The West Wing (season 2)

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The West Wing (season 2)
West Wing S2 DVD.jpg
DVD box cover. Cast from left to right: Toby, C. J., Charlie, Leo, Jed, Sam, Donna and Josh
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run October 4, 2000 (2000-10-04) – May 16, 2001 (2001-05-16)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 May 18, 2004 (2004-05-18)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 1
Next →
Season 3
List of The West Wing episodes

The second season of the American political drama television series The West Wing aired in the United States on NBC from October 4, 2000 to May 16, 2001 and consisted of 22 episodes.

Production[edit]

The second season made frequent use of flashbacks, demonstrating the campaign for the presidency, and the period prior to events covered in the first season. The first two episodes, "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part I" and "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part II", showed how many of the central characters were introduced to Josiah Bartlet at the time that he was seeking the presidential nomination and election. Aaron Sorkin originally planned to have such flashbacks as a major part of the entire season, but budget and logistical demands prevented this.

Cast[edit]

The second season had star billing for eight major roles. Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn, Dulé Hill as Charlie Young, Allison Janney as C. J. Cregg, Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler, John Spencer as Leo McGarry, Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman and Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet all returned, while Janel Moloney as Donna Moss was promoted to the main cast.

Plot[edit]

The second season detailed the period between the end of President Bartlet's second year in office and the middle of his third. It covered a wider legislative array than the first season did, and presented issues including the rights of hate groups and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

In this season, The West Wing characters were shown as being more capable of legislating thanks to an increased approval rating (described as a temporary "bubble" due to the shooting that ended the first season). Also vital to this theme is the new doctrine for legislating laid out in the first season episode "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet."

The multiple sclerosis arc (also introduced in the first season) became central late in the second season as staff members were introduced one-by-one to the President's ailment and the public is made aware. This theme would remain central to the series.

Mrs. Landingham, the longtime secretary of President Bartlet, died in the penultimate episode, "18th and Potomac." In the final episode, "Two Cathedrals," Mrs. Landingham's funeral was central as was the question of whether or not the President would run for re-election.

The season ended with the President having announced his multiple sclerosis. It concludes just moments before he answers a reporter's question: "Mr. President, can you tell us right now if you'll be seeking a second term?"

