The West Wing was an NBC hit that ran from 1999 to 2006. Produced by Aaron Sorkin, it won just about every award going, including three consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Drama, plus gongs for cast members including Alison Janney, Alan Alda, and of course the man playing President Josiah Bartlett himself, Martin Sheen. The show had a glossy look and was noted for its long "walk and talk" sequences, where the camera would track two characters or more on a hike through the hallways of power.
The West Wing followed the administration of a president so virtuous that even back then, it would be hard to imagine such a good person making it so far up the greasy pole of politics. Still, it wasn't an entirely unrealistic show, with petty infighting among the White House team and all sorts of partisan bickering and backstabbing. The producers went to the trouble of hiring real political commentators from both sides of the aisle to consult on the show, ensuring that even views that were not popular in the writers' room were given a fair hearing in the mouths of smart characters who could hold their own.
Ultimately, as with all shows, it was the characters that really made it work and kept the viewers coming back. From President Bartlet to his straight-talking Chief of Staff, his no-nonsense Press Secretary, his badass wife, and his loyal assistants and beyond, the West Wing cast became our friends and even our fantasy elected officials. Let's see how well you remember them!
Out of the 13 original colonies, New Hampshire was the first to declare its independence from England.
President Bartlet received his PhD from The London School of Economics.
The formal practice of public relations dates back to the early 20th century.
Sam Seaborn’s middle name is Norman.
C.J. is originally from Dayton, Ohio.
Josh attended both Harvard and Yale.
This episode deals with Mrs. Landingham’s funeral, among many other things.
The Office of Executive Mail Operations was established by Executive Order 12044 signed by President Jimmy Carter on December 27, 1977.
“Dave” and “The American President” were also written by “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin.
Danny calls the fish Gail before he gives it to C.J.
Al Gore did not win a presidential election.
John Hoynes is played by Tim Matheson who spent his early career on TV until he landed the breakout role of Eric Stratton in the movie “Animal House”.
Donna Moss was not intended to be a series regular.
The President was supposed to be a supporting role.
Lord John Marbury is played by Roger Rees whose last acting credit before his death is on “The American Experience”, a TV Series documentary.
The mother of the twins is Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt of Maryland.
Stockard Channing went on to play Veronica Loy in “The Good Wife”.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body.
C.J’s rendition of “The Jackal” is inspired by actor Allison Janney doing the routine in her trailer between sets.
Police officer line of duty deaths are on the decline in Washington D.C.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 expired in 2004.
Josh announces the secret plan in episode “Celestial Navigation” from season 1.
Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.
The rumor is that he quit because of the pressure of writing so much of the show himself, the increase in budget problems, and the show’s declining ratings.
Ellie Bartlet is played by Nina Siemaszko who was also in “The American President”.
Richard Schiff’s big break came when Steven Spielberg cast him in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”.
Ainsley’s office number is 442.
Toby was a Political Campaign Consultant for five previous campaigns including New York City Council.
Laurie is played by Lisa Edelstein who is in “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce”.
Aaron Sorkin resurrected the law firm for his short-lived series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”.
Harriet Tubman ousts Andrew Jackson as the face of the twenty-dollar bill.
Arnold Vinick is played by Alan Alda who got his big break on the TV show “Mash”.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman played Truman Capote in the biopic “Capote” (2005).
Leo is an alcoholic like his father.
Sidney’s Poitier’s fee was too high, which is why the role did not go to him.