The West Wing Episode Guide -
Bookmark this Site

Here Today

Original Airdate 10-23-05

Previous Episode  ||  Season 7 Episode Index  |  Main Index  |  Season 7 Information Index  ||  Next Episode
Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Awards  |  Media Quotes


As the White House comes to grips with the revelation of the NASA-shuttle leaker, Lou (Janeane Garofalo) persaudes Josh, who persaudes Santos, that the sagging Santos campaign must clean house. Meanwhile, CIA conspiracy theorist Charles Frost gets a dressing down from Kate about his "ambush" of C.J.; and Bartlet and Abbey meet Ellie's fiancé, a research scientist Bartlet calls "fruit-fly guy."
From NBC:
Babish (Oliver Platt) questions Toby (Richard Schiff) until Toby realizes he should probably retain counsel. Meanwhile, Josh (Brad Whitford) realizes that everyone involved in the Santos campaign is young and inexperienced, forcing him to make some tough decisions.


Stockard Channing as Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D. First Lady
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
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Santos / McGarry Campaign Manager
Jimmy Smits as
Matthew Vincente Santos Democratic Candidate for President
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Stars    
Janeane Garofalo as Louise "Lou" Thornton Santos / McGarry Director of Communications
Teri Polo as Helen Santos Matt Santos' Wife
Oliver Platt as Oliver Babish White House Counsel
Guest Starring    
Steve Ryan as Miles Hutchinson Secretary of Defense
Tom Everett as Charles Frost CIA / NSC
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper Assistant to Chief of Staff
Renée Estevez as Nancy Aide
Evan Arnold as Ned Carlson Santos' Aide
Karis Campbell as Ronna (Beckman) Santos' Aide
Lee Garlington as Alana Waterman Toby's Lawyer
Benjamin Brown as Mike Wayne Associate Counsel
Ben Weber as Vic Faison Ellie's Fiancée
Nina Siemaszko as Ellie (Eleanor Emily) Bartlet Bartlets' middle daughter
Thomas Kopache as Bob "Bobby" Slatterly Assisant Secretary of State
Ryan Cutrona as George Sliger previously Rollie / CIA Director
Peter James Smith as Ed Congressional Liaison
William Duffy as Larry Congressional Liaison
Bradley James as Agent Donnie
Richard Alan Brown as Zeke Santos / McGarry Campaign Staffer
Lyndsey Gayer as Staffer  

Information Links



Emmy Awards

Submitted for consideration after Outstanding Drama Series Nomination

Media Quotes

Stockard Channing, talking about this [the 6th season] being the final season of The West Wing [which it was not], said, "It could be heartbreaking, but you just go on to other things."

"Brad & Jen; 'Sex' talk; Adriana of 'Sopranos' is really dead"
by Bill Keveney and William Keck
September 20, 2004
USA Today

"Truthfully, I don't know if I will be back," says [Joshua] Malina, 39, who addresses the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati May 24. Those who donate to the fund-raiser will be invited to his talk at Rockdale Temple.

"I asked (the producers) before we finished the season, and was basically told, 'We don't really know.' I want to come back. I feel it's one of the greatest shows ever to be on television," he says. Despite declining ratings, the drama has been renewed for a seventh season.


"If I'm not invited back, I won't take it personally. The show is going in a new direction," he says.

"'West Wing' actor to speak at Jewish Federation"
by John Kiesewetter
May 15, 2005
Cincinnati Enquirer

I'll be back for three episodes of The West Wing next year." - Stockard Channing

"Daytime Emmys"
May 23, 2005
TV Guide Online

Schiff complained that his character is being "phased out" after a few episodes this season partly because studio owner Time Warner is a "corporate shadow (that's) constantly suppressing and regulating and watching over" the political drama and especially Schiff's role as communications director Toby, "who is somewhat conscience-driven and dynamic in his opinions. There is pressure to relieve him of his voice."

"Hot 'House' stars relish roles"
by Robert Bianco and Gary Levin
July 31, 2005
USA Today

After the session, I found myself in follow-up chats with "The West Wing's" Richard Schiff and then "American Dreams" writer-producer Jonathan Prince. Plenty of material for a future column or columns. As the conversations went on, the lights were being turned out in the meeting room and pieces of the set were being taken down around us. It was real don't-let-the-door-hit-you kind of moment.