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
23 1 "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part I)" Thomas Schlamme Aaron Sorkin October 4, 2000 (2000-10-04) 226201
The Bartlet Administration is in chaos after an apparent assassination attempt on the President (the actual target of the shooters was the President's personal assistant, Charlie Young). Josh, Sam, and Toby flash back to the formation of the Bartlet campaign.
24 2 "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (Part II)" Thomas Schlamme Aaron Sorkin October 4, 2000 (2000-10-04) 226202
After the manhunt succeeds, the details of the assassination attempt prove deeply disturbing to the President's staff. While Josh is fighting for his life, the wounded recall how Bartlet's team came together years prior.
25 3 "The Midterms" Alex Graves Aaron Sorkin October 18, 2000 (2000-10-18) 226203
With the midterm elections 12 weeks away, the Administration is polling at 81 percent approval after the shooting. Toby wants to use this honeymoon period as leverage for a domestic-terrorism initiative. Sam's friend running for Congress faces problems with his civil rights record. Josh recovers throughout the episode, which covers a period of three months through the summer of 2000.
26 4 "In This White House" Ken Olin Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Peter Parnell & Allison Abner
October 25, 2000 (2000-10-25) 226204
Bartlet insists on hiring a young Republican lawyer named Ainsley Hayes (played by Emily Procter) as Associate White House Counsel after she demolishes Sam on TV talk show Capitol Beat. Meanwhile, the President of an AIDS-ravaged African country visits the White House for talks with pharmaceutical companies, but events abroad lead to a tragic resolution.
27 5 "And It's Surely to Their Credit" Christopher Misiano Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Kevin Falls & Laura Glasser
November 1, 2000 (2000-11-01) 226205
Ainsley Hayes meets her new boss, White House counsel Lionel Tribbey, and receives her first assignment: clean up after two domestic-policy staffers who presented inaccurate testimony before a House committee. Josh is offered a chance to sue the Ku Klux Klan in the wake of his near fatal shooting by white supremacists.
28 6 "The Lame Duck Congress" Jeremy Kagan Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr.
November 8, 2000 (2000-11-08) 226206
As the last days of the lame-duck Congress roll forward, Sam discovers that an active opponent of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is going to be on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Josh, Toby and Sam want the President to consider calling for a special session to try to pass the nuclear test-ban treaty because it has no chance under the new Congress, and C.J. intentionally leaks news of this to Danny. Toby leads the effort but is caught short when a defeated Democratic Senator makes it clear why he cannot support the treaty, even though he was its primary architect. The staff also has to do some fancy diplomatic footwork when a pro-Western but currently intoxicated Ukrainian politician shows up at the White House demanding to meet with the President. Sam responds to Leo's new guideline for shorter policy summaries by working with Ainsley Hayes on a plan to prevent small-business fraud, but she impresses Sam so much he adopts her position and sends the plan to Leo and the President.
29 7 "The Portland Trip" Paris Barclay Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Paul Redford
November 15, 2000 (2000-11-15) 226207
The President is taking a Red-eye flight with Toby, Sam, and C.J. to Portland, Oregon, to deliver an education address. At the White House, Josh spars with a gay Republican congressman over a bill on same-sex marriage, and Leo monitors a situation involving a U.S. company that is selling black-market oil from Iraq because the sanctions are a joke. Sam doubts his writing ability when he can't find an inspiring tone for a speech.
30 8 "Shibboleth" Laura Innes Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Patrick Caddell
November 22, 2000 (2000-11-22) 226208
Just before Thanksgiving, a group of Chinese Christians who claim they're the victims of religious persecution are found trying to sneak into the United States, and President Bartlet must decide their fate. Leo's sister is up for a recess appointment but her views on school prayer put her and Leo at loggerheads.
31 9 "Galileo" Alex Graves Aaron Sorkin and Kevin Falls November 29, 2000 (2000-11-29) 226209
NASA prepares to receive the first pictures from their new Mars probe, accompanied by a live broadcast with the President. Meanwhile, the Russian government covers up a missile silo fire, a report that the President doesn't like green beans poses an electoral problem in Oregon, and Josh investigates the consequences of honoring a man who called for Puerto Rican statehood. C.J. promotes a staffer to Deputy Press Secretary but then faces a slew of disappointed interviewees at a Kennedy Center concert.
32 10 "Noël" Thomas Schlamme Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Peter Parnell
December 20, 2000 (2000-12-20) 226210
Josh grows ever more anxious and volatile after his shooting, and is ordered by Leo to see a psychiatrist. C.J. uncovers a Nazi-looted painting at the White House and Sam voices support for tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma makes a guest appearance.
33 11 "The Leadership Breakfast" Scott Winant Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Paul Redford
January 10, 2001 (2001-01-10) 226211
With Congress reconvening, the White House is planning a "leadership breakfast" to encourage bipartisan cooperation. Toby locks horns in negotiations with the Republican Majority Leader's new chief of staff on minimum wage, against C.J.'s wishes and to a truly disastrous end. Sam and Donna both try and fail to impress an influential newspaper columnist.
34 12 "The Drop-In" Lou Antonio Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr.
January 24, 2001 (2001-01-24) 226212
Leo tries to convince President Bartlet of the importance of supporting a missile defense plan, while Lord John Marbury is appointed British ambassador to the United States. Toby and Sam clash over a speech the President gives to an environmentalist group. C.J. tries to talk a comedian out of embarrassing the Bartlet administration.
35 13 "Bartlet's Third State of the Union" Christopher Misiano Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Allison Abner & Dee Dee Myers
February 7, 2001 (2001-02-07) 226213
The President addresses the nation, and five DEA agents are taken hostage in Colombia. C.J. discovers an invited guest to the State of the Union speech has a questionable background, while Capital Beat does a three-hour show live from the West Wing. Josh, Joey Lucas, and Donna run an important telephone survey that will influence a gun-control initiative the staff has been planning.
