There is also another clip of Matthew Santos announcing Leo's death to those assembled at his headquarters and it includes short reaction shots to the speech from C.J. and the Vinick camp.
Neither clips require registration, but the clips do not work in all browsers.
From the Pensacola News Journal:
"The Foo Fighters will play at an election-day campaign rally on the NBC show. (Part I of the two-part episode, which also featured the band briefly, aired last Sunday.)
In the show, he's asked by a campaign worker to have the band stop performing for a moment.
"I nod OK and say 'Yeah," ' a bemused Brandt said from his Pensacola home during a recent tour break. "I don't know if my 'Yeah' is going to make it on. They paid me $54 to nod OK.""
From the Los Angeles Daily News:
"Tonight, "The West Wing" must use the sad reality of John Spencer's death in December as part of its story line: Leo, Santos' (Jimmy Smits) vice presidential running mate, dies of a heart attack -- on Election Day. As voters proceed to the polls, both Santos' and Vinick's (Alan Alda) aides debate how to use Leo's untimely demise to their political advantage, to the candidates' horror. The vote goes down to the wire, naturally.
Obviously, there's a lot, probably too much, going on in the episode, which ends on an odd note -- only Josh (Bradley Whitford) seems to feel the loss of his mentor at the episode's end. Airs at 8 tonight on NBC (Channel 4)."
From the San Jose Mercury News:
"On tonight's ``The West Wing,'' Leo McGarry -- Democratic vice-presidential candidate, former White House chief of staff and one of the most indelible characters in recent TV history -- will die of a sudden heart attack.
``We almost lost him 15 years ago, did you know that?'' President Josiah Bartlet will tell C.J. Cregg, the press secretary turned chief of staff. ``I was prepared then. Not today.''
In the episode, fiction mirrors reality, as it often has on ``The West Wing.'' Four months ago, John Spencer, the splendid actor who played McGarry, suffered a sudden heart attack and died."
Herc at Aint-it-Cool-News recaps tonight's episode:
" What’s it called?
“Election Day Pt. II”
Teleplay is credited to John Welles and Eli Attie.
The big news?
As the episode begins, Leo McGarry lives. When Annabeth found him at the end of last episode, he was unconscious and wasn’t breathing, but he was also warm enough, apparently, for an ambulence to be called rather than a hearse.
Did Leo have a heart attack?
When does the president learn of Leo’s condition?
Annabeth calls Donna. Donna tells Josh at the end of the teaser. Josh tells C.J. at the start of the first act. C.J. tells Jed Bartlet a minute or two later.
Is it a good episode?
Good and sad. The Mighty Hercules has watched it twice, and must concede that he cannot get through it without being reduced to a bawling little 14-year-old girl.
How does Annabeth take it?
Though she’s known Leo a far shorter time than most of the other regular characters, there’s nothing sadder this week than the first time Josh and Donna see Annabeth’s tear-soaked face. Few characters on the “West Wing” seem to have their shit together as thoroughly as Annabeth, so it’s strange and super-extra-poignant to see her fly apart so completely.
Do we learn this week whether Santos or Vinick wins - or was the election so close we won’t know until the Supreme Court rules in next month's series finale.
We learn who wins by episode’s end, though this episode ends on a Wednesday. The loser concedes, and it seems clear that he will not challenge the outcome in the courts.
But it’s a close election?
A virtual electoral tie. Exact numbers can be found in invisotext. 266 vs. 272.
The polls are still open when Leo is found?
When Santos gets the news, polls in the West will still be open another 90 minutes. There is much discussion in the Santos camp of sitting on the news of Leo’s condition.
Does the election come down to one closely contested state?
Yes. And it’s not Texas or California.
Is the contested state Ohio or Florida?
Blue states and red states are not as blue or as red in the “West Wing” universe?
The red state of Texas and the blue state of California are both in play because Democratic congressman Matt Santos is from Texas and Republican senator Arnold Vinick is from California. Santos wins some of the states Bush carried in 2004, including New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and South Carolina. Vinick wins some of the states Kerry carried, including Maine and Vermont. Otherwise it’s kinda the same map.
