West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Fourth Season Episodes * #423 "Twenty Five" (fourth season finale)
Dulé Hill as Aide Charlie Young, Bradley Whitford as Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman, Taye Diggs as Secret Service Agent Wesley Davis
NBC: Eric Liebowitz

Writer: Aaron Sorkin, Director: Christopher Misiano
Takes Place: Just as the previous episode ended
Broadcast: May 14, 2003
Query: What exactly does the 25th Amendment say?
Query: How exactly does the line of succession go?
Query: Is there a Secretary of Health and Education in the cabinet?
Query: Is there really a Saw Mill River Nuclear Reactor?
Query: Which episode was it where Bartlet told Zoey about a kidnapping scenario that was just like what happens?

Leo tells the President that Zoey is missing and there is a dead Secret Service Agent at the scene. Wes, at the scene, tells Charlie the same thing. Bartlet and Leo rush to the Situation Room where Leo asks,
"Are we being attacked?"
"We don't know," says Fitz.
"Then tell me what you think."
"I think we're being attacked. But this is going to take some time.... In a typical kidnapping---"
"It's not a typical kidnapping," Nancy interrupts. "...Is there anyone here who thinks this sounds like a typical kidnapping so far? Could it have been any more low-tech?"
"Seventeen Qumari nationals leave the country," Fitz reminds them, referring to some of the news they have so far.

Charlie finally remembers that Zoey told him that her French boyfriend wanted her to take Ecstasy that night.
But the boyfriend seems really out of it. Wes determines that he is on something much stronger than X. "Listen to me." Wes tells him. "You are going to be fine. You are the key witness to the end of the world."

Toby had been at the hospital and finally reached the White House to coordinate the message going out. Then after he arranges everything he tells his co-workers,
"By the way.... Andy had the babies."
"...Do they have names?" Josh asks.
"The boy does. He's named after Andy's Grandfather."
"What's his name?"

Taye Diggs
Taye Diggs as Secret Service Agent Wesley Davis
NBC: Chris Haston

Then while reading through the pile of faxes, Donna makes out a "Polaroid of Zoey". The words on the fax need to be translated. Then there is a plane headed for a nuclear plant. And Fitz wants to send off planes to the area. The President takes a moment to talk to Leo.
"Sorry about the confusion in there. I know we practiced that."
"We're doing fine."
"I don't think so. I need you to tell me now, do you think she's already dead?"
"I absolutely do not."
"If they show me a picture of her alive and tell me to aim cruise missiles at Tel Aviv, they're counting on the fact that a father---"
"But you wouldn't."
"I might."
"There are people around you who won't let you.... Me and Nancy and Fitz are standing right next to you when you get information. You don't need to remember it. And we're standing right next to you when you give orders. You're not going to hurt anybody...."
"Leo, the people you just named don't have the legal authority to stop me from doing certain things and some of them would go to jail if they didn't follow my orders. Very quietly, I want you to assemble the cabinet. I want you to call the Speaker of the House."

Leo sets in motion the steps that will allow Bartlet to get himself out of this quandary. Later he tells the senior staff what Bartlet is going to do.
"He's invoking the 25th Amendment..."
Will, when asked what he thinks, says, "Of the President temporarily handing over power to his political enemy? I think it's a fairly stunning act of patriotism. And a fairly ordinary act of fatherhood."
"Yeah, I do, too," Leo says.
Toby who's been at the hospital finally joins them with some insight into what Bartlet must be going through. "...if somebody was hurting [my twins] I'd drop napalm on Yellowstone to get them to stop. Letting some prisoners out of jail wouldn't be nothing and I've only known my kids for about 45 minutes."
"He's invoking the 25th."
Later Josh says to Leo, "It's just that we're elevating the most powerful Republican in the country."
"That's just a political reality."

Meanwhile Bartlet is telling his cabinet.
"The article doesn't require the unanimous consent of the cabinet, but I want it. I want it as clear as can be that this Administration stand squarely behind and shoulder to shoulder with the acting President...."
"Mr. President, my concern is this," says Secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribby. "If you and the acting President were to give contradictory orders, Leo McGarry would be put into an impossible situation which could lead to extraordinary chaos."
"I won't be giving any orders."
"But if you did," another cabinet secretary asks.
"...Leo would know what to do."

Josh asks the same question and gets the same answer,
"What if he changes his mind and starts giving orders?"
"Leo will know what to do," Toby says.

Bartlet signs the letter temporarily resigning the Presidency and a new President is sworn in.

For additional conversations from this episode see:

For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode (as well as more information),
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.

If you would like to read opinions on this episode, please see the poll at West Wing Fan Survey Page.

28 Amendment
Don't miss Neal Rechtman's election thriller The 28th Amendment in which an actor
who portrays a fictional US President on television gets drawn into real-world politics
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