Commander in Chief/First Strike

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First Strike
Season 1, Episode 3
Airdate October 11, 2005
Production Number 103
Written by Dee Johnson,
Rod Lurie
Directed by Rod Lurie
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Commander in ChiefSeason One
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First Strike is the third episode of the first season of Commander in Chief, and the third episode overall.

Preparations for the upcoming vetting of Vice-Presidential nominee Keaton is put on the back burner as several DEA operatives are killed in South America. Rebecca and Horace settle into the spotlight of being children of the President.

Guest Stars: Julie Ann Emery (Agent Joan Greer), Kristen Shaw (Norah Woodruff), Natasha Henstridge (Jayne Murray), Anthony Azizi (Vince Taylor), Kunal Sharma (A.J.), Jenna Gavigan (Jenny), Kim Robillard (Principal Stokes), Michael O'Neill (Congressman Wilcox), Wade Aaron (reporter #3), Linda Shing (reporter #2), Steven Meek (reporter #1), Lisa Waltz (Alison Remarque), Ted Porter (Agent Elderson), Brion Rose (Butler Sam), Danny Mora (Juan Duran), Hunter Allen (Tommy Bridges), Steve Tom (reporter three), Kate Jennings Grant (reporter Samantha), Ned Vaughn (reporter Charlie), Pamela Dunlap (Gilda Rockwell), J. Scott Shonka (Colonel Wesley), Al Brown (General Pollak), Hira Ambrosino (Laura), Jason Wiles (Alex Williams), Scott Williamson (Ralph Dolan), Leslie Hope (Melanie Blackston), Stan Kelly (Roman Wolfe), Mary Page Keller (Grace Bridges), Peter Coyote (Warren Keaton)


Plot Overview

In the South American country of San Pasquale, nine DEA agents are assassinated. Having suspicions that the murders were on the order of the dictator, General Sanchez, who ran out the democratically elected leader, President Juan Duran. Mackenzie looks for ways to have justice done but is informed by the Attorney General that few legal actions are available. Eventually a plan is arranged whereby the cocaine factories scattered throughout San Pasquale will be destroyed and 25% of the cocoa fields will be deforested. For every week that General Sanchez remains in power, an additional 25% of the fields will be destroyed. The people of San Pasquale have Sanchez removed and President Duran resumes control. Mackenzie calls of the attacks on the cocoa fields but has the cocaine labs destroyed.

Vice-Presidential nominee Keaton reluctantly begins the 4 week long preparation for vetting. Unfortunately both Mackenzie and Jim Gardner are pulled away due to an urgent issue. Rod steps in to coach him, which leads to shirking some of his First Gentlemen responsibilities which the former first lady picks up. He and Jim eventually come to terms with their respective roles as First Gentleman and Chief of Staff. Watching Mackenzie's handling of the San Pasquale issue encourages Keaton to the point that he's willing to undergo the coaching in order to be successfully confirmed.

Nathan Templeton reminisces an offer eight months prior where President Bridges suggested he'd offer VP Allen a seat on the Supreme Court and elevate Templeton to the Vice Presidency.

Rebecca and Horace both move to a new public school. Horace transitions well, but Rebecca misses several friends and dislikes the new spotlight being in the first family brings. Her personal Secret Service agent, Agent Greer, steps in to offer her advice.


  • Warren Keaton continues to drop Arabic phrases to Vince, who still can't understand him.
  • Mackenzie Allen apparently likes to row for exercise. She also speaks spanish.
  • Nathan Templeton has a three legged dog.

Arc Advancement


  • Templeton's motives for pushing Tucker Baynes is that he has information regarding an out of court settlement for sexual harrassment against him that he intends to leak and damage the credibility of the Allen Presidency. Further, this helps remove a challenge to his bid for Presidency after the Allen term is over.




The Show

  • The plan against San Pasquale calls for the use of F-15 strike aircraft, but the video montages show F-16s instead.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Mackenzie: Look, I get the appeal of covering the children of the President. It's fun, it's endearing, it's marketable. The one thing it's not is news.
    Charlie: Ma'am, don't you think the press should determine what is and isn't news?
    Mackenzie: Yes, I do. Still, some of you are parents and I assume you have the same rule #1 that I do. By the way, this isn't Mac the President talking. This is Mac the mother. Don't mess with my kids.
  • Warren: I saw something in that situation room. It's not often that I find somebody I'm willing to follow. Look, I know I blew it in the campaign. I didn't listen to people who knew what they were doing. I don't want to blow it again. This is a team I want to be a part of.


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