LEO GOES ON OFFENSE TO SELL MISSILE DEFENSE; LORD JOHN MARBURY RETURNS IN STYLE -- Leo (John Spencer) tries to convince an unenthusiastic President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) about the merits of an expensive and errant missile defense system while the chief executive ponders the political benefits of chiding hard-core environmentalists over the actions of eco-terrorists when he addresses their convention. Meanwhile, Bartlet endures the formalities of accepting the appointments of a range of foreign ambassadors but he enjoys one in particular -- the presentation of the charming Lord John Marbury (guest star Roger Rees, "Cheers") who returns as Great Britain's new U.S.ambassador. In addition, C.J. (Allison Janney) treads lightly when she is dispatched to New York to dissuade a comedian, Corey Sykes (guest star Rocky Carroll, "Chicago Hope"), who once uttered a well-publicized but offensive joke in the President's presence from performing at the annual Will Rogers dinner.
As the episode opens, Leo arrives in the Situation Room, where a test of a missile defense system is underway. Leo goes to get the President so he can witness this. The President is in the Oval Office receiving the credentials of new ambassadors to the United States. The President agrees to go to the Situation Room with Leo, on the way comparing Leo to Charlie Brown and the attempts to kick the football away from Lucy. The two men arrive in the Situation Room for the end of the test, which fails - missing the intercept by 137 miles.
C.J. is conducting the daily press briefing and is taking questions about the ambassador presentation process. Sam stops C.J. after the briefing to tell her the President has agreed to keynote at the Global Defense Council (GDC) after the cancellation of a trip to South America. The President will use the speech to promote CARE (the Clean Air Rehabilitation Effort). Sam goes into a meeting in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the planned speech at the GDC. Toby arrives and is angry the President decided to speak at the GDC without him being a part of the discussion.
C.J. is on the phone with Josh discussing who will be the new British Ambassador, who has not yet been named. Donna comes in to Josh's office to talk about Lord John Marbury, Donna informs Josh that Marbury has been named as the new British Ambassador.
Toby comes to see Josh about the President's appearance at the GDC. Toby also asks Josh to talk to C.J. about the Will Rogers dinner, which will be hosted by Cornelius Sykes, a comedian - who made a joke in the Presdient's company, which no one believes the President laughed at.
Toby then comes to see Leo, who is on the phone about the missile test. Toby expresses his displeasure about the GDC speech. Leo explains that he wasn't in the room and can't be everywhere at once - Sam pitched it and the President liked the idea and wanted to do it. Toby wants to insert some language admonishing the GDC on acts of eco-terrorism. Leo agrees to having the language put in the speech.
Sam is in the press room still preparing for the GDC speech. Josh comes to the room and pulls C.J. out to talk about Lord John Marbury and also to deal with the Cornelius Sykes situation. Josh wants C.J. to go to New York to talk to him. Back in the Oval Office, President Bartlet is accepting the credentials of the new Swedish Ambassador. Leo comes in to make another pitch about the NMD system and to tell the President about the "Drop-In" language for the GDC speech. The President pokes Leo about Marbury and is enjoying Leo's suffering. Toby continues to work behind Sam's back on the drop-in for the speech.
Sam goes off to the GDC dinner after a last conversation with Toby about the speech. Sam is very energized about the speech. Josh and Leo are talking in Leo's office about the missile shield when Marbury shows up. Leo tries to get Marbury on his side about the NMD but Marbury will have none of it.
In New York, C.J. and Sykes meet for a drink in New York. There is some concern about the President and Sykes being in a room together after the "joke incident" a few years ago. C.J. would like Sykes to turn down the engagement. The two of them discuss the "joke incident" and Sykes agrees to not host the dinner - but contends the President did laugh at the joke.
Toby is in the Communications bullpen awaiting word on the dinner and the speech, when Ginger tells him that Sam is on the phone. Sam tells Toby that he admonished them and Toby tells him how to spin it. The speech ends and the President leaves and Sam says dejectedly, "they're not standing."
The White House is preparing for the Ambassador's Reception and Donna is talking with John Marbury, who is enjoying talking with her. C.J. returns from New York and talks to Sam about the speech. She uses the same language that Toby told Sam on the phone and Sam realizes that Toby put the drop in into the speech. The two of them talk and Sam is visibly angry with Toby. Sam tries to get in to see the President but Toby nods to Charlie to keep him out. Shortly thereafter, Toby follows Sam to a bar where the two of them talk and work things out for the moment.
