A renowned North Korean pianist is greeted at the White House for a solo performance, but the formalities change when the musician slips a message to the President stating that he wants to defect. Despite C.J.’s passionate argument, others counsel Bartlet that granting the defection would endanger crucial ongoing negotiations with the nation. Also, members of the staff work hard to get the President’s new choice for Vice President, Colorado Congressman Robert Russell (Gary Cole), unanimously approved by both houses of Congress–but there’s one holdout whose “nay” vote could embarrass everyone.
THE WEST WING EPISODE 5x04 - "HAN" TELEPLAY BY: PETER NOAH STORY BY: PETER NOAH, MARK GOFFMAN & PAULA YOO TEASER FADE IN: INT. - A WEST WING HALLWAY - DAY C.J and Leo are walking down a hallway to the lobby of the West Wing. LEO Remarkable. C.J. He's playing? LEO I don't know; it's classical piano; who can tell one from the other? C.J. The President. LEO So he claims. C.J. So what's...? LEO He's North Korean, God knows how he managed to even learn. Their music's all hymns to the barley harvest, not that they ever have one. C.J. To busy reprocessing plutonium to feed anybody. LEO Why they're a rogue state. C.J. Rogue state... makes them sound bravishly charming... should be thug state; psycho state. LEO We'll ask the UN to re-designate. C.J. Punk state, that's what they are, a bunch of punks. LEO Bunch of punks, with what could be six nuclear warheads. C.J. [to waiting gaggle of press and photographers] In a minute, everyone. PRESS [mumbled] Thanks C.J. C.J. [to Leo] Okay, you could obliterate Australia, but you know what you're still just a punk. LEO Good opener. Use that. Leo opens the door to the Oval Office and both he and C.J. enter. President Bartlet is inside with pianist Jai Yung Ahn and two North Korean officials. BARTLET [his words being simultaneously translated into Korean] Yeah, I took lessons for six years - hopeless. No sense of time - I could read okay and get the fingering down, but I should have been sent to rhythm prison. What I did to the 'Appassionata'; war criminals can't get near The Hague, I have to stay out of Vienna. [pause for translation] More amusing in English. LEO Marginally. BARTLET My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry; C.J. Cregg, Press Secretary. LEO Welcome. C.J. An honour. JAI [speaks in Korean] KOREAN TRANSLATOR He asks if you both play as well. LEO Oh, no no. C.J. Chopsticks... a beginners piece... with an incredibly insensitive name, I'm sorry. Are we ready? C.J. opens the door to let the waiting press in. C.J. [to press] Okay everyone, remember pics only, no questions. Come on in. The press enter the Oval Office and take photographs. BARTLET [to Jai, his words being translated again] Welcome to the White House. I want to say how honoured we are to be hosting your first concert appearance here in the West. We thank the North Korean government for so generously sharing one of their national treasures, and we hope this marks just the first of many such cultural exchanges leading to improved relations between our two countries. JAI [speaks in Korean, first calmly, then militantly] KOREAN TRANSLATOR He thanks the President for his words, and says all glory flow to our dear leader for whom he wishes long life and good health. BARTLET Really. Next time he's overseas it would be nice if Yo-Yo Ma said that. [everyone laughs, Bartlet turns to Jai] I want to thank you for the visit, we greatly look forward to tonight's concert. C.J. Okay everyone, thank you very much. C.J. shows the press out and talks to them faintly in the background. LEO Will you be seeing any sights during your day here in Washington? KOREAN TRANSLATOR We will visit Lincoln's Memorial, commemorating the shameful practice of slavery. The Vietnam Wall of Death. LEO Uh-huh. JAI CD - I will sign? BARTLET Great. [Jai signs a CD and hands it over to Bartlet] I'll treasure this - thank you. JAI Pleasure all mine. Jai leaves the Oval Office with the other two North Koreans. LEO [to Bartlet] Sweet kid. [Bartlet smiles and nods] C.J. The handlers are lot of laughs. Bet they can pretty much transform anyplace into their own little wall of death. Bartlet has opened the CD case and is now looking at Leo. LEO What? BARTLET This isn't an autograph... [shot of CD sleeve with the words 'I wish to defect' written on it] it's a message. SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES END TEASER ACT ONE FADE IN: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY LEO This is complicated. BARTLET Get the Counsel's Office, Justice, NSC, State, Immigration in right away. Let's find out what we're talking about here. LEO Yes sir, but it's... BARTLET Complicated, I know. C.J. Sir, is there anything you... BARTLET When's he back in the building? C.J. Rehearsal and sound check at two thirty. BARTLET We behave normally, like this isn't happening. LEO It