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




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 ... President Josiah 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 ... Secret Service 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 »

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 »


Josh is unloaded from the ambulance head first. Patients are always placed in an ambulance so that their head is closer to the front, and would therefore come out feet first. See more »


Josh Lyman: If I see the real thing in Nashua, should I tell you about it?
Sam Seaborn: You won't have to.
Josh Lyman: Why?
Sam Seaborn: You've got a pretty bad poker face.
See more »


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


West Wing Main Title
Written by W.G. Snuffy Walden
Performed by Pete Anthony
See more »

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

4 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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Release Date:

4 October 2000 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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