When the erudite Democrat Josiah "Jed" Bartlet is elected U.S. president, he installs his administration. He places confidants from his electoral campaigns in the White House. Each of these people play a significant role in the Washington power game: the Chief of Staff (Leo McGarry), his deputy (Josh Lyman), Communications Director (Toby Zeigler), deputy (Sam Seaborn, and later, Will Bailey), and press secretary (CJ Cregg). Also in key positions are the assistants of each of the power players. We follow these people through many political battles, as well as some personal ones. Also playing roles are the First Lady (Abigail Bartlet), the President's daughters (Elizabeth, Eleanor, and Zoey), and the personal aide to the President (Charlie Young). All make this series, which supposedly follows the political events (often paraphrasing historical reality) almost day by day, more than merely a political soap. The demands of office on each character show the personal sacrifice and the ... Written by
During the sixth season, NiCole Robinson, who plays Margaret, became pregnant. Although the show did choose to acknowledge Margaret as also being pregnant, there was never any clue given about the identity of the baby's father, whether or not Margaret was married or partnered, or even whether Margaret kept the baby herself or gave it up for adoption. Since these things were never addressed on the show itself, they were the subject of rampant fan speculation, and when Robinson was interviewed by TV Guide after the show's finale, she said that her two best guesses for the baby's father were either Ron Silver's character (Bruno Gianelli) or "the UPS guy." See more »
Secret Service code names for the First Family always begin with the same letter (for example, the Obama family code names are Renegade, Renaissance, Radiance, and Rosebud), which means that if President Bartlet's code name was Eagle, Zoey's would not have been Bookbag. Her code name would have begun with the letter E as well. See more »
Sen. Arnold Vinick:
[closing remarks at Republican Convention]
My commitment to strive to be worthy of the example of the great men who have gone before. Presidents walk in giant footsteps. They have magnificent legacies to uphold. I stand here on this day and put my name forth, as one who aspires to their example, who will daily make that sacrifice, who will honor not just the office, but the people that office serves. *Their* President of these United States of America.
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Episode titles are usually the first thing shown on screen (after recaps). This is one of the only American series to show episode titles before its opening credits. See more »
This is the finest show ever produced for TV. Each episode is a triumph. The casting, the writing, the timing are all second to none. This cast performs miracles.
The secret to this show is that it is, at heart, a comedy, even when tragic things are happening. That gives Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff et al. the room to work. And do they ever.
It works because it is deep, the characters are well-drawn. Early in the first season, CJ gets a root canal and walks around for the rest of the episode with cotton stuffed in her mouth, yelling things like" The Pwesident must be bweefed!" This has to be seen to be believed. It had me literally on the floor, laughing until I feared I would hurt myself. I don't know how many shows have tried cheap stunts like that and they are just that, cheap. On "The West Wing" it works because we know CJ, we know how unlike her, and yet like her, that moment is. And Toby's slow-burn reaction is pitch perfect.
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