may not be happening. C.J. I don't understand... BARTLET We've been in secret negotiations with North Korea in Geneva the last three weeks, about their nuclear programme. LEO This guy defects, everybody goes home. BARTLET We don't know that. Get people in, let's find out. C.J. But we're not turning him away? BARTLET Of course not. LEO It's complicated. Thank you, Mr. President. C.J. Thank you, sir. CUT TO: INT. - WEST WING - HALLLWAY LEADING TO ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY Josh and Donna are walking down a hallway and travel through the Roosevelt Room. Donna is taking notes on a pad. JOSH Congressman Theo needs to come over before the VP confirmation vote. DONNA Which is noon? JOSH Senate's noon; the House votes at four. Get him in after the Punch and Judy show. DONNA The citizenry would be comforted knowing that's how you refer to the President's economic advisors. JOSH The citizenry doesn't have to sit in a room with them. DONNA Why do you want Theo? JOSH He's voting against. The confirmation is going to be 534 to 1. DONNA Squeaker like this, I can see why you want to squeeze him. JOSH Well Theo's the only no vote, he's catch of the day for a week; gets on every talk show explaining why Russell's a lousy choice for VP. DONNA Which you agree with. JOSH I don't want anybody saying out loud. DONNA Sorry. JOSH I either have to turn him or get ten other guys to vote no. DONNA So if I tell you something could you try not to be so you about it? JOSH Yeah, what's going on? DONNA I'm taking my Aunt and Uncle from Wisconsin, who are perfectly nice people, on a tour of the White House later today, and I'd rather not go through an entire morning of 'cheese head' jokes, which are beneath you anyway... JOSH You know what's the state bird of Wisconsin? The Munster. The state motto? Live Brie or die. It narrowly beat out you can have my wheel of Cheddar when you pry it out of my cold, dead, stinky fingers. Josh enters his office - his intern Ryan Pierce is sitting at his desk, reading. RYAN Drag about the unemployment numbers, huh? JOSH You're going to be added to them if you don't get out from behind my desk. Ryan gets out of Josh's chair. JOSH You have an office. Don't read my memo. [Josh takes memo out of Ryan's hand] RYAN I can't learn anything from you if I'm sitting across the street all day. JOSH Here's a lesson - ask permission before you do stuff. RYAN Where you going? JOSH Meeting with the economic advisors. RYAN Can I go with you? JOSH No. That was good. CUT TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY President Bartlet is sitting at his desk and is one the phone. There is a knock on the door and Will enters. BARTLET [to phone] Oh, I couldn't agree more. Yes, the moment calls for bipartisanship. I'll see you in the Rose Garden for the announcement this afternoon. Bartlet hangs up the phone. BARTLET [to Will] Parlance. It's like I was talking to John C. Calhoun. This draft of the Rose Garden thing; it needs more altitude. WILL Altitude? BARTLET Loftier. If I don't sound enthused, how do we expect the country to get excited about this guy? WILL Yes, sir. BARTLET You're not very excited about him? WILL Oh, no, I mean sure... I mean I'm not, not excited about him. BARTLET What you sounded like just then, is how this reads. Let's take the equivocation out of it. WILL Yes, sir. BARTLET Okay. WILL Thank you, Mr. President. Bartlet picks up the phone on his desk. BARTLET Yeah? CUT TO: INT. - WEST WING - HALLLWAY - DAY Toby and Leo are walking and talking. TOBY So, Will's working out? LEO Seems to be. TOBY The President loved his Zoey speech. LEO We all did. TOBY So, I'm gonna start doing other things. LEO What other things? TOBY [coughs] We're drifting. LEO We've had to deal with some stuff. TOBY Which has left us kinda drifting. LEO Okay. TOBY We need to refocus - get back on message. LEO Okay. TOBY So I'll start with that. LEO Good. TOBY Since Will's working out. LEO Actually, the President's not crazy about his Rose Garden draft. CUT TO: INT. - ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY President Bartlet, Leo, and various advisors are assembling. LEO Gentlemen. BARTLET Morning everyone. The other people in the room give assorted welcomes. BARTLET What's the bad news? LARRY Well sir, there are some troubling indicators. ISM's still below 50, consumer confidence remains low. JOSH That's just hangover from the kidnapping. TOBY The kidnapping, the bombings... ADVISOR 1 Regardless, it's down, and now with these new unemployment numbers... BARTLET So where are we headed? LARRY Signs indicate we could be sliding toward... bagel. JOSH Sir, Larry doesn't need a vacation, that's the word we've agreed to use in-house to avoid using the 'r' word. ADVISOR 1 Recession. BARTLET What I need is your recommendation for keeping us out... I really don't have to call it that do I? LEO Of course not. BARTLET For keeping us out