The West Wing/Pilot

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Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate September 22, 1999
Production Number 475151
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Thomas Schlamme

1x02 →
Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
The West WingSeason One
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Pilot is the first episode of the first season of The West Wing.

Starring: Rob Lowe (Sam Seaborn), Moira Kelly (Mandy Hampton), Allison Janney (C.J. Cregg), Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler), John Spencer (Leo McGarry), Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman)

and Martin Sheen (President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet)

Guest Starring: Annie Corley (Mary Marsh), Lisa Edelstein (Brittany "Laurie" Rollins), Suzy Nakamura (Kathy), Allison Smith (Mallory O'Brien), Marc Grapey (Billy), Janel Moloney (Donna Moss), F. William Parker (Reverend Al Caldwell)

Co-Starring: Kathryn Joosten (Mrs. Landingham), NiCole Robinson (Margaret), Devika Parikh (Bonnie), David Sage (John Van Dyke), Jana Lee Hamblin (Reporter #1), Mindy Seeger (Reporter #3), Ossi Taylor (College Student #1), Tressa di Figlia (College Student #2), Wendell Wright (Economist #1), Hamilton Mitchell (Economist #2), Molly Schaffer (Senior Staffer), Melissa Fitzgerald (White House Staffer), Wendy Blair (Flight Attendant #2 & Voice Over), Elizabeth Greer (Flight Attendant #3), Peter James Smith (Congressional Liason #1), Bill Duffy (Congressional Liason #2), Marlene Warfield (Maid), Dean Biasucci (Man), Diane Michelle (Woman's Voice Over), Marcus Boddie (D.C. Cop), Dafidd McCracken (USS Officer Mike)


Plot Overview


Arc Advancement





The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Leo McGarry: How many Cubans, exactly, have crammed themselves into these fishing boats?
Josh Lyman: It’s important to understand, Leo, that by and large, these aren’t fishing boats. You hear fishing boats, you conjure an image of -- well, of a boat, first of all. What the Cubans are on would charitably be described as rafts. Okay? They’re making the hop from Havana to Miami in fruit baskets, basically. Let’s just be clear on that.
  • Toby Ziegler: You think the United States is under attack from 12,000 Cubans in rowboats.
Sam Seaborn: I'm not saying I don't like our chances.
Toby Ziegler: Mind-boggling to me that we ever won an election.
  • Mary Marsh: I can you tell that you don't believe in any God that I pray to, Mr. Lyman. Not any God I pray to.
Josh Lyman: Lady, the God you pray to is too busy being indicted for tax fraud.
  • Josh Lyman: Thanks for the coffee.
Donna Moss: You're welcome.
Toby Ziegler: Donna brought you coffee?
Donna Moss: Shut up.
  • Toby Ziegler: I'm in charge of the message around here! It's my job to tell the President that the best thing he can do from a PR standpoint is to show you the door.
  • Sam Seaborn: That the same suit you wore yesterday?
Josh Lyman: Yeah. You?
Sam Seaborn: Yeah.
[Both walk away]
  • John Van Dyke: Show the average American teenage male a condom, and his mind will turn to thoughts of lust.
Toby Ziegler: Show the average American teenage male a lug wrench, and his mind will turn to thoughts of lust.
  • Van Dyke: Then what’s the First Commandment?
President Jed Bartlet: "I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt worship no other God before me." Boy, those were the days, huh?