Lou’s reticence to reveal Leo’s condition. The silent ride in the hospital elevator. Our first glimpse of Annabeth. Vinick’s surprise at getting a phone call from Santos. The strategizing in the Santos camp. The strategizing in the Vinick camp. Bob Mayer and Bruno Gianelli quietly discussing their aspirations. Josh mourning over Leo’s eyeglasses and other personal effects as the rest of the Santos camp celebrates victory in Texas. Donna finding Josh as he mourns. The fact that we find out who wins just as Jed Bartlet does. “Get the president elect on the phone. I want to congratulate him.” Kristin Chenoweth. Alison Janney. Janel Moloney. Bradley Whitford. Martin Sheen. Janeane Garofalo. Alan Alda. Patricia Richardson. Ron Silver. Stephen Root.
What’s not so great?
Stocking Channing isn’t in the episode. (Abby is in New Hampshire watching her nanny-boinking son-in-law’s congressional race while the president has already returned to the Oval Office when he learns of what happened to Leo.) Leo’s daughter Mallory is repeatedly referenced as being in Texas with her dad, but Allison Smith does not appear this week.
How does it end, spoiler boy?
Josh says something to Leo. Wah!
Herc’s rating for “The West Wing” 7.17?
David Bianculli praised "The West Wing" in the New York Daily News:
"NBC's "The West Wing" has one more month to go, and it's gone - but boy, is it going out in style.
Since embarking on its show-both-sides presidential race between Alan Alda's Arnold Vinick and Jimmy Smits' Matt Santos, "The West Wing" (Sunday night at 8) has introduced about a dozen compelling new or recycled characters (Ron Silver and Janeane Garofalo have been particularly strong), and as many complicated plot lines and issues.
Fighting for its own survival, the show got better and better.
By the start of this season, with Vinick and Santos emerging as frontrunners and with their respective political camps strategizing every step of the way, "The West Wing" achieved the seemingly impossible. Once again, it was as riveting, surprising and entertaining as when series creator Aaron Sorkin was turning out weekly masterpieces during the show's first two seasons.
Were there justice in television land, "The West Wing" and eventual executive producer John Wells would have been rewarded with a renewal for next season.
The producers, writers, cast and crew have done their jobs brilliantly, and have every reason to be not just proud of their efforts, but boastful of them. Yet banished to Sundays at 8, "The West Wing" couldn't develop traction, and only faithful fans have been witnessing the total rebirth of a once-great, great-again TV drama.
Most remarkable of all, perhaps, is that once NBC rendered its verdict, and announced that "The West Wing" would end after this season (its finale airs May 14, on Mother's Day), the "West Wing" crew responded by sprinting with a vengeance.
Alda, as Vinick, has turned in one of the most nuanced performances of the season. The handshake show, in which the numbing weariness of campaigning was revealed in painful, unforgettable detail, presented Alda at his best - which is about as good as it gets. Smits, as Santos, has matched him stride for stride.
As presidential candidates go, both of these men, and their politics, have been a lot more inspirational than the real thing, on either side of the aisle.
And where, only two years ago, "The West Wing" seemed to be abandoning or betraying its tenured characters, this presidential race story line has been a welcome, thrilling return to form. Bradley Whitford as Josh, and Janel Moloney as Donna, have done a lot of the heavy lifting, and the two Santos campaigners have gotten to consummate a flirtatious relationship that began when the show premiered in 1999.
Not even the real-life sudden death of John Spencer, who played Santos' vice presidential Democratic running mate Leo McGarry, derailed the show. Instead, it fed the beast.
Sunday's show opens with one character after another getting the word that, with Election Day polls open for only an hour or so, Leo has collapsed in his hotel room. News goes from bad to worse, and the candidates and strategists have to decide, with the race too close to call and every vote and second counting, what to do and say next.
It's a masterful hour, written by Wells and Eli Attie, and directed by Chris Misiano. The climax reveals the winner, and sets up more emotional stuff to come."
Low turnout isn't just something that happens on Election Day - but viewers voting with their eyeballs and watching "The West Wing" are enjoying some of the year's best TV."