of er... thing. ADVISOR 2 We do nothing. The tech bubble lead to overinvestment, this is a normal correction. ADVISOR 1 We don't know that. ADVISOR 2 Bubbles burst, that's why they're called bubbles. TOBY Explain that to the 1.2 million people who've just lost their jobs. JOSH Phone 'em, they're home. ADVISOR 2 The Fed does its thing; a reduction of 25 basis points stops the bleeding. ADVISOR 1 We can't leave this to the Fed; it'll look like we're asleep at the switch. LARRY A stimulus package? ADVISOR 2 Yeah, let's increase the deficit; that's responsible. ADVISOR 1 Something temporary; a one year increase in the standard deduction. BARTLET Which helps not at all the bottom 40% of wage earners who don't pay income tax. We have to stop or I'm gonna start shooting people, starting with myself. I asked for a recommendation, not a debate. Wake me when there's a consensus. TOBY Thank you, Mr. President. JOSH Thank you, sir. LEO What's the matter with you guys? The man's got a Nobel in this. My other meeting's here. CUT TO: INT. - MURAL ROOM - DAY Leo enters the room and closes the door behind him. LEO Good morning. ASSORTED OTHERS Good morning. LEO Please. Thanks for coming. What do we think? BARROW You don't blow a negotiation of this magnitude over some kid. I don't care if he plays Schubert with his feet. MIKE It violates international law. ADVISOR US law. LEO One thing at a time. The negotiations - they for real? BARROW [nods] And we're not just talking about another freeze. Hundreds more sensors installed, inspectors on the ground in (place in North Korea not identifiable). LEO They've broken agreements before, what's different now? BARROW The Chinese. They're worried that the North's nuclear programme will push Japan into finally developing the bomb. The Koreans screw around this time, they piss off the only ally they have left. LEO This is that serious they're gonna blow it over some piano player? BARROW It's the most unpredictable regime in the world. Walking out on the negotiations could be the least thing they do. LEO They'd shell Seoul over this? BARROW You wanna find out? A knock on the door, C.J. enters. MIKE Swell and lovely, but we can't send him back. Listen very carefully - it's against the law. ADVISOR Title 8 of the Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits sending an alien back to his homeland if he has well-founded fear of being persecuted there. BARROW Persecuted? He's the most privileged guy in the entire country. ADVISOR And since the penalty for attempted defection is death, that may just change. BARROW He's only in jeopardy if the Koreans find out. Are you gonna tell them? LEO? Any straws in the wind? C.J. All quiet. This appears locked down for now; my office is monitoring it. ADVISOR This gets out, it's game over. MIKE This conversation gets out... C.J. And we're comfortable with that? BARROW What's your point? ADVISOR Understand, he doesn't wanna go; he has a legal right to apply for asylum. BARROW Can we get back to the real world? The North Koreans are peddling their missile technology all over the Middle East, and sensors on the boarder have picked up elevated levels of Krypton 85. They are making plutonium, they can get it onto warheads, and their best customers are the people who hate us. Why are we still talking about this? MIKE I don't see how we can get past the legal issues. C.J. I don't see how you can send someone back to the bleakest place left on the planet after he tells you he doesn't wanna go. LEO C.J.... BARROW It's not that bleak; the DMZ is beautiful; it's like a nature preserve. Endangered Black-faced Spoonbills, Amur leopards... C.J. What's your point? BARROW That I know more about this than you do. LEO The legal issues? BARROW The guy doesn't know his rights - it's a non-problem. What's a big problem is if he tells anyone else. Where is he now? C.J. Sightseeing, he'll be back for rehearsal at 2.30. BARROW Don't let him back in the building. Well, the good news is his handlers don't let him out of their sight. Today it's like they're working for us. C.J. Our very own totalitarian helpmates. LEO Excuse me a minute. C.J.... Leo leaves the room and takes C.J. with him. LEO What are you doing? C.J. Don't let him back in the building? LEO We look at this from every angle. C.J. The President said he's not sending him back. LEO My job is to present him with options; your job at the moment is to butt out. C.J. We've certainly come a long way from give me your tired, your poor. If we don't allow this defection, if we blithely exploit this young man's ignorance then I don't know who we are anymore. Leo and C.J. walk away in different directions. FADE OUT END ACT ONE ACT TWO FADE IN: INT. - WILL'S OFFICE - DAY Will is walking around while reading something. Toby enters the room. TOBY VP intro needs to go on a prompter by 2, how you doing? WILL I have altitude sickness. TOBY I'm sorry? WILL The