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Posse Comitatus

Original Airdate 05-22-02 Rerun 09-18-02


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Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Awards  |  Media Quotes

Descriptions

From TVGuide.com:
President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) has a life-and-death decision to make as the third season concludes.
The Qumari defense minister, who's secretly a terrorist mastermind, is arriving in the U.S., and Leo and Fitz want him killed. Is it legal? Is it right? Bartlet wrestles with both questions as he observes the similar struggles of another political leader, Henry VI, during a benefit performance of Shakespeare's War of the Roses plays. Meanwhile, C.J. and Simon Donovan (Mark Harmon) come to an understanding of sorts; and Charlie recommends a woman (Lily Tomlin)---someone who had once helped him--to become Bartlet's new secretary. The job interview doesn't go well at all.
From NBC:
In the season finale, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) encounters Ritchie (James Brolin) -- his Republican presidential rival -- when they attend a Broadway play while the President faces a terrorist threat after he discovers that a high-ranking Middle Eastern official has been supporting terrorism. When Josh (Bradley Whitford) supports a key welfare reform bill that his feminist activist/lover Amy (Mary-Louise Parker) opposes, it threatens their personal relationship. Elsewhere, the flirtation between C.J. (Allison Janney) and her Secret Service bodyguard (Mark Harmon) is limited by the boundaries of their professional relationship and the search continues for a replacement for Mrs. Landingham.
From Warner Bros.:
In the season finale, Bartlet makes a life-or-death decision regarding a foreign diplomat who is a known terrorist. He ponders the situation during a charity benefit performance of a Shakespeare play about another conflicted leader, Henry VI. At the performance, Bartlet encounters Governor Robert Ritchie (James Brolin), his Republican rival in the upcoming presidential election. Meanwhile, Toby and Sam manipulate the press to discredit Ritchie.

When Josh supports a key welfare reform bill that his lover, feminist activist Amy Gardner (Mary-Louise Parker), opposes, their personal relationship is threatened. The flirtation between C.J. and her Secret Service bodyguard, Simon Donovan (Mark Harmon), is limited by their professional relationship. And as the search continues for a replacement for the deceased Mrs. Landingham, Charlie recommends Deborah Fiderer (Lily Tomlin), a former White House secretary who was fired for hiring Charlie.

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Credits

Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
and
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
     
Special Guest Stars    
Adam Arkin as Dr. Stanley Keyworth ATVA Psychiatrist
Mary-Louise Parker as Amy (Amelia) Gardner Lobbyist
Mark Harmon as Simon Donovan C.J.'s Secret Service Agent
Lily Tomlin as Debbie (Deborah) Fiderer Secretary prospect
James Brolin as Robert Ritchie Republican Candidate for President
with
John Amos as
Admiral Percy "Fitz" Fitzwallace Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
Guest Starring    
Kurt Fuller as Advisor  
Michael O'Neill as Ron Butterfield Head of POTUS' Secret Service detail
David Huddleston as Senator Max Lobell Member of the Gang of 8
Armin Shimerman as Richard III  
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Renée Estevez as Nancy Aide
Andrew McFarlane as Anthony (Marcus) Simon's Little Brother
William Thomas Jr. as David Advisor
Fred Sanders as Ted Florida Republican
Glenn Morshower as Mike Chysler  
Thomas Kopache as Assisant Secretary of State Bob "Bobby" Slatterly
Wren T. Brown as a no vote in Josh's meeting
Ken Thorley as a no vote in Josh's meeting
Basil Hoffman as Congressman Member of the Gang of 8
     
Co-Starring    
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Al No'mani as (Abdul) Shareef Qumari Defense Minister
Al Faris as Translator  
John David Conti as Howell  
Nate Reese as Cantwell  
Paul Norwood as Bristol a no vote
in Josh's meeting
Randolph Brooks as Arthur Leeds (last name) / Reporter
Mindy Seeger as Chris Reporter
Kris Murphy as Katie Witt (last name) / Reporter
Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell (last name) / Reporter
Charles Noland as Steve Reporter
S.E. Perry as Marine Officer Tommy
Heidi Anderson as Waitress  
William Dennis Hunt as Duke of York  
Jeanie Hacket as Queen Margaret  
Orlando Seale as Young Clifford  
Douglas Weston as Bedford  
Adrian Diamond as Young Boy  
Joshua Wolf Coleman as Chorus  
Charles Currier as Chorus  
Russell Edge as Chorus  
Joshua Fardon as Chorus  
Richard Gould as Chorus  
Rob Nagle as Chorus  
Kevin Owers as Chorus  
Graham Shiels as Chorus  
Richard Soto as Chorus  
Glenn Kubota as Grocer  
Karen Tsen Lee as Reporter  
Ted Koch as Reporter  
Mark Gerald Douglas as Agent  
Lisa Datz as Agent  
James Villani as Thug  
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Information Links

