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6 hours ago, Bastet said:

That really worked for me in the Isaac/Jeremy example on Sports Night, but I thought Bartlet's idea to hire Ainsley - and Leo agreeing after initially thinking he meant as a prank on Sam - was stupid.  Having an intelligent person who wants to achieve the same overall goals as you but disagrees on how those are best achieved is wonderful inner circle strategy.  Hiring someone who's smart but whose fundamental view of how society should function is antithetical to yours is pointless.  Communicate with them and try to find some common ground in order to make deals with them, sure, but add them to the team who are busting their asses to make things better?  No.

This is the same as political parties trying to appeal to voters who disagree with their policies.  You end up alienating your base.

I thought I read somewhere that Ainsley Hayes was based on Kristin Chenowith who Sorkin had been involved with and had different political views than him.  Which is weird considering Chenowith ended up playing a character who's views were more in line with his.

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Attorneys are a little different. An attorney can draft and review legal documents for pitfalls and errors without regard to political philosophy. It’s not like Ainsley was hired to create or promote policy. (Hi Cliff Calley, who got dropped like a hot potato.)

My problem with Ainsley was that they never had the other staffers made the solid arguments against her. Sam was often confused by Ainsley’s arguments, which just didn’t seem right.

As to CJ as CoS, a rewatch of the series has her being competent over and over, even from S1, while Toby and Josh get in their own way and trip over their own egos and assumptions. They did use CJ as the recipient of a blessing from the exposition fairy (Hi Sam!) a little too often, but mostly she was competent and savvy while getting more funny stories than the others. 

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2 hours ago, VCRTracking said:

I think we can guess who the "unnamed actor" Sorkin had difficulties with is!

But what I don't know is who the other actor with whom Aaron was getting frustrated was (Wells says he was getting really frustrated with "a couple of the actors" in season four).  I remember all the Rob Lowe stuff, but I don't remember hearing about anyone else at the time.

LOL at Sorking asking what just happened in the meeting with the studio and network and Wells having to tell him dude, you just quit; Tommy and I told you exactly what was going to happen, and you came in here and quit.

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We all know Sorkin's contribution was vital so some people may question what John Wells brought to the table. To them I say look at Sorkin's shows without him. Wells would have gone up to him and be  like "Uh Aaron? I think we might need to cut the line where the character yells at his Midwestern parents "This is the Paris Opera House of American television!" and the dad's response "That's swell Tom, but your brother is standing in the middle of Afghanistan!"

Edited by VCRTracking
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Watching the John Wells interview apparently triggered the YouTube algorithm to put the following into my video feed. It's a 2003 appearance of Aaron Sorkin on the Charlie Rose show, shortly after Sorkin left the show.  Sorkin is extraordinarily upbeat.  

 

 

Edited by PeterPirate

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On 9/11/2020 at 11:04 AM, blondiec0332 said:

 

I thought I read somewhere that Ainsley Hayes was based on Kristin Chenowith who Sorkin had been involved with and had different political views than him.  Which is weird considering Chenowith ended up playing a character who's views were more in line with his.

You might be thinking of Harriet Hayes on Studio 60.  I believe that character was supposed to be based in part on Chenoweth. 

 

On 9/8/2020 at 8:44 PM, CailynA said:

I remember being totally shocked the first time I watched but on my most recent rewatch it was so obvious just how hard they worked to set it up the CJ was the right choice

I get the limitations of a tv show, and how it is much easier for the position to be filled by an existing cast member, but in reality, CJ doesn't have the experience or background to do the job.  In terms of the cast, she is a logical choice because they wanted to move Josh off into campaign storylines and Toby as a character was all wrong for the position, but I never thought realistically that CJ should get that job.   

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Chief of staff is a strange two-in-one job anyway.  Manager of the White House staff and senior adviser to POTUS need two different sets of skills.  It would seem more efficient to have two different people in these positions.

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9 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

You might be thinking of Harriet Hayes on Studio 60.  I believe that character was supposed to be based in part on Chenoweth. 

