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Third-Day Story

Original Airdate 11-03-04

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Staffers return in triumph to a West Wing in chaos following the success of the Camp David peace talks--and Leo's heart attack, which has left the White House rudderless as Congressional Republicans press for a tax cut in exchange for approval of a U.S. Mideast peacekeeping force. Meanwhile, Bartlet's hopes for a unanimous UN resolution on the pact are being threatened by Turkmenistan, and Donna returns home from Germany.
From NBC:
Before signing the peace accord, Bartlet (Martin Sheen) tells his staff to go after the support of the House and the U.N. Josh (Bradley Whitford) and Toby (Richard Schiff) are assigned the task of getting congressional support. Meanwhile, CJ (Allison Janney) works to confirm international support with the U.N. Security Council. Donna (Janel Moloney) returns to work and Charlie (Dulé Hill) resists taking a college swimming exam that would allow him to graduate.
From Warner Bros.:
Before signing the Middle East peace accord, Bartlet orders his staff to enlist the support of the United States House of Representatives and the United Nations. Josh and Toby are assigned the task of getting congressional backing. Meanwhile, C.J. works to confirm international alliance with the United Nations Security Council. Donna returns to work, and Charlie refuses to take a college swimming exam that would allow him to graduate.


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
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
Makram J. Khoury as Chairman Nizar Farad  
Lily Tomlin as
Debbie (Deborah) Fiderer President's Secretary
Guest Starring    
Steven Culp as Jeff Haffley Speaker of the House
Sam Robards as Greg Brock Reporter
H. Richard Greene as Robert Royce Senate Majority Leader / R-Penn
Allison Smith as Mallory O'Brian Teacher / Leo McGarry's daughter
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Dey Young as Congresswoman D-Iowa
Jim Abele as Congressman Benoit met with Josh
Blue Deckert as Congressman Borden met with Toby
Richard V. Licata as Congressman Lackey meeting with Josh
Jamie McShane as Leo's Doctor  
Mindy Seeger as Chris Reporter
Ben Siegler as George Reporter
Don Snell as Congressman Briggs meeting with Josh
Jeffry Stein as Steward  
Izzy Davis as Staffer  
Marcie Lynn Ross as Treasury Secretary Teresa Browning
John Colella as Announcer  
Dierdre M. Smith as Nurse #1  
Pam Belanu as Nurse #2  
Bitsie Tulloch as Intern  

Information Links



Emmy Awards

Submitted for consideration after Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nomination by
Stockard Channing

Media Quotes

Mr. [Kevin] Reilly [president of NBC Entertainment] said that 3 episodes of the new season had been completed and 9 of 22 had been written.

"'West Wing': Is It Facing a Struggle to Survive?"
by Bernard Weinraub
August 12, 2004
New York Times

"In Episode 2, Leo McGarry suffers a major heart attack and is unable to continue as the chief of staff," Wells reveals. "The president, while considering Josh and Toby for the part, comes to the conclusion that the best person for it is C.J. Allison Janney is wonderful. She's so talented and I think she'd reached the point where she'd answered questions in the press-briefing room about as many times as she could. So it's great to see a talented actress having a whole other meal to dig into."

"Martin Sheen's West Wing Dilemma"
by Daniel R. Coleridge
October 14, 2004
TV Guide Online

"A lot of the things we're doing are just changing the dynamics between the characters you've already come to know and love so they're not doing exactly the same thing, and they have to confront the differences in the way their job works and how they work with their co-workers." - John Wells

"Season of Change for 'The West Wing'"
by Rick Porter
October 18, 2004

"Leo McGarry [John Spencer], at the end of Episode 2, suffers a major heart attack and is unable to continue as chief of staff," Wells says, adding that Episodes 3 and 4 are devoted to CJ replacing him.

"We've been a little unrealistic on the show. The average White House staffer stays about 18 months. Burnout is so high," Wells says.

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

Allison Janney isn't ready for a promotion.

When West Wing boss John Wells told Janney that her press secretary C.J. Cregg would replace Leo McGarry (John Spencer) as the president's chief of staff this season, she freaked.