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Awards

Emmy Awards

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Nomination for
Alex Graves
Submitted for consideration for Outstanding Drama Series Win
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Nomination for
Aaron Sorkin

CAS Awards

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Series Win

DGA Awards

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series Night Nomination for
Alex Graves
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Media Quotes

... the prez still is going to need a warm body to field his calls. The question is: Who?

"I don't know yet, but somebody will," series creator Aaron Sorkin promises TV Guide Online. "I just haven't thought of who the character is, so obviously I haven't thought of who the actor or actress is."

For her part, the politically correct Joosten has some very specific ideas about what type of person should sit behind the desk of the dearly departed. "I told the powers that be that I thought that it should be a middle-aged, ethnic woman," she relates. "There are too few roles for middle-aged and ethnic women to begin with."

"It couldn't be a 22-year-old in an executive-secretary position, anyway," she adds. "That just wouldn't happen."

"West Wing Quandary: Help Wanted"
by Charlie Mason with Michael Ausiello
July 25, 2001
TV Guide Online

Waylon Smithers, Mr. Burns' trusty assistant on The Simpsons, has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed the late Mrs. Landingham as The West Wing's new presidential secretary -- at least according to TV Guide Online readers. In a poll conducted Wednesday, the master multi-tasker blew away the competition with more than 40 percent of the votes. Sadly, West Wing executive producer John Wells isn't optimistic a deal will be struck. "I suspect probably not, but it's a funny idea," Wells chuckles. "I'll tell [series creator] Aaron Sorkin and see what he says."

"In The News: ER, The West Wing and More!"
by Unknown
July 26, 2001
TV Guide Online

Sorkin is planning a surprising twist as he brings his fictional universe more in line with the real world. Cataclysmic events along the lines of Sept. 11 will propel the normally liberal President Bartlet into a hawkish stance in a war against terrorism. "You'll see our liberal president taking a harder line than [President] Bush," Sorkin said.

"Reality intrudes on West Wing"
by Tom Jicha
January 21 2002
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

As for the remaining episodes: Schlamme says he's "excited about where we're headed." The four shows "are all tied together, not as cliffhangers, but all of a piece, leading to a fairly dramatic conclusion."

"Fiction visits fact in "West Wing" salute to the West Wing"
by Gail Pennington
April 24, 2002
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

AS "The West Wing" gears up for a re-election battle next season, the show's creator is preparing fictional President Bartlet to run against a character that sounds an awful lot like President George Bush.

"I want to have two characters in which I can dramatize that conflict [between] the know-it-all and the guy without gravitas who somehow relates to the everyman," says creator Aaron Sorkin.

"Isn't That George W. in 'West Wing' Plot?"
April 24, 2002
New York Post

"Where the show is right now, we have pages coming down daily," he [Mark Harmon] says. "We just started the season finale, and yet there are still scenes from [the next-to-last episode] that I have left to shoot."

"Harmon Didn't Hesitate to Join 'West Wing'"
by Rick Porter
May 3, 2002
zap2it.com

But given the show's seat-of-the-pants production style, the real cliff-hanger may be whether the final episode is finished in time. (As of May 3, the script was still incomplete, and the show had yet to begin production, an NBC spokesperson says.)

"Cliff Notes"
by Brian Hiatt
May 8, 2002
Entertainment Weekly Online

In the episode, Ritchie and Bartlet meet face-to-face at a Broadway play. The encounter sets off a flurry of media coverage.

"James Brolin Earns Nod from 'West Wing'"
by Unknown
May 8, 2002
zap2it.com

Harmon is keeping mum. "They are professionally restricted from having a romantic relationship," a West Wing insider teases TV Guide Online. "I can't tell you if they kiss or not, but suffice it to say, there is definitely sexual tension."

