The West Wing

Season 2 Episode 1

In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part 1

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 04, 2000 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
212 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

While the staff awaits news regarding the injuries to Jed and Josh, they recall how Josh, Sam, and Toby became involved in the campaign three years earlier; Leo, Toby, and C.J. deal with inquiries on Secret Service protection policies, as well as the absence of executive authority while Bartlet was in surgery.moreless

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  • About this episode

    This had great directing

  • Nightmares and memories.

    When Toby found Josh, I just about lost it. Even knowing he was going to be on the show for the duration(I had seen his episode count before I started the series), it was still very upsetting. I was tearing up on my second watchthrough when he was yelling in the hospital about needing to get to New Hampshire. As if getting shot in the chest wasn't enough, in his mind he's somehow being prevented from getting to Bartlet. And Sam's line to him was pretty moving, once I understood what it meant.

    Sam: You went to New Hampshire. We both did. You came and got me.

    Donna finding out was rough, I just assumed she would have known for some reason. Seeing CJ so shaken was disturbing as well. I imagine having to give a press conference after something so traumatic, while not knowing if Josh was gonna make it, was, to put it mildly, not an easy thing to do. Bartlet being more upset about Zoey and Butterfield was the kind of thing I hope I could do in that situation.

    Bartlet: I swear to God, if I don't speak to my daughter in the next five minutes I'm going to attack something.

    Butterfield: She's on her way.

    Bartlet: This guy's got about seven broken bones in his hand by the way, if someone wants to give him an aspirin or something.

    As well I hope I can stay in as good humor as he was.

    Nurse: Do you have any medical conditions?

    Bartlet: Well...I've been shot.

    While the scenes happening in the present were incredibly well done, the flashbacks to the early days of the Bartlet campaign were my favorite parts. It was interesting to see the moment Josh realized Bartlet was "the real thing."

    Bartlet: If fidelity to freedom and democracy is the code of our civic religion, then surely, the code of our humanity is faithful service to that unwritten commandment that says 'We shall give our children better than we ourselves received.' Let me put it this way; I voted against the bill 'cause I didn't want it to be harder for people to buy milk. I stopped some money from flowing into your pocket. If that angers you, if you resent me, I completely respect that. But if you expect anything different from the President of the United States, you should vote for someone else.

    Sorry for all the quotes by the way, I've just never been able to write reviews without including them, and its even harder with TWW which has so many good ones. Sam working for the oil companies was pretty mind blowing, though I guess it explains why he works so hard for Bartlet now, trying to make up for that time. I liked how he and Josh had to point out to each other that they didn't like who they were working for, for both of them to realize they should do something about it.

    Leo's talk with Bartlet, near the end of the episode, was probably my favorite part, summed up my feelings about the presidency quite well.

    Leo: Because I'm tired of it. Year, after year, after year, after year. Having to choose between the lesser of 'Who Cares?'. Of trying to get myself excited about a candidate who can speak in complete sentences. Of setting the bar so low I can hardly look at it. They say a good man can't get elected president. I don't believe that. Do you?

    This was simply an amazing episode, not just for TWW, but television as a whole.moreless
  • The aftermath of shooting

    This has been so far the most exciting story with much of action - the special agents on the scene, the drive in night city and the scene in the hospital when the medical worker answers the phone - they do not have so much dynamic in any episode so far.

    On the balance to the big action and motion on main story, the have flashback with beautiful meaning how those people ever met.. how they become to work to Bartle. It opened a new view to most of the characters - show us how much Leo really did and how few fate and change the had but they made it.

    A really special episode and in the top of all episodes.moreless
  • One of my favorites

    With the West Wing, every now and again an episode approached "perfection". What an opener to Season 2. The writing is superb, well paced, the flashback sequences fit into the story perfectly. Also they are revealing, telling us a lot about Leo and Jed's relationship, and showing us an insecure side to Toby.

    Bartlet's speech is a sign of things to come from him. Donna, shown in the opening credits for the first time has a great scene when her worry for the President turns to relief and joy only to be shot down by the news of Josh's condition. The scenes with the secret service agents, especially Ron, are all well-acted and dramatic.moreless
  • I love, love loved this episode!!!

    I just watched Part 1 and 2, so I'll try to seperate them best I can.

    Just from the beginning I knew this would be a great episode, because, I don't know, it just had this very real feeling. It's no doubt the writing was amazing, but just everyone running around. When Josh was down, I started like crying! Donna's scene at the end was really great, and I liked how they showed mrs. landingham and Margaret finding out.

    I can't even remember the cliff hanger they left it on because as soon as I saw it I watched the next episode. This episode was so amazing! I LOVE WEST WING!!!moreless
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Sam Seaborn (Episodes 1-84)

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

John Spencer

John Spencer

Leo McGarry

Jim Ortlieb

Jim Ortlieb

Benjamin Keller

Guest Star

Peter White

Peter White

Jack Gage

Guest Star

Ernie Lively

Ernie Lively

Mr. Loch

Guest Star

Melissa Fitzgerald

Melissa Fitzgerald

Carol Fitzpatrick

Recurring Role

Kathryn Joosten

Kathryn Joosten

Delores Landingham

Recurring Role

Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • This episode has the most guest stars out of any episode of The West Wing.

