The West Wing

Season 2 Episode 22

Two Cathedrals

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 16, 2001 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Goof: In the teaser, when Margaret hands Leo a note he puts on his glasses to read it. Then a rear shot is shown and Leo puts his glasses on again.

    • Bartlet's motorcade to the State Department press conference passes the National Cathedral in a path so leisurely that it staggers the imagination -- minimally a seven mile trip, rather than the actual one mile direct distance between the White House and State Department.

    • Goof: About eleven minutes into the episode, Bartlet puts a pair of glasses into his left shirt pocket. Two very quick camera shots later, the glasses are in his right pocket.

  • Quotes

    • Bartlet: Damn it! Mrs. Landingham!
      Mrs. Landingham: I really wish you wouldn't shout, Mr. President.
      Bartlet: The door keeps blowing open.
      Mrs. Landingham: Yes, but there's an intercom, and you can use it to call me at my desk.
      Bartlet: I was...
      Mrs. Landingham: You don't know how to use the intercom.
      Bartlet: It's not that I don't know how to use it. It's just that I haven't learned yet.
      I have MS, and I didn't tell anybody.
      Mrs. Landingham: Yeah. So you're having a little bit of a day.
      Bartlet: You gonna make jokes?
      Mrs. Landingham: God doesn't make cars crash and you know it. Stop using me as an excuse.
      Bartlet: Party's not going to want me to run.
      Mrs. Landingham: Party will come back. You'll get them back.
      Bartlet: I've got a secret for you, Mrs. Landingham. I've never been the most popular guy in the Democratic Party.
      Mrs. Landingham: I've got a secret for you, Mr. President. Your father was a prick who could never get over the fact that he wasn't as smart as his brothers. Are you in a tough spot? Yes. Do I feel sorry for you? I do not. Why? Because there are people way worse off then you.
      Bartlet: Give me numbers.
      Mrs. Landingham: I don't know numbers. You give 'em to me.
      Bartlet: How about a child born in this minute has a one-in-five chance of being born into poverty.
      Mrs. Landingham: How many American's don't have health insurance?
      Bartlet: 44 million.
      Mrs. Landingham: What's the number one cause of death for black men under 35?
      Bartlet: Homicide.
      Mrs. Landingham: How many Americans are behind bars?
      Bartlet: 3 million.
      Mrs. Landingham: How many Americans are drug addicts?
      Bartlet: 5 million.
      Mrs. Landingham: And one-in-five kids in poverty?
      Bartlet: That's 13 million American children. 3 and a half million kids are going to schools that are literally falling apart. We need 127 billion in school construction and we need it today.
      Mrs. Landingham: To say nothing of 53 people trapped in an embassy.
      Bartlet: Yes.
      Mrs. Landingham: You know, if you don't want to run again, I respect that. But if you don't run because you think it's going to be too hard or you think you're going to lose well, God, Jed, I don't even wanna know you.

    • Bartlet: You're a son of a bitch, you know that? She bought her first new car and you hit her with a drunk driver. What? Was that supposed to be funny? "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God," says Graham Greene. I don't know who's ass he was kissing there 'cause I think you're just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman? A warning shot? That was my son. What did I ever do to yours except praise his glory and praise his name? There's a tropical storm that's gaining speed and power. They say we haven't had a storm this bad since you took out that tender ship of mine in the North Atlantic last year, 68 crew. You know what a tender ship does? It fixes the other ships. It doesn't even carry guns. It just goes around and fixes the other ships and delivers the mail. That's all it can do. Gratias tibi ago, domine. Yes, I lied. It was a sin. I've committed many sins. Have I displeased you, you feckless thug? 3.8 million new jobs, that wasn't good? Bailed out Mexico. Increased foreign trade. Thirty million new acres of land for conservation. Put Mendoza on the bench. We're not fighting a war. I've raised three children. That's not enough to buy me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a deo pio? A deo iusto, a deo scito? Cruciatus in crucem. Tuus in terra servus, nuntius fui. Officium perfeci. Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem!

    • Mrs. Landingham: (smiling) Look at you. You're a boy king. You're a foot smarter than the smartest kid in the class. You're blessed with inspiration. You must know this by now. You must have sensed it. Look, if you think we're wrong... if you think Mr. Hopkins should honestly get paid more than Mrs. Chadwick, then I respect that. But if you think we're right and you won't speak up because you can't be bothered, then God, Jed, I don't even want to know you. Come inside. (walks off) I'll call Triple A.

    • Mrs Landingham: God doesn't make cars crash, and you know it. Stop using me as an excuse.

  • Notes

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

    • The role of Bartlet's father was played by series producer (later consulting and executive producer) and story editor Lawrence O'Donnell. Aaron Sorkin commonly assigns small roles to show staff for table reads, and director Thomas Schlamme found O'Donnell's interpretation of Jed's father so interesting that he eventually offered him the role.

    • The Latin cathedral rant and its translation:

      "Gratias tibi ago, domine. Haec credam a deo pio? A deo iusto, a deo scito? Cruciatus in crucem. Tuus in terra servus, nuntius fui. Officium perfeci. Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem!"

      "I give thanks to you, O Lord. Am I really to believe that these are the acts of a loving God? A just God? A wise God? To hell with your punishments. I was your servant here on Earth. And I spread your word and I did your work. To hell with your punishments. To hell with you!"

    • Awards and Nominations: The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Series (Bill Johnson, A.C.E.). Nominated for 2002 Banff Rockie Award for Continuing Series Nominated for 2001 DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series Night Won the 2002 Humanitas Prize in the 60 Minutes category Nominated for 2002 WGA Award in the category of Episodic Drama.

    • Music: The song near the end is Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits playing "Brothers in Arms" from their CD of the same name.

  • Allusions

    • Bartlet: "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling
      strangeness of the mercy of God," says Graham Greene.

      This line is from Graham Greene's book Brighton Rock.

    • Toby: The last time they didn't know. The President taped an Easter message that looked like it was lit by Ed Wood!

      Ed Wood was a filmmaker heralded as "the worst of all time" for the complete lack of conventional filmmaking ability in his work.