 

I get the limitations of a tv show, and how it is much easier for the position to be filled by an existing cast member, but in reality, CJ doesn't have the experience or background to do the job.  In terms of the cast, she is a logical choice because they wanted to move Josh off into campaign storylines and Toby as a character was all wrong for the position, but I never thought realistically that CJ should get that job.   

I finally listened to the Birnam Wood episode of The West Wing Weekly podcast and I totally agree with them that there should have been a whole episode on picking the new CoS and explanations on why each person was a no: Josh, Toby, Will, and why CJ was the right choice. I think that would have helped. It still seems an odd choice  but I did love watching her grow into the role.

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OMG this is so good and I can't believe it took me 20 years to watch it.  But in my defense I had babies and work and school forms to sign.  I can't even read the comments, except the vault threads for the seasons I've already finished, because I really don't want to be spoiled.  I am listening to the Weekly podcast so at least there's that.   Almost through s2; hope to be back soon to catch up on everyone's comments.

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43 minutes ago, SoMuchTV said:

OMG this is so good and I can't believe it took me 20 years to watch it. 

I know, right?  I didn't watch it at first, I mean a program about the government didn't appeal to me.  But the TV critic of the Detroit Free Press raved about it and we had the same tastes so I tried it.  And was hooked!

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I watched The Supremes last night. I just love this episode - from Toby and Josh "falling in love" with Lang, to Josh's idea to let the Republicans pick a justice, to Toby's reaction to the idea, to Josh's, Toby's and the President's reaction to the Republican nominee, to the discussion between Lang and the Republican judge (whose name I have no idea how to spell), to his argument why the court needs more than moderate justices. I just love everything about this episode. And that the Republican was likeable and came across as reasonable was an added bonus!

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15 hours ago, SoMuchTV said:

OMG this is so good and I can't believe it took me 20 years to watch it.  But in my defense I had babies and work and school forms to sign.  I can't even read the comments, except the vault threads for the seasons I've already finished, because I really don't want to be spoiled.  I am listening to the Weekly podcast so at least there's that.   Almost through s2; hope to be back soon to catch up on everyone's comments.

Thanks for mentioning the vault threads; I am also a newbie enjoying this show.

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2 hours ago, MaryMitch said:

Thanks for mentioning the vault threads; I am also a newbie enjoying this show.

Good to have company! 

I don't know how you feel about spoilers, but if you're really trying to avoid them, be careful reading stuff in the vault.  There are per-season threads where in theory there should be no spoilers beyond the thread's season.  Season 1 seemed to be following that guideline, but Season 2 had a few comments that went a little farther than I'd like about the future (who does or doesn't stay on the show, what couples do or don't get or stay together...)  Not that I can really blame people - they're probably watched the series multiple times over the past 15-20 years and aren't thinking like a "first-timer". 

But I'll probably forget what I read by the time I get much farther along in the series, so I should be fine!

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Bad Education, a TV movie in which Allison Janney appears (with blonde hair) won the Emmy in the category of Outstanding Television Movie at this year’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards presentation last night. The movie aired on HBO, according to the article.

Bradley Whitford is a nominee again this year in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category, for his role in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which (ironically) stars fellow Emmy winner, & TWW co-star (she, of course, played youngest Bartlet daughter, Zoey) Elisabeth Moss. Bradley’s category will be awarded during the Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, on ABC tonight beginning at 8PM Eastern/7PM Central. If you miss the category by the time you read this, the winners list is well-publicized in the media & it’s on the Television Academy website, Emmys.com, so you can see if Bradley won. If he should win, & you miss the presentation of his category, his acceptance speech should show up on YouTube at some point in the next few days, if it’s not also on the Television Academy’s website.

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On 9/20/2020 at 2:32 AM, CheshireCat said:

I watched The Supremes last night. I just love this episode - from Toby and Josh "falling in love" with Lang, to Josh's idea to let the Republicans pick a justice, to Toby's reaction to the idea, to Josh's, Toby's and the President's reaction to the Republican nominee, to the discussion between Lang and the Republican judge (whose name I have no idea how to spell), to his argument why the court needs more than moderate justices. I just love everything about this episode. And that the Republican was likeable and came across as reasonable was an added bonus!