President wants more altitude; I'm having conscience issues. TOBY Well I'm sure you'd have to say things you haven't meant before. You've read friends' poetry, had girlfriends. WILL I could use help. TOBY Just hold your nose and hype him. WILL The President hated this. My self-confidence is down around my ankles. TOBY Well hitch it up, and start typing. Come on. Clackety clack. WILL You're really not going to help me? TOBY I have things to do. CUT TO: INT. - PRESS BRIEFING ROOM - DAY C.J. Lyle. LYLE This being his first visit, can you share Jai Yung Ahn's impressions of America? C.J. You'd need to ask him, but I can tell you his impression of our buffet table seemed favourable. KATIE C.J. C.J. Katie. KATIE Is there a concern this sort of cultural exchange confers legitimacy on the repressive North Korean regime? C.J. It's hoped exchanges like this help bring light to such places, nudging them towards more open policies in the future. KATIE And while he's here is he free to go where he pleases? C.J. Well his mother didn't want him hitting any strip clubs, but, um, as far as I know he's seeing the sights even as we speak. Yes. REPORTER Moving to the economy, did today's unemployment figures indicate we're moving into recession? C.J. Recession has a specific meaning; two consecutive quarters of negative growth. That's not the current situation. REPORTER How would you characterise the state of the economy then? C.J. I wouldn't. REPORTER If not recession, what word would the administration use? Slowdown, downturn, torpor? C.J. Torpor? REPORTER It means... C.J. I know what it means, I'm feeling a little coming on now as a fatter of fact. CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S OFFICE - DAY Leo is at his desk watching C.J. on the TV. Josh knocks and then enters the room. JOSH Yeah? LEO Can't ditch the kid. JOSH Leo... LEO Can't do it Josh, I don't need his old man on my call sheet. JOSH [sighs] Okay. LEO [sighs] Poll numbers are down. JOSH What poll? LEO An internal - his approval rating down eleven points. JOSH It was artificially high from the kidnapping. LEO Yeah. JOSH We knew it wasn't gonna stay up there. LEO Yeah. Where are we on Theo? JOSH He's coming over. LEO He votes against us it'll be all Theo all the time. JOSH Something going on? LEO Get us Theo. CUT TO: INT. - WEST WING LOBBY - DAY Donna is in the Lobby with her Aunt and Uncle. Josh enters. DONNA Josh. My Aunt Barbara and Uncle Ted. JOSH Hi, good to meet you both. Welcome. DONNA Any chance of getting them into the concert tonight? JOSH [sighs] Sorry, there are Senators on the waiting list. Mostly Republicans. [Josh lets out a slight laugh and exchanges glances] You're Republicans... there's a rehearsal or something I can get you into this afternoon. BARBARA Wonderful. TED Donna tells us you're meeting with the economic advisors? JOSH Not so much meeting as fighting off slipping into a coma. TED [laughs] Pretty dense, huh? JOSH Plus they never agree, yet no one is remotely afflicted by doubt. DONNA It's like with diets. How there's all these different diet theories all completely contradictory, when most doctors agree that the healthiest advice is just to eat a variety of food in moderate amounts. JOSH Uh-huh. DONNA Maybe that's the approach to take with the economists. Take from every theory in moderation. JOSH Yeah. Interesting. So Ted, what is it that you do? TED I'm a sales rep for a dairy consortium. JOSH You mean... cheese? TED Absolutely. JOSH [smirking] Well enjoy your tour. Have fun. Josh leaves the Lobby. CUT TO: INT. - OUTER OVAL OFFICE - DAY Charlie is working. C.J. is waiting to go into the Oval Office. C.J. Did you know North Korea's the only country left in the world where it's impossible to access the internet? That all TVs and radios are preset before they're sold so they receive only state-controlled stations? CHARLIE It's a bad place. C.J. Imagine what it must be like for a musician to live in a society so completely regimented, where the only music allowed is what glorifies the state. CHARLIE It's amazing he'd wanna go back. BARROW exits the Oval Office with a number of advisors. Leo comes to the open door. LEO C.J. C.J. enters the Oval Office. BARTLET We're controlling media access to Jai Yung Ahn? C.J. Pool spray at the sound check, if he's still doing one. LEO No questions. C.J. The press understands the Koreans won't allow it... so, he's being allowed back in the building? BARTLET Leo tells me you have a strong view on this? C.J. Yes sir, for one thing sending him back would seem to be illegal. LEO Our hand's not legally forced unless he tells anyone. C.J. He's told us. He's asked the President of the United States for asylum. Are we saying he'd have been better off asking some cab driver? BARTLET You know the rationale for sending him back. LEO So the Iranians don't wake up one morning and decide, hey, it's a good day to nuke Israel. C.J. Sir, seven