The West Wing: A Proportional Response   Rewatch 
July 4, 2014 12:49 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Bartlet wants an unexpected response to a plane being shot down; Josh believes that a job applicant might be just right to be the President's aide; C.J. talks to a reporter who's heard about Sam's friendship with a call girl.

An angry President Bartlet seeks vengeance after Syrian operatives blow up a jet carrying his personal physician and dozens of American passengers. The Pentagon proposes a so-called "proportional response" to the attack, which involves air strikes on three low-level targets in Syria as well as one against the Syrian intelligence agency headquarters. However, President Bartlet wants a stronger response, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff respond with a plan to attack a much more prominent target: the international airport in Damascus. The subtext of the story involves the President's unease around the Joint Chiefs and his worries about receiving their respect due to never having served in the military. Leo talks to Admiral Percy Fitzwallace who tells him the President is doing fine. Despite this, Fitzwallace tells the President that his desired response is disproportionate, saying that he "will have doled out five thousand dollars worth of punishment for a fifty buck crime." Leo confronts the President about the disproportionate response and says that he will stand up against him if he continues to insist on it. President Bartlet confesses he has personalized the terrorist attack because his physician, a good man with a newborn daughter, was among the victims. He then authorizes the proportional response and gives a televised speech in which he explains the situation to the American people. In other story lines, Charlie Young applies for a White House job and C.J. talks reporter Danny Concannon out of writing a story about Sam's relationship with a call girl. Charlie, who was applying for a messenger job, is so impressive that Josh insists on hiring Charlie as the President's personal aide, or "body man".

Airdate: October 6, 1999
Director: Marc Buckland
Writer: Sorkin
20 Episodes 'til a Mandy-less OEOB.
posted by ApathyGirl (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Charlie and Danny! Yay!
posted by jacquilynne at 7:30 AM on July 5, 2014

Dule Hill, whether it's on this or Psych, is one of those actors that is just so easy to watch.
posted by selfnoise at 10:02 AM on July 5, 2014 [6 favorites]

So many great moments in this one, but I think my favorite is near the beginning when Josh is egging Toby on and C.J. kicks him.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:31 AM on July 6, 2014

I'm continually amazed at what dates this show. Someone in a previous thread mentioned the suits, which don't make a difference to me, but hoo boy that shout out to Hard Copy sent me straight back to 1999.
posted by troika at 4:50 PM on July 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Bless you for including the "paranoidberekeleyshiksafeminista" tag. C.J. in that scene (and that episode, and that entire series) is the best.
posted by Stacey at 5:07 AM on July 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

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