I watched it over the weekend.  The Republican judge is Alison's hubby on Mom.  I'm mid season 6 now....and getting sad that its coming to an end for me this week.  

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On 9/18/2020 at 12:44 AM, txhorns79 said:

You might be thinking of Harriet Hayes on Studio 60.  I believe that character was supposed to be based in part on Chenoweth. 

Doh! You are right. I confused my blondes on Sorkin shows.  I loved Studio 60 but could not stand Harriet Hayes.

 

21 hours ago, SoMuchTV said:

I don't know how you feel about spoilers, but if you're really trying to avoid them, be careful reading stuff in the vault.  There are per-season threads where in theory there should be no spoilers beyond the thread's season.  Season 1 seemed to be following that guideline, but Season 2 had a few comments that went a little farther than I'd like about the future (who does or doesn't stay on the show, what couples do or don't get or stay together...)  Not that I can really blame people - they're probably watched the series multiple times over the past 15-20 years and aren't thinking like a "first-timer". 

West Wing has a few plot points that would be considered spoiler worthy but overall I think knowing some things in advance helps you understand what you watch up to the spoiled plot point.  I watched it when it was on originally and have re watched it twice since.  Now that I am older and have more of an understanding about politics and government rewatching it  I see it through different eyes.

Edited by blondiec0332
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@So Much TV:  I’m glad you’re beginning to enjoy what all of us “wingnuts” have been enjoying since season 1.  Welcome to the family!
 

P.S.  Even my Republican brother loves the show.  He’s said on more than one occasion that if Jed Bartlet was running for president, that he would vote for him.  He lives near DC and would let me know when he was near one of the scenes from the show

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9 hours ago, blondiec0332 said:

West Wing has a few plot points that would be considered spoiler worthy but overall I think knowing some things in advance helps you understand what you watch up to the spoiled plot point.  I watched it when it was on originally and have re watched it twice since.  Now that I am older and have more of an understanding about politics and government rewatching it  I see it through different eyes.

Sure that’s an equally valid choice. I just wanted the chance to watch it as a complete newcomer the first time through, and I was sharing what I’d seen in case there was anyone else felt the same way. 

And this is coming from someone who watched the final episode of Breaking Bad first, after hearing all the fuss about it, then went back and watched it from the beginning. So I can definitely seeing both sides of the argument. 

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On 9/20/2020 at 11:00 AM, MaryMitch said:

Thanks for mentioning the vault threads; I am also a newbie enjoying this show.

It was my "don't Even think of interrupting me show" on first go round.  Such good writing!!!!  And in the beginning I didn't have a DVR!  So, no skip backs to catch the stellar dialog!  You had to focus!  The fast talking hallway walks were script gold.  

I think it's a safe bet that a series that ended 14 years ago and has never gone into syndication, is a damn good watch.

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11 hours ago, zillabreeze said:

It was my "don't Even think of interrupting me show" on first go round.  Such good writing!!!!  And in the beginning I didn't have a DVR!  So, no skip backs to catch the stellar dialog!  You had to focus!  The fast talking hallway walks were script gold.  

I think it's a safe bet that a series that ended 14 years ago and has never gone into syndication, is a damn good watch.

Wasn’t it in syndication back in 2013 or so on Bravo?

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17 minutes ago, BlackberryJam said:

Wasn’t it in syndication back in 2013 or so on Bravo?

Yes, it was.  Not sure of the year, though.

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It was 2003 that it started airing on Bravo; it was a big bidding war, and Bravo won by paying something like $1 million per episode.  I don't remember how long it ran.

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19 hours ago, Bastet said:

It was 2003 that it started airing on Bravo; it was a big bidding war, and Bravo won by paying something like $1 million per episode.  I don't remember how long it ran.

2013, 2003, time has no meaning. 

Just repeating that on re-watch, CJ is so often the competent one and voice of reason. 

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If we had a full forum for The West Wing, I'd put this in the Small Talk thread, but...
The initial reviews have come out for the Trial of the Chicago 7, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. It's a Netflix film, "opening in select theaters Sept. 25 ahead of its Oct. 16 bow on the streaming platform."  Here is the fairly glowing review from The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney.
'The Trial of the Chicago 7': Film Review

A snippet:
 

Quote

Sorkin has made a movie that's gripping, illuminating and trenchant, as erudite as his best work and always grounded first and foremost in story and character.


