When Marine Nicolas Brody is hailed as a hero after he returns home from eight years of captivity in Iraq, intelligence officer Carrie Mathison is the only one who suspects that he may have been "turned".
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
The show frequently employed a device in which characters have conversations while walking through the office halls or from one meeting to another. In television parlance, this is called a "walk and talk" scene, though some "West Wing" fans also dubbed the exchanges "pedeconferences". This element became so identified with the show that a "Mad TV" parody of "The West Wing" consisted almost entirely of the characters walking (and then running) through the halls of the White House, and when Aaron Sorkin appeared on "30 Rock", his role consisted of Sorkin and Tina Fey's character Liz walking in a big circle while talking about writing for television. See more »
Whenever President Barlett exits a limo, a secret service agent can be seen closing the door behind him. In actuality, the door is kept open to allow the president to re-enter quickly in case of an emergency. See more »
The special post-9/11 episode was broadcast without the regular opening credits. Instead, the episode began with the cast, out of character, speaking about the episode, followed by credits on a black screen. See more »
So much political reporting seems to be an attempt to fake a drama out of little material. I missed the West Wing when it started, but am catching up now, and find that it turns the specifics of politics into gripping human drama with a fast pace.
The camera seems to move as quickly as the people, following one conversation, then picking up another as two corridors intersect, and going off after that conversation instead. It's a remarkably effective dramatic device, that helps generate a sense of many topics, issues and personalities all being constantly on the move in response to events.
The acting is uniformly good, and often not on screen, Martin Sheen's president remains a constant presence shaping every story.
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