How will 'The West Wing' end?

91911__ww_l[SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read this if you don’t want information about key plot points in upcoming episodes of The West Wing.]

NBC’s announcement over the weekend that this season will be the last for The West Wing isn’t much of a surprise, given the show’s moribund ratings and the recent death of John Spencer. It’s a shame, since the Vinick-Santos presidential race has revived the show creatively. The one consolation is that the impending end of the series in May gives the writers some creative freedom in how they shape the end of the presidential campaign. Already, producers are talking about bringing Rob Lowe back for the finale, while Spencer’s death is being written into the show in a dramatic way. (SPOILER ALERT!  Spencer’s character, vice-presidential candidate Leo McGarry, will die of a heart attack just five days before the election, in a two-part episode to air April 2.)

I think the writers should let the Republican Vinick (Alan Alda, above left) win the election. The West Wing scribes may be so used to writing for a liberal White House that they wouldn’t know how to switch parties, but now, they don’t have to worry about how they might write for a Vinick administration, so why not let him win? It would be more interesting. Besides, I thought he cleaned Santos’ (Jimmy Smits, above right) clock in November’s live debate episode.

Current president Martin Sheen (above center), who would have been out of a job next season anyway, tells People how he’d like the last episode to end. How would you like to see The West Wing wind down?

addCredit(“The West Wing: NBC Universal Photo”)


Comments (13 total) Add your comment
  • Ned

    I’m a democrat, and I would slit my wrist before I would ever vote for a republican, but the show should end with Vinick winning. No offense to Jimmy Smits, but Alan Alda is a fantastic actor, and I would love to see the final shot of him in the oval office, reading the traditional note left by Bartlet.

  • Milton

    I would like to have Josh and Donna finally get together, like they were supposed to be after Leo’s funeral. I hope they end the series, then amybe come back with a two hour movie to end it right next year.

  • Big Joe

    I think Vinick is the hands-down winner. Santos’ people have worked so hard to politicize that they’re not politicizing everything, which is so middle-of-the-road. Vinick makes a statement, takes a stand, and is prepared to back every one of his positions. Santos keeps running around chasing his own tail. On a talent level, I think Alan Alda also outshines his ‘opponent’ and should have been given the chance to carry the show at least one more season!

  • Howard

    Ned, nice to see that you keep an open mind. Knee-jerk voting in either direction is a dangerous thing.
    Having Vinick win makes it seem like they’re doing something radical, without having to write for a Republican for four more seasons. Heck, the fact that they made him a decent human being must be giving half of Hollywood fits (“A Republican … NICE?!?”).
    IMO, the casting for this was terrific. Unlike the last election, where James Brolin’s character was rarely shown, and when he was, it was obvious that he was no match for Bartlett, Smits and Alda are two actors who are almost incapable of “dumbing it down”, and instead portrayed two intelligent ethical candidates who did what Leo said that he wanted to do back in Season 1: raise the level of debate on the show.

  • Brian

    I guess the scene at the season opening of Leo in the hall with the other West Wingers at the opening of Bartlet’s pres library was a Dallas-esque dream huh? I thought it more plausible to have Leo have a stroke and be incapaciated through the election and end of the series with the possibility for recovery, hence his appearance in the season opener. Oh well. Writers are the wackiest peoples.

  • bec

    FYI (for the millionth time), leo was not in the flash foward scene from the season premiere.

  • Isa

    bec, Leo wasn’t in the “3 years later” scene. Only CJ, Danny, Toby, Kate, Charlie, Will, Josh and Bartlet were :)
    I’d like to see the Inauguration at the end. Also Danny and CJ finally getting together. The problem with that path would be : what about Toby and Andy, Will and Kate, Charlie and Zoey, John and donna, Sam and mallory and so on ? it’s endless. I wouldn’t like a ‘romance episode’.
    As for the winner : Santos ! (sorry I can’t even write the name of a republican but anyway I’m not american…)

  • Krysta Stelter

    I think it’s only appropriate, especailly after John’s death that the show ends with the Bartlet admin going out and maybe show a day or two of the new admin, especially if Josh and Santos wins. And end with a toast to Leo (John) with everyone at the White House one last time, and Josh saying, “what’s next?”
    Fade to black.:)

  • Brian

    Hey Bec, he was indeed and I can direct you to a screen shot of him with the others if you like.

  • Brian

    Oops. Indeed I was wrong. Hmm. I guess my brain just drew him in. Well then, I guess all is well in West Wing land.

  • Angie

    Vinick should win, but I will be surprised if writers in Hollywood are brave enough to write a storyline with a Republican as the winner!

  • Ken

    Jimmy Smits/Matt Santos wins the election.
    If you watch closely in the season premiere, when Josh comes into the hall and announces that the president has arrived, they cut to a scene in front of the library, when they show the president getting out of the limo, he clearly doesn’t have highly polished shoes, Vinnick would.

  • Andrew

    Why should Vinick win, It’s not like American’s would ever elect a Rebulican.

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