"Back on the Block"
by Rich Heldenfels
July 31, 2005
Akron Beacon Journal

Richard Schiff, who plays liberal White House staffer Toby Ziegler on "The West Wing," said his character will be phased out this season by what he described as mutual consent. But then he tried to blame his departure on the corporate culture at Warner Bros., which produces the series.

"There is pressure to relieve him of his voice," Schiff said. Later he backtracked, saying it was not direct corporate control but that the studio had an influence on the show's budget. Yes, the studio does, and that's why it's called show business. "We're in a bottom line culture right now," Schiff said. "More money can be made if it's quicker, faster. In the days of Aaron Sorkin, it was quite expensive because his artistic process demanded more time. That has been eliminated."

After the press conference, Schiff continued to back away from his initial tone.

"I'm not accusing Warner Bros. of suppressing Toby in any way, shape or form," Schiff said. "It's not some suit at Warner Bros. that goes, 'That Toby, we've got to suppress him.' I know it sounded like that, but it's not what I mean, and that's stupid."

Basically, Schiff's frustration boils down to an artist who said his suggestions for his character were more often heeded under original show runner Sorkin than current show runner John Wells.

"Tuned In: Group reshaping indecency debate"
by Rob Owen
August 1, 2005
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Given that Toby's a rather sad character, do you fing it strange that he's so popular?

I had I known the show would last this long, I might have chosen a cheerier fellow! A lot of people love him though; they find him the most honest and the most profound and the most funny. That's a great reward for me.

"Shooting the breeze with The West Wing's Toby"
by James Dyer
October 2005

The unusual overlap is partly by design, partly by coincidence. John Wells, the show's executive producer, recalled that his creative team began mapping out its leak story line 16 months ago as the Bush administration faced its own investigation over the leak of a covert C.I.A. officer's identity. The "West Wing" plot involves an unauthorized disclosure about a secret military space shuttle and the investigation to find the source of the leak.

"We got interested in the idea of, what is the responsibility inside the White House for taking individual responsibility for leaking?" Mr. Wells said. "How does leaking work? Why do people do it?"


For several months, too, Mr. Wells was aware that Mr. Fitzgerald's grand jury was scheduled to disband yesterday. And so, last Sunday night, the story line reached a climax when the character of the White House communications director, Toby Ziegler, outed himself as the source of the leak. Tomorrow night, Toby's colleagues wrestle with the consequences.

In real Washington, meanwhile, Mr. Fitzgerald announced yesterday that the grand jury had indicted I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the course of an investigation.

"We did take a look, this spring and summer, when reporters started showing up to testify and one went to prison, and we said, 'Wait a second, do we want to keep doing this?' " Mr. Wells said. "But we thought the investigation would go all the way to Friday. And we monitored things pretty closely in early September because we didn't want to end up in an awkward situation. We could have moved stories around earlier if we had to."

Richard Schiff, who plays Toby Ziegler, said the fictional leak took on moral dimensions that he imagined the Bush White House had faced as well. "I think the culture of leaks is about the culture of betrayal, no matter how you look at it, because Toby is betraying the trust and confidence of the man he most respects in the world, the president," Mr. Schiff said.

Mr. Wells said that leaks had afflicted Democratic and Republican administrations, and that his team had not been seeking to damn the Bush White House. The character of Toby, too, was hardly vindicated; his boss, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen), fired him at the end of last Sunday's episode and cuttingly dismissed the leak as shameful.

"What was more interesting to us was the notion of someone who had done something that they believed was the proper thing to do," Mr. Wells said. "Within the White House, do they ultimately take responsibility for what they have done, rather than wait to be indicted?"

"A Fictional Presidency Confronts a Leak, Too"
by Patrick D. Healy
October 29, 2005
New York Times

President Bush beset with his multiple woes of more than 2,000 dead GIs in Iraq, the Harriet Miers debacle, Plamegate, gas prices, polls and inflation self-medicating his anxieties du jour by watching past seasons' reruns of West Wing.

So claims gossip gadfly with Republican connections Cindy Adams.


"I choose to believe it. We all here choose to believe it," one of the series' producers, Lawrence O'Donnell, tells me. "But he's making a mistake in watching reruns when what he should be doing is watching this season's shows."


West Wing executive producer John Wells tells me he and his writers can present to Bush "a different way that the presidency can be run." Such as?

"We have the alternative of letting it work out well for us in dramatic terms," Wells explains. "There was a great deal of hopeful optimism when Bush went on that aircraft carrier after the Iraq invasion and declared mission accomplished. He just wished it so, but in our world, we could have made it so. Unfortunately, in the real world, the presidency has to deal with incontrollable circumstances."

