MARK HARMON GUEST-STARS; RUSSIAN LINKAGE TO IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS COULD WRECK SUMMIT PLANS -- As Sam (Rob Lowe) works out the President's (Martin Sheen) final maddening details of an important upcoming summit with the Russian president, satellite photos reveal an Iranian nuclear bomb facility built with Russian technology -- a revelation that could torpedo the leaders' meeting. Elsewhere, C.J. (Allison Janney) makes a harsh public statement about the deaths of Saudi young girls, prompting Bartlet to assign her Secret Service protection (guest star Mark Harmon, "Chicago Hope," "St. Elsewhere"). The President also ponders an effort to save a failing giant computer company.
Opening - Monday
Carol is checking the wires and finds a story from Saudi Arabia, which she prints out for C.J. to read and incorporate to her briefing. In C.J.'s office, Sam and Toby are going over some of the issues for her to discuss when Carol brings the story to C.J. There was a fire at a school in Saudi Arabia and the girls were not permitted to leave the building because they were not dressed appropriately - as a result, 17 girls died in the fire. C.J. tells Sam and Toby that she is going to talk about this at the briefing. C.J. gets several questions about the fire and finally responds.
Charlie comes to see Sam about a letter he has received from an individual who explained that he had met the President and the President's assistant, Mr. Farley, after a budget speech in Pittsburgh. Sam mentions they never did a budget speech in Pittsburgh. Sam goes into a meeting with Russian representatives in advance of a summit meeting between President Bartlet and the new President of Russia, Chigorin, to discuss additional details about the summit.
C.J. and Donna are getting ready to go to lunch - C.J. has received a number of angry faxes and emails over her comments about Saudi Arabia. Donna is looking at the emails when she sees one that is a death threat pointed at C.J. C.J. tells Donna not to worry about it but Josh walks by and Donna calls him in to look at it. He tells her to get Secret Service right away.
In the Oval Office, Leo and the President talk about a friend, who runs a computer chip company that is in serious trouble. Admiral Fitzwallace arrives to inform the President that they believe the Russians are helping the Iranians build a heavy water reactor in Iran.
Act II - Tuesday
C.J. arrives for work to find Toby loitering in the White House lobby - he has nothing to do. She tells him that she wants him to meet with a Russian reporter, who has been banned from covering the summit by the Russians for supporting the other Russian presidential candidate. Toby looks forward to the opportunity. C.J. walks into her office to find Ron Butterfield, who wants to see the message she received. He tells her they are going to take her hard drive and start intercepting her emails. C.J. thinks this is about Saudi Arabia - but Ron points out this is not a terrorist, this is personal.
Sam continues his meeting with the Russians. When he finishes, he comes out to find Charlie, who is still looking into the letter he received from the boy who had met the President. Charlie tells Sam the boy referred to the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, but Sam points out that organization is now called the AFL-CIO. Toby meets with Ludmila Koss, the Russian reporter, who has been banned by the Russians.
Leo and the President talk more about Anteras, the chip company that is in trouble. The President tells Leo there is nothing they can do to save the company. It wouldn't look right. They walk into the Oval Office with Josh, who tells them what he has learned about the reactor in Iran - the Russians deny it is a heavy water reactor. Fitzwallace briefs the President on the reactor and tells him the Russians are giving nuclear weapons to Iran. The President tells Josh and Leo they need to find a way to get him out of the summit with the Russian President.
Act III - Wednesday
Leo and Josh are talking about options for the President to avoid the summit. Josh asks Leo how he knows it's not rogue elements - Leo says he doesn't. But until they're sure, the President can't meet with Chigorin.
Toby meets with a representative about credentialing the Russian reporter, who tells Toby it's not a good idea.
C.J. is called into the Oval Office, where the President and Ron Butterfield are waiting. The President tells her that she is going to get Secret Service protection. She objects, but the President tells her it is not an option. She tries to object again and Butterfield pulls out a number of photographs allegedly taken by the individual who threatened C.J. Butterfield and C.J. leave to talk about details of her new protection.
Toby comes into the Oval Office to talk about an editorial that is going to run about broken economic promises. The two make reference to a speech that FDR gave in 1932 in Pittsburgh on the budget. Charlie, who is in the room, suddenly realizes that is the speech referenced by the boy in the letter he received.
Leo comes in to make yet another case about Anteras. The President repeats that he cannot do anything about it. They were huge contributors to the campaign and they can't save the company. Leo makes one final plea and the President tells Leo to put together some numbers.
Act IV - Thursday
Sam continues to meet with the Russians (although there is still a good chance the summit will be canceled). The lead representative reads Sam some language that he would like incorporated into the joint statement. Sam listens and believes that Chigorin may be trying to send a message to Bartlet about the Iranians. Toby meets with Ludmila Koss again and he gives her credentials for the summit meeting. He tells her that she is a bad reporter but she can cover the summit anyway.