I'd want to see it just based on Aaron Sorkin's involvement but the cast is a truly amazing collection of standout actors: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong, Noah Robbins, Danny Flaherty, Ben Shenkman, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Caitlin Fitzgerald, Alice Kremelberg, John Doman, J.C. MacKenzie, Damien Young, Wayne Duvall, C.J. Wilson

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Just finished the series and I ended on a bad note.  when they showed us Toby's official pardon doc....its said TOBY Ziegler.  His name is Tobias.  As someone who works with official government documents this sent me through the roof.   

Spoiler

fin

 

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1 hour ago, TV Diva Queen said:

Just finished the series and I ended on a bad note.  when they showed us Toby's official pardon doc....its said TOBY Ziegler.  His name is Tobias.  As someone who works with official government documents this sent me through the roof.   

  Hide contents

fin

 

Richard Schiff was just livid about what they did to his character in the final season and wasn't shy about saying it. I have to agree with him, it was just awful.

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44 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

Richard Schiff was just livid about what they did to his character in the final season and wasn't shy about saying it. I have to agree with him, it was just awful.

I don't remember reading any of that - I seem to think I may have checked out of the series when Sorkin did.  I feel that he was covering for CJ and I too hate what they did with him.

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19 minutes ago, TV Diva Queen said:

I don't remember reading any of that - I seem to think I may have checked out of the series when Sorkin did.  I feel that he was covering for CJ and I too hate what they did with him.

There are several articles and interviews about it but here is one.  

I'm with you, I own through season 5 on DVD and can probably recite the dialog.  But they lost me in season 6 and don't think I have ever seen the full remainder of the series.

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5 minutes ago, Kohola3 said:

There are several articles and interviews about it but here is one.  

I'm with you, I own through season 5 on DVD and can probably recite the dialog.  But they lost me in season 6 and don't think I have ever seen the full remainder of the series.

season 7 wasn't horrible - its sad that many of the topics of their week - are still relevant now.  I recommend watching at least the last episode, the peaceful transition of power is amazing.  

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I actually thought there was definite build up to the Toby situation. He wasn't the "wise counselor." Toby was always aligning himself up as morally superior to the President. Although I thought the entire shuttle storyline was dumb, I thought it was on point that Toby would betray Bartlett. 

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17 minutes ago, BlackberryJam said:

Although I thought the entire shuttle storyline was dumb, I thought it was on point that Toby would betray Bartlett. 

And I felt the opposite, I never believed that he would do that. To this day I think he was covering for his ex-wife.

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I enjoyed all seven seasons to some extent.  I think the last half of season 2 is the pinnacle of the series.  (Right up to the "hands in pockets" thing.)

I love the last three episodes of season 7.  That's one of the few discs I can pop in without having to think about which episode to skip.

On the flip side, The Debate is the only episode that I've never watched again. 

Edited by PeterPirate
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15 hours ago, Kohola3 said:

And I felt the opposite, I never believed that he would do that. To this day I think he was covering for his ex-wife.

Really? Andy, the ex-wife, didn't seem to have any guilt in her interactions with Toby post leak reveal. Also, she was often looking for a fight. I think if it had been her, she would have owned it..but then again, babies. It had been my impression that they had originally lined up CJ to be the leaker, then realized that it was much more in character for Toby and switched mid-stream.

14 hours ago, PeterPirate said:

I enjoyed all seven seasons to some extent.  I think the last half of season 2 is the pinnacle of the series.  (Right up to the "hands in pockets" thing.)

I love the last three episodes of season 7.  That's one of the few discs I can pop in without having to think about which episode to skip.

On the flip side, The Debate is the only episode that I've never watched again. 

In S2/S3, I had some hope they would go somewhere with CJ/Oliver Babish. I generally didn't 'ship' anyone on the show, but I thought those two had a lot of chemistry and wish it would have gone somewhere.

