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The Late Movies: Best of The West Wing

The West Wing combined drama, humor, sharp writing and dynamic characters and wrapped it all up as a U.S. civics lesson. Tonight for The Late Movies, here are a few of my favorite clips.

Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, played by the late John Spencer, liked to hold Big Block of Cheese Days—days when people who didn’t normally have the ear of the president could present ideas to senior staff. Here, Josh and CJ discuss a new way of viewing the world with one of these groups.

After Josh is wounded following a failed presidential assassination attempt, he is diagnosed with PTSD, causing him to fear he will lose his job. Here, his boss Leo, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, sets his mind at ease.

Toby Ziegler, the White House Communications Director, is often seen as a sad and pessimistic person. He even intimated to Leo that he was worried he wouldn’t love his children. However, in this scene he meets his twins for the first time and discovers how wrong he was.

The introduction of Stockard Channing as Jed’s wife Abbey was a tremendous boost to the cast and the story lines. In this scene, Abbey is trying to get Jed ready for his first and only debate during his reelection campaign.

Here’s President Bartlet speaking to a group of radio personalities. He takes on Jenna Jacobs, a prominent right-wing radio host, in a discussion of the Bible. Aaron Sorkin took the idea from an anonymous internet posting—the crew was unable to locate the author.

Mark Harmon had an all too brief story arc as a Secret Service agent in charge of protecting CJ from a stalker. But he also falls in love with her. This is the finale to season 3, featuring Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Hallelujah.”

Finally, from one of the best episodes, “Two Cathedrals,” here is a scene featuring Martin Sheen talking to God.


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