The West Wing Episode Guide -
Bookmark this Site

Faith Based Initiative

Original Airdate 01-05-05

Previous Episode  ||  Season 6 Episode Index  |  Main Index  |  Season 6 Information Index  ||  Next Episode
Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Media Quotes


As rumors swirl around Washington that C.J. is a lesbian, a crusty GOP senator attaches a rider that would ban gay marriage to the federal budget. Meanwhile, Santos (Jimmy Smits) considers Josh's proposal; and Abbey and staffers assess the president's medical condition. "We're all going to have to be ready for anything, every day," she says.
From NBC:
The internet press is running with a story that questions CJ's (Allison Janney) sexual orientation. CJ refuses to put out a statement, which only makes the media press harder. The effects of MS are becoming more pronounced on President Bartlet (Martin Sheen). Meanwhile, Santos (Jimmy Smits) declares that he will run for President but only if Josh (Bradley Whitford) will run his campaign.
From Warner Bros.:
The press circulates an untrue rumor about C.J. A controversial amendment banning gay marriage is added to the budget. Josh convinces Santos (Jimmy Smits) to vie for the office of President. Bartlet tries to handle his latest recurrence of multiple sclerosis. And Donna works for Vice President Robert Russell (Gary Cole) in his New Hampshire presidential campaign headquarters.


Stockard Channing as Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D. First Lady
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Deputy Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Chief of Staff
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 Former Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
Jimmy Smits as
Matthew Vincente Santos Rep. D-TX
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Stars    
Kristin Chenoweth as Annabeth Schott Deputy Press Secretary
Gary Cole as Robert "Bingo Bob" Russell Vice President
Teri Polo as Helen Santos Matt Santos' Wife
Tim Matheson as
John Hoynes Former Vice President
Guest Starring    
Reed Diamond as Dr. Mike Gordon Army Major
Paul Collins as Senator Sam Wilkinson R-Kansas
Cleo King as Marla Whorisky Donna's Temp Replacement
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Renée Estevez as Nancy Aide
Mindy Seeger as Chris Reporter
Ben Murray as Curtis Carruthers Personal Aide to the President
Ben Siegler as George Reporter
DeVone Lawson Jr. as Physical Therapist  

Information Links


Media Quotes

Just before the holidays, Josh will become so disillusioned with the vice-president's campaign that he'll quit the White House. "Leo talks Josh into finding his own Democratic candidate, the way Leo found Bartlet," Wells explains. "Josh will run a long-shot campaign for [Jimmy Smits' character]." And as for Donna, she'll go to work for the Veep's campaign.


The president's wife, Abb[e]y (Stockard Channing), will begin a storyline, shortly before Christmas, that will reintroduce the issue of the president's multiple sclerosis.

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

"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

NYPD Blue alum Smits joins in episode four and portrays a Democratic congressman who becomes a reluctant candidate.

"End of 'West Wing'? Not so fast"
by Hal Boedeker
October 20, 2004
Orlando Sentinel

Disturbed by the possibility of a Bob Russell presidency, Josh Lyman resigns from the White House staff to manage the campaign of Jimmy Santos (Smits).

Meanwhile, Donna joins the Russell campaign staff run by White House maverick Will Bailey (Joshua Malina). And so at long last, there's the possibility for Josh and Donna to have a more personal relationship now that Josh isn't her boss. Hmmm.

"We love those two characters and we love their interaction," says Wells.

"'West Wing' votes for change"
by Mike Duffy
October 20, 2004
Detroit Free Press

Two contenders join the cast this season: Jimmy Smits as Matt Santos, a Democratic congressman from Texas, and Alan Alda as Arnold Vinick, a Republican from California. (Republican, California, Arnold. Get it?)

Smits debuts Nov. 10, but he doesn't declare until Jan. 5.

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

On "The West Wing," [Teri] Polo will play the potential first lady as the wife of Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits), a three-term Democratic congressman from Texas with strong presidential aspirations.

"Delaney Lands Ex-Flame Gig on 'O.C.'"
by Nellie Andreeva
November 3, 2004
Hollywood Reporter

The way this particular thing happened was a shock. I was supposed to direct an episode, which I have never done before this spring, and I called [executive producer] John Wells and I said I have an idea for a story I would love to work on with the writers. He said, "What's the idea?" and I told him.

What was your initial concept?

I was interested in and continually horrified with the way social bonds that create little polarizations tend to come up around election time. The gay-marriage issue was always something that was interesting to me . I had finished the script about 10 days before the presidential elections. I was watching how brilliantly [the Republicans] had brought up the gay-marriage issue in particularly pivotal states. It is horrifying to me that moral values in this society are achieved from not letting gay couples [get married].

