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Synopsis: A heart attack, a new chief of staff, a burning flag and a presidential primary. The series continues to evolve and grow.
Reaction: The format is slowly changing, but it's still got tons of quality performances and good character moments.
Personal Rating: ...
Random Trivia For This Title:
- The Birnam Wood - Mary McCormackMary McCormack is obviously late in her pregnancy. She's always filmed from the chest up or hiding her lower body, as in the kitchen where she's pouring tea.
- Traditionally, during a Republican administration, a portrait of [?] Theodore Roosevelt is hung in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing of the White House and, during a Democratic administration, a portrait of [?] Franklin D. Roosevelt is hung there (the former Roosevelt being a Republican and the latter a Democrat). In the Roosevelt Room of the Bartlet White House, portraits of both Roosevelts are hung.
- In the Room - This episode is about a flag burning at Zoe Bartlett's birthday party but according to everything Wikipedia, The West Wing fandom her birthday is February 20th. this episode was aired on December 8th
- Faith-Based Initiative - In the first scene where CJ and Annabeth are having a "walk and talk", they exaggerated their height differences by having Kristin ChenowethKristin Chenoweth walk barefoot, while Allison JanneyAllison Janney wore boots.
- King Corn - According to DVD commentary by director Alex GravesAlex Graves, the way each of the characters sleeps (Josh with a pillow over his head, etc.) is modeled after how their actors actually sleep.
- Opposition Research - Allison JanneyAllison Janney, John SpencerJohn Spencer, Dulé HillDulé Hill, Stockard ChanningStockard Channing and Mary McCormackMary McCormack do not appear in this episode. Martin SheenMartin Sheen and Richard SchiffRichard Schiff appear only briefly, in telephone conversations.
- The Wake Up Call - When Korean Air flight 007 was mistakenly shot down in 1983 by the Soviet Union, aides of elderly President Reagan chose to not wake him up.
- The Birnam Wood - A running gag amongst The West Wing is that senior staffers fly backwards when firing a gun. This happens to Toby when trying to shoot a shotgun, and CJ with a pistol in an earlier season.
- A Good Day - The US military's most recent contigency plan for invading Canada is actually from 1924, not 1815. "War Plan Red" was developed as an academic exercise by the Army War College. Its premise was the US going to war with the United Kingdom, and invading Canada since it was part of the British Empire.
- Freedonia - The scene where Santos staffers dress up as chickens to heckle Russell and Hoynes for not including him in the debates is based off an actual incident. When then-sitting President [?] George H.W. Bush refused to debate Bill ClintonBill Clinton in 1992, Clinton called him 'Chicken George.' Subsequently, similar men appeared at Bush's rallies in such a costume.
- The set was supposedly so realistic, that Warner Brothers studio tour groups are not permitted inside the sound stages where the show was filmed, due to White House security concerns. (Some exterior sets, including the South Portico, may be viewed on the tour.)
- In God We Trust - Alan AldaAlan Alda's character Arnie Vinick remarks of Don S. DavisDon S. Davis's character: "Don Butler, one heartbeat away from the President?" Ironically, Davis died first, in 2008, while Alda remains (as of 2017) alive and (presumably) well.
- A Good Day - MakoMako played four different characters in four different years in the TV series [M*A*S*H], in which Alan AldaAlan Alda (playing Vinnick running for president in this series) was one of the lead actors.
- Dulé HillDulé Hill only did six episodes on the last season of the show, because he was already shooting season one of [Psych].
- During the sixth and seventh seasons, Toby's storyline concerns a leak to the press about the existence of a previously secret U.S. military space shuttle. In 2012, seven years after those episodes first aired, the U.S. Air Force admitted to having completed a classified 469-day military mission of a previously secret, unmanned, Boeing-built, reusable X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. In other words, a secret U.S. military space shuttle.