North Korean nuclear scientists defected through China last year, we helped pay for it. Are we saying, if this kid were more valuable to us we'd accept him? BARTLET Is that such an unreasonable distinction? But this isn't your real argument. C.J. Sending him back will play as a disaster in the press if it ever gets out. BARTLET [shakes head] That's not your real argument either. C.J. No sir, it's not. This young man's asking for freedom. It's what this country was built on; everyone's from somewhere else, some place less free. That's my argument. BARTLET Thank you. LEO Thank you, Mr. President. C.J. Thank you, sir. Leo and C.J. leave the Oval Office. FADE OUT END ACT TWO ACT THREE FADE IN: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY Josh is walking through the Bullpen to his office. Ryan is there waiting for him. JOSH We have a meeting. RYAN Outstanding. JOSH Okay... you can't say things like 'outstanding' during it. Josh and Ryan leave Josh's office and start walking. RYAN I was pretty sure you didn't want me saying anything at all. JOSH Yeah. RYAN We're meeting with? JOSH Congressman Theo, Democrat from Rhode Island... RYAN [at the same time as Josh] Rhode Island... he interned for my Uncle. JOSH Course he did. He's voting against Russell; I have to whip him into shape. Watch and learn. CUT TO: INT. - LEO'S OFFICE - DAY Leo is sitting down and eating lunch. There is a knock on the door. LEO Yeah? Toby enters the office. TOBY Will's fixing the VP intro. LEO Good, since that would be his job. TOBY I'm not sure I was clear before. LEO We need to get back on focus. Work up a message calendar like in the campaigns. TOBY Long-term. I'm talking about something else, not articulating the message; shaping it. LEO You do shape it. TOBY I mean full-time. LEO You have responsibilities. TOBY That I can turn over. LEO To Will. We should discuss it. [Toby stares at Leo] Not today. TOBY [sighs then smiles] Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. LEO Yeah. Toby looks awkwardly at Leo and then leaves the office. TOBY [while leaving] We are drifting. CUT TO: INT. - ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY Josh and Ryan are meeting with Congressman Theo. JOSH This doesn't make any sense. THEO I don't like the guy, I'm voting against him. What doesn't make sense? JOSH You're embarrassing the President. THEO [smiles and laughs] He's got a margin of 533 votes... must have a pretty low threshold of embarrassment. JOSH It's grandstanding, Congressman. It's a cheap and easy way to get your name in the paper, only it's... gonna make you look eccentric, like some kinda goofball crank. THEO I beg your pardon. JOSH You're not embarrassing the President, you're embarrassing yourself. THEO Look... JOSH Do you want the President's backing for anything you might actually want to accomplish this term? As opposed to pulling pointless little publicity stunts, you'll swallow hard whatever petty animus you bear toward the guy about to be the number two man in your party, and you will give your President what he wants. A unanimous confirmation. THEO My petty animus is that Russell's not good enough. Which is exactly what you've been saying to each other round here ever since his name was announced. [laughs] You think I don't know how you got rolled on Berryhill, or forced to settle for this party hack? You've put someone second-rate next in line to a President with a serious health problem. You wanna talk about embarrassment? Be embarrassed about that. Theo gets up and leaves. Josh exchanges glances with Ryan. CUT TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY President Bartlet and Leo are waiting in the Oval Office, while Toby and C.J. are just walking in. LEO The North Korean's have cancelled the pool spray at the sound check. C.J. Okay. BARTLET He doesn't like people around when he's rehearsing. Josh enters the room. JOSH Sorry. LEO Talk to Theo? JOSH Yeah, I'm gonna need a plan B. Everyone sits down. BARTLET The VP intro is finished? TOBY Will's doing last touches. BARTLET Help him out, will you? TOBY He's got it handled. BARTLET He was having some trouble; look it over, punch it up. TOBY Yes, sir. C.J. Sir, something happened today at the briefing. I got questions about the economy and I felt like I was tap dancing. LEO Saw it, I thought you were fine. JOSH Deft. Extremely deft. C.J. As much as I appreciate your attempt to complement me out of my point, I'm starting to feel a little self-conscious about our lack of vocabulary to describe the economy. BARTLET Didn't she get the bagel memo? JOSH You could argue the President's got a responsibility to do it. Setting a positive tone conceivably helps bring about positive results. C.J. It's not that I wanna don a shroud, I just think the Polly-Anna act's not wearing well. Sir, I'm worried that at some point avoidance starts to look like maybe we just haven't noticed. We run the risk of