West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Third Season Episodes * #320 "The Black Vera Wang"
Writer: Aaron Sorkin, Director: Christopher Misiano
Takes Place: May
Broadcast: May 8, 2002
Query: What state is Fort Myer in?
Query: Is there a Barney's on Connecticut in Washington D.C.?
Query: What episode does the talk of Rosslyn refer to?

Just back from the Helsinki summit, Sam checks for mail and messages before going home to sleep. He finds an unsealed envelope with no return address. Inside is an unmarked video tape:
"Think it's porn?"
"I don't know," Ginger says.
"'Cause I'm pretty tired, but if it's porn --- I mean really good porn. By the way if my innocent joking's making you uncomfortable in any way ----"
"No, I'm hoping it's porn."

C.J. is also hoping to get home immediately, but she is now fully tired of being shadowed by her Secret Service protectors!
"I'm driving myself home," C.J. loudly tells Special Agent Simon Donovan ('Sunshine'). "If you want to follow me in a chase car, that's fine. But you have been annoying me for six days. You annoyed me here for three days then you annoyed me in Finland. You're quiet, you're polite and you're --- you're There. You're there. You're always there. I can't shake you. You followed me to Scandinavia and back. . . . I'm getting in my baby blue '65 Mustang convertible and I'm going to feel the wind in my hair and any place else I want. You can look at my taillights. . . ." With that C.J. storms out. Agent Donovan doesn't follow her, just letting her blow off steam. He stands and waits and a few moments later, C.J. returns. "There's no way you're letting me walk out the door. . . ."
". . . I've got your spark plug. Is that what you meant?"

By the next morning (Monday), the tape is the subject of conversation among the senior staff, who have called in Bruno from the campaign. It turned out to be an opposition TV ad that is rather devastatingly critical of Bartlet and his hiding of his MS. As Bruno describes it:
"If I wanted to sink the Bartlet campaign, this is exactly the ad I'd run. . . . Honor, truth, morality. It's an ad about MS. . . . Just stick it in a drawer and forget it."
"No. . . . I sit down with Kevin Kahn," Sam suggests. This produces a chorus of 'No's from both Bruno and Sam's co-workers.
"He's a friend of mine," Sam argues.
"I don't care if he did your bris," Bruno says. "I don't trust Kevin Kahn and I don't know what this is yet."
". . . Where is the danger in my sitting down with Kevin and saying someone sent this to us? . . . In court, in public, in the voting booth?"
"There are only two things here," Bruno tells Sam, "Either somebody's trying to hurt us or somebody's trying to help us. Just so you know."

The President is looking forward to seeing all of Shakespeare's "Henrys" in a collection called "The War of the Roses", but for the time being he and Leo are being briefed by Fitzwallace on a credible terrorist threat against some domestic target. It is thought to be a military installation on the East Coast. Meanwhile, Toby is dealing with TV Network news directors who don't want to waste much time covering political conventions where there is no suspense since they know the tickets for both parties already (Rob Ritchie and Jeff Heston the Republican party's choice). The next day (Tuesday) C.J. informs Agent Donovan that she is taking her niece shopping for a prom dress at lunch.
"Well, this is our first time out. This is exciting. . . . there's a couple of things I want to tell you. In a populated place, a department store, I always walk ahead of you. I don't like more than five feet between us so if you ditch me because my back is to you, that would be too far. Also, it would give me no choice but to surround you with department store security before you made it to men's accessories. You're a very recognizable woman. If you are surrounded by security, frankly, people are going to point and stare. . . . At the risk of being un-gentlemanly, I can't carry bags, my hands always have to be free. . . . I'm optimistic. The stats on people being hurt while buying a prom dress are very encouraging."

Sam takes it upon himself to return the tape to the Ritchie campaign. This turns out to be a very bad mistake. Sam's friend leaks their conversation and the tape to the media. C.J. tells Bruno when the story breaks, and Bruno goes to Sam:
"This is three, four, I don't know, a dozen news cycles where we're playing politics and losing? . . ."
"I agree this is bad --- and I take full responsiblity."
"This isn't bad, Sam. Let me show you bad."
Bruno takes Sam out into the outer Communications office where four TVs are playing different channels. No matter which way Sam turns, they are showing the tape. He is surrounded. It is surreal.
"Oh, God," Sam says, devastated.
"It's on free media," Bruno says. "everywhere. All day, all night, for free. You got played, Sam. And you forgot that all warfare is based on deception."

See the results of the poll on this episode at West Wing Fan Survey Page.

For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode, let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.
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