"Mark Harmon's West Wing Love!"
by Daniel R. Coleridge
May 8, 2002
TV Guide Online

NBC's political drama "The West Wing" alluded to the upcoming Broadway production in the episode "The Black Vera Wang," which aired May 8. The production -- which supposedly combines Shakespeare's Henry plays -- will be featured in the season finale, to air May 22, as the setting of the encounter of President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his upcoming Republican presidential race rival Rob Ritchie (guest star James Brolin). The final episode of the season "Posse Comitatus" sees the incumbent President's current situation mirrored by the comparable struggles of the Plantagenet.

The Booth Theatre was decked out with all things theatrical including quotes from fictional reviews for the Aaron Sorkin creation. Among them were New York Times quipping "Magnificent production," the New York Post imploring "Witness The Wars," "Absolutely exquisite" from Curtain Up and "Dramatic and stunning!" from Playbill's own faux reporter Patrina Chin. Detail was taken down to the cast and creative team as a poster listed the headliners Michael Stassi, Sean Riddle and Ellen Totleben under the direction of Itamar Kubovy and producer Dan Bishop.

Playbill® Publisher and President Philip Birsh granted the NBC drama special permission to use the Playbill name and logo to create a mock Playbill for the show. Copies will be donated to Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids and made available through their website.

""West Wing" Comes to Broadway"
by Ernio Hernandez
May 14, 2002
Playbill Online

MARTIN: ... Actually a lot of it we don't even know yet, we're going to be filming for the next few weeks. We do end up in New York at a huge benefit for a Catholic charity. The president makes a personal appearance there, and there's a special performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company, so he attends and then everything culminates during that performance.

ET: You can't give us any little hint?

MARTIN: I don't even know! I know it's something pretty interesting. There's some intrigue going on. There's a lot of personal stuff. The campaign is starting to shape up so he runs into the guy who's eventually going to be his opponent in the re-election.

"'West Wing"s Season Finale!"
May 15, 2002
ET Online

The cast of the D.C. drama filmed next week's season finale in Schubert Alley and the Booth Theater, not wrapping until 5 a.m. on at least one morning this week. But John Spencer, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff and Mary- Louise Parker did get a chance to party.

Spencer, Schiff and Parker attended a Tuesday performance of "The Goat." Spencer and Janney dined separately at the Nathan Lane/Matthew Broderick-backed Angus McIndoe on 44th Street, and Spencer also chowed down at Orso.

The cast stayed at an East Side hotel - except Spencer, who remained at his midtown apartment and spent time with his partner, Broadway actress Patti Mariano. With the season wrapped, Spencer will stay here long enough to participate in Sunday's AIDS Walk New York in Central Park.

"'West Wing' Takes Season Finale to Broadway"
by Robert Kahn
May 15, 2002
New York Newsday

But first: one long night spent shooting location exteriors 3,000 miles from the show's Los Angeles home. Just 10 days remained before the third-season finale, airing Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.

As "West Wing" viewers know, President Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen) has been planning to attend a Catholic charities fund-raiser at a Broadway theater.

Among the scenes to be filmed on this dank night: Bartlet's motorcade roaring through Times Square; he and his aides entering and leaving the Booth Theater on 45th Street.

Communications director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) and his deputy, Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), work the gaggle of reporters in front of the theater during intermission. Sam is tickled to hear from one of them that Bartlet's Republican challenger, also expected at the fund-raiser, is running late.

"If 90 percent of success is showing up," Sam glibly pronounces, "we're just happy there's someone standing up for the other 10."

Unfortunately, by this time the night has turned rainy, which wasn't in the script.

Here at the Booth, extras in evening wear mingle in the background, acting as if they're dry while they get soaked. Tuxedoed Schiff and Lowe aren't much better off as they shoot the scene over and over: The canopy erected to protect them is leaking.

"'The West Wing' Travels East"
by Frazier Moore
May 21, 2002
Associated Press

Then he [Aaron Sorkin] commented that Simon's death was at the protest of all the female staffers on the show. The propmaster is a woman, and she had to place the squibs on Mark Harmon that would pop and give the blood effect. She told Aaron they were put in places where Simon could conceivably live, if Aaron changed his mind.