|Episode Name||Disc||Disc Order||Directors||Writers||Synopsis||IMDB|
|N.S.F. Thurmont||1||1||Alex Graves||John Wells||Josh maintains a vigil beside Donna's bed in hospital, and needles Colin over his background and relationship with Donna. President Bartlet is determined to reject the unanimous demands of Congress, the American public, and his entire staff to retaliate for the roadside bombing. Leo tries to find a way to talk the President around while Kate tries various long-shot attempts at getting the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate at Camp David.||8.1|
|The Birnam Wood||1||2||Alex Graves||John Wells||Josh returns from Germany in time to voice concerns about Leo; the Israelis and Palenstinians meet at Camp David with little chance of an agreement; the President and Leo's differences over the Middle East crisis reach a breaking point.||8.4|
|Third-Day Story||1||3||Christopher Misiano||Eli Attie||Leo is found in the woods and rushed to hospital; the staff struggle to hold the peace deal together without a Chief of Staff; the President neglects his duties out of loyalty and guilt towards Leo; Donna arrives back in the USA.||8.1|
|Liftoff||1||4||Alex Graves||Debora Cahn||C.J.'s first day as Chief of Staff gives her a new appreciation for Leo's skill in the role. While struggling to keep up with her hectic schedule, she must handle the sudden appearance of abandoned Soviet nuclear material, counter political maneuvering within the Cabinet, and assert her authority with the staff and the President. Toby conducts a press briefing after which C.J. orders him to quickly find someone to fill the role permanently. The Democratic Party enlists Josh's help to talk Congressman Matt Santos out of taking an early retirement.||8.4|
|The Hubbert Peak||2||1||Julie Hébert||Peter Noah||Josh visits a car dealership and is seduced by both a hybrid and a monster SUV, despite knowing that Congress is unlikely to raise fuel efficiency standards. For political cover as well as genuine concern, he meets with representatives of the alternative energy industries. Charlie has graduated from college and is reluctant to keep his promise to the President of finding a "real" job. Following press complaints about Toby he agrees to take deportment lessons from Annabeth. C.J. visits Leo at his hotel and finds out why he's so insistent that the President play chess.||7.7|
|The Dover Test||2||2||Laura Innes||Carol Flint||The glow of the Middle East peace deal begins to fade once the hard reality of implementing change begins. Josh becomes involved in the Patient's Bill of Rights, which is becoming a political football as the Vice President and Congressman Santos both try to out-maneuver each other and the Republicans. C.J. continues to be unimpressed with Toby's performance as press secretary when he gets into a difficult position during a briefing. While working to recover from his heart attack, Leo receives a job offer from the corporate world.||7.6|
|A Change Is Gonna Come||2||3||Vincent Misiano||Josh Singer|
John Sacret Young
|After spending months negotiating a difficult summit with China, Josh is dismayed to learn that the President accepted a flag symbolizing Taiwanese independence. Vice President Hoynes appears on television to promote his book and indicates a desire to return to politics. With the Iowa caucuses only a few months away, Vice President Russell and others begin positioning themselves to win the Democratic presidential nomination. President Bartlet finds tying his bow tie unexpectedly difficult.||7.8|
|In the Room||2||4||Alex Graves||Lawrence O'Donnell||Magicians Penn and Teller give a controversial performance at Zoey's birthday party in the White House that threatens to drown out the news of the impending China trip. President Bartlet goes to New Orleans on his way to China after unexpectedly requesting briefings be postponed until they are in the air. Josh tries to decide which Democratic presidential candidate he wants to support, and is alarmed that Bartlet wants to appoint California Republican Senator Arnold Vinick to be Ambassador to the United Nations.||8.4|
|Impact Winter||3||1||Lesli Linka Glatter||Debora Cahn||President Bartet's attack of multiple sclerosis requires hasty reorganization of the summit in China. Unable to endure the long meetings, he becomes frustrated when the Chinese take advantage of his absence to drag their feet over North Korea. Back at the White House, Josh is told by NASA that a large asteroid is on a collision course with earth; staffers are unsure whether to prepare for the end of the world or not. Donna becomes frustrated when Josh continually postpones what she says is an important conversation.||8.6|
|Faith-Based Initiative||3||2||Christopher Misiano||Bradley Whitford||On the same day that an anti-gay-marriage amendment is attached to the federal budget, an Internet rumor surfaces that C.J. is a lesbian. Josh and Toby attempt to kill the amendment without forcing the President to publicly take a position on this unwinnable issue. Congressman Santos considers Josh's proposition that he run for President despite having told his wife that he's done with politics. Donna begins her new job while Josh struggles to cope with her difficult replacement.||8.1|
|Episode Name||Disc||Disc Order||Directors||Writers||Synopsis||IMDB|
|Opposition Research||3||3||Christopher Misiano||Eli Attie||Josh and Santos visit New Hampshire to launch the presidential campaign. Josh has experience running national campaigns and has a clear idea about what candidates should and shouldn't do to get elected, but Santos's approach differs dramatically: he believes in talking about big ideas rather than saying whatever he needs to do in order to win votes. This difference in opinion combined with conventional wisdom that says Santos has no chance of winning threaten to sink the campaign before it has begun. Will and Donna are also in New Hampshire, running Vice President Bob Russell.||7.9|
|365 Days||3||4||Andrew Bernstein||Mark Goffman||Leo returns to the White House to help bolster the administration, which is suffering from the loss of Josh, Donna, Will, and the Vice President to the next election campaign. Leo's first day back follows President Bartlet's last State of the Union address, and unlike in previous years there appears to be little momentum on bold, large-scale initiatives.||7.8|