For instance, if only W had watched a week ago, he'd have seen how a White House should treat a national-security leaker. Begun 18 months ago, the storyline wrapped up just four days before Libby's indictment came down. "We thought Plamegate was going to go away, and we didn't think it should," Wells tells me. "We did time it to the real grand-jury ending. But we didn't know it would so conveniently line up."

"Life Not Quite Imitating Art"
by Nikki Finke
November 4, 2005

One of my husband's oldest friends is Peter James Smith, who plays "Ed" on The West Wing. The character of Ed, almost always seen with "Larry" (Bill Duffy) is an aid in the White House who tends to walk briskly down corridors, hold papers and occasionally ask questions about random pieces of legislation. Occasionally he gets a really good moment: A couple weeks ago, Ed and Larry were trying to spy on the kerfuffle caused when Toby (Richard Schiff) admitted that he had leaked national security secrets. CJ (Allison Janney) noticed them spying and said something like "If you're done with your work, perhaps you should go home," and Ed jumped back with a classic comedic double-take. Last Sunday, as we had lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant in LA, I told him that I thought it was the best episode in years. I also pressed him for gossip but sadly, he's a right-on dude and didn't reveal anything.

"Political Fictions, Real and Imagined"
by Ted Gideonse
November 4, 2005
Maisonneuve Magazine

[Alex] Graves confirmed that Toby is the leak. He wasn't covering for anybody, he did it because he didn't want astronauts to die.

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

"I think the Toby story (he was fired and faces indictment for leaking classified information) pretty much ended when he was booted out of the White House," Schiff said.

"I've been wanting to leave for a while. I love it. I love everyone on it. At times I think it was the best show on television. But it's different now, and it's been different for a few years. I'm sure whoever owns it might want to make some more money on it or, out of pride, see where it goes with a new administration. But it's not my 'West Wing,' so I don't have any interest in it. I don't want to do it without John Spencer."

"'West Wing' regular takes George St. stage"
by Morris Stage
January 8, 2006
Daily Record

Are you going to miss that show or do you think it was just time for you to move on?

It's been time for me to move on for quite a while actually. You know, the money was very good and that's what kind of drew me back because I felt like after five years of 70-hour weeks that I kind of deserved to get a little bit of a payoff. And the money got very good in the last two years. I wanted to leave and then we kind of made a compromise that I would come back and give them a story that they could use to lead me going out. They came up with firing him... That wasn't my idea! - Richard Schiff

Did you like the way they resolved Toby's character?

Between you and me - and you can print this - Toby wouldn't have done that in ten million years! But, you know, it's not my show. - Richard Schiff

"From West Wing To George Street"
by Gary Wien
January 13, 2005

In one recent episode modeled on the Judith Miller-Scooter Libby imbroglio, Toby was fired for leaking sensitive information to the press. Schiff has complained that his character was dispatched from the show because he was too "conscience-driven" and the producers were under "pressure to relieve him of his voice."

"Sun sets on 'West Wing'"
by Aaron Barnhart
May 14, 2006
Kansas City Star

Situation he'd like to set straight: No matter what those &%$! scriptwriters make him say, Toby would never, ever have been the one to leak classified information about the space shuttle (See: Season 7).
Says Schiff: "I don't think that Toby would betray the man he respects and loves most in the world," President Bartlet.


Best practical joke he pulled: Stealing producer-writer Alex Graves's iPod, deleting 4,000 songs and resetting it to Mandarin Chinese. "Once your iPod is functioning in Mandarin Chinese, it's pretty hard to set it back," Malina says with relish.

May 14, 2006
Washington Post

His episodes, and many of his colleagues', were cut - "Purely a financial decision," he says. "We were expensive actors." He felt let down by the scriptwriters.

"I was sad for the show," he says. "I hated my storyline. Toby would never in 10 million years have betrayed the president in that fashion [in the seventh series, Toby is indicted for leaking classified information]. Even if he had, there would have been seven episodes' worth of fights before he did it... In the end, the only way I could make sense of my story was to come up with my own story - that Toby was covering for someone else. That, at least, made sense to me."

So, who was Toby covering for? "I don't think I should ever reveal that."

"Richard Schiff: Life after 'The West Wing'"
February 8 2007

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
Previous Episode  |  U.S. Flag Main Index 7 Cast Season 7 Episode Index U.S. Flag Season 7 Information Index  |  Next Episode