West Wing
Abu el Banat

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C- | Grade It Now!
"Dying/ Is an art/ Like everything else"

Leo's walking along the portico when C.J. catches up with him. He thinks she's there to discuss the hostage thing, but she's talking about the DEA/assisted suicide thing. Neither one has heard about the other's crisis. Their paths cross with Jed's as he carries Gus along to the Residence with the family trailing along. Leo calls Jed aside and tells him quietly, "Twelve relief workers in Sudan got thrown in jail. Congressman's on CNN calling them hostages." Huh. I suppose those 660 people rounded up in Afghanistan after September 11 and rotting in Guantánamo Bay -- without even being criminally charged, and who are now going to be subjected to secret military trials without the application of normal rules of evidence -- are sort of "hostages," too. Gus shows his grandpa that he has a New Hampshire quarter. This twerp has all the personality of lint. I have no idea why they cast him. Jed asks C.J. if she's talked to State, but she explains that she just heard about it herself, and mentions that there's a problem with the DEA. Jed tells them to hang on; he deposits the little moppet with his mother and says he has to deal with something. Jed assures them that they've got all sorts of good stuff planned. The kid looks morose, but he's looked much that way since he got there, so it's hard to tell if he's supposed to be bummed about this. Jed, Leo, and C.J. trudge along the portico back to the Oval Office. Credits.

As they enter Jed's office, Leo explains that the Sudanese authorities say some of the workers were trying to convert the locals to Christianity, "and it's Islamic law in Northern Sudan...." Jed: "So they threw the whole lot of them in jail." Leo says that Congressman Richter called the Sudan desk: two of the incarcerated are constituents of his. Toby's joined them now. C.J. asks if Jed talked to the DEA yesterday. He didn't. Josh arrives, and Jed asks, "Boy, this blew up good and fast, didn't it?" Josh says, "State's treating this like any other foreign arrest; there'll be a consular visit and a trial. Richter isn't satisfied with that." C.J.: "A Sudanese jail, you gotta hope someone back home's making noise." Jed: "Were they proselytizing?" Josh says they don't know: "Richter says no." Right. What else would he say? Josh continues: "He spoke to a junior officer at the Sudan desk, thinks they're blowing it off, so he's trying to bump it up the ladder." C.J.: "'Hostage' is a big word. Particularly at Christmas." Jed tells them to get Richter in there, and asks about the DEA. C.J. explains, adding that there's no federal jurisdiction, so she doesn't know what the DEA thinks it's doing: "They're calling it a violation of the Controlled Substances Act. The narcotic he used is federally controlled." Toby: "So's a handgun." Josh: "Yeah." Toby: "Doesn't turn a shooting into a federal case." Josh: "He makes a point." Jed asks if they're sure it wasn't accidental: "Pain management gone awry?" C.J. says that the doctor involved is making no secret of his intentions. It's legal in Oregon. C.J. adds, "He was assisting a terminal patient to hasten the end of her suffering." Jed: "It's a living." No pun intended, I presume. C.J.: "Well, yes, in Oregon it is." Her next briefing is in an hour. Toby thinks they shouldn't comment at all: "It's DOJ's mess. We don't want it." C.J. says they don't want a lot of things. Toby argues, "For four years it's been 'The President does not personally support physician-assisted suicide but believes it is not a federal issue and should be resolved by the voters.'" Jed adds, "State by state. And not by the Drug Enforcement Agency." Toby lectures, "We don't jump into the middle of a bar fight and declare our intention not to act. Let the Attorney General handle it." Jed nods at Leo, who says he'll sit down with the AG. Jed yells to ask Debbie where his family is; she calls out that they're in the Blue Room.

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West Wing




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