The BEST Episodes of The West Wing

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Network: NBC

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.

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#1 - Tomorrow

Season 7 - Episode 22 - Aired May 14, 2006

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 8.76
756 votes
Writers: John Wells
Two Cathedrals

#2 - Two Cathedrals

Season 2 - Episode 22 - Aired May 16, 2001

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 8.51
918 votes
Directors: Thomas Schlamme
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Things Fall Apart

#3 - Things Fall Apart

Season 6 - Episode 21 - Aired Mar 30, 2005

Faced with a Democratic party in disarray in the face of the strongest Republican challenger they have ever had, Bartlet asks Leo to take charge of the potentially chaotic Democratic National Convention, while Santos considers a party-unifying vice-presidential offer from front-runner Russell. Meanwhile, the International Space Station is leaking oxygen and a rescue of the three astronauts will be difficult, and Bartlet catches Charlie leaving Zoey's bedroom after a nighttime visit.

star 8.39
676 votes
Writers: Peter Noah
2162 Votes

#4 - 2162 Votes

Season 6 - Episode 22 - Aired Apr 6, 2005

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 8.38
689 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: John Wells
Faith Based Initiative

#5 - Faith Based Initiative

Season 6 - Episode 10 - Aired Jan 5, 2005

A senator attaches a rider to the federal budget bill that would ban gay marriage, almost daring the President to veto it, as the physical infirmities of Bartlet's MS become more pronounced. The Internet is rampant with a story that questions CJ's sexual orientation, and it is only fueled further when CJ refuses to dignify the allegations by putting out a statement. Donna joins the Vice President's senior staff, and heads for New Hampshire to start up Russell's presidential campaign there. And Santos decides that he will run for president after all, but only if Josh will leave the White House to manage his campaign.

star 8.31
593 votes
Writers: Bradley Whitford
Twenty Five

#6 - Twenty Five

Season 4 - Episode 23 - Aired May 14, 2003

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 8.29
868 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
The Debate

#7 - The Debate

Season 7 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 6, 2005

Santos and Vinick battle it out in primetime live. Forrest Saywer the moderator poses questions and attempts to ensure that the candidates remain within bounds. Ellen DeGeneres guest hosts the show on behalf of American Express and their new credit card.

star 8.29
622 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.
The Dogs of War

#8 - The Dogs of War

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 1, 2003

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 8.28
896 votes
Writers: John Wells
La Palabra

#9 - La Palabra

Season 6 - Episode 18 - Aired Mar 9, 2005

Santos is campaigning in California during the last few days before the all-important "Super Tuesday" primary elections, but he is out of money and he trails both Russell and Hoynes in the polls. When even "La Palabra", a Latino voters group, is all set to endorse Hoynes instead of Santos, Josh urges Santos to take a stand on the new bill that denies driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, Donna tries to figure out why Hoynes suddenly isn't campaigning in California, and advances her position in the Russell campaign by becoming the Vice President's official spokesperson.

star 8.26
659 votes
Directors: Jason Ensler
Writers: Eli Attie
The Last Hurrah

#10 - The Last Hurrah

Season 7 - Episode 20 - Aired Apr 30, 2006

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 8.25
760 votes
Directors: Tim Matheson
Writers: Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.
Separation of Powers

#11 - Separation of Powers

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 12, 2003

As Chief Justice Ashland's health problems continue to mount, Joe Quincy, Ashland's former clerk, is pressed into service to persuade him to retire; as C.J. prepares Zoey for a sit-down interview about her kidnapping, Abbey reveals that her relationship with her husband is still strained; Jed refuses to be held hostage by the Republican in the budget negotiations.

star 8.25
757 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: Paul Redford

#12 - Commencement

Season 4 - Episode 22 - Aired May 7, 2003

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 8.24
785 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: Aaron Sorkin

#13 - Freedonia

Season 6 - Episode 15 - Aired Feb 16, 2005

It's five days before the New Hampshire primary, and Josh is desperately trying to find a "silver bullet" that will get his candidate into the local debate between the two front-runners, Vice President Russell and former Vice President Hoynes. Then, Josh and Santos's disagreements over how to run the campaign come to a head when Santos hires Josh's ex-girlfriend Amy Gardner to help him prepare for the debate he may never be in. And Donna has a memorable encounter with a chicken.

star 8.24
767 votes
A Change Is Gonna Come

#14 - A Change Is Gonna Come

Season 6 - Episode 7 - Aired Dec 1, 2004

Hoynes throws his hat in the presidential ring, and asks Josh to join his campaign; Jed's health begins to deteriorate; Toby and Kate head the protocol negotiations with the Chinese over the arrangements for the upcoming summit, which is jeopardized when Jed mistakenly accepts a Taiwanese flag at the National Prayer Breakfast; Bernard takes his new position as head of the Gifts Unit to heart as he gives Charlie a hard time about retrieving the flag so that it can be returned; Josh has his hands full with a pro-Taiwanese senator holding a hard line on recognizing their independence; Bob Russell crashes an Oval Office photo op with the governor of Pennsylvania, who's also another potential presidential candidate.

