"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by Leo
While a contemptuous Toby (Richard Schiff) is assigned to meet with a noisy, unruly mob protesting the World Trade Organization, Donna (Janel Moloney) asks Sam (Rob Lowe) to consider fronting an executive pardon for her friend's (Jolie Jenkins) grandfather, who was imprisoned for espionage in the 1940s. Sam has only recently learned that his father has been having an affair with a woman for decades, and takes on the mission to prove the man's innocence with gusto. He learns, however, that the man truly was a Soviet agent. Outraged at the man's duplicity, and tying it up with his own father's in his mind, Sam initially wants to tell the woman the truth. He eventually settles on leaving her with a feeling of hope as Donna consoles him over the betrayal of his father.
Elsewhere, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) fumes when there are complications in his plan to select the bucolic -- and historic -- site for his Presidential library; as part of Leo's tradition of setting aside one day for personal petitions to the White House (aka "Big Block of Cheese Day"), C.J. (Allison Janney) must grant an audience to an earnest group of cartographers who want to adopt a new global map that is more respectful of Third World nations.
As another day begins at the White House, Leo is seen walking the halls toward his office and as he passes Toby's office, he sees Sam sleeping on the couch. Leo wakes Sam, who asks "what day is it?" Leo replies its Friday. Leo asks what is going on with the pardon recommendations. Sam is working through it and Leo tells him that he should go home and rest. Leo tells him that Josh told him about Sam's parents (Sam discovered that his father has been having an affair with another woman for the past 28 years).
Leo and Josh are talking about the day - it's a "Big Block of Cheese Day." Leo is going to send Toby to meet with protestors who are protesting the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Leo gives his "Big Block of Cheese" speech and when Toby arrives - he learns that he is going to meet with the protestors.
Donna gets a message that a friend is waiting for her - Stephanie Gault, who is trying to get a pardon for her grandfather, who was convicted of espionage and treason. Galt's father is dying and she would like to be able to tell her father that his father's name has been cleared. Donna agrees to get Stephanie a meeting with Sam. The President is talking economic numbers on his way back to the Oval Office and then Charlie tells him about a fax from the President's brother - they lost the first site for the Bartlet Presidential Library, due to a New Hampshire state law he had signed while Governor. The President asks Charlie to tell his brother to wait on the secondary site.
Sam meets with Stephanie and Donna - Stephanie tells Sam that her grandfather was Daniel Galt, a White House staffer in the 1940s. Sam knows most of the story because he wrote his thesis on Galt at Princeton. Sam sent a copy of his thesis to Stephanie's father, who is now dying. Sam doesn't think the pardon can be secured, but he will look into it. In the White House Mess, Sam continues the conversation - telling Stephanie that he has to let the FBI know that he is looking into this. Josh thanks Sam for working on this and Sam asks Josh to call his contact at the FBI and set up a meeting.
Toby arrives for his meeting and is greeted by a DC Police Officer, whose has the job to "make sure [he] goes home in one piece."
Toby is standing on the stage of a room where he is supposed to meet with protestors who are squabbling loudly in the room. He goes down to meet with the individual who appears to be the leader of the group. The group leader gets them to quiet down, and Toby introduces himself. When several members of the group begin shouting back at him, Toby walks away from the lectern and sits down. The group leader continues trying to calm the crowd so Toby can speak. Toby has a conversation with the police officer, and they discuss the nature of the protest.
Sam goes to the FBI to meet with Special Agent Casper. Casper is angry at Sam for requesting the Galt file. Sam was just giving the agency a heads-up and, "because the FBI will be embarrassed isn't a good-enough reason", he's going to put Galt on the list. After Sam leaves, Agent Casper makes a phone call. When Sam returns to the White House, Ginger gives him a message from the National Security Advisor. Sam goes down to the Situation Room to meet with Nancy McNally.
The two discuss the Galt case. Nancy urges Sam to drop the case as Sam lays out the details as he knows them. Nancy tells Sam that Galt was an spy, code name "Blackwater." Sam says he will believe it when they show him the file, which Nancy then does. She has blacked out classified information and allows Sam to look at the NSA file.
Back at the White House, C.J. arrives for her meeting with the Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality. Josh also arrives for the meeting. The OCSE wants the President to support a change from the Mercator Projection Map to the Peters Projection Map.
C.J. and Josh are still in their meeting with the OCSE - though Josh leaves to check on Toby. Josh accompanies Toby back inside to talk with the protestors again.
The President decides to head back to the residence as Leo steps in to discuss the day. Leo asks the President if there is anything they need to discuss when Leo mentions the job (as President) is four years, with an option for four more. The President tells Leo, "not yet."
Sam is sitting alone in the White House Mess when Donna comes and finds him. Sam tells Donna that Daniel Galt was a spy and they can't get him a pardon. Donna tells Sam that he can't tell Stephanie the truth. He walks back to his office fully expecting to tell Stephanie the truth about her father. Donna corrects him, saying 'You mean grandfather'. He hesitates (and Donna appears in the doorway) and realises that he projected his own anger towards his own father to the revelation of Stephanie's grandfather. He then tells her that the pardon will not take place this time - but they will hope to reexamine the case in the next round.
Josh and Toby arrive to take Sam out and get him drunk. Sam tells them he will meet them there - he closes his door and calls his father.
- This is a Big Block of Cheese Day episode.
- In the opening scene, Leo and Sam are discussing the traffic that caught Leo on his way to the office. There is a discussion of road blocks around Dupont Circle. Dupont Circle is also used in The American President, despite its inaccurate use, geographically.
- The episode's title is also a lyric from Don Henley's New York Minute, which plays at both the start and end of the episode.
- When Sam is given the NSA report, the number and positions of blacked out lines change several times between shots.
- When Sam is sitting in the mess hall throwing the sugar packets into the pot, a group of people (presumably the camera crew, as their movements are in sync with the camera's position) can be seen in the reflection of the hung posters/paintings on the wall.
- Jed Bartlet: What's next?
- Charlie Young: Sir, I need just a moment to discuss a fax that's just come in.
- Bartlet: From whom?
- Charlie: Jonathan Bartlet.
- Bartlet: That name sounds familiar.
- Charlie: He's your brother.
- Charlie: The site violates the Historic Barn and Bridges Preservation Act.
- President Bartlet: Which says?
- Charlie: I've got it here in my notes...Requires that all non-housing farm and ranch structures built prior to 1900 be preserved by their owners unless destroyed by an act of God.
- Bartlet: What plaid flannel-wearing, cheese-eating, yahoo of a milkman Governor signed that idiot bill into state law? (Beat) It was me, wasn't it?
- Charlie: Yes sir.
- Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
- Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
- Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
- Janel Moloney as Donna Moss
- Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler
- John Spencer as Leo McGarry
- Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman
- and Martin Sheen as Jed Bartlet
Special Guest StarEdit
- Jolie Jenkins as Stephanie Gault
- Anna Deavere Smith as Dr. Nancy McNally
- Clark Gregg as Special Agent Michael Casper
- NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper
- John Billingsley as Dr. John Fallow
- Jordan Baker as Dr. Cynthia Sayles
- Brent Hinkley as Professor Donald Huke
- Christopher Neiman as OMB Staffer
- Kim Webster as Ginger
- Devika Parikh as Bonnie
- William Duffy as Larry
- Peter James Smith as Ed
- Richard Stay as Terry Webber
- Shana O'Neil as Protestor #1
- Free Brooks as Protestor #2
- Michael Charles Vaccaro as Protestor #3
- Shirley Jordan as FBI Receptionist
- John Strand as Cop
Don Henley, "New York Minute"