West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Second Season Episodes * #222 (44) "Two Cathedrals"

President Bartlet
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet
- Warner Bros Photo - NBC
Written by: Aaron Sorkin, Directed by: Thomas Schlamme
Takes Place: Middle of May plus in 1960 in flashbacks at a New Hampshire prep school (license plate has a 1960 tag, pointed out to us by Al Pitoscia)
Broadcast: May 16 , 2001
Query: What did the President say to God in Latin?
Query: What was that guitar music near the end?
Query: Would one pass the National Cathedral on the way from the White House to the State Department?
Query: What was it Charlie read from at Mrs. Landingham's memorial service?
Query: Did Catholics finish the Lord's Prayer with "For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and ever" in 1960?

The President hardly seems to care about the important issues he is confronting through a day that consists of a funeral in the morning and telling the American public about his MS that evening. Even in the situation room when they discuss the surrounded embassy in Haiti, he focuses on the memories of when he first met Mrs. Landingham who worked for his father, the headmaster of the school he attended. After the service in the Cathedral, the President even has a conversation with God who, he imagines, must be punishing him. Much of the conversation is in Latin and he includes a quote from Graham Greene's Brighton Rock: "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God." The President tells God: "You get Hoynes," and later he has Leo tell the senior staff that he has decided not to run again.

Still distracted, the President has a present day conversation with his dead secretary.
Funeral Pictured: (front, l-r) Brad Whitford as Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman, Dule Hill as aide Charlie Young; (rear, center) Richard Schiff as Communications Director Toby Ziegler
Warner Bros. Photo
"I have MS and I didn't tell anybody."
"Yeah. So, you're having a little bit of a day."
"Are you going to make jokes?"
"God doesn't make cars crash and you know it. Stop using me as an excuse."
"The party's not going to want me to run."
"The party will come back. You'll get them back."
"I've got a secret for you Mrs. Landingham, I've never been the most popular guy in the Democratic Party."
"I've got a secret for you, Mr. President: Your father was a prick who couldn't get over the fact that he wasn't as smart as his brothers. Are you in a tough spot? Yes. Do I feel sorry for you? I do not. Why? Because there are people way worse off than you."
"Give me numbers."
"I don't know numbers, You give them to me."
"How about a child born this minute has a one in five chance of being born into poverty."
"How many Americans don't have health insurance?"
"Forty-four million."
"What's the number one cause of death for Black men under 35?"
President Bartlet
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet
- Warner Bros Photo - NBC

"How many Americans are behind bars?"
"Three million."
"How many Americans are drug addicts?"
"Five million."
"One in five kids in poverty?"
"That's thirteen million American children. Three and a half million kids go to schools that are literally falling apart. We need 127 billion in school construction and we need it today."
"To say nothing of 53 people trapped in an embassy. . . . You know if you don't want to run again, I respect that. But if you don't run cause you think it will be too hard or you think you're going to lose, well, God, Jed, I don't even want to know you."
Our view of his Press Conference ends before he answers the question about whether he is going to run again. But Mrs. Landingham would have been able to read his body language and so can we.

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

Background from Bravo: What you need to know from past episodes.

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
Previous SiteMap  Help Us  Home Next

Quotations & some other material copyrighted to John Wells Productions, et al.
Email westwing@bewarne.com to report mistakes, make comments, ask questions
(note: above email address doesn't reach anyone connected to the show itself).
An introduction to the BBC's "Blake's 7" (from Fantasy Empire), and
A guide to the 70's series "Kung Fu" are also available.