MARY KAY PLACE GUEST-STARS AS CONTROVERSIAL SURGEON GENERAL; PRESIDENT CONFRONTS OUTSPOKEN MIDDLE DAUGHTER -- As the President (Martin Sheen) wings back from a Tokyo trade summit, a firestorm of controversy awaits him when Surgeon General Griffith (guest star Mary Kay Place, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman") hints that marijuana should be decriminalized -- but Bartlet is even more incensed over his meek middle daughter Ellie's (guest star Nina Siezmasko) public assurances that her father would never fire Griffith. When he confronts Ellie, the President gets a sobering reality check about their relationship. Elsewhere: Toby (Richard Schiff) floats an idea of putting a controversial Senator on a special commission to study social security reform and encounters resistance to the notion of raising the retirement age; Sam (Rob Lowe) tries to head off the misleading story that the White House refused to screen an incendiary new film promoted by a savvy movie producer.
Opening - Wednesday Night
The Surgeon General is conducting an online chat in which she makes a statement that would lead one to believe that she believes in the decriminalization of marijuana. Josh and Donna, who are reading the transcript, realize they are no longer going to be able to leave for the night, although the President is in Tokyo.
Josh brings the transcript of the Surgeon General's remarks to C.J., who declares, "I quit" after reading it. Josh quizzes C.J. on how the press will respond to this. They meet up with Toby who is in a meeting dealing with a situation - to which Josh replies, "we have a bit of a situation out here, too." Sam joins the conversation to say that something's happened, but holds off to talk about the Surgeon General. Toby goes back to his meeting and C.J. goes to read the wires. Sam tells Josh about an ad that will appear in several newspapers denouncing a movie, "Prince of New York." The President is listed among those denouncing the movie. Josh talks to Leo on the phone telling him about the problems that have come up.
Act II - Thursday
Toby gets Sam's attention by throwing a ball at the window between their offices. Toby and Sam discuss the Blue Ribbon Commission and who should and should not be asked to be on the Commission. Sam goes back to his office to take a phone call from Charlie who tells him that the producers of the movie, "Prince of New York," asked to screen the movie at the White House, but Charlie declined the request.
Josh is on the phone talking about the Surgeon General story with Leo and several others. C.J. comes in with good responses to possible questions about the Surgeon General. C.J. will express administration support for the Surgeon General, while Leo tells Josh to talk to the Surgeon General about her resigning.
Josh goes to see Dr. Griffith and they talk about her comments the previous evening. Josh asks her to resign but she refuses until the President fires her. At the end of the Press Briefing, C.J. gets a question about the movie. Sam meets C.J. after the briefing and he tells her they are planning to meet with the movie makers the next day and to leave it alone. In C.J.'s office, Carol tells C.J. that Danny is on the phone, asking for a comment abut the Surgeon General - the comment was from Ellie, the President's middle daughter.
As Toby continues to meet with leaders on the Blue Ribbon Commission - Josh comes back to the White House and meets with C.J. He tells her that she may need to walk back some of the comments she made in the Press Room - but C.J. tells Josh about the quote from Ellie - "My father won't fire the Surgeon General, he would never do that."
The President returns from Japan and is told about the quote from Ellie. He gets back to the White House and explodes at C.J. about Danny talking to Ellie. She tells him that Danny didn't call her - Ellie called Danny and gave him the quote. Josh comes into the Oval Office and they discuss the Suregon General. Sam is waiting to see the President about the movie. The President asks Charlie to have Ellie brought to the White House.
Act IV - Friday
Toby meets with his ex-wife, Congresswoman Wyatt, to talk about the Blue Ribbon Commission. She is not inclined to help Toby with getting Gillette on the Commission. Andy tells Toby that the message that was delivered at the State of the Union caught many by surprise and there were many lawmakers that feel they were not consulted. When Andy tells Toby about a press release that she sent a society that announced that Toby had joined a Board - he realizes that is the way to get Gillette to join the Commission - just announce that he has agreed to join the Commission - and tells C.J. to announce it at the Press Briefing.
Mrs. Landingham and Charlie are discussing the movie when Ellie shows up in the Oval Office. Mrs. Landingham goes out to get the President. The President arrives from a meeting and brings Ellie into the Oval Office. She confirms the quote is accurate. She feels that Dr. Griffith told the truth and doctors shouldn't be fired for that. It is clear the President and his middle daughter have a strained relationship but she agrees to stay the night and watch the movie with him.
Dr. Griffith is waiting for Leo to arrive for a meeting. The two of them discuss her comments and while Leo doesn't believe she did or said anything wrong - he wants her resignation on his desk before the end of the day. The President meets with Dr. Griffith in the Oval Office, she has agreed to resign. The two talk about Ellie and their relationship. After their conversation, he doesn't accept her resignation.
Sam meets with Morgan Ross, the producer of the movie and tells him never to call the President a coward again - and then tells him to go back to the meeting and show Sam how he can make it up to the President. In the White House screening room, many are watching "Dial M for Murder." The President talks with Ellie and the two of them share a special moment.
- Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
- Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
- Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
- Janel Moloney as Donna Moss
- Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler
- John Spencer as Leo McGarry
- Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman
- and Martin Sheen as President Bartlet
Special Guest Star
- Josh: OK, first things first, what time is it in Tokyo?
- Toby: They're fourteen hours ahead
- Josh: I thought it was thirteen.
- Toby: Eastern Daylight . . .
- Josh: So, it's fourteen hours ahead
- Toby: Yes.
- Josh: We're sure it's ahead and not behind?
- C.J.: Guys? There's clocks on the wall.
- ❝I gotta hand it to you guys. You've pulled off a poltical first. You've managed to win me the support of the Christian Right and the Cheech and Chong fan club in the same day❞
- —President Bartlet
- ❝[to Ellie] The only thing you ever had to do to make me happy was come home at the end of the day❞
- —President Bartlet