Posted at AaronSorkin@yahoogroups.com
by Catherine from Sam Seaborn Central
July 21, 2002
Message 21557
Notes from a L.A. book signing with Aaron Sorkin

"And I loved the last episode (of the season)." - John Spencer

"'West Wing' makes his heart soar"
by R.D. Heldenfels
August 14, 2002
Akron Beacon Journal

So terrorism as a daily concern is played down in the show, though it can't help but seep in. "This new global threat, terrorism, is part of the water supply now," Sorkin says. "Even in episodes that don't directly deal with it."

The new atmosphere led to a plot turn last season that might otherwise have seemed out of character for Bartlet: He approves the covert assassination of a foreign defense minister.

"How this devout Catholic and lover of the law is able to assassinate someone," Sorkin said. "It's very interesting to me."

"This Is Not The Real World"
by Roger Catlin
September 7, 2002
Hartford Courant

Aaron Sorkin, creator and executive producer of "The West Wing," said the irony of Brolin playing a conservative candidate isn't lost on him. The "Pensacola" and "Marcus Welby, M.D." star is married to liberal actress Barbra Streisand.

"Brolin goes head to head with Sheen in 'West Wing'"
by Dave Mason
September 17, 2002
Scripps Howard News Service

"It was a four-show arc," the actor [Mark Harmom] explained. "But I didn't accept that show based on seeing the whole arc of the character. They don't work that way."

Alabama native and Auburn University graduate Michael O'Neill is known to regular "West Wing" watchers for his recurring role as Secret Service agent Ron Butterfield. O'Neill and Harmon worked together on "West Wing" and other projects.

"Mike's a good friend of mine," Harmon said. "I've directed him before, too, and worked with him before as an actor. It was fun to work with him as a Secret Service guy on this. We had a good time at work when we were shooting it."

But O'Neill's appearances often foreshadow something bad happening to a "West Wing" character. In this case, it was Simon Donovan's death. Harmon recalled that executive producer "Aaron Sorkin said on the last read-through last season that, 'We are going to have Michael O'Neill back, which generally means someone is going to die.'"

The actor added, "It was interesting reading that last script, because I started to hear that the character was going to die. But then when I got the script it wasn't any way like I thought it was going to happen."

...

"It shocked people," Harmon said. "It has been a couple of months, and I have not heard people stop talking about it." That includes the real-life Secret Service agent who advised Harmon behind the scenes. Harmon said, "The day after that show aired, he called me and said, 'What were you thinking? You go into a store like that and you're always thinking something might happen.' I said, 'Hey, I didn't write the script.'"

"'West Wing' role snags nomination for Harmon"
by Mike Brantley
September 22, 2002
Mobile Register

"I thought it would be nice if I could suggest an idea to 'West Wing,' but then you let those things drift because you think, 'Well, I might get rejected. Maybe they don't even want me to be on the show.'"

The planets aligned for her casting when Tomlin was appearing in a New York revival of "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" and Thomas Schlamme, an executive producer of "The West Wing," was in the audience.

"A friend sat near Schlamme and heard him say, 'Lily would be great on the show,'" Tomlin recalled. "That really perked me up. Then I got on the case."

"Tomlin Fills Void on 'West Wing'"
by Lynn Elber
October 7, 2002
Associated Press

"Directing her [Lily Tomlin], you have this treasure trove of talent at your disposal," says Alex Graves, who has directed Tomlin in a number of "West Wing" episodes. "She's very focused, very intelligent and very imaginative."

"Tomlin's 'Wing'-ing it as she returns to TV"
by Lance Gould
October 31, 2002
New York Daily News

When pressed,[acting coach Janine] Manatis confesses to being "aggravated" with The West Wing for killing off one of her proteges, Mark Harmon: "He was absolutely terrific on it," she says.

"The Word from ... Janine Manatis"
by Skana Gee
November 8, 2002
Halifax Daily News

"I won't pretend that I don't know who Bush is," says [Aaron] Sorkin, "but I was interested in writing about a demonization of intellect. Which didn't start with Bush-Gore -- it didn't even start with Eisenhower-Stevenson. It's peculiarly American: Being tagged as the smartest kid in your class turns into both a sense of arrogance and a sense of weakness -- that an 'egghead' [can't] see us through a world war."

"How the 'West' Was Undone"
by Ken Tucker
November 8, 2002
Entertainment Weekly

"Aaron wrote a character that was so off-the-wall and so interesting that all I had to do was show up," [Lily] Tomlin said. "Somehow he married me to a role that was just right for me. Honestly, I do so little, I just come and speak the words."

