The senior members of the White House staff are summoned to the office early in the morning to handle difficult situations: hundreds of Cubans are on their way across the Atlantic Ocean in search of freedom. Some members of the staff experience crises of their own.
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Episodes: 22 | Released: 1999 | Certificate: 15 | Genre: Drama | Director: Thomas Schlamme
Actors: Rob Lowe , Martin Sheen , Dule Hill , Allison Janney , John Spencer , Richard Schiff , Stockard Channing , Moira Kelly
Leo hires Mandy as a consultant to the President. Vice President Hoynes rebuffs C.J. when she tries to discuss a comment he made. Leo confronts Hoynes and insists that Hoynes understand his obligation to communicate with the President's press secretary. President Bartlet's naval doctor is killed in an act of foreign terrorism.
When Danny, a reporter, learns about Sam's relationship with a call girl, he doesn't write a story about it because C.J. gives Danny a lead on a much bigger newsworthy item in exchange for his silence. The President plots revenge on terrorists as he gathers his advisors in the White House. His foul mood intimidates his new aide, Charlie, a college-age man whose mother was recently killed while working as a police officer.
The staff has 72 hours to rescue a gun-control bill that needs five more votes in Congress to pass. Eventually they get four votes, so Leo reluctantly visits the vice president, and Hoynes promises he'll get the other vote. After the bill passes, Hoynes accepts credit given to him by the press for the gun bill's passage. The vice president invites Leo to a secret Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with other government officials, and Leo attends. Toby may be open to questions of impropriety over a stock he owns. Feeling neglected because her husband spends too much time working, Leo's wife moves out of their house.
Leo assigns his senior staff the task of conducting private meetings with fringe groups that want attention from the White House. Toby discovers he was not the President's first choice for communications director. Bartlet, a former economics professor, impresses a meeting of economists with his knowledge. Josh discovers that the smallpox virus remains a threat to United States security. And the President's daughter, Zoe, visits the White House.
A mentally unbalanced woman with a gun climbs the White House fence. The Secret Service foils her plan to target Zoey. Toby and Mandy convince a nonpolitician, the husband of a deceased congresswoman, to vote against a census amendment in committee. Sam privately tutors C.J. on the Commerce Bill with regard to the census. While accompanying Zoey, Sam, Josh, C.J. and Mallory to a bar, Charlie intervenes when some college guys threaten Zoey.
The President and First Lady host a tense dinner at the White House honoring the president of Indonesia and his wife. Danny flirts with C.J. The President takes action against a group of survivalists in Idaho. Leo and the President try to forestall a strike by the Teamsters, a labor union composed of truck drivers. While a hurricane heads towards an American naval fleet, Bartlet reassures, by phone, a scared young military man on board.
The President embarrasses Vice President Hoynes during a cabinet meeting, and Danny finds out. In order to keep the story from print, C.J. arranges a meeting between Danny and the President. A banking reform bill that Bartlet supports nears passage, but it comes with a rider allowing strip mining on federal land. The dilemma over the bill is resolved when Josh finds a way for the President to protect the land. And Leo frets about his daughter, Mallory, dating Sam.
The President confidentially chooses Judge Harrison as his nominee for the Supreme Court. His staff continues to search Harrison's past. When the President meets with the retiring justice, the justice insists that Bartlet consider Judge Roberto Mendoza (EDWARD JAMES OLMOS). Since he has not publicly announced his decision, Bartlet directs his staff to investigate Mendoza as well. When Sam uncovers an article that Harrison wrote declaring the right to privacy is not covered by the constitution, something totally against Bartlet's philosophy, the President officially nominates Mendoza instead. Josh worries that a congressman's attack on the staff for alleged drug use precedes an attack on Leo, whose former substance abuse may no longer be a secret.
Sam and Josh work on thwarting Congressman Lillienfield's accusation about drug abuse in the White House. Leo warns Bartlet that Leo may have to resign because of his former substance abuse. Toby arranges a full military funeral for a homeless Korean War veteran he never met. The murder of a homosexual high school student forces C.J. and members of the White House staff to reconsider hate crime legislation. C.J. finally agrees to go out on a date with Danny, a journalist. Bartlet tries to sneak out to do some Christmas shopping.
When India invades Kashmir and Bartlet worries about a nuclear threat to both countries, he asks the colorful, inebriated Lord John Marbury (ROGER REES), a former ambassador to New Delhi and an expert on India, to help with the crisis. A Republican anti-Bartlet group accuses the White House of running an internal investigation concerning recreational drug use by White House staffers as a result of the Lillienfield accusation. Bartlet's daughter wants to date Charlie, and the President worries that the interracial young couple may elicit a reaction from racist hate groups.
