Political Animals
Pilot

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Never Call a Bitch a Bitch

New York. Ballsoff plays strip poker with several young ladies. The good times are interrupted by Elaine's arrival. He tries the "my translator isn't here" route to get out of talking with her, but she points out he went to Yale and she's not buying his crap. She wants him to get her a meeting with Iran's ambassador to the U.N. Ballsoff resists, but Elaine threatens to tell his wife about his naughty poker game. He agrees to do as Elaine asks. "Not because you threaten," he says, "but because you got balls, and I respect balls." She could still add yours to the collection, mister. He also compliments her ass, although this time without the grabbing. Later, the Iranian ambassador arrives and is shocked to find himself face to face with Elaine. He doesn't want to talk to her, and officially he can't talk to her, but Elaine trades on their history. They've known each other a long time. She knows he's a good man. She needs to know what he knows about the journalists.

After the meeting, Elaine goes to Garcetti in the Oval Office with what she's learned. Hakam is dying. He wants to put a stop to his own country's nuclear program, but knows he won't make any inroads with the support of ultra-conservatives. The capturing and impending execution of the American journalists (or, alternatively, getting Garcetti to bow to pressure) are Hakam's way of currying favor. As Elaine talks, she realizes nothing she's saying is news. "You already knew what he was up to and you're just letting it happen." The Chief of Staff is outraged, but Elaine's like, "Shut up, Barry." Garcetti admits that Elaine is right. He and a few others have known about the plan all along. They were against it, but did nothing to stop it because it will lead to a nuclear treaty with Iran. Garcetti is feeling pretty disillusioned about his job and feeling pretty sorry for himself, too. "It's not enough to have the courage of your convictions," Elaine says. "You have to have the courage of others, too. Those were your words during our last debate. The voters believed you. I believed you. Someday, sir, it'd be nice to be working for the man who beat me." Garcetti shrinks to microscopic size as Elaine leaves the room.

Douglas is waiting for his mother in the hallway. The story about Thomas's suicide attempt is out. Elaine's voice reads out the details as we see her in flashback, finding an unconscious Thomas in his car as the garage fills with carbon monoxide. The story is up on the Washington Globe's website, as penned by blogger Georgia Gibbons. Elaine turns her anger on Susan as Douglas departs in search of his brother. Susan swears she had nothing to do with the story, but Elaine doesn't care. "To you people, my son has always been just another drug-addicted cautionary tale, responsible for all of his own misfortunes, but he was the first openly gay child of a president." Elaine breaks into tears. "You will never know the vitriol -- the evil -- he suffered when he came out -- against his will -- as a boy in the White House, and yet you trade on his pain and suffering to coerce me into this story." She screams at Susan to get out, which she does and wisely without another word in her own defense. Elaine picks up the phone and calls someone. "I need to see you right away."

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Political Animals

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