"Rarely will Lily Tomlin make a joke about Michael Jackson or "Spider-Man..."
by Unknown
July 14, 2003
Associated Press via Miami Herald

And as far as awards go, [Patrick] Hanson has already won a Cinema Audio Society Award, the most prestigious award for sound producers, this year for his work on the "West Wing." Regarding the possibility of winning an Emmy, he can't even describe his elation.

"Beyond words," said Hanson. "It's very, very exciting."

"Crivitz native nominated for Emmy for 'West Wing' work"
by Eric LaRose
August 23, 2003
Eagle Herald

And now I'm thinking that the "new" Leo makes a lot more sense than the old one, who'd had his edges softened over the years in ways that sometimes strained credulity.

"You're not the only person who's said this," Spencer said recently when I asked about the pricklier Leo during a "West Wing" press session in Hollywood. A visitor to the set had told Spencer, " 'Leo's gotten so mean,' " he said.

"And you know, mean and nice and all of that is in the eye of the beholder. But I think you have to look to Qumar" and the plot line last season in which Leo helped talk President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) into assassinating a leader of that fictional Middle Eastern country.

"It's good to have irascible Leo back"
by Ellen Gray
February 11, 2004
Philadelphia Daily News

A few years ago, Sony ATV, Buckley's publisher, put tracks from Grace on the compilation discs it uses to lure entertainment executives. Soon producers were forking over mid - five figures for Buckley's Hallelujah cover. Cohen murmured the original like a dirge, but except for a single overwrought breath before the music kicks in, Buckley treated the 7-min. song like a tiny capsule of humanity, using his voice to careen between glory and sadness, beauty and pain, mostly just by repeating the word hallelujah. It's not only Buckley's best song - it's one of the great songs, and because it covers so much emotional ground and is not (yet) a painfully obvious choice, it has become the go-to track whenever a TV show wants to create instant mood. "Hallelujah can be joyous or bittersweet, depending on what part of it you use," says Sony ATV's Kathy Coleman. "It's one of those rare songs in this business that the more it gets used, the more people want to use it."

So far the song has appeared on The West Wing, Crossing Jordan, Third Watch, Scrubs, Without a Trace, The O.C. and, two weeks ago, LAX. (It has also sneaked onto the iTunes Top 100.) Some shows use just a snippet, but The West Wing and Without a Trace let itplay for minutes over their season finales, a tacit admission that neither the writers nor the actors could convey their characters' emotions as well as Buckley. It's proof that in his brief life, Jeff Buckley did achieve some kind of grace.

"Keeping Up the Ghost"
by Josh Tyrangiel
November 24, 2004
Time

And executive producer John Wells is promising this election will be nothing like President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) re-election victory over a dim-witted GOP governor (James Brolin).

"I think if there was anything we regret doing it was the way we staged the last election," Wells said. "The character that we created . . . was really a straw man, and there was no suspense to it. And he was someone you desperately wanted to have defeated. I think for many Americans, it's not that easy a decision, as we saw in this last election."

"Liberal leanings - Can Republicans get a fair shake in 'West Wing' elections?"
by Scott D. Pierce
March 18, 2005
Desert News

For starters, it's almost never still. Recalling his memorable guest-arc on "The West Wing" the year before he got "NCIS," Harmon said "the air was different on that set. It was like a train rippin' by a hundred miles an hour, and you were supposed to grab a strap and hang on." - Mark Harmon

"NCIS becomes a hit by stealth"
by Noel Houston
November 25, 2005
Newsday

Mark Harmon's looks nearly lost him the lead role on "NCIS," the forensic drama with a military flair now in its third season. Series creator Donald P. Bellisario had written the main character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, as a tough-minded former Marine gunnery sergeant but had no specific actor in mind for the part.

"Someone mentioned Mark Harmon and I said, 'He's a pretty boy; I just don't see him as this character,'" Bellisario said. But the producer reversed his thinking after watching Harmon in a four-episode 2002 story arc on "The West Wing."

"I had envisioned the boyish Harmon, who was too good-looking, but I saw he now has a maturity to him,"

"The Letters of the Law"
by Kathy Blumenstock
April 2, 2006
Washington Post

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For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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