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Steven Culp on "The West Wing - Memorial Day"

N SEASON FINALE, GAZA SLAYINGS OF KEY U.S. OFFICIALS MIGHT DRAG FUMING PRESIDENT INTO UNENDING CYCLE OF VIOLENCE - In the season finale, events in the tinderbox Gaza Strip spin out of control after the murders of high-ranking U.S. officials and back home the angry President weighs appropriate military action. A strange undertow of intrigue finds a wary Josh meeting with a mysterious foreign operative while tending to Donna who is fighting for her life.

Detailed summary:

Kate and the President are returning to the White House from visiting with Admiral Fitzwallace's widow. The phone rings and it's Leo to inform them there has been an Israeli strike in Gaza. The President tells Leo they are on their way back.

In Leo's office, the President talks with Chairman Farad about the strike and urges Farad not to retaliate. He hangs up and inquires about whether he can talk to the Israelis before he speaks to the nation. Bartlet edits Toby's draft of his speech moments before going on television - and then delivers a strong speech on the attack in Gaza.

After finishing - the President meets with the Israeli Ambassador in the Mural Room and is angry with her over the Israeli attack right in the middle of the American investigation. Bartlet steps outside to talk to Kate, who has learned from the FBI that they may have identified one of the bombers of the codel mission.

Carol is walking through the White House halls, she passes several TVs tuned to various news programs, which are analyzing the President's speech and talking about the upcoming funerals of the victims, including Fitzwallace. She arrives in the briefing room, where C.J. is speaking to the Press - Carol hands C.J. a note, which she reads and announces to the press that an another person has died as a result of the bombing, an aide to Congressman Desantos.

In the Situation Room, the President is being informed of the options for capturing the bomber and military options for bombing in Gaza. The President wants other options, which makes him think back to a briefing that he received as President-elect, where Admiral Fitzwallace and other military leaders informed him of a conflict in the Philippines that Bartlet was going to have to deal with on day one.

Back in the Situation Room (and the present) - it is suggested to the President to ask Chairman Farad to pick up the suspect. The President and Leo leave and Leo tells the President this will likely not work - but the President tells Leo that this may be an opening to bring Farad back to the negotiating table with the Israelis and the President doesn't want to level an apartment building in Gaza to get one guy.

In Germany, Donna wakes up and Josh is by her side. She is still very groggy, but Josh answers her questions about where she is. Back at the White House, Toby is in Josh's office looking for something when his phone rings, it's Josh. Josh asks Toby how things are going there. The conversation turns to the President's planned appearance on Memorial Day - to throw out the first pitch at Camden Yards. Josh reminds Toby that he is going to need to work with the President on throwing.

In Leo's office, the Speaker and Vice President Russell are meeting with Leo on Gaza. The Speaker impresses to Leo that the President is going to have to act swiftly and strongly on the Palestinians. Leo (and Toby, who has joined the meeting) takes the Speaker's comments and tells the Speaker that he will take it to the President.

In the Oval Office, the President is on the phone with Chairman Farad - urging him to cooperate and find the man the US believes responsible for the attack. Leo comes in from his office and tells him of the meeting with the Speaker and that there has been a suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem.

Toby and C.J. are talking about the reactions from Congress, urging the President to react militarily in Gaza. Charlie comes to Toby with the President's bulletproof vest - they are going to need to practice with the President so he can get the pitch across the plate.

In Germany, Donna wakes up and Josh is there. She asks him how long he can stay - doesn't he need to be back in Washington? Josh's phone rings and it's C.J. - she asks him how they should react. As he is on the phone, Colin, the photographer, comes up to see Donna in the hospital - Josh is confused as to what's happening.

At the White House, the President is on the phone with the Chairman trying to find out what is going on. As they are speaking - there is a commotion on the line and the line goes dead. The President is informed the Israelis have surrounded the Chairman's compound. The President and others head for the Situation Room to figure out what to do next. The President flashes back to the situation in the Philippines when he was elected as he also debates what to do in Gaza. Kate advances a non-military option (the only one in the room to do so) - the President asks for more information and leaves the room. Leo chastises Kate for trying to push a different agenda that what may be called for in this situation.

Leo comes to see the President, who is pacing outside the Oval Office on the Portico. Leo tells the President about the military option being the best response. The President still believes that a diplomatic solution is available and he wants to proceed cautiously.

In Germany, Josh and Colin are in Donna's room. Donna is asleep and the two men are watching the comments of the Palestinian Prime Minister. Colin and Josh have a strained conversation and Colin gets up to leave. Donna wakes and Colin says goodbye to her. The nurse brings in some flowers - with a card written in Arabic and the English translation on the back.

At the White House, Kate and Leo are talking about the card, which appears to have been sent by the Palestinian Prime Minister (or the Chairman). The Arabic is directions to a meeting with a representative of the Palestinians. It appears the card was sent to get Josh to go to a meeting to try and broker a solution. Kate gets on the phone with Josh and tells him to take the meeting - Josh is unsure about doing it - foreign policy and "spy stuff" is not really in his ken.

The President arrives and he is not in a good mood - but Toby and Charlie agree that he needs to practice throwing with the vest on. The three of them go up to a hallway in the resident to practice.

Josh arrives at the restaurant, is shown to his table, where an Arab man is waiting. After Josh sits, the Arab gets up and leaves. Josh pulls out his phone and calls Kate Harper. Kate assures him everything is fine and just relax. The man returns and they have a conversation - the man tells Josh that the Palestinian Prime Minister would like to open up a new dialogue with the Israelis that does not include Chairman Farad.

Abbey comes to see Leo, who is asleep on his couch. She asks him how he is doing and they talk about what he is trying to get the President to do (attack Gaza) - Leo is frustrated at the President's efforts to try and resolve things diplomatically.

In the residence, the President's throwing is getting much better. He is talking with Charlie and Toby about the situation in Gaza and the President is talking out loud about what he should do. Leo and Kate arrive with news (from Josh's meeting in Germany).

The President returns to the Oval Office and hears from Kate and Leo. Leo is still pushing the military options against the terrorists, while Kate urges looking into the overtures from the Palestinians seriously. In another flashback, the President recalls a news conference shortly after learning about the Philippines crisis - the President points out to Leo that he doesn't know a lot about foreign policy and that's what he needs Leo for.

In Germany, Josh returns to the hospital and walks into Donna's room. She is gone, on the floor are some bloody sheets - he runs to the nurses station to ask where she has gone. He rushes to the operating room, where the surgeon stops him and tells Josh that Donna has developed a pulmonary embolism and it needs to be operated on right away.

At Camden Yards, the President is getting some additional intel on the back negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinian Prime Minister. Leo and the President talk and Leo urges the President that he needs to take military action - the President is still not convinced and wants to give the talks some more time. In another flashback - just before going out to his press conference, he tells Leo that it should have been Leo, not him. The President goes out to throw out the first pitch as Leo's phone rings and Toby tells Leo that Chairman Farad is on TV accepting the US invitation to peace talks with the Israelis. (c)

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