The West Wing: Season 2, Episode 2

In the Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part II (4 Oct. 2000)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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A suspect in the presidential shooting is caught; staffers anxious await news on Bartlet and Josh's injuries; flashbacks show how C.J. and Donna joined Bartlet's campaign.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Becker


A conspirator in the shooting of President Bartlett is caught and reveals unexpected information. The President appears to be recovering well, but Josh is serious wounded. As his friends and colleagues wait anxiously for news, flashbacks show more about the beginnings of the "Bartlett for America" campaign: C.J. is working in Hollywood for an entertainment industry public relations firm; Josh discovers a woman named Donna in his office who claims to be his new secretary. Written by Murray Chapman

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Release Date:

4 October 2000 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the wake of the shooting involving 'President Bartlet', 'Toby Ziegler' and 'Secret Service Agent Ron Butterfield' meet to talk about security and the use (or non-use) of covered exits. In the background can be seen the building logo 'Ronald Reagan Institute of Emergency Medicine'. This facility at George Washington University Hospital was established to recognize the Emergency Department's role in saving the life of President Reagan after the March 1981 attempt on his life. Elements in the story parallel the attempt on President Reagan, being initially unaware that he was shot, and leaving the scene of the shooting for the White House only to divert to the hospital. See more »


One of the crises in "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" is the question of who is in command while President Bartlet is under general anesthesia. Several characters say that, under the 25th Amendment, the only circumstances in which the Vice-President can take charge is if the President is dead or if he signs a letter declaring himself incapacitated. This is not true. Under the same Amendment, the Vice-President and a majority of the Cabinet can declare the President incapacitated, transferring power to the Vice-President. (That provision exists specifically for situations like this.) However, a deleted scene between Danny Concannon and Leo McGarry clears this up later. Danny and Leo agree that they "did not want to invoke the 25th", meaning that they preferred to not go through the necessary measures to remove the president from power for the three hours that he was under anesthesia. This deleted scene can be found amongst the extras included on the DVDs of the second season. See more »


[the President neglected a formality transferring executive power before going into surgery]
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...
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References The Maltese Falcon (1941) See more »


Don't Pull Your Love
Written by Brian Potter and Dennis Lambert
Performed by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
See more »

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User Reviews

Possibly the best 90 mins of TV I've ever seen
6 August 2011 | by See all my reviews

I just watched the two parts of this episode again for the latest of countless viewings. After the cliffhanger ending of season one, they return to the scene. The highlight of the opening sequence is the reaction of Toby to finding Josh, who has just been shot. The episode makes brilliant use of flashbacks to show how the team came together from its earliest beginnings. The speech that Bartlett gives explaining his decision to "hose" the dairy farmers is possibly my favourite scene of a show that is filled with brilliant scenes. There is not a word spoken of the bond between Donna and Josh, but it is explored brilliantly by the background scene, and is shown brilliantly just through Donna's expressions. Overall, these two episodes stand out as the crown jewel of what is, in my opinion, the best dramatic show I have ever watched.

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