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Internal Displacement

Original Airdate 01-15-06

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C.J. has to contain a potentially embarrassing rumor about Bartlet's son-in-law, while also helping to diffuse tensions between Russia and China and monitoring deteriorating conditions in the Sudan.
From NBC:
CJ (Allison Janney) is in the thick of negotiating a deal so that Russia and China don't go to war over Kasakhstan when some potentially embarassing information about a Bartlet surfaces. Meanwhile, Josh (Brad Whitford) pressures the White House to let Santos (Jimmy Smits) announce a scientific research lab in Texas, much to the Administration's chagrin.


Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Chief of Staff
Joshua Malina as Will (William) Bailey Communications Director
Mary McCormack as Kate (Katherine) Harper Deputy National Security Advisor
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Santos 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 Star
Timothy Busfield as
Danny (Daniel) Concannon Washington Post Reporter
Guest Starring    
Annabeth Gish as Elizabeth "Liz" Bartlet Westin Bartlets' eldest daughter
Steven Eckholdt as Doug Westin Elizabeth Bartlet Westin's husband
George Kee Cheung as Ling-Po Chinese Ambassador
Tim Guinee as Steve Laussen Rufugees Rights Alliance
Ronald Guttman as Franz German Ambassador
Francois Giroday as Jaques Ornand French Ambassador
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper Assistant to Chief of Staff
Stacy Hogue as Waitress  

Information Links


Media Quotes

JERRY FOWLER: That is interesting. In this most recent episode that you wrote—as you said it is called "Internal Displacement"—one of the main story lines had to do with the genocide in Darfur. What is it that led you to include Darfur in the episode? BRADLEY WHITFORD: I am active in—although I would not call myself an Episcopalian—I was raised Quaker, but I go to this big, very active, wonderful, Episcopalian Church out here where we have talked a lot about Darfur, and then I started reading about a guy named Eric Reeves, who, I do not know, have you spoken to— JERRY FOWLER: Oh, yes, he was a guest on Voices on Genocide Prevention a few weeks ago. BRADLEY WHITFORD: Yes, he is a remarkable guy who I sort of stumbled into and started reading his web postings. He is a very interesting guy who is an English professor—he is not a lawyer, he is not an international affairs expert—and this issue caught his attention, and he basically gave up everything to get the numbers right which he felt were grossly under estimated. He is a very interesting story because he came back from one of his trips there, and I think he thought he had malaria or something, and it turned out he was very sick, and he has cancer. Initially I thought that I wanted to do something on Darfur, and I thought that this was an interesting character to bring into the White House. What happens in the process of writing this is that that character does not exist in it. I was supported by John Wells and the rest of the writing staff about the notion that we wanted to do something on Darfur, and it is interesting I think that the story problems that a situation like Darfur presents. Generally there is an event that sort of initiates a story line in a movie or a television show or a play, and this bizarre, sort of static place where we become comfortable with an ongoing crisis simply because it is ongoing was something I wanted to dramatize and was a very tricky thing to dramatize. Do you have an event that sort of artificially kicks off a full-blown crisis there on the show so that the President is forced to deal with it? Or do you deal with what it takes during this ongoing carnage for us on the other side of the world to realize that we can do something about it? It was an interesting thing to dramatize. Eric was very helpful to me; I talked to him a couple of times and used his research. It is a very tricky thing to dramatize because you have to get into how the government rationalizes inaction and how they sort of stiff-arm the horror and sort of pooh-pooh any real action as something that would be naïve. We are not as a country too naïve to establish democracy in Iraq, but apparently we are too naïve to put an end to babies being thrown into fires. JERRY FOWLER: It was interesting the way the episode unfolds. An activist from a non-governmental organization comes in and talks to CJ, the Chief of Staff, and she is really quite cold to him. She does not seem very receptive to his message. Why was it that you had her respond that way? BRADLEY WHITFORD: What I wanted to show—it was a very tricky line because—what I wanted to show was her heroism was sort of pragmatic heroism. The NGO guy was in fact being a bit naïve about what was actually going to be the solution, and that she had to function in a world where there were all of these pressures. The fact of it was that you are not going to get—and it is the truth of the situation in Darfur now; we are not going to commit troops to go in there. There is not the will to do it. One of the things that is talked about in there is getting United Nations troops in there and the fact that the African Union troops are not up to this particular task. I wanted her to be savvy enough. If there was an easy solution to it in her world, there is no question that she would execute it. It was a dangerous line because I did not want to over do it. There is a guy named Ken Bacon who is a friend of mine at Refugees International. These guys are not naïve. JERRY FOWLER: Right; well he is actually former spokesman for the Pentagon during the Clinton Administration. BRADLEY WHITFORD: What I was worried about dramatically was making the NGO guy too naïve, and so what I tried to create was a situation where even somebody who was not naïve was just completely fed up with the inaction there. It is partially a dramatic thing. There is no tension if somebody comes in and says that there are these horrible things happening in the world and why don't you fix them, and then the person across the room says, "Okay, you are right." I was also trying to dramatize what a lot of people in the White House feel who I have talked to—that worked in the Clinton Administration—who felt frustrated. I have a friend who worked in the White House and a lot of his close friends were advocates for low-cost urban housing, and when they would call him, they would accuse him of being cynical, and his perception of them was that they were completely naïve about something that was actually going to get done. I am babbling a little but, ultimately, I wanted the heroism in her—she is doing something she is not going to get any credit for, but it is actually going to have an affect—and part of that was created by the artificial situation on the show. JERRY FOWLER: You are suggesting for people who have not seen it, she does take steps to facilitate positive action by the United Nations. Then there is the scene where she goes and tells the President what she is doing and he basically says, "Well, that is great," but it kind of surprised me—maybe this is my own naïveté—that she would not say, "Mr. President, you need to address Darfur publicly." It is the thing that so many people have called for in real life, and coincidentally the President has begun to address it publicly, but why would she not ask President Bartlett to address it? BRADLEY WHITFORD: Part of that is the particular place of the show. The other thing going on in this show was to show that we had never—and this was to show, just so you know some of the things that affect how these characters react. I was also looking from a purely character point of view to show Allison as the Chief of Staff—CJ as the Chief of Staff—in a fully in control, protective position which was the place where Leo was when he was Chief of Staff. We spent about two years doing episodes where Allison's character was basically a fish out of water and it seemed condescending to me, to women, and to Allison's character, so I wanted to show her in control. The basic reason that in that moment she does not pursue that is because he is in the midst of World War III, potentially. I think she needs to keep him updated, but then again, that is absolutely what she should have done, but why is that not being done now? Why is Darfur not on the front page everyday? It is because it has become an ongoing thing that we have gotten use to. Now, the country is distracted by the situation in Iraq, there are crises that are keeping this from being the priority that it should be. Part of that was intentional; not meant to show our White House doing the right thing, but meant to show how the structure ends up reacting to situations like this.


