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The White House staff springs into action when they learn that President Bartlet was injured in a bicycle accident. During the President’s absence, chief of staff Leo McGarry must handle several crises including Cuban refugees trying to escape into Florida and the conservative Christians’ reaction to a comment made by deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman. Meanwhile, Sam learns that the woman he picked up at a bar was actually a call girl and Toby gets into an argument over the Ten Commandments.


Episode Info


Episode number: 1x1
Production Number: 475151
Airdate: Wednesday September 22nd, 1999

Director: Thomas Schlamme
Writer: Aaron Sorkin

Alternate Airdates:

FR (France 2) Jul 06, 2001

  • Currently 9.6/10
9.6/10 (5 Votes cast)
Guest Stars
Allison Smith
As Mallory O'Brien
Recurring
Annie Corley
As Mary Marsh
Recurring
F. William Parker
As Al Caldwell
Recurring
Janel Moloney
As Donna Moss
Recurring
Lisa Edelstein
As Laurie
Recurring
Suzy Nakamura
As Kathy
Recurring
Marc Grapey
As Bill Kenworthy

Co-Guest Stars
Dafidd McCracken
As Mike
Recurring
Devika Parikh
As Bonnie
Recurring
Jana Lee Hamblin
As Bobbi
Recurring
Kathryn Joosten
As Delores Landingham
Recurring
Melissa Fitzgerald
As Carol Fitzpatrick
Recurring
Mindy Seeger
As Chris
Recurring
Molly Schaffer
As Senior Staffer
Recurring
NiCole Robinson
As Margaret
Recurring
Peter James Smith
As Ed
Recurring
William Duffy
As Larry
Recurring
David Sage
As John Van Dyke
Diane Michelle
voiced Woman
Elizabeth Greer
As Flight Attendant
Marcus Boddie
As Police Officer
Ossi Taylor
As College Student #1
Tressa DiFiglia
As College Student #2
Wendy Blair
As Flight Attendant #2
Main Cast
Martin Sheen
As President Jed Bartlet
John Spencer
As Leo McGarry
Allison Janney
As Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg
Bradley Whitford
As Josh Lyman
Rob Lowe
As Sam Seaborn
Richard Schiff
As Toby Ziegler
Moira Kelly
As Mandy Hampton
Episode Notes
This episode won numerous awards including the 2000 ACE Eddie Award for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television, the 2000 Shine Award for Scene Stealing, and the 2000 Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting in Drama.

Some of the exterior shots of the White House were filmed at the South Portico of the Headquarters of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution which is located at 1776 D Street in Washington, D.C.

Martin Sheen (President Bartlet) was originally only set to appear in four episodes during season one. However, after the pilot was filmed, it was decided to make him a regular cast member instead.

Show Development:
- Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman) was originally offered the part of Sam Seaborn.
- Janel Maloney (Donna Moss) originally auditioned for the part of C.J. Cregg.
- Alan Alda, Sidney Poitier and Jason Robards were all considered for the part of President Jed Bartlet
- Eugene Levy was considered for the part of Toby Ziegler.



Music
ArtistSong TitlePlayed When
Bif NakedMoment of Weakness 


Episode Quotes
Leo: He was swerving to avoid a tree.
Donna: What happened?
Leo: He was unsuccessful.

Leo: Margaret, please call the editor of "The New York Times" crossword and tell him that "Khaddafi" is spelled with an "h" and two "d"s, and isn't a seven letter word for anything.
Margaret: Is this for real, or is this just funny?
Leo: Apparently, it's neither.

Van Dyke: Show the average American teenage male a condom and his mind will turn to thoughts of lust.
Toby: Show the average American teenage male a lug wrench and his mind’ll turn.

Laurie: Tell your friend POTUS he's got a funny name, and he should learn how to ride a bicycle.
Sam: I would, but he's not my friend, he's my boss. And it's not his name, it's his title.
Laurie: POTUS?
Sam: President of the United States.

Leo: True or false, if I were to stand on high ground in Key West with a good pair of binoculars, I'd be as informed as I am right now.
Josh: That's true.
Leo: The intelligence budget's money's well spent, isn't it?

Sam: Is that the same suit you wore yesterday?
Josh: Is that the same suit you wore yesterday?
Sam: Yeah.
Josh: Yeah.

Toby: You think the United States is under attack from 12,000 Cubans in rowboats.
Sam: I'm not saying I don't like our chances.
Toby: Mind-boggling to me that we ever won an election.



Episode Goofs
Sam mispronounces Toby's last name while he is talking to the fourth graders.

While talking to the kids, Sam tells the class that the Roosevelt Room is named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Mallory corrects him that it was named for Theodore Roosevelt. However, the room is named in honor of both men -- President Richard Nixon named the room in 1969 to honor Theodore Roosevelt for his work in building the West Wing and for Franklin Roosevelt for expanding it.



Cultural References
Sam: Alger Hiss just walked in with my secret pumpkin.

Alger Hiss is a man that was jailed for spying on America on behalf of the USSR. He kept the pages of notes he gathered while spying in a hollowed out pumpkin.

Character Name: Josh Lyman

The character of Josh Lyman comes from a character from the comic strip Doonsbury. The character in the strip also works at the White House and the strip can be seen in Josh's office.

Character Name: Toby Ziegler

The character of Toby Ziegler is a reference to Ronald L. Ziegler, President Nixon's press secretary.

Visual: Bartlet leaning on a desk with his head bowed during the opening credits

This shot of Bartlet is a reference to a famous portrait of John F. Kennedy taken during the Cuban Missile Crisis.



Other Episode Crew

CreatorAaron Sorkin
Executive ProducerJohn Wells  |  Thomas Schlamme  |  Aaron Sorkin
ProducerKristin Harms  |  Llewellyn Wells
Co-ProducerMichael Hissrich
Production DesignerJon Hutman
EditorChristopher Nelson (1)
CastingBarbara Miller (2)  |  John Levey  |  Kevin Scott (1)
Unit Production ManagerJean Higgins
First Assistant DirectorTony Alder
Second Assistant DirectorBrian Bettwy
MusicW.G. Snuffy Walden
Director of PhotographyThomas Del Ruth
 
Warning: The West Wing season 1 episode 1 guide may contain spoilers
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