The Best Episodes of The West Wing

Last Updated: Nov 14, 2018

The West Wing provides a glimpse into presidential politics in the nation's capital as it tells the stories of the members of a fictional presidential administration. These interesting characters have humor and dedication that touches the heart while the politics that they discuss touch on everyday life.

Two Cathedrals

#1 - Two Cathedrals

Season 2 - Episode 22

On the day of Mrs. Landingham's funeral, the staff deals with a Haitian presidential crisis and the law suit against the big tobacco companies, and Bartlet must decide about running for reelection.

star 8.72
314 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Tomorrow

#2 - Tomorrow

Season 7 - Episode 22

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.

star 8.70
229 votes
Writers: John Wells
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Twenty Five

#3 - Twenty Five

Season 4 - Episode 23

When Bartlet learns that Zoey's kidnapping is the work of Qumari terrorists, he invokes the 25th amendment to diminish their leverage and eliminate any conflict of interest; since there's no Vice President, the power of the Presidency passes to Bartlet's chief political rival and the most powerful Republican in the country, the Speaker of the House, who immediately takes a very hard line; now that twins Huck and Molly have arrived, Toby wonders if he's capable of loving them enough.

star 8.47
253 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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What Kind of Day Has It Been

#4 - What Kind of Day Has It Been

Season 1 - Episode 22

The staff deals with the crisis of an American pilot who was shot down in Iraq; Toby's brother is in danger on a space shuttle whose doors won't close; Bartlet and the senior staff walk into trouble as they leave a town meeting.

star 8.46
352 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Commencement

#5 - Commencement

Season 4 - Episode 22

Bartlet finally tells the staff the truth about the death of Shareef; Danny agrees to hold off on the story after five alleged terrorists go missing; Andy goes into labor after once again refusing Toby's marriage proposal; Zoey is kidnapped from a nightclub on the night of her college graduation.

star 8.45
250 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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The Supremes

#6 - The Supremes

Season 5 - Episode 17

Jed and the staff vet potential Supreme Court appointees; Toby and Andy don't see eye-to-eye on her fact-finding trip to the Middle East; Donna's parents are the unlikely inspiration for the resolution to the problems arising from the judicial confirmation process.

star 8.43
245 votes
Directors: Jessica Yu
Writers: Debora Cahn
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Election Day (2)

#7 - Election Day (2)

Season 7 - Episode 17

Abbey is in New Hamphire with Liz Bartlet-Westin and they are awaiting the results of Doug Westin's campaign for a seat in Congress. Members of both the Santos campaign and the Vinick campaign must decide how to handle a tragedy, as the voters around the country continue to cast their votes for the next President of the United States.

star 8.43
207 votes
Writers: John Wells, Eli Attie
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2162 Votes

#8 - 2162 Votes

Season 6 - Episode 22

At the Democratic National Convention, Russell, Santos and Baker jockey for the 2162 votes that will give one of them the nomination for President, and the opportunity to lose to the apparently unstoppable Vinick in November. Meanwhile, the President must make a decision before it's too late on whether to deploy a secret rescue mission to the space station, and the FBI is asked to determine who leaked the existence of the military shuttle to the press.

star 8.41
221 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: John Wells
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In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (2)

#9 - In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (2)

Season 2 - Episode 2

With the accomplice in custody, it's revealed that the intended target was Charlie, not Bartlet. The staff still awaits news about Josh, and recalls how C.J. and Donna came to join the Bartlet campaign.

star 8.41
341 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (1)

#10 - In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (1)

Season 2 - Episode 1

While the staff awaits news regarding the injuries to Jed and Josh, they recall how Josh, Sam, and Toby became involved in the campaign three years earlier; Leo, Toby, and C.J. deal with inquiries on Secret Service protection policies, as well as the absence of executive authority while Jed was in surgery.

star 8.36
370 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Inauguration (2): Over There

#11 - Inauguration (2): Over There

Season 4 - Episode 15

Toby discovers that Will's frankness, stubbornness, and commitment to ideals is much like his own; Charlie remains on the hunt for an inaugural Bible; Bartlet and the staff continue to debate over sending American troops into Kundu to stop a genocidal war until Laurel and Hardy provide some needed inspiration; Bartlet appoints Will Deputy Communications Director; Donna takes one for Jack when a comment he thinks he is making off the record is included in a "Post" article by Danny's editor.

star 8.32
258 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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The Dogs of War

#12 - The Dogs of War

Season 5 - Episode 2

Bombs drop on Qumar upon Walken's orders; as the hours pass without any word on Zoey's whereabouts, tensions increase within the Bartlet family; Walken and Leo clash after Josh's suspicion that the opposition is using Walken's tenure in the Oval Office to advance their agenda is confirmed; Andy takes the twins home; Leo inflicts a new intern from a prominent political family on an unwilling Josh; Jed's staff is less than thrilled when they learn who will succeed Walken as Speaker of the House; the search for a new Vice President is accelerated; Zoey is rescued.

star 8.29
250 votes
Writers: John Wells
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Duck & Cover

