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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? [question is greeted with silence]

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

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