appearing out of touch, like one of those President's who doesn't know the price of milk. [Leo exchanges glances with Bartlet] Sir, do you know the price of milk? BARTLET Not precisely. C.J. Neither do I. Do any of us? BARTLET Okay, let's get on coming up with a language plan for talking more realistically about the economy. That session this morning with the advisors; everybody's got a magic lever they want you to push. I studied economics all my life but in this job only a fool is ever certain. You don't push any one lever; you wanna push a little on them all. JOSH From every theory in moderation... BARTLET Exactly. Thank you, everyone. Thanks are exchanged and everyone stands up. BARTLET C.J., these negotiations are the real thing. I can't allow this defection. I know you disagree, but that's my decision. C.J. Thank you, Mr. President. It's not that I disagree sir; I'm disappointed. C.J. leaves the room. LEO We'll get someone from State to tell the kid. BARTLET No, I'll do it. LEO Sir... BARTLET It's my call, I tell him. She okay? LEO I don't know. CUT TO: INT. - AMY'S OFFICE - DAY Josh has just walked into Amy Gardner's office. JOSH Hey. AMY Hello. JOSH Got my ass kicked a little bit ago by Theo. AMY The Russell vote? JOSH Yeah. It was in front of Richie Rich. AMY The Pierce kid? JOSH Theo's gonna be everywhere. AMY The Republic will stand. JOSH I'm gonna do damage control; I'm gonna leak it that Theo wanted it. AMY The Vice Presidency? JOSH Yeah, make it just look like pique. AMY Second-term Congressman from the smallest state expecting to be named VP? JOSH [laughing] He's really gonna seem like a crackpot. AMY God. Don't ever get mad at me. JOSH I've gotten mad at you. AMY Yeah, why it's better when we don't talk. Come by tonight, we can not talk some more. Josh and Amy smile at each other as Josh leaves. CUT TO: INT. - WILL'S OFFICE - DAY Will is typing, while Toby throws a ball against the wall. WILL It's with abundant pleasure and pride... TOBY Surpassing. More altitude. Will makes the change, while Ginger comes into the office. GINGER Still tweaking? The prompter guys needed the disc a half an hour ago. TOBY Go away. WILL It's with surpassing pleasure and pride blah blah blah, Robert Russell, blah blah, confirmed by overwhelming vote as befits this distinguished choice. TOBY Distinguished? WILL Wanna use surpassing again? TOBY Eminent, illustrious? Problem being he's none of those things. WILL This is my problem. TOBY Nor is he estimable, laudable or someone you'd walk across the room to shake hands with. WILL The President wants altitude. TOBY As befits this vertiginous choice? [Toby stands up] Distinguished is as high as we go; you have to be high to go loftier. Here's what it should be. [Will beings to type] In a triumph of the middling, a nod to mediocrity, and with gorge rising, it gives me great nausea to announce Robert Russell - Bingo Bob himself - as your new Vice President. WILL This lapdog of mining interests is as dull as he is unremarkable. TOBY As lacklustre as he is soporific... WILL Good. TOBY This reversion to the mean... WILL This rebuke to the exemplary... TOBY Gives hope to the millions unfavoured by the exceptional... WILL Yes. TOBY The Vice Presidency, being famously once described as not being worth a warm bucket of spit; let's now hock a big loogie for Bob Russell. Not the worst. Not the best. Just what we're stuck with. WILL Amen. TOBY [sighs] Where were we? WILL Let me get back to it. This distinguished choice... TOBY This redoubtable choice. It's perfect. Nobody knows what it means. CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN - DAY Ryan is loitering. He eventually goes over to a phone, picks it up, and dials a number. RYAN [to phone] Ryan Pierce... is Congressman Theo in please? CUT TO: INT. - EAST ROOM - DAY Jai is playing the piano. Bartlet and Leo enter the room and stand with his two handlers. BARTLET I love this Chopin. Fooled with it myself, but could never quite get the fingering down. LEO The White House photographers are going to get some shots of them. Bartlet walks over and stands close to Jai. PHOTOGRAPHER Excuse me, Leo. LEO Ooo, we in the way? Er, you mind a minute? Please. [Leo moves the Korean handlers further away from Jai] Right here. So, how's your day been? You get to see much... BARTLET [to Jai] I'm sorry to say I cannot let you defect. Do you understand me? [Jai's playing slows right down] You have to keep playing. [Bartlet now sits on the piano stool next to Jai] There's an important nuclear agreement being worked out. Do you understand my English? JAI I try to stay, you arrest me? BARTLET No. JAI You give me back to them. BARTLET [emphatically] No. Freedom means choice. You must decide which is the most responsible course. JAI You know Korean word 'Han'? BARTLET No. [the Korean handlers walk over the Jai and Bartlet] I could practise the fingering every day for the rest of