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Recap / The West Wing S 01 E 11 Lord John Marbury

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Directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Written by Aaron Sorkin, Patrick Caddell, & Lawrence O'Donnell

When India sends troops to the Pakistan border, President Bartlet and Leo meet with ambassadors from both countries (as well as China, who assures the U.S. they will intercede on Pakistan's behalf) to try and bring an end to the crisis. Eventually, over Leo's objections, President Bartlet brings in Lord John Marbury (Roger Rees), who has experience dealing with India, and he's eventually able to negotiate a temporary ceasefire. C.J., meanwhile, is kept out of the loop on the story at first, because Toby's worried she's too close to Danny and would leak the story. Naturally, C.J. is pissed, and Toby eventually apologizes in his way.


Leo's troubles continue; Claypool, who's working with Congressman Lillienfield, subpoenas Josh for records of his investigation. Josh tries to point out he didn't keep any records of the investigation, such as it was, but Claypool is undeterred, and it's revealed he has Leo's records of his stay in rehab. Sam, who comes along for the second deposition Josh gives, stops the proceedings, but Josh tells Leo the story will break and he needs to get ready. He also tells C.J. and Toby what's going on, and they all agree to be there for Leo for whatever he needs.

Elsewhere, to President Bartlet's consternation and Leo's amusement, Zoey asks Charlie out on a date. Eventually, however, President Bartlet tells Charlie it's okay to go out with Zoey, though he warns him about the hate mail he'll receive. Also, Mandy tries to float the idea of taking on a moderate Republican as a client, but Josh, Toby and eventually Sam tell her it's not a good idea.


This episode contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Lord Marbury.
    Leo: You’re really gonna let him loose in the White House, where there’s liquor and women?
    Bartlet: We can hide the women. But the man deserves a drink.
  • Amoral Attorney: Claypool's a shining example.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Near the end of the episode, President Bartlet is trying to recall a quote from Revelations ("And I looked, and I beheld a pale horse, and the name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him"); Lord Marbury is the one who remembers it.
  • Berserk Button: Do not, under any circumstances, disrespect Leo in front of Josh, or Sam for that matter.
  • Big "NO!": Leo's reaction when President Bartlet says he wants to bring in Lord Marbury as an adviser.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lord Marbury.
  • Continuity Nod: Mandy brings up Sam's stance on the land-use rider on the banking bill as an example of his pragmatism.
  • Foreshadowing: After his joking Papa Wolf warning about Charlie going out with Zoey, Jed becomes more serious and warns him about a possible public backlash at the sight of a black man dating the white First Daughter. This issue will play a key role in the second half of the season.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: C.J., and she is not happy about this.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Leo's reaction when President Bartlet tells the staff he's bringing in Lord John Marbury.
    President Bartlet: There’s an India expert I want to bring in.
    Leo: Who? (Bartlet looks at him pointedly) No.
    Bartlet: You guys are gonna love him.
    Leo: He's a lunatic!
    Bartlet: He's colorful.
    Leo: He's certifiable!
    Sam: Who?
    Bartlet: Lord John Marbury, former ambassador to New Delhi from the Court of Saint James.
    Sam: Where do we find him?
    Leo: A psychiatric institution.
    Bartlet: He's colorful, Leo.
    Leo: You’re really gonna let him loose in the White House, where there’s liquor and women?
    Bartlet: We can hide the women. But the man deserves a drink.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Lord John Marbury may give impression that he's a drunken fop who can barely stand upright most times, but he proves to be very in tune with the India/Pakistan situation, and is even friends with the Prime Minister of India.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Josh attempting to assault Lillienfield can be seen as a natural extension of his usual personality. Sam, on the other hand, quietly threatening the same man gives you an indication just how bad an idea it is to go after Leo.
    • In a more comedic sense, the normally unflappable Leo is utterly exasperated at having to deal with Lord John Marbury
  • Papa Wolf: President Bartlet.
    Bartlet: (after finding out Zoey has asked Charlie out) I should have locked her in the dungeon.
    Charlie: I don't think you've got one, sir.
    Bartlet: I could have built one.
    • Not to mention: "Just remember these two things; she's 19 years old, and the 82nd Airborne works for me."
    • Leo pokes fun at Bartlet about this as well:
      Bartlet: Zoey just walked right up to him and asked him out.
      Leo: She's a very outgoing girl.
      Bartlet: See, but a dungeon would have put an end to that.
      Leo: We learn these lessons the hard way.
      Bartlet: I think you’re trying to cover up the fact that you’re enjoying this.
      Leo: I'm not trying to cover it up at all.
      Bartlet: I'm a father in pain.
      Leo: Well, really, you're just a pain.
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": After Charlie tells President Bartlet about Zoey asking Charlie out, and President Bartlet tells him now is not the time to talk about it, Charlie leaves, and Leo comes in for a meeting he and the president are about to have:
    President Bartlet: He wants to go out with Zoey. (Leo smiles) Shut up!
  • Shout-Out: Bartlet insists his problem with Zoey dating Charlie isn't racial, and says he's like Spencer Tracy at the end of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Also, C.J. describes Lord Marbury's background to someone over the phone, and when she finishes, adds, "If you think this is all starting to sound like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, I wouldn't blame you a bit."
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Sam finds out there's no U.S. ambassador to Pakistan:
    Sam: We have no one in Pakistan?
    Toby: That's right.
    Sam: Maybe that's why they got invaded.
    Toby: Yeah.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Or as Leo puts it, "Oh god help me..."
  • Those Two Guys: Ed and Larry are the ones giving C.J. her briefing (such that it is) on India and Pakistan.
  • True Companions: When Josh tells Leo that the Republicans are going to break the story on Leo's pill addiction, he tells Leo he and the rest of the staff will be there for Leo for whatever he needs, and C.J., Sam, and Toby all nod in assent when Leo looks at them.
  • You Got Spunk!: Sam tells Mandy he admires her pluck. She's more amused than the last time someone said something similar about her.