West Wing
In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen, Part I

Episode Report Card
Deborah: A | 2 USERS: A+
In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen, Part I

Back at the hospital, Harvey the administrator comes to the waiting room where Sam, Toby, Charlie and C.J. are waiting with some agents. Harvey mentions that Josh is going to be in surgery for such a long time, and that they won't be too comfortable there. Just then Donna bursts in the opposite door, all anxious and apologetic. She asks about POTUS, and C.J. tells her flatly that he's going to be fine. Donna, unaware of Josh's situation, breathes a sigh of relief and starts babbling about rushing over there and so on, until finally Toby takes the bull by the horns and tells her that Josh was hit. Donna's face is really something as she wordlessly struggles to apprehend this information. Finally she says, "Hit with what?" Toby replies, "He was shot...in the chest." C.J. adds that he's in surgery right now. Donna says, "I don't understand...I don't understand...is it serious?" Toby responds, "Yes, it's critical. The bullet collapsed his lung and damaged a major artery." Donna puts her hand up to her mouth, barely holding back the tears. Harvey jumps back in, suggesting that since they won't know anything more about Josh until morning, that they go and deal with the other things that they need to and that the hospital will stay in touch with them by phone. Harvey leaves. Donna sits down, looking stricken. Sam hands C.J. a piece of paper; she says that Leo is going to meet with the leadership in ten minutes and when he's done, she'll speak to the press. Charlie says that he's going back to the residence to get some of POTUS's things. Donna stares blankly ahead.

After some commercials, C.J. is fielding a press briefing. The reporters are all talking and shouting at once. One of them has the most unbelievably strident voice I think I've ever heard on a woman. C.J. says that Drs. Keller and Jarvis will be available for a debriefing in a few hours. Danny asks whether there's been any discussion of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. C.J. says there hasn't. Danny naturally wants to know why not. C.J. reiterates that the President's wounds are fairly superficial, and that he's expected to make a "full and speedy recovery." Danny, to no one's very great surprise, looks unsatisfied with that, but lets it go. Another reporter asks whether there's any information on the identity of the shooters. The reporter says that AP is reporting that two bodies were brought out of the office building, and that there's a massive manhunt underway for a third accomplice. C.J. insists that she doesn't have anything on that for them. Another obnoxious reporter asks whether C.J. can tell them why the AP knows more than she does. Buddy, I know you've got your little deadlines and so forth, but cut the woman some slack, hmm? She was just shot at. C.J. replies, "I don't believe they do know more than I do, I just think they're willing to tell you more than I am." Another reporter, Arthur, points out that previous administrations had the President enter and exit public buildings under a tent or canopy, and wants to know why that precaution is not followed for Bartlet, or why it wasn't in this case, at least. She replies that it's policy not to comment on protection procedures. Arthur continues badgering her: "Is there anything you know, is there anything you can tell us?" C.J. pauses oddly and says she'll be back in ninety minutes for another briefing, and adds that she hopes they'll know more then. C.J. and Carol leave the press briefing room and C.J. wants to know what that was all about: "'Since you can't seem to give us answers...'" Carol, in an odd non-sequitur, says to C.J., "You scratched your neck," which is apparently the universal sign to reporters meaning, "Please savage me with your hostile questions." C.J. says that she lost her necklace and that it must have come off when somebody pushed her down. Suddenly Danny's caught up behind them and Carol goes back to her cubicle. Danny wants to know who is in charge, if the Twenty-Fifth Amendment hasn't been invoked. C.J. recites blandly, "The Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the White House Chief of Staff..." Danny complains, "You just named six people...who's in charge?" C.J. says, "The Canadiens." Danny doesn't find this funny. C.J. says, "You understand I'm talking about the hockey team?" She asks Danny to give her a little time and walks away.

Over in Leo's office, he and Nancy are still at it. C.J. and Toby are there, and some other guy I don't recognize. He says that Fitzwallace agrees with him: any upgrade in their "defensive posture" and the whole world's going to wake up. Nancy argues that the world is awake. Moreover, she thinks that there may be more people involved with the shooting than just the three guys they've talked about so far, and that there's no reason to believe otherwise. She points out that somebody had to let the shooters into that building. "This wasn't a lonely guy who lived with his cats! There was a plan! And one of the things we have to assume is that we are under attack right now." The guy I don't recognize reiterates the suggestion for VPOTUS to order them to go to DEFCON 4. He must be one of Nancy's flunkies. Leo explains that the White House Counsel isn't sure he can do that. Toby'd like to know why not. Leo says, "He never signed a letter." Nancy starts to explain that customarily if the President's going to be under general anaesthetic...Toby interrupts and says, "He's gotta sign a letter giving the Vice-President power?" Nancy replies, "Absent the Twenty-Fifth, the Constitution doesn't give it to him unless the President's dead." Toby's incredulous. "He's haemorrhaging, and he's supposed to draft a memo?" Nancy's like, "Yeah!" C.J. says Danny's pestering her about who's in power. Where the hell is Al Haig when you need him, anyway? Nancy adds calmly that it gets more complicated, "if you've read Section 202 of the National Security Act of 1947," which I can only presume is what's sitting on Aaron Sorkin's night table. C.J. says with a hint of impatience, "Let's assume I haven't." Nancy continues, "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. asks what "principal assistant" means. Nancy pauses and replies, "It doesn't specify." Toby's fully irritated now: "No, it wouldn't, because this is an area of federal law where you'd want as much ambiguity as possible." Toby excuses himself, and C.J. says she's going back to the hospital. Leo says he'll be there in a bit.

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West Wing




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