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Original Airdate 05-14-06


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Descriptions

From TVGuide.com:
The Emmy-winning series concludes after seven seasons with President-elect Santos preparing to be sworn into office as Bartlet ponders one last difficult executive decision: whether to pardon Toby.
From NBC:
After seven seasons of the Award-winning drama series, the Bartlet Administration prepares to leave the White House and The West Wing. While Santos and his winning camp are nervously gearing up for the presidential inauguration, current President Bartlet (Martin Sheen), CJ (Allison Janney) and the others fondly look back as they prepare to leave the White House forever.
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Credits

Alan Alda as Arnold Vinick Former Republican Candidate for President
Kristin Chenoweth as Annabeth Schott Santos / McGarry Campaign Staffer
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Deputy Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Chief of Staff
Joshua Malina as Will (William) Bailey Vice President's Chief of Staff
Mary McCormack as Kate (Katherine) Harper Deputy National Security Advisor
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Santos Transition Staffer
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Santos' Chief of Staff
with
Jimmy Smits as
Matthew Vincente Santos President-Elect
and
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
     
     
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Information Links

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Media Quotes

Early reports had series creator Aaron Sorkin coming back for the final episodes, but producer John Wells says that won’t happen.

“I’ve always tried to get Aaron back, but he’s been too busy. Right now he’s working on ‘Studio 7? for NBC, and he just doesn’t have the time,” Wells said.

"`West Wing’ bows out"
by Susan Young
January 18, 2006
Oakland Tribune

"It's the most dramatic way to end the series," executive producer John Wells says. "The right way to do it is seeing (Bartlet) get on Air Force One and go back to New Hampshire and the new president coming into the Oval Office."

The finale May 14 will be preceded by a one-hour retrospective on the seven-season series, which won four drama Emmys. Wells would like creator Aaron Sorkin, who left after the fourth season, to write the finale but is doubtful because of Sorkin's immersion in a pilot.

"'West Wing' to end with new president"
by Bill Keveney
January 22, 2006
USA Today

Reilly said cast members and producers were notified "very recently" of the decision to end the series. "I don't think they were very surprised," he said.

"The polls closing for West Wing"
by Mike McDaniel
January 22, 2006
Houston Chronicle

Whitford said, only half-joking, "I would never be able to leave this show, so I'm kind of glad it's ending."

"The West Wing plans its farewell"
by David Kronke
January 22, 2006
Los Angeles Daily News

"The decisions of making this the final year were kind of determined before (Spencer's death)," said Reilly. "It's no secret that the ratings have been tough for the last couple of seasons. I think the most frustrating thing is that the work has just been so outstanding, and I just wish more people got to see it." He added, "You know, there's a point where you want to send a show off with dignity and with some semblance of success. ... There's a point where you look at the ratings and you say, 'Feels like it's time.'"

...

"Constitutionally, within the context of the show, I knew I was done."

Sheen also said that he would like his last lines on the show to be uttered in Latin. "I'd like to go out with something from the Book of Isaiah," said Sheen whose chief executive, like the actor who portrays him, is a classics scholar and devout Catholic.

"NBC Clips West Wing After 7-Year Run"
by Pamela Warrick
January 23, 2006
People

"It's no secret the ratings have been tough for the last couple of seasons," [Kevin] Reilly told TV critics as their midseason tour ended. "The most frustrating thing is that the work has just been so outstanding, I just wish more people got to see it. But there's a point where you want to send a show off with dignity."

"'West Wing' to end run on NBC"
by Hal Boedeker
January 23, 2006
Orlando Sentinel

"One of the things that's most dramatic about American democracy is the peaceful passing of power from one leader to another," he said. "We thought that was a really wonderful way to conclude our storytelling." - John Wells

"'West Wing' will end its run in character"
by Gail Pennington
January 24, 2006
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

It was an emotional weekend for The West Wing crew. Last Saturday they attended a final service for the late John Spencer. And early on Sunday, executive producer John Wells announced to them the official cancellation of the award-winning series.

"I don't think anyone was really surprised. The rumors had been all over the place," said the Denver-reared Wells. "I had conversations with Warner Bros. and NBC late last year. We agreed the time had come.

"But I'm thankful we'll have the opportunity to finish in graceful style, while providing a legitimate ending to Jeb Bartlet's administration."

...

The series finale will deal with the inauguration of the new president and the departure of the Bartlet administration.

"That's a perfect ending," Wells said. "We were very fortunate to get two more wonderful actors (Smits and Alda), who you could actually believe could be president of the United States.

"Term-limited 'West Wing' ending in style"
by Dusty Saunders
January 28, 2006
Rocky Mountain 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

Thinking back to the fall and the issue of the show's longevity, executive producer John Wells says, "We had a decision to make: Do we try to press NBC to continue the series [with] another presidency? Or were we coming to the natural end of our storytelling? The series has celebrated from the beginning the remarkable strength of American democracy, and one of the things that's most dramatic about that is the peaceful passing of power from one leader to another. So, as the numbers were declining, we started to think maybe we'd conclude the series at its natural place."

"How Will The West Wing Say Goodbye?"
by Matt Webb Mitovich
February 6, 2006
TV Guide Online

Whitford has "tremendously mixed feelings" about West Wing's ending its run after seven seasons.

"It's a miracle to me that this show has been accepted commercially at all, let alone for what I think has been a pretty full run. There's not a lot of shows that last seven years."

On the other hand, "I think there should be a place for a show like this," he says. West Wing "made a lot of people a lot of money, and we never had a good lead-in. Ever. Never. Ever."

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

"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
zap2it.com

The inauguration of a new president will end the series; the last episodes will detail the characters' futures. "We had the same sort of opportunity when we ended 'China Beach' a number of years ago," Wells said. "It's a great luxury to not sort of discover on May 17 that you're not coming back and you've already done it."

"'West Wing' prepares for its final days"
by Bruce R. Miller
March 31, 2006
Sioux City Journal

"It was not as fun much for me. I'm flattered that they wanted to do that, but it was hard for me," she said. "I like to be a team player and that shifted all the relationships. Suddenly, I had to be very serious, delegating, assigning. I had my moments of enjoyment as chief of staff, but I always liked when C.J. was press secretary best." - Allison Janney

"Janney takes flight from 'Wing'"
by Jay Handelman
April 6, 2006
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

In describing how much he relished retreating to an ivory tower, Mr. Sheen sounded a lot like a former president after two terms in office, even if he was a former president whose biggest challenge was commuting to a fictional White House.

"I'd be up at 4 in the morning, and out of the house by 5 to get on the freeway, all so we could start at 7 o'clock," he said. "That's a lot of wear and tear on your body."

"'West Wing' Writers' Novel Way of Picking the President"
by Jacques Steinberg
April 10, 2006
New Yirk Times

Shooting the final episode of "The West Wing" was "heartbreaking," admits Bradley Whitford, who has spent the last seven years playing Josh Lyman on the revered NBC series, which will make its final bow May 14.

"Working on this show, it's very familial — a crushing level of intimacy, of everyone knowing what everyone else has gone through. People have become parents, toddlers have become teenagers. And then it's the end. I've never experienced anything comparable."

He reports that the final shot, the final day, had Martin Sheen, as President Bartlet, "walking through the West Wing and people applauding, feeling sad. Martin is a hugely beloved guy. We never had to act what our characters felt about Bartlet because we felt that way about Martin."

Still, adds Whitford, the death of co-star John Spencer last year "gave everyone more perspective than we would normally have had. It makes the end of a TV show feel pretty puny."

"Whitford in 'West Wing' withdrawal"
by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
April 18, 2006
Creators Syndicate

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