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WHITE HOUSE TENSES FOR RESULTS OF MILITARY RESCUE ATTEMPT -- The President (Martin Sheen) waits tensely for the results of a military strike to rescue three captive American soldiers in Africa while Toby (Richard Schiff) tries to help Sam's (Rob Lowe) California congressional campaign and Josh (Bradley Whitford) butts heads with the First Lady (Stockard Channing).


Opening - Saturday Evening[]

Toby is on the phone with staff on Air Force One, which is making its way back to Washington.  Charlie and Toby are being released after posting bail from being charged in the bar fight.  Sam arrives to take them home - with the news that Toby is taking over the campaign for the last week.  Toby thinks the fight will be a non-story, buried under the other more high-profile news - until they walk out of the police station and are greeted by a horde of reporters.

Act I[]

Josh and Donna talk on Air Force One - he tells her the First Lady is coming to California to appear at the events the President was going to do.  He ribs her a bit about the meeting with the communist.  In the President's Office on Air Force One - the President takes a call from Leo and Admiral Fitzwallace in the Situation Room and they go over a plan to rescue the three American hostages.

Back at the White House - Will is still working with the interns on remarks for government officials on the Bartlet tax plan.  The interns are exhausted and Will concedes and lets them go home.  Toby calls from California and tells Will the tax plan will be released the next day rather than on Monday.  Will signals to Elsie to get the interns back right away.

In California - Toby is meeting with Sam and Amy Gardner about strategy for the final week.  Charlie looks up at the television and remarks that it is clear the soldiers have been beaten by their captors.

Act II - Sunday Morning[]

Josh is meeting with OMB staff to talk about the budget plan - he tells one of them that funds for immunization has been taken away - despite the First Lady's desire to have those dedicated funds.  Will meets with the interns to get back to working on remarks that now need to be ready by the end of the day.

The First Lady comes to see Josh to ask about the money for immunization.  They argue and he tells the First Lady that if she wants her issues to be taken seriously - she should have a professional chief of staff.

In California - Toby goes with Sam to an event - where he urges Sam to stay on message.  Toby then walks over to C.J. who stayed in California to help the First Lady - C.J. wants to know what is going on at the White House - Toby tells her he doesn't know - he's not there.

At the White House, the President meets with the families of the three hostages and talks to them about what is going to happen, when Leo arrives to tell the President the Special Forces are ready to go - the two head for the Situation Room.  The President hears more details about the mission from Fitzwallace and gives the order to go.

Act III[]

Elsie arrives in the Communications Bullpen with the collective work of the interns, who sent Elsie because they didn't want to face Will.  Elsie and Will talk about the circumstances and how much pressure Will is under in the small amount of time he has been at the White House.  He sends her away telling her he will look at the interns' work.

In California, the First Lady is at a rally for Sam, as she is speaking, Amy, also on the dais, starts a small fire on the table - and gets recognized by the First Lady as a professional woman.  After she finishes, the First Lady motions Amy to come with her and they talk about Josh - then the First Lady presses Amy into service to run interference on a woman the First Lady doesn't want to talk to.  The First Lady appears to get an idea after the interaction.

Back at the White House, Leo is sitting with the family members and having conversations with them.  Margaret arrives to tell Leo the time frame has passed for the operation - he leaves for the Situation Room.

Act IV - Sunday Evening[]

Donna finds Josh to tell him he got a fax from Amy.  As Donna reads the fax - an aide comes up to ask Josh if he moved money around in the HHS budget for vaccine education - Josh says he didn't but also didn't ready the final drafts (he had asked Donna to do it and rarely does it himself) - Josh then asks Donna to finish reading the fax from Amy and he learns the First Lady took his advice and hired Amy as her new Chief of Staff (and she moved the money around).

In California, Toby, Charlie, and C.J. are getting ready for a DNC fundraiser with Sam and the First Lady.  The First Lady wants to revise her remarks but C.J. and Toby advise against it and they tell Charlie that he has to tell the First Lady.  Sam comes in and questions Toby, who polished his remarks that he is going to give that evening and the next day.

In the Situation Room - the President, Leo and the military advisors are awaiting word on the rescue mission.  Word finally comes over the radio that the choppers have rescued the hostages and are making their way back.  As everyone in the Situation Room cheers the good news - Fitzwallace gets word that the base in Ghana (Red Haven) has been attacked in a suicide mission.  The President sends Leo to inform the families, which he does - and also tells them about the attack in Ghana.

Will comes to see the interns, with the remarks they prepared.  He has adopted a completely different tone and apologizes to them for his previous interactions.  He tells them the tax plan is going to be put aside in the wake of the hostage rescue and terrorist attack and they can go home - but they jump into action to help him with those remarks.

In California - Toby and Sam sit down and talk about the event that has just concluded and Sam speaks the realization that he is going to lose the election.


Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn[1]
Stockard Channing as Abigail Bartlet
Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
Joshua Malina as Will Bailey
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

Mary-Louise Parker as Amy Gardner
with John Amos as Admiral Fitzwallace
and Lily Tomlin as Deborah Fiderer

Guest Starring

Carrie Snodgress as Mrs. Martha Rowe
Danica McKellar as Elsie Snuffin[2]
Renée Estevez as Nancy
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper
Thomas Kopache as Bob Slattery
Claire Coffee as Cassie Tatum
Lee Garlington as Alana Waterman
Elisabeth Rosen as Diane Halley
Daniel Zacapa as Esteban Hernandez
Michael Leydon Campbell as Max


Catherine Kwong as Lauren Chin
Lara Phillips as Lauren Romano
Kimberlee Peterson as Lauren Shelby
Mary Gallagher as Maddy Tatum
Madeline Lovejoy as Betty Halley
Rocky McMurray as Taylor
Gil Christner as OMB Aide #1
Karl T. Wright as OMB Aide #2
Ivan Allen as Roger Salier
Stephanie Venditto as Jenn
Amy Parks as Tammy
Giselle Fernandez as Anchor
Christopher Schauble as Newscaster
Joy Stevens as Woman


Toby Ziegler: You know what they don't tell you? You can post bond with a credit card.
Charlie Young: [to officer] Yo, man, that's totally wack!
Toby Ziegler: [into cellphone] Yeah. Charlie's trying to throw down with the street. It's kind of a sad sight to see.
Charlie Young: [to officer] I've got American Express. I've got Visa. I could've posted bond and gotten miles, damn it.
Sam Seaborn: [to Charlie] You're all right?
Charlie Young: Yeah, I'm all right. You know, when you sit in a cage, you have time to do a lot of thinking.
Toby Ziegler: Hurricane, we were in the joint for two hours and 20 minutes, 'kay?
Sam Seaborn: You trapped people at Disneyland, told the French they could stick a loaf of bread up their ass, had a meeting with a Communist, and things are looking up 'cause my new campaign director just made bail.
Sam Seaborn: How'd you call Josh?
Toby Ziegler: What do you mean?
Sam Seaborn: Didn't they take your cellphone from you?
Toby Ziegler: I borrowed theirs.
[motions to the bench of call girls]
Sam Seaborn: So on a call girl's phone bill, there's going to be a call to Air Force One?
Toby Ziegler: You're really going to be teaching the seminar on call girl caution? Really?
C.J. Cregg: He looks youthful...
Toby Ziegler: Yes.
C.J. Cregg: ...and energetic.
Toby Ziegler: Yes.
C.J. Cregg: He looks youthful and energetic. Do we have anything he can jump over?
Toby Ziegler: [Toby in California] Charlie and I got arrested.
Will Bailey: [Will in Washington] Yeah, I saw it on the news.
Toby Ziegler: It made the news out there?
Will Bailey: A Jewish guy won a bar fight-- it's news everywhere.
Sam Seaborn: I'm gonna lose.
Toby Ziegler: Yeah.
Sam Seaborn: There's no chance of a miracle?
Toby Ziegler: No.
Sam Seaborn:: Then why are you here?
Toby Ziegler: You're gonna lose, and you're gonna lose huge. They're gonna throw rocks at you next week, and I wanted to be standing next to you when they did.
Sam Seaborn: [sarcastically] Oh, really?
Toby Ziegler: Yeah.
Sam Seaborn: [Sam is touched and seriously asks] Really?
Toby Ziegler: Yeah.


  • The news broadcast after the credits identifies Lance Corporal Halley as being from Sarasota, FL, and that he did his basic training at Camp Pendleton located in California. Marine Corps recruits do not complete boot camp at Pendleton, but rather MCRD San Diego or Parris Island in SC. Being from east of the Mississippi, Halley would have surely done his basic at the latter.
  • While detailing the plan to rescue the captured marines, Admiral Fitzwallace says the team will insert in two Comanche helicopters and a Blackhawk. The writers most likely confused the Comanche with the Chinook, as the Comanche was a stealth attack helicopter prototype that did not carry passengers or ever enter active service. The Chinook is a transport helicopter used by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment that would have certainly been tasked for this mission. Goofs involving military protocol, units, and hardware are common on The West Wing.
  • When explaining the difference between the Democratic tax plan and the Republican tax plan, Will illustrates on a white board the effects under each plan for three fictitious citizens representing three income levels. Will writes what is presumably the top marginal tax rate for each citizen, but comparing the amount of tax and the income figures suggests that the top applicable marginal tax rate gets applied to the entirety of the income, which is not how federal income taxes are calculated in the real world. Furthermore, it does not account for exemptions or deductions.
  • Also during the tax plan explanation, Will refers to Kentucky as a right-to-work state. Kentucky didn't become right-to-work until 2017.[3]


Rob Lowe leaving 'West Wing' (JULY 2002)
What really made Rob Lowe quit The West Wing? (AUGUST 2002)

Notes and references[]

  1. This episode marks the final appearance of Rob Lowe in the Sorkin era. As a special guest star, Lowe would next appear as Sam Seaborn in the Season 7 episode "Transition." Although Toby mentions during the episode Inauguration: Over There (Part II) that Sam should be promoted to Senior Counselor, this was, according to most media accounts, simply a way to keep the options open in case Lowe decided to stay with the show past his planned exit.
  2. Last appearance of Elsie Snuffin, who was apparently sent to Mandyville
  3. "The West Wing" Red Haven's on Fire (2003) — Trivia copied from IMDb

I PilotPost Hoc, Ergo Propter HocA Proportional ResponseFive Votes Down
The Crackpots and These WomenMr. Willis of OhioThe State DinnerEnemiesThe Short List
In Excelsis DeoLord John MarburyHe Shall, from Time to Time...Take Out the Trash Day
Take This Sabbath DayCelestial Navigation20 Hours in L.A.The White House Pro-Am
Six Meetings Before LunchLet Bartlet Be BartletMandatory Minimums
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II In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part I)In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part II)The Midterms
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Election Day (Part I)Election Day (Part II)RequiemTransitionThe Last Hurrah
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