Sam comes to the Oval Office to show Josh the language that he has been given by the Russians. Josh interrupts the discussion, which is about the cancel the summit, to ask them to listen to the language. The President also realizes this may be a message from Chigorin and that they need to go to the summit and see if they can make a breakthrough - but the reactor is the first item on the agenda.
The President comes to Leo's office to meet with Jake Kimball, the CEO of Anteras. The President tells him that while they can't bail him out - the government will stay their biggest customer. The President also tells Kimball that he can no longer make any contributions to the President or any Democrat.
In the Mural Room, Charlie meets with Ted and Alan Tatum. When Alan Tatum was nine years old, he wrote a letter to the President, which was delayed for seventy years, before it was finally delivered. The President arrives for photos with the Tatums. The senior Tatum wants his picture with Charlie, who made sure the letter was answered. The Tatums and the President sit in the Oval Office to talk about the Pittsburgh speech.
C.J. meets Special Agent Simon Donovan, who tells her how the protection detail is going to work. She is not happy about it at all.
- 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 Stars
- ❝[beat] Outraged? I'm barely surprised. This is a country where women aren't allowed to drive a car. They're not allowed to be in the company of any man other than a close relative, they're required to adhere to a dress code that would make the Maryknoll Nun look like Malibu Barbie. They beheaded 121 people last year for robbery, rape, and drug trafficking, they've no free press, no elected government, no political parties, and the royal family allows the religious police to travel in groups of six, carrying nightsticks and they freely and publicly beat women. But "Brutus is an honorable man." Seventeen schoolgirls were forced to burn alive because they weren't wearing the proper clothing. Am I outraged? No, Steve. No Chris. No, Mark. That is Saudi Arabia, our partners in peace. Bonnie, then Scott❞
- ❝Nikolai Ivanovich – Why must every American president bound out of an automobile like as at a yacht club while in comparison our leader looks like... I don't even know what word is-
- Sam – Frumpy?
- Nikolai Ivanovich – I don't know what "frumpy" is but onomatopoetically sounds right
- Sam – It's hard not to like a guy who doesn't know frumpy but knows onomatopoeia❞
- Nikolai Ivanovich: Both President Chigorin and myself agree that we must enter 21st century as partners and friends, not as adversaries. We must lead way and stem in tide of nuclear proliferation and we must start with ourselves, for why should two nations still possess power to destroy each other ten times over; surely, once is enough.
- Sam Seaborn: Whose idea was this?
- Nikolai Ivanovich: Mine.
- Sam Seaborn: Who wrote it?
- Nikolai Ivanovich: I did. [hands him the notes] You will, uh... pass it up?
- Sam Seaborn: Yeah.
- Nikolai Ivanovich: That's good one, yes?
- Sam Seaborn: Yes. Thank you.
- ❝President Bartlet – Tell me again why I can't wear whatever the hell I want?
- Sam – Well, that's not entirely true, Sir, the earmuffs are optional❞
- ❝C.J. – You can't come in the briefing room
- Agent Donovan – A crowded room where anyone can get credentialed and you're up at the podium? No, I'm pretty sure I'll be there
- C.J. – This is what you meant by "I'm the boss?"
- Agent Donovan – Yeah, I guess that's more of an honorary thing❞
- CJ says "Brutus is an honorable man", a reference to Julius Caesar. Mark Antony gives a speech in which he repeats the phrase "Brutus is an honorable man", even though his speech's content implies that Brutus is treacherous and ungrateful. Similarly, CJ repeats all the outrages practiced in Saudi Arabia
- The episode title references the US Oath of Allegiance:
- ❝...that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;....❞
- CJ says "a dress code that would make the Maryknoll Nun look like Malibu Barbie". The Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic wear a severe habit. Malibu Barbie (first sold in 1971) wears a one-piece swimsuit
- Bartlet says that even if Minatom were forced to built the reactor by the Iranians, "it doesn't make them Jean Valjean," the unjustly persecuted hero of Les Misérables.
- The letter getting lost was based on an incident that happened with a letter meant for Jimmy Carter during his presidency
- While talking to the President, Admiral Fitzwallace describes reconnaissance photos as being "taken by an SR-71 during a routine flight over in the Gulf". This episode is set in mid-2002, but the SR-71 Blackbird was retired in 1998, and was taken out of routine use by the Air Force some years before that.
- Alan Tatum, asked by the President if he is retired, says he spent "53 years on the Spirit of St. Louis. New York to Saint Louis". However, the Spirit of St. Louis railway service only operated for 44 years, from 1927 (when Tatum would have been approximately 4 years old) to 1971.
Notes and references
- The West Wing Weekly — 4.00: President Bartlet Special (with Martin Sheen) (October 2017)
- "The West Wing" Enemies Foreign and Domestic (2002) — Trivia copied from IMDb