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Original Airdate 04-23-06

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Former cast member Rob Lowe returns as a senior political official in this episode, which finds Bartlet and his staff making the transition as easy as possible for the president-elect, who discovers some unpleasant realities about his new job. Meanwhile, a stressed-out Josh realizes that he may need to take some time off after he reaches his breaking point.
From NBC:
Eyebrows are raised when the President-elect places a call to the president of China and offers a different position than that of Bartlet (Martin Sheen). Meanwhile, Josh (Brad Whitford) picks his deputy chief of staff.


Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Chief of Staff
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Santos Transition Staffer
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Santos' Chief of Staff
Jimmy Smits as
Matthew Vincente Santos President-Elect
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Stars    
Janeane Garofalo as Louise "Lou" Thornton Santos Director of Communications
Teri Polo as Helen Santos Matt Santos' Wife
Lily Tomlin as
Debbie (Deborah) Fiderer President's Secretary
Guest Starring    
Steve Ryan as Miles Hutchinson Secretary of Defense
Anna Deavere Smith as Dr. Nancy McNally National Security Advisor
Matthew Del Negro as Bram (Howard) Santos' Transition Staffer
Karis Campbell as Ronna (Beckman) Santos' Aide
Ramón De Ocampo as Otto Santos Transition Staffer
Jerry Kernion as Driver  
Rob Lowe as
Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Senior Political Official
Greg Callahan as Man on the airplane
Chandler Hill as Attorney #1  
Corie Vickers as Attorney #2  
Ken Weiler as Bowman  

Information Links


Media Quotes

I asked West Wing executive producer Aaron Sorkin for a ray of hope--however small--for J-D fans. "You want them together?" he said. "Okay, fine. Done! Just for you! Right here. Right now. It's done." If I'd known it was that easy, I'd have asked years ago. Anyone know the number for those Friends producers?

Still, Janel Moloney (Donna) was a little less promising about the possibility. "Actually, I think the longer they put it off the better," she said, "but I think it will eventually happen."

A little farther down the carpet, Mary-Louise Parker (a nominee and now a semiregular castmember) admitted that she'd gotten a little flack for keeping Josh and Donna apart: "Someone in my family gave me a hard time," she chuckled. " 'How can you break them up?' I actually felt a little guilty about it the first time I read the script. Because I like them together, too."

"Watch with Wanda"
by Kristin
September 27, 2002
E Online

Fellow executive producer Thomas Schlamme keeps reminding him that a Josh-and-Donna relationship should be saved - for the "fifth season," Sorkin joked.

"As the world turns"
July 17, 2000
Philadelphia Daily News

"The thing that has prevented us from proceeding on the Josh and Donna romance is the Moonlighting syndrome (a reference to a poor outcome involving Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis on that ABC series). I'm not really sure how interesting that relationship is once the actors end up in it. Also, it would have been a very bad idea for Josh, as Donna's supervisor, to allow a relationship to develop. It's strictly prohibited within the White House and in most workplaces."

"New flight for 'West Wing'"
by Mike McDaniel
October 14, 2004
Houston Chronicle

It's the opposite of her "West Wing" role as Donna Moss, Josh Lyman's former aide. "Josh and Donna would never rush into anything," she says.

"TV movie tells Amber Frey's story"
by Mike Hughes
May 18, 2005
Ganett News Service

Lowe tells TV Guide he got a call from the show's executive producer John Wells to come back. Lowe hasn't signed on yet.

But his manager, Bernie Brillstein says it would be like George Clooney coming back to "ER" one last time. Brillstein says Lowe "had four great years on the show, so why not?"

"If "The West Wing" is saying its final farewell this spring, Rob Lowe will probably be there."
December 1, 2005
Associated Press

West Wing Executive Producer John Wells said Sunday negotiations are under way with former cast member Rob Lowe to appear on the show as it enters its final stretch of episodes.

After NBC announced Sunday the show would air its season finale May 14, Wells said an offer has been made to Lowe and at this point it is up to the actor whether he will reprise his role as Sam Seaborn.

"Lowe May Return to West Wing"
by Ben Grossman
January 22, 2006
Broadcasting & Cable

Producers also are talking to Rob Lowe about returning for the finale. "Rob will have to decide whether he can make his schedule work and be able to come back for it," Wells said.

"More specifics on the end of "The West Wing.""
by Melanie McFarland
January 22, 2006
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Ausiello: Rob Lowe's camp has been approached, but there's no deal yet.

"Ask Ausiello"
by Michael Ausiello
January 25, 2006
TV Guide Online

"We'll have episodes at the end where we'll follow (chief of staff) C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) and see what is happening in her life. There is an episode about what happens to (disgraced speechwriter) Toby (Richard Schiff). We have a full episode with what is happening with Vinick and Santos, what is happening in the rest of the their lives. We will have an episode about (Santos' campaign manager) Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) and an episode about Bartlet (Martin Sheen). "It was going to be an episode about Bartlet and Leo. Now it will be an episode about Bartlet."

"'West Wing' deals with its final days"
by Alan Pergament
January 25, 2006
Buffalo News

I grilled exec producer Alex Graves about Lowe's possible comeback, specifically with regard to the length. "That's part of the negotiation," he said. "Does he have time to do one episode? Does he have time to do two?" But more importantly, does West Wing have time for him? Says Graves: "Once we get past Episode 17, which is the election, we only have five episodes left to wrap up everybody's story line and then get to the inauguration."

