Season 1

Episode 1 – Pilot


From Left to Right: (Toby Ziegler (Director of Communications), C-J Cregg (Press Secretary), Josh Lyman (Deputy Chief of Staff), Joshiah ‘Jed’ Bartlett (President of the United States), Sam Seaborn (Deputy Director of Communciations), Mandy Hampton (Media Consultant) and Leo McGarry (Chief of Staff)

The first episode largely introduces the staff of the White House. The first scene, inparticular, gives a clear indication of the different roles of the EXOP and the pace at which the White House operates.

In this episode the team faces an image challenge after the President rode his bicycle into a tree and Josh Lyman risks being fired after offending the religious right on a TV Programme. In the end, the President appears to support Josh, saying the religious right needed to do more to challenge extremism within their organisations.

Best Line

C-J Cregg: Is there anything I can say over than that the President rode his bicycle into a tree?

Leo McGarry: He hopes never to do it again

C-J Cregg: Seriously, they are laughing pretty hard. What do you want from me…the President while riding his bicyle on his vacation in Jackson Hole came to a sudden arboreal stop

Issues relevant to teaching

Nature and Set-Up of EXOP

Influence of Religion on US Politics

First Amendment Rights

Clips suitable for teaching

None inparticular

Episode 2 – Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

In this episode the media image of the administration continues to be tarnished. In particular, he has made a joke about the Ryder Cup Team resulting in them boycotting a trip to the White House. It is decided to hire a Media Consultant, Mandy Hampton, to join the White House Staff and stop these mistakes occuring.

Mandy Hampton

Mandy Hampton

The episode also shows signs of a rift between the Vice-President, John Hoynes and the President. They appear to disagree over a bill currently in Congress.

John H

John Hoynes is introduced as the Vice-President. He does not appear to have the closest relationship with President Bartlett

At the end of the episode, the President is informed that a US Military Aircraft carrying US personnel, including his personal doctor, has been shot down in Oman killing all passengers. It was confirmed the attack had been orchestrated by a Islamist Terrorist Group.

Best Line

C-J Cregg: Sir, this may be a good time to discuss your sense of Humour

President Bartlett: I’ve got an intelligence briefing, a security briefing and a 90 minute budget meeting all scheduled for the same 45 minutes, you sure this is a good time to talk about my sense of humour?

Issues relevant to teaching

Role of Advisors

Roles and Powers of Vice-President

Clips suitable for teaching

None inparticular

Episode 3 – A Proportional Response

In this episode the President considers military response scenarios to the downing of the Air Force Plane shown in the previous episode. It is President Bartlett’s first time having to use his Article II, Section 2 powers as Commander-in-Chief. At first, he threatens a strike which would risk collateral damage, before backing down and choosing a more conservative option, on the advice of his Generals.

This episode also shows the introduction of Charlie Young as Personal Aide to the President. Charlie’s mother was a police officer who had been killed in the line of duty.

Charlie Young

Charlie Young joined the White House Staff as personal aide to the President

Best Line

Jed Bartlett (to Charlie Young): Excuse me Charlie, can I see you inside please. Come on, it’s okay. I’m Jed Barlett….Listen, Leo McGarry filled me in with the situation with your mother, I’m so very sorry.  I hope you don’t mind but I took the liberty of calling the FBI Director. We had the computer spit out quick information. Your mother was killed by a western .38 revolver firing KDW’s, or what are known as Cop-Killer Bullets. Now we haven’t had a whole lot of success yet in banning that weapon or those bullets off the streets, but we’re planning to take a big whack at it when COngress comes back from recess. So whatd’ya say? You wanna come help us out?

Charlie Young: Yes Sir, I do.

Issues Relevant to Teaching

President’s Power as Commander-in Chief

Relationship between the Chief of Staff and President

Clips suitable for teaching

12.08 – 14.31 with 17.40 – 20.56: The clip discussing response scenarios to the downing of a US Airforce Plane highlights the President’s complete power under Article II, Section II of the Constitution. However, it also shows the realistic limits on Presidential Action that come from domestic and international considerations.

32.47  – 37.40: Shows the unique position of the Chief of Staff within EXOP. The Chief of Staff is normally the one individual with unfettered access to the President and someone who can tell the President exactly what he or she thinks.

Episode 4 – Five Votes Down