"There was silence for a full minute," Janney recalls. "I went, 'What? Are you sure? I don't know. This is kind of crazy.' I was terrified about taking over that job."


"The more John [Wells] talked to me, the more it actually made sense for C.J. to have this job," says Janney, 43, a two-time Emmy-winner for the role. "It creates so many new dynamics and conflicts. It shakes up the chemistry."


"I knew they wanted to shake things up, but I thought C.J. would always be press secretary. John might as well have said that C.J. is going to be president. It's been a little daunting for me."

Josh and Toby are not thrilled by C.J.'s ascent. "They're above me in the chain of command, and now I'm their boss," she says. Also, C.J. "is still a woman in a man's world."

Ironically, Janney says she is nothing like the powerful women she plays.

"I'm the biggest wimp. I have a hard time saying no to anybody. I'm not the boss. I'm the team player. I'm very shy. I don't like to speak in front of people. I like to stay at home, not doing anything."

"Allison Janney's at center of a shakeup on 'West Wing'"
by Gail Shister
November 2, 2004
Philadelphia Inquirer

Janney, however, is not sure she wanted the promotion.

"When I first heard about it I was terrified. I said, 'Are you sure?'" Janney said, recalling her reaction when producer John Wells revealed the move to her last summer.

"The more I thought about it and listened to (the writers') thinking it was, 'Yeah, why not? Why can't C.J. do it.'"

"C.J. reluctantly moves up"
by Rick Bird
November 8, 2004
Cincinnati Post

Even in the world of presidential make-believe that exists on The West Wing (conservatives call it the Left Wing) the elevation of the press secretary to such a key position seems far-fetched.

Would Bill Clinton ever have made Dee Dee Myers his right-hand woman?

Can anyone see George W. Bush promoting Scott McClellan? Hardly.

Anyway, this is the TV White House where anything can happen to intensify dramatic scripts.

But Janney contends such a promotion is "not that far-fetched."

"It's relationship driven," the Emmy-winning actress said on the phone.

"The president has a lot of faith and confidence in C.J. He trusts her.

"And he needs somebody he can trust now that Leo (John Spencer) has suffered a severe heart attack."

In the final scene of last week's episode, Bartlet told C.J. he wanted someone who "will jump off the cliff for him."

"Roles shift on 'West Wing'"
by Dusty Saunders
November 9, 2004
Rocky Mountain News

"I don't think there has ever been a female chief of staff before," said a proud Janney in a conference call with television critics. She believes it is an important step for women, even if it is a fictional one.

"I've come to realize how much C.J. is a great role model for women in television," said Janney. "The fact she's got this great promotion is sort of a wonderful thing to put those sort of positive images out there, especially in such a traditionally male world as Washington politics."


Asked if the writers discussed the logic of C.J.'s move from press secretary to such a vital role, Janney said she was sure it came up.

"It was a choice that they found was really fascinating and an interesting way to go and not that far-fetched," said Janney. "I find from talking to a lot of people who work in the White House that sometimes job descriptions don't necessarily define who you get to talk with or who trusts your input, that it is more relationship-driven. And I think C.J. has proven herself to be a respected member of the administration."

She concedes she had some skepticism initially, partly because she hates change.


"C.J. could never replace Leo and his relationship with the president. It is such a deep male friendship," said Janney. "C.J. won't have that. Her relationship is different. They are feeling their way, it is more father-daughter."

C.J.'s promotion also affects her relationship with the men who might have expected to get the job. In last week's promo for tonight's episode, Toby offers his resignation.

"It does shake things up and create a lot of tension between the characters," agrees Janney.

"A vote for C.J. as 'West Wing' chief"
by Alan Pergament
November 10, 2004
Buffalo News

Season six basically happened because everybody was getting bored. All of a sudden John Wells was like, "hey! What if Leo had a heart attack and CJ was Chief of Staff! What if this! What if that!" Everybody got energized again, but then "the big complication became 'y'know, we're going to have create a republican...'"

Posted by cyren_2132 @
November 11, 2005
Notes from Alex Graves talk at the University of Kansas

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