He also reviewed the episode for National Public Radio. You can listen to his comments here. This segment includes an audio clip from the upcoming episode.
From the Chicago Tribune:
" Best bets
"The West Wing," 7 p.m. Sunday, WMAQ-Ch. 5: Last Sunday's episode more than hinted in its final minutes that something was very wrong with Leo McGarry, the character on the show played by John Spencer until the actor's death last year. This Sunday, we learn McGarry's fate during the same time both camps in the presidential contest nervously await election-day returns. We can't reveal much, except to say there is a death and a winner. But the episode is touching and insightful, capturing the tension and tenderness in behind-the-scenes politics. Even better, the show deftly balances the nail-biting excitement of the election with sobering stretches of grief, ironic reminders of the vanity of all human wishes, no matter how high the stakes. Candidate Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits), in announcing the sudden death of his running mate, McGarry, provides an epitaph for both character and performer. "America lost a giant," Santos says, "and I've lost a friend.""
Alan Sepinwall of the Newark Star Ledger has a negative opinion:
" SUNDAY NIGHT on "The West Wing" (8 o'clock, Ch. 4), the election results are announced and Leo dies -- and this time, they mean it! Really! Absolutely! No more foolin'!
After last week's whole lotta nothing bait-and-switch, which ended with ballots still being counted and Annabelle stunned to discover something amiss in Leo's hotel room, the show finally gets down to the business of naming President Bartlet's suc cessor and dealing with the real- life death of John Spencer.
And yet it still feels like a cheat.
The death of Spencer in the middle of an election storyline that had Leo as a key figure created a minefield for producer John Wells and his writers. The last few weeks, they navigated it by keeping Leo off-screen, campaigning in different states from running mate Matt Santos. (Appropriately enough, Spencer's final scene had Leo in the Oval Office with his old friend Jed.)
But by having Leo's death take place on Election Day, then using it as a plot device to create tension about how it might affect voter turnout on the West Coast, Wells has done a disservice to the fans and himself.
Here you have arguably the most beloved character on the show (both among viewers and the other characters), and his death is squeezed into a busy hour that's primarily about the tight race between Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). Aside from Josh (Bradley Whitford) and, to a lesser extent Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and C.J. (Allison Janney), none of the characters who were so close to Leo in the first six seasons get time to show much, if any, reaction to his passing. Toby and Charlie don't even appear, and several of the characters who do, learn the bad news off-screen.
How do you fail to show the initial conversation between C.J. and the president? Or the reaction of Leo's long-suffering assistant, Margaret? How do you screw up something that obvious?
And by the episode's halfway point, Leo's passing is almost an afterthought. Wells has done an admirable job this season of get ting viewers to invest in the San tos and Vinick campaigns at the expense of scenes with their old TV pals. But turning Leo's death into just one more obstacle Santos has to overcome is going to really tick off the handful of people still watching out of loyalty to what the show used to be.
Next week's episode will be a more fitting on-screen tribute to Leo and Spencer, but regardless of which candidate you're pulling for (no hints here as to who wins), "Election Day II" is going to leave a bad taste in your mouth."
From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
"In "The West Wing's" early years, NBC invited us to believe in an idealized presidency and elections as fair sport, an institution and process that in reality has let us down time and again, and we showed up eagerly, happily.
That was a long time ago, wasn't it? Now we're left not only with a lame duck, but a shadow of a gold-standard drama limping -- with dignity, but still, dragging along -- to its May 14 finale. Hard to imagine what's worse, our political reality or the state of NBC's fictional one.
Having acknowledged that, those who have lost their faith in the Bartlet presidency should know they might find some comfort in Sunday's episode, airing at 8 p.m. on KING/5.
To the series' hard-core fans, the ones who never abandoned it, the idea that anyone would leave it is unfathomable. Even now, they love the show for its intellectual subject matter and its great storytelling. The rest of us packed it in when the caliber of the writing tumbled a few seasons ago.
By the time "The West Wing" regained its creative footing last year, most of the show's constituents had bitterly moved on. Full of hope, they checked out Geena Davis' Madam President ... and kept on driving.
