The West Wing: Season 3, Episode 1

Isaac and Ishmael (3 Oct. 2001)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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The West Wing goes under lock down as a suspected terrorist is found to be working at the White House. Stuck with a group of high school students who were visiting the White House, the ... See full summary »


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Title: Isaac and Ishmael (03 Oct 2001)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rakim Ali
Agent Cleary
Agent Greg


The West Wing goes under lock down as a suspected terrorist is found to be working at the White House. Stuck with a group of high school students who were visiting the White House, the staffers, President Bartlet, and the First Lady all debate the issues regarding terrorism. Meanwhile, Leo sits in on the questioning of the terrorist suspect and learns a lesson about our perceptions of terrorists. Written by timdalton007

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Release Date:

3 October 2001 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


This episode was written and filmed in less than two weeks as the show's reaction to the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001. The episode was not written to be part of the show's continuity. See more »


The analogy that Josh uses ("Islamic extremism is to Islamic as KKK is to Christianity") is grammatically incorrect. The first half relates a noun to an adjective whereas the second half relates a noun to a noun. The correct analogy would be "Islamic extremism is to *Islam* as KKK is to Christianity." See more »


High-School Girl: What do you call a society that has to just live every day with the idea that the pizza place you're eating in can just blow up without any warning?
Sam Seaborn: Israel.
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Crazy Credits

The episode was preceded by an introduction by the main cast members explaining the rationale behind the episode and how it does not reflect the continuity of the series. See more »


For What it's Worth
Written by Stephen Stills
Performed by Buffalo Springfield
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User Reviews

Taliban = KKK
14 November 2012 | by (Jersey City) – See all my reviews

Airing three weeks after 9/11, and a specific response to that event. The regular story lines are dropped, as Josh and Donna (with drop-ins from the rest of the cast) try to explain Islamic terrorism to a group of high school contest winners, while they're all in White House lockdown because of a security alert. Leo interrogates a suspect (Ajay Naidu - OFFICE SPACE). His racist judgments, and Ajay's relative tolerance, are striking. Compelling narratives from Toby, Sam, Charlie, and Abbey, with humor provided by Jed. Josh almost "networks" one particularly bright student (Josh Zuckerman - SEX DRIVE), but instead tells him to just keep on doing what he's doing. It's just a dumb TV show...but it feels like much more. In this world, that may be as close to "truth" as anyone ever gets.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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