my life, I'd never be able to play it like that. JAI It is... this. Jai begins playing softly and mournfully. FADE OUT END ACT THREE ACT FOUR FADE IN: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - DAY Bartlet, Leo and Barrow are having a meeting in the Oval Office. BARROW Mr. President, I think we have to cancel the concert. BARTLET No. LEO You don't even know if he understood you. BARTLET His English is better than he lets on. LEO You don't know if he understood your English, much less your meaning. You're a persuasive man Mr. President, but it helps if you're talking to someone who speaks the language. BARTLET We're not cancelling the concert. BARROW Sir, you're not positive if he got it or not? BARTLET No. LEO Then you need to come down with some flu. BARTLET Leo... LEO Otherwise, we're putting the fate of what is potentially the most significant international agreement of this Presidency in the hands of a 23-year-old who may have only understood every fifth word of what you were saying. BARTLET We cancel the concert it's a red flag. I told him freedom means choice; my choice is to trust in his decision. LEO [to Barrow] Get things ready in case it goes the other way. BARROW [nods] Thank you, Mr. President. Barrow leaves the Oval Office. LEO It's a crapshoot. BARTLET The negotiations are a crapshoot. [smiling] The whole damn job's a crapshoot. CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY Josh is watching the VP confirmation vote on the TV in his office. The Speaker is calling the surnames of Congressmen, and all are answering 'aye'. SPEAKER Theo. THEO Aye. The voting continues on the TV. Josh perks up and leaves the office. DONNA Josh, Victoria Maplin from the Post returning your call on three. JOSH Yeah, tell her never mind. CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY LEADING TO LEO'S OUTER OFFICE - DAY Josh and Leo come from two separate hallways and converge in Leo's outer office. Margaret is in there too. LEO Nice work on Theo. JOSH Yeah. LEO How'd you get him to turn? JOSH I don't know exactly. LEO Margaret, I'm going to need State again. [Leo and Josh walk into Leo's office] We have a Vice President. JOSH About time. LEO I might actually sleep tonight. JOSH Probably not. LEO Probably not. [smiles] See you in the Rose Garden. JOSH Okay. CUT TO: EXT. - ROSE GARDEN - DAY A crowd of spectators and journalists are in the Rose Garden watching President Bartlet deliver a speech from a podium. Bartlet is reading his speech off a teleprompter. BARTLET Good afternoon. I want to welcome you all. It's with surpassing pleasure and pride that I announce that Congress, just a short time ago, voted to confirm Robert Russell as the new Vice President of these United States; confirmed by unanimous vote, as befits this redoubtable choice. In a triumph of... [Bartlet stops reading as the teleprompter is displaying the 'mediocrity' speech Will and Toby were writing earlier'] In a triumph of the meritorious, Bob Russell is someone I have come to know, trust and immeasurably respect over the past five years of our working together, as have all of us here at the White House. [Russell has noticed what the teleprompter is displaying, while Toby and Will are seen grasping what has happened] His estimable legislative record is but one facet of his laudable public service to his country. Service that now ascends to an even loftier level as he assumes his new responsibilities as Vice President. Mr. Robert Russell. CUT TO: INT. - HALLWAY LEADING TO COMMUNICATIONS OFFICES - DAY WILL I'm gonna get fired. TOBY Nobody's getting fired. WILL I'm the new guy I'll be made an example; put my head on a pike on the South Lawn. TOBY You're working out, Leo agrees, you're not gonna get fired. Toby and Will enter Will's office. Russell follows them in. RUSSELL Gentlemen. TOBY [sighs] Mr. Vice President, please accept... RUSSELL I'd like a copy. TOBY There are no copies, we've shredded... WILL Wiped hard drives... we're considering putting out our own eyes. RUSSELL Find one; send it to my office. I thought it was hilarious. TOBY [smiling] Uh, hilarious, sir? RUSSELL I know my public profile, my political persona. I'm just glad to see there's such a keen awareness of the scale of the job you've all got ahead of you. I'm part of the team now, which makes all this pretty much your problem. Good luck with it. CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY Josh and Ryan are walking and talking in the Bullpen. They stop at the coffee machine. JOSH Sometimes happens that way - delayed reaction. Obviously, my little talk stayed with the good Congressman. RYAN Yeah. JOSH That's the reason you hammer hard; it's all they understand. RYAN It's not really my personality, I'm more of a get more bees with honey type. JOSH Ah, you'll learn. Amy Gardner walks past Josh and Ryan. AMY Hey. JOSH Hey. RYAN So what's the deal there; boyfriend girlfriend; friends