The West Wing

Season 5 Episode 2

The Dogs of War

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 01, 2003 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
107 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Bombs drop on Qumar upon Walken's orders; as the hours pass without any word on Zoey's whereabouts, tensions increase within the Bartlet family; Walken and Leo clash after Josh's suspicion that the opposition is using Walken's tenure in the Oval Office to advance their agenda is confirmed; Andy takes the twins home; Leo inflicts a new intern from a prominent political family on an unwilling Josh; Jed's staff is less than thrilled when they learn who will succeed Walken as Speaker of the House; the search for a new Vice President is accelerated; Zoey is rescued.moreless

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  • Return..

    So it was a wonder how long can we stand that man there in the office and thankfully it all ends here.. Zoe is found and they save her.. she is back with the family and Bartlet is back in president job.. but I think they did so much harm to themselves with this step.. and now they have a lot of to clean up..

    And that scene where they found Zoe.. Abby running towards here, that field full of those cars.. oh.. it was so painful.. as like the end scene - the pain in Abby's face.. that was so cruel.

    Very emotional episode.moreless
  • I really see what Sorkin meant to the show!

    Let me first preface this by saying I am very new to the West Wing. While at Target one day I noticed Season 1 on sale for $19.99 so I picked it up. Ever since then I’ve been tearing threw the seasons, and doing my best to comment on them here at I’ve also spent a lot of time reading other posts, and the most talked about topic I’ve noticed is the writing and direction of Aaron Sorkin. I found it very interesting when I read all the very detailed and heartfelt posts about what he meant to the show. I personally chalked a lot of it up to some very dedicated fans who were maybe a bit obsessed with Sorkin. But it wasn’t until today when I watched episodes 1 & 2 of season 5. What a disappointment. The drama that Sorkin weaved into the final episodes of season 4 just withered away in these opening episodes.

    I was shocked at the way moment where The Bartlett’s reunited with Zoey was so “un-climactic”. That should have been “one of those” moments in the show’s history. And that was only followed up with the anti-climactic re-taking of the office by President Bartlett. Which was setup by scene where Josh and Steve meet in the men’s room and the Republican party is made to look like “good guys”. If the writers would have stayed on the path of making them the “bad guys” there could have been a great scene setup for “Bartlett Reclaiming His Office”. A great stand-off could have occurred between the Bartlett guys and the Walken guys with Leo stuck in the middle and ultimately siding with Jeb. I would have been great. Hell they could have ended episode 2 with finding Zoey and turned the Bartlett vs Walken into 2 or 3 episodes.

    Overall I was disappointed in the some of the events of these episodes. But the actors still pulled off some great performances despite the bad decisions of the writing staff.moreless
  • In which a trilogy of episodes ends and President Bartlett decides whether or not he is going to return to the White House.

    The conclusion of the three-part storyline regarding the kidnapping of Zoey Bartlett and its consequences did not strike the tone with me that I was hoping it would. Maybe I've been spoiled by the four series before this one but for such a dramatic and revelaing storyline that focuses directly on the Bartlett family this episode just plodded along at a pace the West Wing is not used to.

    Instead of characters rushing around looking busy Josh wondered around spending most of the episode in a daze, worrying about Republicans overthrowing Barlett, which nobody else (sensibly) chooses to care about, and trading jokes with some new intern to his office.

    With John Goodman as acting President there was a great potential to show differences in his approach to the Presidency and ethical issues when compared with Bartlett. Instead we get "When do I get to the fun part of being President?...Flying around on Air Force One, getting a good tea time at Hilton Head." With dialouge like this the show fails to explore President Walken's character to the depth that West Wing fans are used to. Whilst he does have a commanding screen prescence, and is shown to be good in press conferences, little else is shown about a man who is guiding the White House through a very difficult time.

    The worst crime this episode commits though is ending the Zoey Bartlett plot-line far too early and in such a damp-squib manner I had to check the DVD-case to make sure I was watching the correct show. Zoey Bartlett is found because a man and a woman have an argument in their car, the woman gets out and wanders off. The man, in an attempt to find her, knocks on the door of a house that just happens to be where Zoey Bartlett is being held. In other episodes there would have been a deabate in the White House about how the squadron should attempt to rescue her, as in The State Dinner in S1. Instead, it's all over and dealt with by the time the President arrives and soon enough, President Bartlett returns to office, with barely three days having passed.

    As a fan of the show from the first episode I thought this episode was badly plotted, the characters lacked direction and continuity (and depth in some cases) and ended a story-line far too soon. Season 5 has not got off to a good start.moreless
John Goodman

John Goodman

Glenallen Walken (uncredited)

Guest Star

William Devane

William Devane

Lewis Berryhill

Guest Star

Zeljko Ivanek

Zeljko Ivanek

Steve Atwood

Guest Star

Elisabeth Moss

Elisabeth Moss

Zoey Bartlet

Recurring Role

Jesse Bradford

Jesse Bradford

Ryan Pierce

Recurring Role

Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin

Debbie Fiderer

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Leo: Oh, I don't think all Qumaris.

      Qumar is a made-up country.

    • The title of this episode is not mentioned in this episode but the one before it, "7A WF 83429." The possibility is high that these two episodes were meant to air back-to-back as the two-parter that they are.

    • Leo: Your government actively supports the Bahji.

      The Bahji terrorist cell is made-up.

    • The attack took place at 1110 Zulu Time, and the President was informed at 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time. During Daylight Savings Time, Eastern Time is only four hours behind Zulu (Greenwich Mean) Time.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Steve: You don't get it, do you? Republicans are in awe of Bartlet. He recused himself in the only way he could. In the way envisioned by the Constitution.
      Josh: None of the framers were afraid of the President's daughter being kidnapped at musket-point.
      Steve: The whole notion of the 25th Amendment is that the institution matters more than the man. Bartlet's decision was even more self-sacrificing because he willingly gave power to his opposition.
      Josh: The institution may matter more, but it's your guy protecting it, not ours.
      Steve: A truly self-sacrificing act usually involves some sacrifice.

    • Bartlet: Six more American boys are dead.
      Leo: And that doesn't make you angry?
      Bartlet (yelling): Of course that makes me angry! (pause) "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral. Returning violence with violence only multiplies violence, add deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars."
      Leo: Dr. King.
      Bartlet: I'm part of that darkness now, Leo. When did that happen?
      Leo: Dr. King wasn't wrong. He just didn't have your job.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Additional Credit:
      Washington D.C. Production Services by Thinkfilm, Inc.

    • Guest star William Devane and Martin Sheen co-starred together in the 1974 Made for TV film The Missiles of October.

    • William Devane is no stranger to White House roles. He also plays the Secretary of Defense in season four of "24," JFK in "The Missiles of October" and the President in "Stargate SG-1."

    • The title comes from Act III, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" as Marc Antony mourns the death of Caesar:

      "And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
      With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
      Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
      Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war;
      That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
      With carrion men, groaning for burial."