|King Corn||4||1||Alex Graves||John Wells||A day in the lives of presidential candidates Bob Russell, Matt Santos, and Arnold Vinick, who are in Iowa trying to gain support for their campaigns. Iowa is the first state in the nation to hold their presidential caucuses, and issues affecting farmers and rural areas are the focus. The most important issue on the table is the large federal subsidies for ethanol fuel given to corn growers, which is supported by Iowa residents but seen as naked pandering by the rest of the country. Josh continues to clash with Santos.||8.0|
|The Wake Up Call||4||2||Laura Innes||Josh Singer||A rapidly-escalating international crisis involving Iran and the UK requires C.J. to wake the President, triggering a confrontation with Abbey about allowing him enough rest to properly manage his MS. British Ambassador Lord John Marbury is summoned, and proceeds to wander the halls looking for "Gerald" while threatening to bomb Iran. Toby and Professor Lawrence Lessig meet with a delegation from Belarus to discuss a new constitution, and disagree on whether to base it on a parliamentary or presidential system.||7.8|
|Freedonia||4||3||Christopher Misiano||Eli Attie||Five days before the New Hampshire Democratic primary, the Santos campaign risks extinction as Matt has not been invited to the last debate. Josh proposes a number of strategies to get Santos into the debate, including deal-making, legal challenges, attack ads, and publicity stunts - but the Congressman is reluctant to play along. With Josh scrambling to keep the campaign alive, Santos calls in help from Washington to tune his message. Hoynes and Russell launch attack ads on each other's records, and Josh realizes that a desperate long-shot is needed.||8.3|
|Drought Conditions||4||4||Alex Graves||Debora Cahn||Back in Washington briefly, Josh visits the White House and is surprised to discover that as a campaign manager he is no longer part of the inner circle in an administration that wants to remain neutral in the Democratic primary. Toby is the focus of some concern after being more withdrawn than usual and also because he is nursing a cut on his face that he doesn't want to talk about. Charlie tells Kate that a guy at his gym has been asking about her, but she's unsure if she's ready to date again. A multi-state water rights fight pitches C.J. against a lobbyist.||8.0|
|A Good Day||5||1||Richard Schiff||Carol Flint||The Speaker of the House deliberately calls a vote on stem cell research when he knows that Democrats will be away from Washington; Donna, Cliff, Matt, and Josh must put aside their differences to foil the plan. Kate is shocked when a minor hunting mishap on the Canadian border threatens to become a major international incident. A Japanese economist who has been President Bartlet's arch-rival since college is attending a formal dinner at the White House, creating a potentially explosive situation. Toby tries to avoid meeting with a group of middle school children.||8.5|
|La Palabra||5||2||Jason Ensler||Eli Attie||Hoynes and Russell are campaigning in New York, confident of their prospects in the California primary. Santos needs to do unexpectedly well in California in order to stay financially afloat; another third place finish will see his donors shift their money elsewhere, finishing his campaign. Santos's message of education and health care is overshadowed when California passes a law prohibiting drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. Despite the bill being widely supported by most voters, Matt cannot publicly endorse it as he's counting on the support of Latino voters.||8.3|
|Ninety Miles Away||5||3||Rod Holcomb||John Sacret Young||Rumors circulate in Washington yet again about the state of Fidel Castro's health. As C.J. begins to look into the issue she uncovers some dark secrets regarding the United States' relationship with Cuba which appear to involve Leo, the President, and Kate Harper. Despite how closely guarded and potentially explosive this information is, a startlingly large number of government agencies and officials appear to know bits and pieces of the story. This results in undercover political maneuvering to avoid what is expected to be an enormous political disaster.||7.3|
|In God We Trust||5||4||Christopher Misiano||Lawrence O'Donnell||Senator Arnold Vinick easily wins the Republican nomination on the night of the New Jersey primary, but has difficulty picking a running mate. Choosing Reverend Don Butler would virtually guarantee him the presidency, but their differing views on abortion and religion would make it a political union rather than one based on shared ideology. The Democratic nomination is a toss-up between Santos and Russell; Hoynes is running a distant third. With no clear nominee going into the convention, the Democratic party risks appearing unsure about both Santos and Russell.||8.2|
|Episode Name||Disc||Disc Order||Directors||Writers||Synopsis||IMDB|
|Things Fall Apart||6||1||Nelson McCormick||Peter Noah||While Vinick and the Republicans deliver a flawless albeit predictable convention, the Democratic convention looks to be more like a pie fight as there is no clear favorite. Russell tries to preempt the floor vote by hinting offers of the vice presidential nomination to both Santos and Governor Baker of Pennsylvania. Charlie and Zoey's relationship is becoming more serious, resulting in different reactions from the President and the First Lady. An air leak on the International Space Station will kill all three astronauts unless a rescue mission can be launched.||8.0|
|2162 Votes||6||2||Alex Graves||John Wells||WHO WILL BE THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE? - It's the Democratic National Convention and the race to become the Democratic Presidential candidate has narrowed to three candidates: Russell, Baker and Santos. Also, Bartlet must wrestle with the decision to launch the super-secret defense shuttle to rescue the astronauts trapped at the space station and risk national security or let them die.||8.9|