The West Wing: Mandatory Minimums   Rewatch 
September 5, 2014 11:18 PM - Season 1, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Bartlet makes two nominations; Josh clashes with a senator; Joey Lucas arrives to work on a special project.

A newly energized President Bartlet bucks tradition and throws down the gauntlet when he names two campaign finance reformers to the Federal Election Commission despite threats from his political opponents to introduce embarrassing legislation that would dare him not to sign. But the President wants to go further and floats a controversial new drug enforcement policy. In the meantime, the early reactions to his first announcement are not encouraging, especially from top-notch pollster Al Kiefer who is hired to take the public's "temperature". Kiefer's arrival means his attractive cohort, Joey Lucas, accompanies him, and she again draws a smitten Josh's attention. Toby agrees to seek out his ex-wife, a breezy congresswoman, to gauge her response to any future narcotics legislation that would emphasize prevention over enforcement. Leo -- uncomfortably aware of his own brush with drugs -- agrees to be the Chief Executive's front man for positioning the high-voltage issue of revising the drug laws.

Airdate: May 3, 2000
Director: Robert Berlinger
Writer: Sorkin
Yeah Count: 51
Number of meetings Mandy gets thrown out of: 1
Special Guest Star: Josh's Joey Lucas Suit
posted by ApathyGirl (2 comments total)
As I've been rewatching this I've been really enjoying the way this cast (most of them anyway) handles Sorkin's dialogue. I'm thinking especially of John Spencer, but also Allison Janney and Martin Sheen. Sorkin's dialogue can get a bit contrived and arch and strident. Nowhere is this more evident than whenever Mandy opens her fool mouth. But Spencer in particular always gives it a reality, a grounding, a rhythm that makes it work. The scene where they all meet at the restaurant terrace in this episode is a pretty good example.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:01 PM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

The actor [Richard Schiff] created his own back story for Toby. He even had the character wearing a wedding ring -- which Sorkin and fellow executive producer Thomas Schlamme failed to notice until about the eighth episode. "They came up to me and said, 'Are you [Toby] married?' And I said, 'No.' And they said, 'Well, why are you wearing the wedding ring?' I explained that it was a private thing. They said, 'Good, because we want to give him an ex-wife.'
"I said, 'I think Toby has more than one ex-wife.' The ring -- I had always imagined that his first wife had died, which accounts for his sadness, and why someone would devote himself to public service and be so singular about it." Schiff laughs. "But then, Aaron and Tommy threw that right out the window."

Last season, Toby's ex-wife, a congresswoman, turned up. Schiff doesn't know if she'll be back, but Sorkin would like to "bring a female into my life," he says. "...I love that his personal life is not open to the public. He seems to me such a private individual."

"'West Wing' player keeps a cool head"
by Virginia Rohan
October 4, 2000
Bergen Record

posted by ApathyGirl at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2014

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