But the election battle brewing between Rep. Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Sen. Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) has been interesting to monitor, even from a distance.
There was a lot to admire in their respective campaigns, from the national conventions (where candidates actually fight for delegates and party nominations) to their free-form debate -- aired as a live episode on each coast -- in which the candidates tossed out the rules and waged a battle of platforms.
A little less than 8 million viewers on average have tuned in to see it all happen. So honestly, we can't expect many of the folks who were there in the glory days to tune in, for old time's sake, to find out how the writers handle Leo McGarry's official exit, forced by actor John Spencer's sudden death on Dec. 16.
As if it's not enough that the election is a nail-biter in the spirit of 2000's race, Leo's death forces conversations on how the news will or won't be used to either camp's advantage, and it becomes a tool to allow for each candidate to reveal his humanity in the midst of the most cutthroat night in American politics.
Then again, it's a handy way to put a bow on what the producers have been working toward all season, which is to make either a Vinick or a Santos presidency acceptable to viewers of every political stripe. They gave us a Democrat who is young, determined and eager to do what's right for the American people, and a moderate, sensible Republican contender as opposed to the mustache-twirling villain any hack can slap into a script. (Oh, and that reminds me, Davis' "Commander in Chief" returns April 13 at 10 p.m. Mark your calendars.)
It's worth a look, if only for the sake of mourning. Somebody's going to lose Sunday, at long last. Watching how it unfolds, however, may remind you of what this series lost some time ago. "
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution: You won't see the secret spilled here. But bless their "orderly transfer of power"-obsessed little hearts at "The West Wing" for not leaving us hanging Sunday. Other shows might have been tempted to make a cliffhanger out of the Election Day face-off between Democrat Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Republican Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). But as this simultaneously bare-knuckled and bittersweet episode reminds us, "Wing" isn't just another show. Where else but on the four-time Emmy winner for best drama would a vice presidential candidate die on Election Day and it not feel emotionally manipulative? Yes, actor John Spencer's unexpected death last December meant his character, Leo McGarry, would likely have to go, too. But other than on the real Capitol Hill, it's rare to find people so capable of, uh, working through their grief so quickly. "I know he's your friend; he's my friend, too," media guru Louise Thornton (Janeane Garofalo) growls at Santos. "But we can't be sentimental about this or we will have a Republican president." So cold. So absolutely dead-on. Here's a few other interesting tidbits from Sunday's episode: Every vote counts? Try telling them that in Rhode Island: Forget hanging chads. For electoral suspense, nothing beats candidates hailing from the country's two most populous states (California for Vinick, Texas for Santos). We're talking final results well past the last commercial break. First, kill all the lawyers: Better yet, send 'em all to Eugene, Ore. When it appears the entire race might come down to two late-reporting states, Santos campaign manager Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) knows to wait for all the votes to be counted. Ha, ha, just kidding. "Every lawyer we got, get 'em on planes to Oregon and Nevada!" he shrieks. Seriously, wouldn't Michigan look better in mauve? Maps get even more screen time than Alda and Smits, as numerous scenes feature campaign reps coloring "called" states in red or blue. Who knew scripted TV was as boring as the real thing? The father-in-law from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: Vinick-Santos isn't the only game. There's also a congressional race involving the son-in-law of President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen), who clearly isn't his fellow Democrat's best stumper: "If the Republicans end up with a one-vote majority in Congress, we can chalk it up to my eldest daughter's lousy taste in men."" From the Orlando Sentinel: From the Rocky Mountain News:
"And the next president of the United States is ...
From the Buffalo News:
" I was shocked to receive the preview tape of this Sunday's election episode of "The West Wing" (8 p.m. WGRZ-TV) without being asked to take a pledge that I wouldn't leak whether Democratic Congressman Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) or Republican Sen. Arnie Vinick (Alan Alda) wins the season-long presidential race. Not that I would ruin the suspense.
And the returns are as nail-biting as they were during the 2000 election between George Bush and Al Gore, making for a suspenseful and poignant hour that surely will satisfy those who have remained with the series after NBC decided to throw away the final season on Sundays.