with privileges? JOSH [not paying attention to Ryan] What? RYAN Something's going on. CUT TO: INT. - WHITE HOUSE RESIDENCE KITCHEN - NIGHT President Bartlet and Charlie are in the kitchen of the Residence. They are wearing tuxedos, and Bartlet gets some juice from the fridge. BARTLET You like Chopin, Charlie? CHARLIE If I say I've never heard any am I going to get the life history of the guy and a shopping list? BARTLET You'll thank me one day. CHARLIE I thank you now sir but could you hold off, I'm still working through the 14 discs of Bach you made me buy last year. BARTLET The Well-Tempered Clavier? CHARLIE Both books. BARTLET You know what that means? CHARLIE You already told me what tempered means. BARTLET Good, listen, I need you to research something for me. Could you find out the price of a gallon of milk? CHARLIE $2.69 cents. 2.89 in Georgetown and 2.54 with a coupon from the paper. BARTLET [nods] Will you make sure everybody knows that tomorrow? CUT TO: INT. - C.J.'S OFFICE - NIGHT C.J. is in her office. She is wearing a formal dress and is listening to Jai's Chopin CD. CUT TO: INT. - JOSH'S OFFICE - NIGHT Josh is in his office tying his bow tie. Donna comes to the door. DONNA Thank you for earlier. JOSH You were absolutely right, they were perfectly nice people. DONNA I meant when I went into that whole diet economics harangue. JOSH That was quite an oratorio. Donna starts tying Josh's bow tie for him. DONNA I was showing off and it was ridiculous, and you didn't make fun of me and I appreciate it. JOSH You know, the President made almost the exact same basic point this afternoon. DONNA Very funny. JOSH It's true, actually, it was uncanny. DONNA Oh my God. JOSH Course he left out the whole goofy diet part. DONNA Don't blow it now. JOSH Perfectly nice people... for residents of the only state that consider rind one of the four major food groups. Josh puts on his tuxedo jacket and leaves the room, while Donna smiles and leaves shortly afterwards. CUT TO: INT. - EAST ROOM - NIGHT The concert is in full swing. The room is dimly lit and Jai is playing some Chopin on the piano. We see various White House staffers watching him play. C.J. is standing just outside the room, while Leo and Bartlet are shown in the front row. Amy walks down a corridor and comes up behind Josh, who is standing at the entrance to the East Room. AMY Good, I didn't miss it. JOSH Nah, there might be 30 or 40 seconds left. [laughs] You look great. AMY Thanks, so do you. JOSH Everyone looks great in a tux; chimps look great. AMY With none actually present I'll have to settle for you. JOSH So listen, umm, Ryan of all people asked me straight out about our relationship, and I couldn't have avoided the subject more if I had faked a stroke. AMY Cheeky little brat. JOSH That's not the point, even if I'd wanted to answer him I wouldn't have known what to say. It's like what C.J. said today about the economy; by refusing to put language to it we're trying to pretend it doesn't exist, but it's something... even if we don't know what to call it. I just think it's time to start thinking about a language plan for whatever it is we're doing too. Back inside the room, Jai reaches the finale of the piece. The White House staffers look on, and when he finishes there is enthusiastic applause. Everyone in the room begins to stand up while applauding. BARTLET Bravo! LEO Bravo! After the applause has stopped, everyone sits down again. JAI Ladies, gentlemen, I wish to... [Jai exchanges a longing glance with Bartlet] I wish to... thank the President, the American people for this opportunity. I wish it be start many exchanges and improve relations between our countries. Jai says something in Korean, in obvious emotional distress, and then bows to the audience who applaud him rapturously. He then leaves the stage with his handlers while the applause continues. DISSOLVE TO: INT. - OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT Bartlet is alone in the Oval Office. He is lying on the sofa looking dismayed. C.J. comes to the door, knocks and enters. BARTLET He didn't realise what it was. C.J. What what was, sir? BARTLET Freedom. C.J. takes a seat. C.J. You could have cancelled the concert. BARTLET There's a Korean word, Han, I looked it up. There is no literal English translation; it's a state of mind; of soul, really. A sadness; a sadness so deep no tears will come. And yet still, there's hope. C.J. Goodnight, Mr. President. [stands up] BARTLET I got a call from Geneva 15 minutes ago. The negotiations are on hold. The North Koreans didn't like the size of everyone's flags at the table. C.J. [sighs] Goodnight, sir. Bartlet continues to lie on the sofa looking unhappy, and this time Jai's Chopin rendition is heard playing. DISSOLVE TO: MAIN TITLES FADE TO BLACK THE END The West Wing episode 5.04 "HAN", original air date 22 October, 2003. Transcribed by David Mercier of www.filmjudge.co.uk