The President and his staff prepare the State of the Union Address, but the President becomes ill. His naval doctor examines him in the living quarters. Mrs. Bartlet, a physician, orders various medical tests. She later reveals to Leo--and only Leo--that President Bartlet suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Later Bartlet further explains to Leo that his type of MS is called relapsing-remitting, and he experiences total recovery after attacks that are induced by fever and stress. Mandy informs C.J. that news of Leo's addiction will be made public. Leo conducts a press conference revealing his stay in the rehabilitation facility for alcohol and Valium addiction. Danny and C.J. kiss.
The parents of a brutally murdered gay student are invited to witness the President sign a hate crimes bill into law even though the father doesn't believe that Bartlet expresses a strong enough position on gay rights. Sam and Josh make a deal that ensures there will be no Congressional hearing about Leo's drug problem. Sam terminates the woman responsible for exposing Leo's personnel file, but Leo quickly rehires her.
On a Friday evening, the United States Supreme Court rejects the application for a stay of execution for Simon Cruz. The President of the United States is the only person capable of commuting a federal sentence. On Saturday morning, the Catholic President returns from a trip overseas. After Sam discusses the situation with the staff, Leo briefs the President on the Simon Cruz situation. That weekend the somber President ponders this huge responsibility. Bartlet talks to the Pope on the phone. Ultimately the President refuses to stay the execution. And Josh meets with Joey Lucas (MARLEE MATLIN), an angry campaign manager whose Democratic candidate is not getting much support from the political party.
Josh lectures to a large group of college students, recounting one day in the life of the harried senior White House staff. Meanwhile, Sam and Toby rush to Connecticut to help Supreme Court Justice nominee Roberto Mendoza. A man who never drinks alcohol, Mendoza was wrongfully arrested for drunk driving simply because he's Hispanic. But Mendoza refuses to leave the jail because the arrest violates his civil rights--he did absolutely nothing wrong. Toby explains that once he gets approved as a Supreme Court Justice, Mendoza can make an impact. Mendoza agrees and leaves with Sam and Toby.
The President and his staff fly to Los Angeles for a big fund-raiser, but the powerful Hollywood mogul hosting the event threatens to cancel if the President doesn't condemn an anti-gay bill. In Washington, Leo tries to coerce Hoynes to break a tie on a bill the President supports but the vice president doesn't support. Leo realizes that Hoynes' stance against the bill is the correct opinion and finds a way to defeat the bill. And Josh encounters Joey Lucas again.
The First Lady's public comments on a White House appointment create problems for the President because he's afraid of incurring his wife's wrath. So Sam explains to Abby the importance of working with the President'a staff in the future. Zoey cancels her high-profile date with Charlie at a club opening because of death threats from white supremacists.
The Senate confirms Mendoza's appointment to the Supreme Court. Josh interviews a nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights who favors reparations to African Americans for the enslavement of their ancestors. The son of a major Democratic fund-raiser is arrested for felony drug possession and distribution at a party that Zoe attended. And Mandy wants a new panda for the National Zoo to replace the one that died a few weeks ago.
Two members of the Federal Election Commission resign. Sam and Toby meet with military officers and congressmen to discuss homosexuals serving in the military. Admiral Fitzwallace enters the meeting and agrees that he doesn't believe gays should be in the military. But he adds that 50 years ago, no one thought African Americans could serve effectively. And an inflammatory memo that Mandy wrote before joining the staff, which outlines the weakness of the Bartlet administration, surfaces. The President and his senior staff read the memo and find it enlightening. New polls reveal that their job approval rating has just dropped five more points. Leo tells the President it's time to do what he was elected to do, to support the issues in which he truly believes.
Armed with a new resolve to take chances, the Bartlet administration tackles the drug enforcement policy. Refusing to consider input from party leaders, the President announces his two nominations to the Federal Election Commission. His candidates believe in campaign finance reform--something unpopular with party leaders. And Toby meets with his ex-wife for advice.
Bartlet works to reform campaign finance by changing the makeup of the members on the Federal Campaign Commission. Sam's relationship with a prostitute is revealed. And new poll numbers indicate the President's approval rating is up 9 points.
An American Air Force fighter plane gets shot down over Iraq, and, eventually, the pilot is successfully rescued. The space shuttle--with Toby's astronaut brother on board--can't land because of mechanical problems. During a town hall meeting on a university campus, the President impresses college students and others in the crowd with his answers combining fact with humor. While Zoey, Charlie, the President and members of his staff exit the building, gunfire erupts. Who is injured?