The West Wing (1999–2006)
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In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part I 

The President is rushed to hospital following a shooting; staffers field questions on protection measures and executive authority. Flashbacks show how key staff members joined the Bartlet campaign.


Thomas Schlamme


Aaron Sorkin (created by), Aaron Sorkin


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rob Lowe ... Sam Seaborn
Dulé Hill ... Charlie Young
Allison Janney ... C.J. Cregg
Janel Moloney ... Donna Moss
Richard Schiff ... Toby Ziegler
John Spencer ... Leo McGarry
Bradley Whitford ... Josh Lyman
Martin Sheen ... Jed Bartlet
Stockard Channing ... Abbey Bartlet
Timothy Busfield ... Danny Concannon
Tim Matheson ... Vice President John Hoynes
Elisabeth Moss ... Zoey Bartlet
Michael O'Neill ... Secret Service Agent Ron Butterfield
Jorja Fox ... Agent Gina Toscano
Anna Deavere Smith ... Nancy McNally


A pair of skinheads open fire as the President leaves a lecture theater, causing panic, chaos and injury. As the drama at the George Washington Hospital unfolds, C.J. and Leo field questions about exactly who is in charge while the president undergoes surgery, and Toby is asked about Secret Service protection measures. Flashbacks show the birth of the "Bartlett for America" campaign: Josh is courted by Leo; on his way to see Bartlett speak in New Hampshire he stops off to visit Sam at his Manhattan law firm; Toby is drinking at a bar, convinced he will be fired for advice he's given Bartlett. Written by Murray Chapman

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TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 October 2000 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bartlet (Martin Sheen)'s assassination attempt is almost identical to that of President Ronald Reagan's assassination attempt. Both Presidents are shot when leaving an event where they made a speech, both are waving at supporters, both are pushed into the car when they're shot, both don't realise they've been shot until they're in the car and the Secret Service Agents notices blood coming out of their mouths, and both make jokes to family, friends, and doctors to lighten up their critical situation, and both survive their attempts. See more »


The controversy regarding the 25th Amendment and who was "in charge" while the President was in surgery surrounds the failure of the President to sign a letter transferring power to the Vice President. The 25th Amendment also provides that the Cabinet may determine that the President is unable to discharge the duties of his office and transfer power to the VP without this letter. Before being anesthetized, the President instructs Leo to assemble the Cabinet. The entire premise that nobody was "in charge" is false. See more »


Dr. Whitaker: I need to ask you some questions, Sir. Do you have any medical conditions?
President Josiah Bartlet: Well, I've been shot.
See more »


Referenced in Entourage: The Sorkin Notes (2009) See more »


Leavin' on Your Mind
Written by Wayne Walker and Webb Pierce
Performed by Patsy Cline
See more »

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User Reviews

Sam's hair
4 September 2018 | by qhtmikeSee all my reviews

When season 1 ended, with Sam's hair being short, as season 2 opens with the shooting, Sam's hair is magically longer than the entire season 1

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