"Ask Ausiello"
by Michael Ausiello
February 1, 2006
TV Guide Online

"You know their campaigns are going to conclude. They're going to wake up one morning and the campaign will be over and that huge intense vibration in their daily lives stops, and then what?" - Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.

"No Good-Bye Blues for West Wing - Yet"
by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
February 10, 2006
Creators Syndicate

With West Wing winding down, the big question is whether Josh and his assistant, Donna Moss (Janel Moloney), will finally consummate their seven-year flirtation.

"I'm ready," he says. "All that foreplay - there's a word for that if you're a man. I imagine it would be horribly inconclusive if they didn't hook up."

Adds Moloney: "The fans won't be disappointed."

"Scott Palmer finally makes the Phillies, at age 56"
by Gail Shister
February 21, 2006
Philadelphia Inquirer

Rob Lowe and eight other alumni of "The West Wing" are set to return for the White House drama's final episodes.

"Rob Lowe leads 'West Wing' reunion"
by Nellie Andreeva
February 28, 2006
Hollywood Reporter

"I did the bulk of it last week and I think I have one more quick appearance," Lowe says of his scheduled return to NBC's "The West Wing," a cameo set to coincide with the Emmy-winning show's pending series finale.


"I've been off the series for so long I don't really have a sense of what they've been doing, really," Lowe says in response to a question about whether or not this is the right time for "The West Wing" to be calling it quits. "I haven't watched it enough to know how the show really is since my departure."


"It was like going back to high school," Lowe says of his "Wing" visit. "You go, 'I thought my locker was bigger than this.'"

Lowe is reticent to offer any specifics on what Sam's been doing since he left or what brings him back to the White House.

"I cannot. It's not a huge thing -- I don't land in a spaceship on the South Lawn -- but it is a sort of fun return."

He admits, though, that being on the "West Wing" set without John Spencer, who died in December, made the experience bittersweet.

"It was very sad," he says. "I kept going to the trailers thinking he was going to come out and go 'Kid, I've missed you so much.'"

"Lowe Reflects on 'West Wing' Return"
by Daniel Fienberg
March 17, 2005

"One line, and Rob was back where he left off," executive producer Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. says of Lowe, who's reprising the role that resurrected his career when The West Wing premiered in 1999.


"It was a great moment," says O'Donnell. "I saw him in the monitor, and he turned toward the camera and I realized that the series would have been incomplete without that moment. Seeing Rob and Brad Whitford together was like the good old days." Adds executive producer John Wells, "You thought it was going to be odd, but it wasn't. It was emotional for Rob, and it gave all of us closure."

SPOILER ALERT: Lowe's return as former White House staffer Sam Seaborn comes after the election that replaced the Bartlet administration with President Matt Santos and his crew. Former Bartlet chief of staff Josh Lyman (Whitford), who works for the new regime, flies to L.A. to convince his old buddy Sam to come aboard.

"Sam doesn't want to do it," says Wells. "He's gotten on with his life. He's working for a law firm and is engaged to be married." But Josh persists, offering Sam the opportunity to become deputy chief of staff. "In other words," Wells says, "Josh wants Sam to become his Josh."

But Josh doesn't make such an enviable role model. "We see Josh as we have never seen him before," says O'Donnell. "He's out of control, he's enraged. It becomes clear that he cannot run the White House without Sam. Sam is the only person who knows how to manage Josh."

Sam also has some personal advice for Josh, who is having relationship troubles with Donna. "Josh has to make a decision about their relationship," says Janel Moloney, who plays Donna. "Sam influences him and tells him: 'You are not just your job.'"

"Rob Lowe Is Seaborn Again on Wing"
by Mary Murphy
April 21, 2006
TV Guide Online

In Sunday's episode, the first lady-elect, Helen Santos (Teri Polo), was dealing with various millionaires offering their Washington, D.C.-area estates for the family's use until the inauguration.


In the meantime, however, the president-elect has been staying in a D.C. hotel. And a brief exterior shot of that unnamed hostelry revealed it to be ... the former Hotel Utah, now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

There was no question about it. You could even see a bit of the church administration building next door.

It was simply a case of using a stock shot of a cool-looking hotel to establish the scene. And it was odd only to those of us who live here, were watching the show and were paying attention to minutiae.

"Is Santos living in Utah?"
by Scott D. Pierce
April 25, 2006
Deseret Morning News

First of all, since you’re all here, I thank you guys because, as you all remember, you were the first people to recognize “The West Wing.” We have never forgotten that and the last thing I did when I left the stage was look at the four Emmys and that first Golden Globe in an area of the studio where all of the trophies are kept. That was the last thing I looked at. I walked out and that was it. It was sad but more than anything, there was just a great sense of what that show was at its height. The show has changed a lot in the years that I was not on it. I don’t recognize a lot of it but it was good to be back at the end and sort of help put it to bed. - Rob Lowe

"Only in Hollywood : A Lowe-down on his life & career"
by Ruben V. Nepales
April 29, 2006
Philippine Daily Inquirer

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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