Leo and Marbury continue their conversation about the NMD system at the reception until Charlie comes to get Marbury for his appointment with the President. At the credential ceremony, Bartlet asks Marbury where he is on the missile shield. Bartlet encourages Leo and Marbury that this is a discussion of great minds and they should continue to think about it.
- 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
- David Graf as Colonel Mark Chase
- Kathryn Joosten as Dolores Landingham
- Renee Estevez as Nancy
- NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper
- Robert Clotworthy as Tom
- and Rocky Carroll as Corey Sykes
- Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick
- Kim Webster as Ginger
- Devika Parikh as Bonnie
- Tom Hall as Officer Mike
- Alberto Isaac as Tada Sumatra
- Erik Holland as Peter Hans
- Jodie Hanson as Caprice
- Kris Murphy as Katie Witt
- Randolph Brooks as Arthur Leeds
- Timothy Davis-Reed as Reporter Mark
- Eric A. Payne as Secret Service Agent
- Elkin Antoniou as Alice
- Eliott Goretsky as Staffer
- Brian Watt as Staffer
- Margaret: Leo, someone is here to see you.
- Leo: Who?
- Lord John Marbury: [From outside his office] GERALD?!
- Leo: Oh, God!
- Leo: What are you you looking at?
- Mrs. Landingham: You're testing that preposterous contraption again.
- Leo: It's not preposteous, it's not a contraption, and mind your own buisness!
- Mrs. Landingham: In my day we knew how to defend ourselves.
- Leo: In your day you could turn back the Indians with a Daniel Boone musket, couldn't you?
- Mrs. Landingham: Ah, sarcasm. The grumpy man's wit.
- Leo: Sharpen a penicil, would ya?
- Bartlet: [Enters room] What's up?
- Leo: The target's in the air. They're going to launch the intercept any moment.
- Bartlet: And I'm sure someone will come along soon thereafter and tell me it didn't work.
- Leo: Why do you have to take that attitude?
- Bartlet: 'Cause it's not gonna work.
- Leo: What do I get if it works?
- Bartlet: Well I can't make you Thailand's ambassador to the United States, 'cause I just signed that guy's letter.
- Leo: Come with me to the Situation Room.
- Bartlet: You know who you are? You are the Charlie Brown of missile defense and the Pentagon is Lucy.
- Leo: I'm not familiar with the reference, sir.
- Bartlet: Peanuts. Charlie Brown.
- Leo: I've heard of them. I'm just not conversant in them.
- Bartlet: Why?
- Leo: I've never read the comics.
- Bartlet: Leo, were you born at the age of 55?
- Leo: I know that there's a dog.
- Bartlet: Charlie Brown wanted to kick a football and Lucy would hold it except she would pull it away at the last minute and Charlie Brown would fall on his butt.
- Leo: That's funny?
- Bartlet: No, but each time, Lucy would find a way to convince Charlie Brown that this time, she wouldn't pull the ball away, but she would. And once again, Charlie Brown would fall on his butt.
- Leo: And that's funny?
- Bartlet: It's satirical.
- Leo: Who's it satirizing?
- Bartlet: The DOD bringing you to the Situation Room everytime they run a new missile test so you can come tell me how great it works so I'll put money in the NMD system.
- Leo: You should put money in the NMD system.
- Bartlet: It doesn't work.
- Leo: It will work. One day. Soon. There are a couple of three-star generals in there - call 'em Lucy and you're on your own.
- [Leo and the President enter the Situation Room . . . and the missile test fails . . . missing the target by 137 miles]
- Bartlet: By the way, the words you're looking for are "Oh, Good Grief"
- Lord John Marbury: An hour, did he say?
- Josh: Yes.
- Lord John Marbury: I'll need some amusement.
- Donna: [Enters room] Good evening, your Lordship.
- Lord John Marbury: EXCELLENT!
- The GDC (Global Defense Council) is the same organization that employed Sidney Ellen Wade (Annette Benning) in the Aaron Sorkin film, The American President.
- The ICBM intercept missile test failed by a distance of 137 miles. Caesium-137 is a radioactive isotope of caesium which is formed during nuclear weapons detonations.
- The first episode to be aired during the George W. Bush Administration.
- Marbury is presented to the President as the ambassador from Great Britain instead of the ambassador from the United Kingdom.