star 8.23
673 votes
Writers: John Sacret Young, Josh Singer
In the Room

#15 - In the Room

Season 6 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 8, 2004

Penn and Teller roll a lesson about the First Amendment into their entertainment at Zoey's White House birthday party, setting off a media frenzy and public relations nightmare; Baker drops out of the race, leaving the field free for Russell, who asks Josh to run his campaign; Jed takes a hard line on making significant gains on substantive issues in his last China summit; Vinick turns down Jed's offer of the U.N. ambassadorship to run for president; a fully ambulatory Donna has difficulty scheduling a meeting with Josh; Jed has an MS relapse which leaves him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

star 8.23
655 votes
Directors: Alex Graves
Writers: Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.

#16 - Undecideds

Season 7 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 13, 2005

Lou and Santos run into trouble on the road when they try to pick up a family's vote; their child was shot by a Latino police officer. Also, CJ must manage a crisis between China and Kazakhstan.

star 8.22
705 votes
Writers: Debora Cahn

#17 - Shutdown

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 19, 2003

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 8.21
887 votes
Writers: Mark Goffman
20 Hours in America (2)

#18 - 20 Hours in America (2)

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 25, 2002

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 8.21
880 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
Life on Mars

#19 - Life on Mars

Season 4 - Episode 21 - Aired Apr 30, 2003

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

star 8.21
804 votes
Writers: Aaron Sorkin
The Supremes

#20 - The Supremes

Season 5 - Episode 17 - Aired Mar 24, 2004

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 8.20
749 votes
Directors: Jessica Yu
Writers: Debora Cahn
Impact Winter

#21 - Impact Winter

Season 6 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 15, 2004

As acting chief of staff, Josh calls Leo in for backup when the news about Jed's health hits; the staff follows the progress of an asteroid headed for earth; Jed struggles with his relapse as C.J., Kate, and Toby handle the repercussions of his illness on the progress of the China summit; Josh is outraged when Will uses Jed's paralysis as a political opportunity for Russell; Donna resorts to extreme measures when Josh avoids her repeated attempts to sit down for a personal discussion; after receiving some wise advice from Leo about the future, Josh makes a decision about the man he'll support in the upcoming presidential election.

star 8.19
702 votes
Writers: Debora Cahn
The Ticket

#22 - The Ticket

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 25, 2005

As everyone but Josh causes Santos to question his choice of Leo as his running mate, Bartlet's investigation into the dangerous press leak continues. Also C.J. gets interviewed by Babish and Donna approaches Josh for a job.

star 8.18
702 votes
Writers: Debora Cahn
In God We Trust

#23 - In God We Trust

Season 6 - Episode 20 - Aired Mar 23, 2005

Senator Vinick, now the Republican Presidential nominee, receives advice from former Bartlet political consultant Bruno Gianelli on how to win all 50 states in the general election, and more specifically in the near term how to present his religious views to the public and pick a running mate. Meanwhile, Bartlet wrestles with getting a minimum wage hike passed by attaching it to a bill necessary to raise the debt ceiling, and with how to unify his party in the face of a three-way race for the Democratic nomination.

star 8.18
670 votes
Writers: Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.
The Wake Up Call

#24 - The Wake Up Call

Season 6 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 9, 2005

Valentine's Day starts badly when the Iranian air force shoots down a British airliner, killing 100 passengers. The U.K. Prime Minister threatens to retaliate by bombing nuclear reactor sites, which could doom future support for political reformers in Iran. But C.J. has made an agreement with Abbey to allow the President to get more rest, and she is reluctant to awaken him at 5 A.M. to deal with the crisis. Meanwhile, Toby and a visiting law professor answer questions from a foreign delegation that is trying to write a new constitution for the former Soviet Republic of Belarus, and harried staffers pass the buck of Leo's traditional meeting with the new Miss World.

star 8.18
655 votes
Directors: Laura Innes
Writers: Josh Singer
Third-Day Story

#25 - Third-Day Story

Season 6 - Episode 3 - Aired Nov 3, 2004

Leo is rushed into bypass surgery after suffering a massive heart attack; as Toby and Josh scramble chaotically to get votes after Haffley demands Democratic support for a tax cut in exchange for ratification of the peace plan, it becomes quickly apparent that Jed must overcome his reluctance to name a new chief of staff; C.J. works with the State Department on getting U.N. and NATO approval of the peace accord; Charlie drags his feet about completing some minor graduation requirements because he's reluctant to keep his promise that he'll resign as Jed's body man to seek a better position once he has his degree; Donna returns to work; C.J. gets on Josh's case about his unhealthy diet.

star 8.17
742 votes
Writers: Eli Attie
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