#13 - Duck & Cover

Season 7 - Episode 12

Bartlet must deal with the possiblity of a nuclear explosion in California, Kate is keeping a careful watch on the election in Kazakhstan and China's response, Will is acting as the government's voice this week, and Josh is trying to keep his political version of Tourette's in check.

star 8.28
210 votes
Writers: Eli Attie
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Election Day (1)

#14 - Election Day (1)

Season 7 - Episode 16

Election Day finally arrives, and between analyzing exit polls, and mulling over news reports, a few Santos staff members discover the joys of campaign romance. Meanwhile, C.J. ponders life after the White House; and Annabeth makes a tragic discovery.

star 8.28
216 votes
Directors: Mimi Leder
Writers: Lauren Schmidt
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20 Hours in America (2)

#15 - 20 Hours in America (2)

Season 4 - Episode 2

Donna teaches Toby and Josh an important lesson as their trek homeward continues; Sam staffs the President in Josh's absence and welcomes an old friend home; Bartlet hires a secretary and C.J. finds a Big Brother for Anthony; the situation in Qumar continues to escalate; Bartlet gets spooked by a photo op as the Dow continues its dive; and a pipe bomb kills 44 students at a Midwest university swim meet.

star 8.27
255 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Shutdown

#16 - Shutdown

Season 5 - Episode 8

Jed's decision not to be held hostage by Haffley shuts down the federal government; unable to get through to Jed and fearing the worst, Leo calls in the reinforcements, and Abbey returns to Washington to deliver a message and provide her husband with a little perspective; after being benched from the staff meetings, Josh gets put back in the game by Jed and sets the stage for victory; disregarding the advice of more seasoned colleagues, Haffley makes a major misstep and loses his advantage over the White House; Jed and Haffley meet and reach an accord on the budget.

star 8.27
247 votes
Writers: Mark Goffman
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In Excelsis Deo

#17 - In Excelsis Deo

Season 1 - Episode 10

Toby tries to arrange a proper funeral for a homeless veteran; Josh and Sam try to set up a preemptive strike against Lillienfield, who is attacking Leo because of his prior drug and alcohol problem; CJ tries to get the staff to revisit the hate crimes issue; Bartlet sneaks out to do some last minute shopping.

star 8.26
360 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Rick Cleveland
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Noël

#18 - Noël

Season 2 - Episode 10

Josh investigates the suicide of a pilot with whom he has things in common; Donna tries to get an invitation to the Congressional Christmas party to hear Yo-Yo Ma perform; Jed insists on signing a mountain of Christmas cards himself; after a White House visitor has a strange reaction to a painting, C.J. sets out to discover its provenance; following weeks of volatile behavior and an outburst in the Oval Office, Josh meets with representatives from the America Trauma Victims Association and finally deals with the trauma from his shooting.

star 8.24
338 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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Game On

#19 - Game On

Season 4 - Episode 6

Bartlet, Leo, Josh, Sam and C.J. pull a practical joke on Toby; Sam's mission to end the Wilde campaign leads him to make a career-altering decision; Jordan backs up Leo as he deals with the Qumari; Toby continues to press his case with a resistant Andrea; and Bartlet cleans Ritchie's clock in their debate.

star 8.24
276 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Paul Redford
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Life on Mars

#20 - Life on Mars

Season 4 - Episode 21

On his first day at work, Joe Quincy pieces together three news leaks and uncovers a scandal which forces Hoynes to resign.

star 8.24
243 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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The Mommy Problem

#21 - The Mommy Problem

Season 7 - Episode 2

Santos and Vinick have to deal with press fallout when it looks like the Bartlet White House is not going to continue the investigation into the press leaks.

star 8.23
199 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: Eli Attie
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Let Bartlet Be Bartlet

#22 - Let Bartlet Be Bartlet

Season 1 - Episode 19

Mandy's old memo about Bartlet administration weaknesses surfaces; Josh tries to get administration nominees appointed to the Federal Elections Committee; Sam works to get a better policy on gays in the military.

star 8.23
329 votes
Directors: Laura Innes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Peter Parnell, Patrick Caddell
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The Last Hurrah

#23 - The Last Hurrah

Season 7 - Episode 20

While Santos is busy trying to select a new vice president, his wife finds her new responsibilities staggering. Meanwhile, Vinick ponders his next move.

star 8.22
206 votes
Directors: Tim Matheson
Writers: Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr.
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Celestial Navigation

#24 - Celestial Navigation

Season 1 - Episode 15

Toby and Sam travel to Connecticut to get Roberto Mendoza released from jail; Josh must run a press briefing when C.J. has an emergency root canal.

star 8.21
348 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin, Dee Dee Myers, Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.
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Inauguration (1)

#25 - Inauguration (1)

Season 4 - Episode 14

The staff wrangles with the State Department over language in the inaugural address; a genocidal war breaks out in Kundu, and Bartlet weighs his options as Will pushes for American military involvement based on Bartlet's statements in the past; the Chief Justice's increased propensity for writing opinions in verse causes concern about his competence; Bartlet keeps Charlie busy on the hunt for the perfect Bible for the inauguration; Donna becomes upset when Jack is transferred out of the White House and reassigned to Italy after getting caught in a squeeze play between the Oval Office and the Pentagon.

star 8.20
234 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
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