You have to give local NBC affiliate Channel 2 credit for finding room last Sunday for the first of a two-part election story line inside its Kids Escaping Drugs Telethon. At the end of the episode, Leo McGarry (the late John Spencer), the vice presidential candidate on Santos' ticket, was discovered unconscious and presumed dead on election night. The plot line resulted from the real life death of Spencer.
Naturally, McGarry's death sends election night into more chaos than normal Sunday in "Election Day II." Both insecure candidates fear the worst in a close campaign that could end up in the hands of lawyers if the nominees don't rise above the staff advice they are given.
It isn't an easy balancing act, but the writers skillfully go back and forth between the excitement of the election and the reactions to the depressing news that McGarry has died before the West Coast polls have closed and the candidates know whether they've won their own states. The news of McGarry's death is skillfully related to President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), the two men closest to McGarry who have other things on their mind.
McGarry's death allows the show to address the immediate political ramifications, whether Santos would get the sentimental vote or suffer because he is losing his more experienced partner. Since McGarry dies before all the votes are in, writers John Wells and Eli Attie also deal with the procedure for a replacement on the ticket before a winner is revealed.
In a January interview in Los Angeles, producer John Wells said his staff discovered "there's certainly no Constitutional provision with how to deal with the death of a vice presidential candidate during the electoral cycle."
He added "all the people that we talked to said the wisest thing for a candidate to do would probably be to either indicate who they want to replace them or to just go silent on the issue. If they lose, it's not an issue. If they're elected, it makes the most sense to wait until the inaugural and then try to get a candidate nominated and then through Congress under the 25th Amendment."
So if Vinick wins, the issue is over and the focus would go toward the transfer of power between presidents from different parties. If Santos wins, he could even pick a Republican like Vinick to be his vice president.
McGarry's death also tests the candidates, who often see things more humanely and less cynically than their pragmatic political operatives. The star of Sunday's show isn't either candidate but Lyman, who left the Bartlet administration to become Santos' campaign manager. He has lost his inspiration and mentor, McGarry, who he persuaded to join the Santos ticket. And now he fears losing the race. Fortunately for Lyman, fellow campaign staffer Donna Moss (Janel Moloney) is a calming influence who supports and encourages him a week after they finally consummated their endless flirtation on a night of campaign staff bed-hopping.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4"
" America elects a new president Sunday night, and most viewers don't care.
Too bad. It has been an exciting race, and Election Night hinges on one state. It's not Florida this time, though, so you can check into NBC's The West Wing without suffering flashbacks to 2000.
The West Wing is bowing out after seven seasons with little buzz and weak ratings. It's No. 78, averaging 7.87 million viewers -- confirmation that NBC sapped its White House drama by moving it to 8 p.m. Sundays.
Yet the series, which ends May 14, is going out with passionate acting and arresting developments. Last Sunday's episode arranged romance for Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) and Donna Moss (Janel Moloney) after years of longing glances.
If you haven't been watching this season, catch up when the DVD comes out. A nuclear-plant accident and a missing briefcase have propelled other gripping plots.
This Sunday's superb episode balances the death of vice presidential candidate Leo McGarry (the late John Spencer) with edge-of-your-seat election returns. Rarely are civics lessons so stirring.
The equally appealing presidential candidates -- Republican Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) and Democrat Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) -- make the close election credible. The winner vows unity, saying, "It's not about left or right. It's about doing right."
Alda and Smits are terrific. But so are veteran cast members (Whitford, Martin Sheen, Allison Janney) and newer additions (Patricia Richardson, Janeane Garofalo). The tributes to McGarry -- and Spencer, of course -- are touching.
Unlike most long-running series, The West Wing is leaving the air with class. The ratings don't tell the whole story about a series. How many programs make you feel pride in our democracy?"
"And the winner of the presidential election is . . . of course I won't tell you. That would be unfair to everyone connected with The West Wing and the series' fans.
You won't see the secret spilled here. But bless their "orderly transfer of power"-obsessed little hearts at "The West Wing" for not leaving us hanging Sunday. Other shows might have been tempted to make a cliffhanger out of the Election Day face-off between Democrat Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Republican Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda). But as this simultaneously bare-knuckled and bittersweet episode reminds us, "Wing" isn't just another show.