36 14 "The War at Home" Christopher Misiano Aaron Sorkin February 14, 2001 (2001-02-14) 226214
The crisis over the missing DEA agents in Colombia intensifies, as well as the fallout from the State of the Union Address.
37 15 "Ellie" Michael Engler Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Kevin Falls & Laura Glasser
February 21, 2001 (2001-02-21) 226215
The President is put in a tricky spot when the Surgeon General makes questionable comments regarding the legalization of marijuana, and his daughter Ellie makes a controversial comment supporting her to Danny Concannon. Toby spars anew with his ex-wife but finds a clever way to work on Social Security reform, and Sam gets tough with a film producer who took a cheap shot at the President.
38 16 "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail" Jessica Yu Paul Redford & Aaron Sorkin February 28, 2001 (2001-02-28) 226216
The staff participates in "Big Block of Cheese Day," Toby is assigned to speak with a group of unruly anarchists protesting the WTO, and a friend of Donna asks Sam to consider a pardon request for an alleged Cold War spy.
39 17 "The Stackhouse Filibuster" Bryan Gordon Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Pete McCabe
March 14, 2001 (2001-03-14) 226217
Staffers are blindsided when an elderly Senator begins a Friday night filibuster before a vote on a crucial health care bill, until Donna finds information that changes their perspective. Meanwhile, Toby is puzzled when the Vice President, normally a champion of the oil industry, volunteers to attack it for "price gouging", and Sam is alternately annoyed at and impressed by a feisty GAO intern.
40 18 "17 People" Alex Graves Aaron Sorkin April 4, 2001 (2001-04-04) 226218
Toby is told about the President's multiple sclerosis, becoming the 17th person to know, and he and the President have a heated row over the matter. Meanwhile, the President considers an extensive security alert for the nation's airports, and staffers struggle to punch up a speech the President is set to give at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.
41 19 "Bad Moon Rising" Bill Johnson Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Felicia Wilson
April 25, 2001 (2001-04-25) 226219
The President decides that he needs an opinion from White House Counsel Oliver Babish on whether his MS cover-up constituted a criminal conspiracy. Meanwhile, an oil spill off the Delaware coast hits home to Sam, Josh must deal with a Mexican economic crisis, and C.J. searches for the source of a press leak about a possible change in the President's position on school vouchers.
42 20 "The Fall's Gonna Kill You" Christopher Misiano Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Patrick Caddell
May 2, 2001 (2001-05-02) 226220
White House Counsel Oliver Babish questions C.J. and Abbey about the President's MS cover-up. The staff begins to develop a strategy to deal with the impending MS crisis. Josh learns of a problem with funding for the government's Big Tobacco lawsuit. Sam works on a speech involving a tax increase and is later told the true MS story.
43 21 "18th and Potomac" Robert Berlinger Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr.
May 9, 2001 (2001-05-09) 226221
A crisis in Haiti takes much of the President and Leo's time, while the senior staff are planning the announcement of the President's MS. The democratically-elected new Haitian President is facing a military coup and the U.S. finds itself in the middle of the storm when a U.S. diplomat smuggles the new President into the safety of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. An evacuation operation turns deadly when U.S. soldiers shoot and kill several rebel Haitians who tried to stop a plane from taking off at the airport. Donna is told by Toby about the President's condition. The staff considers how to deal with the bad news of a poll by Joey Lucas that reveals voters have hugely negative reactions to the possibility of a politician having a potentially fatal disease and covering it up. They consider what kind of media reveal to have and what the future might hold for all of them. The President agrees with Leo that he should have a discussion with the staff about whether or not to seek reelection. Josh follows up on his previous week's discovery that a Congressional lawsuit against major tobacco companies is running into funding problems. Two Congressmen, a Republican and a Democrat, receive no contributions but do not like the case's legal merits. Josh is furious and plans to publicly embarrass the two Congressmen to get the funds unlocked. In a brief conversation with Mrs. Landingham, directly before she goes to collect her new car, the President says he'd like to have a word with her on her return. It is later revealed that she was killed in a car crash that occurred at 18th and Potomac, adjacent the main entrance to the Congressional Cemetery.
44 22 "Two Cathedrals" Thomas Schlamme Aaron Sorkin May 16, 2001 (2001-05-16) 226222
A tropical storm is bearing down on Washington on the day the President is to disclose to the American people that he has MS. The President attends Mrs. Landingham's funeral, beset with memories of how they met. Staffers must also fashion two responses to the question that is certain to be asked first at Bartlet's prime-time press conference: Will Bartlet seek re-election?

Reception[edit]

The second season received 18 Emmy Award nominations for the 53rd Primetime Emmy Awards, winning a total of 8 awards. Consecutive wins included Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Allison Janney), Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Thomas Schlamme for "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen"), and Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series (Thomas Del Ruth). Bradley Whitford won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, and the series also won for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Series, and Outstanding Single Camera Sound Mixing for a Series. Notable nominations included Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, John Spencer and Richard Schiff for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Stockard Channing for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Oliver Platt for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, Aaron Sorkin for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen", and Laura Innes for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Shibboleth".[1]

Thomas Del Ruth won an award from the American Society of Cinematographers for the episode "Noël".[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The West Wing". Emmys.com. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ "The ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography". American Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
General references