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Things Fall Apart

Original Airdate 03-30-05 Rerun 09-11-05

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As the GOP nominates Vinick, Russell offers Santos the VP slot. Not that it's Russell's to offer. And while Santos mulls it, Bartlet enlists Leo to keep the party's presidental stalement from turning chaotic. Meanwhile, an international space station is leaking oxygen, but a rescue will be more complicated than it might seem to be; and Bartlet catches "Charles" leaving Zoey's bedroom at 1am.
From NBC:
The clear organization of the Republican Convention is making the Democrats look in disarray as the three candidates continue to battle for a clear Democratic Presidential nominee. Bartlet (Martin Sheen) asks Leo (John Spencer) to take control and organize the Democratic Convention. Meanwhile, the International Space Station has a leak and is losing oxygen which jeopardizes the lives of the three astronauts aboard and morality and mortality are examined.
From Warner Bros.:
The success of the impeccably organized Republican Convention contrasts with the Democrats who look in disarray as the candidates continue to battle to become the Democratic Party presidential nominee. Bartlet asks Leo to take control and organize the upcoming convention. Meanwhile, the International Space Station develops a leak and is losing oxygen, jeopardizing the lives of the three astronauts aboard.


Alan Alda as Arnold Vinick Republican Candidate for President
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 Campaign Manager
Mary McCormack as Kate (Katherine) Harper Deputy National Security Advisor
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Russell Campaign Staffer
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 Santos Campaign Manager
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
Ed O'Neill as Eric Baker Governor of Pennsylvania
Guest Starring    
Elisabeth Moss as Zoey Patricia Bartlet Bartlets' youngest daughter
Sam Robards as Greg Brock Reporter
Steve Ryan as Miles Hutchinson Secretary of Defense
Brett Cullen as Ray Sullivan Republican Candidate for Vice President
Mark L. Taylor as Steve Rorsche DNC Chairman
Tim Kelleher as Dylan Clark Hoynes Campaign Manager
Renée Estevez as Nancy Aide
Karis Campbell as Ronna (Beckman) Santos' Aide
Mindy Seeger as Chris Reporter
Charles Noland as Steve Reporter
Joyce Guy as Charlayne Reporter
David St. James as Congressman Gibson Darren (first name) / R-MI
Matt McKenzie as Speaker 2 Republican Convention
Nancy Linari as Speaker 3 Republican Convention
David Grant Wright as Kelwick Edwin Austin (given name) /
NASA Administrator

Information Links


Media Quotes

"In the evolution of the stories, politics and campaigning has been the arena least explored. We're trying to rectify that balance."

"It's a slightly unreal element on the show that we haven't had the political sharks circling the White House. That dynamic will now be added." - Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr.

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

"What we're hoping to do is give the audience some insight into what the campaign process is about," Smits says.

"Can 'West Wing' build a bridge to the 21st century?"
by Bill Keveney
October 19, 2004
USA Today

"That, we think, is interesting territory, when you look at who is likely to replace you and realize that you need to stay above the fray and, at the same time, you're not happy with the direction the election is going in," Wells says.

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

Wells felt he wasn't playing sides in the campaign by crafting a good guy/bad guy scenario. "We've set up both candidates as someone you'd like to have a beer with," he said.

"Alan Alda eager to run 'The West Wing'"
by Bill Brioux
January 22, 2005
Toronto Sun

"I just recently read for 'The West Wing,' for the part of the chairman of the Democratic National Committee," said the 1967 graduate of Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond.

Although he hasn't won a role on NBC's "The West Wing," [Ray] Laska has apparently left an impression.

"They keep bringing me in to read for them because the casting people like me," Laska noted.

"Native son lands role of lifetime on 'Boston Legal'"
by Bob Kostanczuk
March 12, 2005

"It's giving us an opportunity to explore different points of view," he says, "and express in two actors different ideas that might have been a little bit difficult to express on the show over the years, because we are in a Democratic administration, the Bartlet administration, and so the Republicans are usually the enemy. No matter how favorably or with how much compassion you try to present that other point of view, you're trying to defeat them.

"In this, we now have a contest in which there's a discussion going on in which both points of view are presented. Oftentimes the Republican point of view sounds very, very compelling, particularly coming out of Alan's mouth."

"'West Wing' Hits Campaign Trail"
by Kate O'Hare
February 20, 2005

"That's one of the issues that we're going to deal with. The real fear of Democrats in any election is that you would have a Republican who actually came from a more moderate state. The reason that we crafted this is, when we talked to the Democrats about the kind of person they never want to run against, it's someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger or someone from a large, typically Democratic state who's likely to carry that state. Because if you don't get the 52 electoral college votes out of California or out of New York, you're in trouble."

"Liberal leanings - Can Republicans get a fair shake in 'West Wing' elections?"
by Scott D. Pierce
March 18, 2005
Desert News

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