Where else but on the four-time Emmy winner for best drama would a vice presidential candidate die on Election Day and it not feel emotionally manipulative? Yes, actor John Spencer's unexpected death last December meant his character, Leo McGarry, would likely have to go, too. But other than on the real Capitol Hill, it's rare to find people so capable of, uh, working through their grief so quickly.
"I know he's your friend; he's my friend, too," media guru Louise Thornton (Janeane Garofalo) growls at Santos. "But we can't be sentimental about this or we will have a Republican president."
So cold. So absolutely dead-on.
Here's a few other interesting tidbits from Sunday's episode:
Every vote counts? Try telling them that in Rhode Island: Forget hanging chads. For electoral suspense, nothing beats candidates hailing from the country's two most populous states (California for Vinick, Texas for Santos). We're talking final results well past the last commercial break.
First, kill all the lawyers: Better yet, send 'em all to Eugene, Ore. When it appears the entire race might come down to two late-reporting states, Santos campaign manager Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) knows to wait for all the votes to be counted. Ha, ha, just kidding. "Every lawyer we got, get 'em on planes to Oregon and Nevada!" he shrieks.
Seriously, wouldn't Michigan look better in mauve? Maps get even more screen time than Alda and Smits, as numerous scenes feature campaign reps coloring "called" states in red or blue. Who knew scripted TV was as boring as the real thing?
The father-in-law from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: Vinick-Santos isn't the only game. There's also a congressional race involving the son-in-law of President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen), who clearly isn't his fellow Democrat's best stumper: "If the Republicans end up with a one-vote majority in Congress, we can chalk it up to my eldest daughter's lousy taste in men.""
From the Orlando Sentinel:
From the Rocky Mountain News:
Tune in to Election Day II Sunday night and find out if Republican Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) or Democrat Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) is the new fictional occupant of the White House.
And as a dramatic bonus you'll learn how The West Wing handled the Dec. 16 death of series regular John Spencer, who portrayed Leo McGarry, the former White House chief of staff who had become Santos' running mate.
I wince when reviewing The West Wing's weekly audience figures. Now in its seventh and final NBC season, the award-winning series has gone from "must-see" to "maybe-see" TV. In its ridiculously early Sunday time period (7 p.m. in Denver) The West Wing regularly finishes third behind CBS' Cold Case and ABC's Extreme Makeover.
Has the series' former loyal audience deserted because of the awkward time period or left because of content? I prefer to think it's the former, since this final season has produced a fascinating mix of White House politics and a dramatic presidential campaign.
One fascinating aspect of the show's presidential race: how the scripts have dealt with relevant issues facing real politicians. For example, Sunday night's hour acknowledges the impact illegal immigration has had on our political landscape.
While simplistic answers to knotty problems are not offered, it's to the writers' credit that they can make a fictional political show so timely.
Sunday's hour, written by Executive Producer John Wells and Eli Attie and directed by Co-Executive Producer Chris Misiano, moves seamlessly between the two political camps as the polls begin closing.
This reel see-saw battle will remind viewers of the real 2000 Bush-Gore election, although the script wisely stays away from any hanging-chad scenarios. While the stress reactions in both political camps seem realistic, I'll leave it to the political pros to make that decision.
From strictly a storytelling perspective, these scenes tingle with dramatic intensity. Nearly a dozen talented actors lend their talents to dramatize this down-to-the wire political battle.
The death of Spencer's character, hinted at during last Sunday's final scenes, adds a personalized element to the campaign and produces strong performances from Martin Sheen (President Josiah Bartlet)and Allison Janney (chief of staff C.J. Cregg).
But it's Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman, Santos' political guru, who shines the brightest. Lyman, reflecting on his close White House ties with McGarry, makes no attempt to control his grief. Whitford's Sunday performance, and several others in recent weeks, are of Emmy caliber.
Obviously, Spencer's unexpected death produced last-minute script changes. And such revisions were done with dramatic logic.
Some early fans of The West Wing claim the series lost much of its word power when creator Aaron Sorkin left after season four. Although scripts no longer have Sorkin's cerebral writing style, the strong characters have remained consistent and the storytelling is still superb.