will Darfur come back before the end of the season? BRADLEY WHITFORD: It will not. I had pushed for it, but the campaign took over, and the transition took over, and it will not come up. It is so upsetting to me, it looks to me like we are in a situation that the reason some action is finally being taken is because things are really on the verge of further deterioration over there. I was thinking the other day, what is the best way to raise awareness about this? From my limited tool which is story telling, how do you get the story out there so that you are not doing another Hotel Rwanda five years after it is over? How do you raise awareness while it is happening? I have been looking at other ways to tell the story of Darfur.

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

"It's a pinnacle for an actor because the writing is so fantastic," says Annabeth Gish, who played Elizabeth, Bartlet's oldest daughter. "In my career, I was the most nervous guest-starring on that show because you have to speak politically, you have to speak eloquently and you have to speak rapidly."

"'West Wing' finale a perfect coda"
by Charlie McCollum
May 14, 2006
San Jose Mercury News

Sorkin and Busfield are so close that when a "West Wing" shake-up occurred in the show's fourth season, and Sorkin left the fold, "That was pretty much the end of the show for me," says Busfield. "There wasn't a whole lot of Danny again until the last season, when they figured they sort of needed me to finish Danny's story with Allison Janney. They needed to give Allison something to do," he says, as he refers to his character's love story with the character played by Janney, which finally reached a culmination in the series' swan-song episode.

"Busfield quick to get on board with "Studio 60""
by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
July 31, 2006
Los Angeles Daily News

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