    • There is a lot of discussion about the President not having signed a letter turning over power to the VP and so there was no one in charge. However the 25th Amendment provides for the VP and a majority of the principal officers of the executive branch (i.e. the Cabinet) to remove the power of the presidency from the President if he is unable to perform his duties. The VP would become the Acting President until the President submits a letter to Congress saying he is ready to reassume his duties.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Danny: The President's been under aesthetic for more than an hour. He's probably gonna be on a morphine drip. Without the 25th, who's in charge?
      CJ: The Vice President, the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of Defence, one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House Chief of Staff.
      Danny: You just listed six people! Who's in charge?
      CJ: The Canadians.
      Danny: C.J....
      CJ: You understand I'm talking about the hockey team.

    • Josh: Running for president of the United States and not putting Social Security front and center is like running for president of the Walt Disney Corporation by saying you're gonna fix the rides at EPCOT.
      Mark: We're gonna get to Social Security, Josh; it's a long campaign. For now, we focus on the tax cuts.
      Female Aide: It's what magicians call "misdirection."
      Josh: Really, 'cause it's what the rest of us call bullsh--

    • Nancy: It gets more complicated if you'd read section 202 the National Security Act of 1947.
      C.J.: Let's assume I haven't.
      Nancy: It says that the Secretary of Defense will be the principal assistant to the President on all matters relating to the national security.
      C.J.: What does "principal assistant" mean?
      Nancy: It doesn't specify.
      Toby: No, it wouldn't, 'cause that's an area of federal law where you'd want as much ambiguity as possible.
      Nancy: Yeah.

    • Sam: Then mortgage the boats from top to bottom.
      Cameron: Ships.
      Sam: I'm sorry?
      Cameron: Oil tankers aren't boats; they're ships.
      Sam: Mr. Cameron, you want me to buy the boats, you're not asking me to be the first mate, right?

    • Sam: You all right?
      C.J.: What?
      Sam: Are you all right?
      C.J.: Where´s the President?
      Sam: He´s on his way back to the White House. So is Zoey. They just put Leo in a car. Are you all right?
      C.J. (concerned): Somebody pulled me down.

    • Bartlet : Today for the first time in history, the largest group of Americans living in poverty are children. One in five children live in the most abject, dangerous, hopeless, backbreaking, gut-wrenching poverty any of us could ever imagine. One in five and they're children! If fidelity to freedom and democracy is the code to our civic religion then, surely, the code of our humanity is faithful service to that unwritten commandment that says we should give our children better than we, ourselves, received. Let me put it this way, I voted against the bill because I didn't want to make it harder for people to buy milk. I stopped some money from flowing into your pocket. If that angers you, if you resent me, I completely respect that. But if you expect anything different from the President of the United States, then you should vote for someone else.

    • Josh: The Democrats aren't gonna nominate another liberal, academic, former governor from New England. I mean, we're dumb, but we're not that dumb.
      Leo: Nah, I think we're exactly that dumb.

    • Josh: If I see the real thing in Nashua, you want me to tell you?
      Sam: You won't have to.
      Josh: Why?
      Sam: You've got a pretty bad poker face.

    • Nurse: Do you have any medical conditions?
      Bartlet: Well, I've been shot.

    • Josh: Senator, you're the prohibitive favorite to be the Democratic nominee for Presdent, you have a $45 million war chest with no end in sight, and I don't know what we're for. I don't know what we're against. Except we seem to be for winning, and against someone else winning.

    • Abbey: There are 14 people in the world who have this information, including the Chief of Staff, the Vice President and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. You're going to be the 15th. Six years ago, my husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. When this is over, tell the press, don't tell the press. It's entirely up to you.

    • Bartlet: Why're you doing this? You're a player. You're bigger in the Party than I am, Hoynes would make you national chairman. Leo! Tell me this isn't one of the twelve steps.
      Leo: That's what it is. Right after admitting we're powerless over alcohol, then a higher power can restore us to sanity. That's where you come in.
      Bartlet: Leo...
      Leo: Because I'm tired of it year after year after year after year, having to choose between the lesser of "who cares?" Of trying to get myself excited about a candidate who can speak in complete sentences. Of setting the bar so low, I can hardly look at it. They say a good man can't get elected president. I don't believe that. Do you?
      Bartlet: And you think I'm that man.
      Leo: Yes.
      Bartlet: Doesn't it matter that I'm not as sure?
      Leo: Nah. "Act as if ye hath faith, and faith shall be given to you." Put another way, "Fake it till you make it." You did good tonight.
      Bartlet: Yeah.
      Leo: This is the time of Jed Bartlet, old friend. You're gonna open your mouth and lift houses off the ground. Whole houses, clear off the ground.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Additional Credits:

      Special Assistance: National Park Service

      Special Assistance: National Capital Region

      Special Assistance: United States Park Police

      Washington D.C. Produciton Assistance by ThinkFilm, Inc

    • Janel Moloney appears in the opening montage for the first time.

    • The episode in combination with the Part II won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. The episode in combination with Part II was Nominated 2 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore). Nominated with the Part II for 2001 Banff Rockie Awards in the category of Continuing Series. Nominated with the Part II for 2001 CAS Awards in the category of Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Television Series.


    • Episode Title: "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen"

      The title seems to be inspired by Seán O'Casey's 1923 play "The Shadow of a Gunman."