I loved the last three episodes of S7 as well! I often found myself annoyed with the inconsistent characterization of Helen Santos, but I think she evens out in those episodes. I've always been a Jimmy Smits fan. Stockard Channing was always fantastic and she is there giving Bartlett her support. Just nice episodes. 

No rewatch on the Debate for me or the episodes that are mostly interviews with real WH staffers.   

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3 hours ago, BlackberryJam said:

No rewatch on the Debate for me or the episodes that are mostly interviews with real WH staffers.   

I rewatched Debate Monday night, but I haven't even watched the documentaries with real people even once.  

I prefer staying in my TWW bubble.  I also don't like the fake documentary that they pretended aired after the administration. That's a bad episode.  (I can't think if it is season 5 or 6.)

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19 hours ago, BlackberryJam said:

I actually thought there was definite build up to the Toby situation. He wasn't the "wise counselor." Toby was always aligning himself up as morally superior to the President. Although I thought the entire shuttle storyline was dumb, I thought it was on point that Toby would betray Bartlett. 

I wasn't a Toby fan.  The only episodes I found him tolerable in was S2's In the Shadow of Two Gunmen.  I liked him in the flashbacks of how he came to work for Bartlett.

4 hours ago, BlackberryJam said:

In S2/S3, I had some hope they would go somewhere with CJ/Oliver Babish. I generally didn't 'ship' anyone on the show, but I thought those two had a lot of chemistry and wish it would have gone somewhere.

I agree she had more chemistry with him than Simon Donovan her Secret Service bodyguard.  Although I did find it sad what happened to Simon.  I didn't think she had chemistry with Danny either but I didn't mind her ending up with him.

4 hours ago, BlackberryJam said:

I loved the last three episodes of S7 as well! I often found myself annoyed with the inconsistent characterization of Helen Santos, but I think she evens out in those episodes. I've always been a Jimmy Smits fan. Stockard Channing was always fantastic and she is there giving Bartlett her support. Just nice episodes. 

I would have totally watched an eighth season that was about a Santos presidency.

 

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On 9/29/2020 at 6:53 PM, PeterPirate said:

I enjoyed all seven seasons to some extent.  I think the last half of season 2 is the pinnacle of the series.  (Right up to the "hands in pockets" thing.)

I love the last three episodes of season 7.  That's one of the few discs I can pop in without having to think about which episode to skip.

On the flip side, The Debate is the only episode that I've never watched again. 

I read this yesterday and I read it quickly.  I got so mad, I was thinking about it alot - like "why on god's green earth would people voluntarily watch that episode again?" and then I just read it now....Sorry for being mad at you  🙂

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1 hour ago, TV Diva Queen said:

"why on god's green earth would people voluntarily watch that episode again?

If I do a full-series re-watch, I'll watch them all. Usually though, I'll just watch one season all the way through. Right now, we're in the middle of a full series watch - GF never saw it, so I've been taking her through it. We're a little past half way through S4 at this point, and she really likes it.

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I only have seasons one through four on DVD, so those are the only seasons I re-watch (I'm not sure when I quit watching originally; I think my viewing became sporadic somewhere in season five and I quit entirely somewhere in season six), and for the sake of my blood pressure I make sure to never, ever subject myself again to the offensive piece of crap that is "Isaac and Ishmael".

(Although, that episode is how I found TWoP; co-workers and I were still complaining about the episode days later, and someone said there was a great article on some website that accurately skewered the whole thing, and that turned out to be the TWoP recap.)

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I first watched it starting January 2017, and I'm tempted to do another binge. I should have done that this Summer. I can't believe it's been almost four years since I did that. 

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I never saw Toby as a "wise counselor." (Though I do think he had his moments of wisdom.) Instead, I saw him as a smart, conflicted man with great integrity, even to his own inner detriment. Which sounds like I think he did it, but no. To me it's because of that integrity that I think he didn't do it. For me, there was NO way he would have betrayed the President re: the shuttle. Instead, I think he would have stayed quiet, suffering in silence, and probably spent a lot of time drinking heavily and feeling like shit for not saying anything.

