 2004
Bergen Record

He [Joshua Malina] also hinted at some major fighting that occurred in the writing Sessions while the staff tried to grind out the first few episodes of the show. Apparently, the writers disagreed over how to handle the issues of middle-east violence and the peacemaking process. Malina, in tone with the theme of the evening, said he was at least happy that Israel was getting the spotlight in the show, which he called a brave move.

Though it seems that in the weeks to come at Camp David (and it seems that it will be a few weeks), the peace-talks might not go as smoothly as hoped. "Obviously, mid-east peace: not gonna be solved on any one-hour TV drama."


And also, dealing with the topic of the evening, he had apparently talked to Wells one day about his opinions about Israel while the first episodes of this season were being written, and Malina's own views ended up being expressed by Will Bailey on the show ... almost. "Will sits a little more to the right than I do."

"Josh Malina Talks Post-Sorkin WEST WING!!"
by "Leo"
October 26, 2004
Ain't It Cool News

The sixth season, which has yet to be shown in Israel, begins with Middle East peace talks. What can you tell us about these upcoming episodes?

You guys will probably find it funny or silly or shake your heads. It is ultimately just a TV show, and maybe it's more fantasy than reality, but I give John Wells credit for it. He didn't think he would solve the problems in this region by writing two episodes that dealt with it, but it's good for America to have two hours of prime-time TV that deal with these issues in a substantive and balanced way.

Were there any debates about the political nature of these episodes?

John [Wells] told me there had never been bigger fights in the writers' room than when they were writing these episodes - they've all got their political opinions, and they really go in deep and discuss the issues.


Flash forward, I was talking to Wells about something else and told him I was going to speak to the Jewish federation, and we talked a bit about Israel. It was when he was writing the episodes about the Middle East, and next thing I know - I read the script, and it's like, "Will Bailey - a Zionist is born." John is more to the right than I am, but he's very pro-Israel.

Have there been any instances when you felt Josh Malina's real-life opinions were in conflict with those of Will Bailey?

We argue about issues sometimes on the set. I don't want to be too specific, but I've got into discussions about Israel.

If you were writing the script for next season, what would you like to see taking place in Israel? I don't want to be one of those loud Americans who think they always have the solution. But I'd like to see peace, a two-state solution, and I pray that the disengagement in Gaza is successful and is able to be carried out in a way that isn't disastrous for the country. - Joshua Malina

"'West Wing' actor looks east"
by Talya Halkin
June 27, 2005
Jerusalem Post

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