The other thing I was interested in was how rumors can clang around cyberspace and become news. It bangs around the Internet and becomes something that these candidates have to deal with, and it becomes something that eventually reporters have to ask about. I thought it would be interesting to have one of our candidates -- a Democrat -- manipulating the gay-marriage issue and at the same time C.J. is put on the defensive.

So how did you go from pitching the idea to actually writing thescript?

I pitched the story to do in March. I am shooting a lot this year, and I just wanted to work with the writers on this thing. First, John said write [up the idea]. And he read it. He was very encouraging and said do an outline. So I asked one of the writers what an appropriate outline would be. John and I talked about it a little bit and I did a longer outline.

[John] said, "Well, we are going to do this story and you got a very busy acting schedule in front of you. We could co-write it, I can write it or you can write it." I said, "I want to write it."

Did Wells make a lot of changes in your script?

One of the great things about the way John works is that he has this structure very deep in his bones. He is involved in the writing of every one of his shows. His notes were really great because when I was stuck, they were the notes where he didn't say, "I would do it this way." He said, "I see where you are trying to go." He was very helpful, and the writer who I had originally thought would write this, Eli Attie, Al Gore's [former] speechwriter, he really sort of helped me sort out the chess game.

What did your fellow cast members think of the script?

They all thought I was insane because it was a very busy time. Richard [Schiff] was incredibly supportive, and that meant a lot to me. He had a confidence in me that I didn't have. It is [great] good fortune to go through something like this in an atmosphere that is so supportive and so protective. It is a very different thing from the hell that writers go through in a vacuum.

"He's taken to plotting"
by Susan King
January 2, 2005
Los Angeles Times

During the Jan. 5 episode "Faith Based Initiative," the character Josh Lyman played by Bradley Whitford deals with "pork" projects and comments that Congress was "handing out pork like Popsicles" including "an indoor rain forest in Iowa." The comment apparently was a reference to the proposed $180 million Environmental Project in Coralville that would include a 4.5 acre rain forest and received a $50 million federal pledge in January 2004.

"'West Wing' to feature Hamburg"
by Adam Pracht
January 20, 2005
Iowa City Press-Citizen

On "The West Wing," Sheen plays a president who finds ways to do his job despite multiple sclerosis. A University of California consultant has advised Sheen on how to play the struggle with the disease.

"What she told me was to be subtle. I can have many ups and downs," he said.

Subtle and optimistic. "(MS) patients see the light at the end of the tunnel," Sheen said.

Sheen isn't an official spokesman for MS because, unlike his character, he doesn't have the disease.

"Sheen shuns political aspirations"
by Dave Mason
February 18, 2005
Scripps Howard News Service

Favorite scene of last year? "It wasn't even mine. Allison Janney was talking to John Spencer about all the personal things in her life." - Jimmy Smits

"New 'Wing' man ponders presidential politics"
by Stuart Levine
June 10, 2005

BRADLEY WHITFORD: It is not common. It began a year ago. It is something that I have always wanted to do and have done in secret and I sort of equate it with actually growing up because as an actor you spend your life as a pawn in a story. The older I get, I want to take more responsibility for the story. It was a hidden desire in me. A year ago, I went into John Wells' office with a different story idea and he said, "Wow, that is a really good idea. Why don't you outline it?" So, I outlined it and then he said, "If you can write it in a week, I will put it on TV."

JERRY FOWLER: No pressure there.

BRADLEY WHITFORD: It actually was a great way to get past whatever writing fears I might have.


JERRY FOWLER: What was it like to be in an episode that you had written?

BRADLEY WHITFORD: It was completely surreal. It happened so quickly the first time. It was completely surreal. It was so strange to have never written anything and then three weeks later, you are watching Allison Janney do a monologue you wrote. It was bizarre realizing that I had to shoot the next day, sit down and memorize lines that I wrote.

JERRY FOWLER: As you were memorizing them, were you having a second-guessing affect—"Oh, why did I write it like that?"—

BRADLEY WHITFORD: I live in a state of permanent second-guessing, so yes. It was interesting to me that it was no easier to memorize my own writing than anybody else's.

"NBC's The West Wing examines the situation in Darfur"
Marh 28, 2006
Voices on Genocide Prevention

HW: We love when you have scenes with tiny Kristin Chenoweth.

AJ: I wish we had more scenes together. Brad wrote that episode where I said, "Are we from the same species?"

"Taking Wing from "The West Wing": Allison Janney"
by Scott Huver
August 6, 2006

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
Previous Episode  |  U.S. Flag Main Index 6 Cast Season 6 Episode Index U.S. Flag Season 6 Information Index  |  Next Episode