Wells and his crew have done an expert job of melding life in the Bartlet White House and the drama of the campaign trail without confusing viewers. The resulting episodes resonate with flesh-and-blood characters rarely found in a weekly television drama.
The West Wing, airing through the May sweeps, will end with the inauguration of the new president. Numerous past cast members (including Rob Lowe) will be featured along the way.
NBC, which made a critical mistake moving the series from Wednesday to Sunday, at least is allowing The West Wing to have a conclusive ending.
If you're a fallen-away fan, see Sunday night's episode, which should whet your appetite to follow the series to its conclusion.
A final note about Sunday's story line: Only in the world of TV make-believe could the Republicans and Democrats come up with such likable, honorable presidential candidates.
Unfortunately, The West Wing deals with the reel world.
Results of the The West Wing election will be revealed at 7 p.m. Sunday on 9News. Here's a look at the race, considered a dead heat by pollsters:
• Sen. Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda): longtime moderate California Republican senator from the San Diego area.
• Marital status: widowed with grandchildren.
• Running mate: Ray Sullivan (Brett Cullen), governor of West Virginia.
• Campaign issue: tax cuts.
• Strength: A high national profile dealing with defense issues and a moderate voting record in a Democratic state.
• Weakness: Lobbied to open a Southern California nuclear plant under adverse circumstances.
• U.S. Rep. Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits): former Democratic mayor of Houston, now in the U.S. House.
• Running mate: Leo McGarry (John Spencer), former White House chief of staff, who dies after a heart attack in Sunday night's election program.
• Marital status: Married to Helen (Teri Polo), two children.
• Campaign issue: Increase in educational opportunities, particularly for Hispanic youngsters.
• Strength: A more youthful approach to government.
• Weakness: Santos has little national recognition, particularly on issues such as national defense."
From WFAA: Sunday's affecting episode of NBC's The West Wing will be highly eventful on two fronts. The seasonlong presidential race between Houston congressman Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and former California senator Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) will come to an end on "Election Day, Part II." And the real-life death of actor John Spencer will bring about the sudden death of his character, Leo McGarry, who had been Democrat Santos' running mate. Now here's the tricky part. How much should be given away after viewing a preview tape sent by NBC? Let's just say that the nip-and-tuck battle to win 270 electoral votes will come down to Nevada. And characteristically of West Wing, both candidates will decide to take a statesmanlike higher ground rather than calling for any recounts. That's meant to be in stark contrast to the chad-infested Florida recount that sent the 2000 presidential election to the U.S. Supreme Court. West Wing has prided itself over the years on listening to its better angels. So the campaign has been rough-and-tumble, but the outcome will not be. Mr. Spencer, who died of a heart attack on Dec. 16, had been with West Wing since Day One. So there's more than mere acting going on when fellow charter cast members Martin Sheen (President Jed Bartlet), Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman) and Allison Janey (C.J. Cregg) react to his death Sunday night."
"We've got ourselves a winner here.
Sunday's affecting episode of NBC's The West Wing will be highly eventful on two fronts. The seasonlong presidential race between Houston congressman Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) and former California senator Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) will come to an end on "Election Day, Part II." And the real-life death of actor John Spencer will bring about the sudden death of his character, Leo McGarry, who had been Democrat Santos' running mate.
Now here's the tricky part. How much should be given away after viewing a preview tape sent by NBC? Let's just say that the nip-and-tuck battle to win 270 electoral votes will come down to Nevada. And characteristically of West Wing, both candidates will decide to take a statesmanlike higher ground rather than calling for any recounts.
That's meant to be in stark contrast to the chad-infested Florida recount that sent the 2000 presidential election to the U.S. Supreme Court. West Wing has prided itself over the years on listening to its better angels. So the campaign has been rough-and-tumble, but the outcome will not be.
Mr. Spencer, who died of a heart attack on Dec. 16, had been with West Wing since Day One. So there's more than mere acting going on when fellow charter cast members Martin Sheen (President Jed Bartlet), Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman) and Allison Janey (C.J. Cregg) react to his death Sunday night."