We see it so many times. Even when he's furious with Bartlet, he's the one who was there for everyone else when they were angry with him about the MS reveal, for example gently but pointedly reminding Sam that he's still "President Bartlet," not just "Bartlet," even though he understands how betrayed they feel. And when he felt the White House had been betrayed by someone who leaked information, he was furious and wanted to interview everyone and find out who would do such a thing. (And in the end pulled back and instead reminded everyone that he understands how good it feels to be "in the know" but you just can't give up resources, not without hurting everyone you work for and with and not without possibly wrecking everything you've worked toward.)

And there were so many times when Toby would hold things in and suffer in silence. You can see how embarrassed and horrified he felt when he was taken to task for his arrogance in writing a speech for Bartlet that condemned the very leader who was visiting (State Dinner) and led to his French protestor friend not being released. He felt like shit when he found out the President didn't choose him for his job, but he wouldn't confront the President about it. Bartlet had to hear from CJ (most likely) about how Toby felt, and he's the one who brought it up to Toby instead. Toby holds it all in.

And he was angry when Leo suggested Toby was looking for a life boat out of the West Wing, because Toby has been there since the very beginning and wasn't planning to go anywhere so he felt like how could Leo think that about him? He may get frustrated and angry with Bartlet, and challenge him to be the man he knows Bartlet is and can be, but he's still fiercely, quietly loyal.

So to me, there's just no way Toby would have betrayed the White House. He would have wanted to but ultimately he has integrity, even when he hates himself for it. I truly believe he would have kept quiet, blamed himself, and as he once said, he'd want to spend some time "in a dark room alone" -- spent doing a lot of drinking and contemplating quitting everything. 

Edited by sinkwriter
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On 9/30/2020 at 9:59 AM, BlackberryJam said:

It had been my impression that they had originally lined up CJ to be the leaker, then realized that it was much more in character for Toby and switched mid-stream.

I had the same impression that CJ was the one being set up to be the leaker.  There was an ending scene for one of the episodes in the sixth season where they are discussing it and the shot holds on CJ as they fade to black.  Perhaps they realized that sidelining the character wouldn't work, or between the seasons, it was decided that they could more easily write out Richard Schiff to save money. 

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Whether or not it was in character for Toby to leak, it was worth it for this exchange:

Josh: "Hey, can felons vote in DC?..... Too soon?"

Toby: "Little bit."

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@sinkwriter those are all great arguments for Toby not doing it. I’ve struggled with, “If not Toby, who?” I felt like they were setting CJ up, but I didn’t feel like it was in character for her. If she’d leaked state secrets to help an abused woman, or helped Han or some Saudi teen girl escape, that would be believable, but some dudes in the space shuttle? Nah.

I also thought it was weird that Josh was calling Toby. I mean, the guy was toxic, right? So in the middle of a campaign, it didn’t make sense. 

Interesting other potential leakers:

Bingo Bob leaking inadvertently or as a FUCK YOU to Bartlett for backing Santos.

Kate Harper because UGH Kate Harper. I can’t even imagine a reason why she would do it, but would have been glad if she’d been shuffled off.

Miles Hutchinson because I like Steve Ryan and thought they could do more with him. 

Bartlett doing it himself so he could save the astronauts.

Ellie Bartlett because of her support for scientists. 

Margaret. I mean...why not?

 

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7 minutes ago, BlackberryJam said:

Margaret. I mean...why not?

My vote is for Margaret!  I can see here justifying it to save the astronauts.

 

Margaret : Can - can I just say something, you know, for the future?

Leo McGarry : Yeah.

Margaret : *I* can sign the President's name. I have his signature down pretty good.

Leo McGarry : You can sign the President's name?

Margaret : Yeah.

Leo McGarry : On a document removing him from power and handing it to someone else?

Margaret : Yeah. Or, do you think the White House Counsel would say that was a bad idea?

Leo McGarry : I think the White House Counsel would say that's a coup d'etat.

Margaret : I'd probably end up doing some time for that.

Leo McGarry : I would think. And what the hell are you doing practicing the President's signature?

Margaret : It's just for fun.

Leo McGarry : We've got separation of powers, checks and balances, and Margaret, vetoing things and sending them back to the hill.

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