The West Wing

The WORST episodes of The West Wing

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

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.

Last Updated: 3/15/2022Network: NBC
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Gone Quiet
star
7.46
890 votes

#1 - Gone Quiet

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/14/2001

When an American spy submarine suddenly goes silent in hostile North Korea, Bartlet must decide whether to inform the enemy or attempt a secret rescue operation; Abbey learns her past malpractice suits might compromise Bartlet's criminal investigation; Toby meets with a representative from an appropriations committee who wants to funnel money away from Congress's funding of avant-garde artists.

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Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail
star
7.46
920 votes

#2 - Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail

Season 2 - Episode 16 - Aired 2/28/2001

It's Big Block of Cheese Day again. Toby meets with World Trade Organization protesters, and CJ meets with a group of cartographers who want the standards for maps changed to be a more accurate reflection of geographical and political reality. Donna asks Sam to look into granting a pardon for a friend's deceased grandfather. Bartlet is having problems selecting a site for his Presidential library.

Directors: Jessica Yu
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Swiss Diplomacy
star
7.49
956 votes

#3 - Swiss Diplomacy

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired 11/20/2002

The 15-year old son of an Iranian leader needs a heart transplant in the U.S. Problem is, the only man who could do it is an enemy of the Iranian government; The Senate minority leader threatens to thwart the President's legislative agenda when he believes that Hoynes is doing some political maneuvering for the next Presidential election; Toby offers a Congresswoman a Cabinet position but is forced to take back the offer.

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The Long Goodbye
star
7.52
703 votes

#4 - The Long Goodbye

Season 4 - Episode 13 - Aired 1/15/2003

While Toby unsuccessfully attempts to fill her shoes in the briefing room, C.J. returns to Dayton, where she gives a speech at her high school reunion, reconnects with an old friend, and struggles with her father's worsening Alzheimer's.

Directors: Alex Graves
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On the Day Before
star
7.57
851 votes

#5 - On the Day Before

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/31/2001

When Bartlet vetoes the "death tax", the staff must scramble to keep the veto from being overridden; Josh tries to smooth talk a promising governor who is considering running against the President; Charlie is urged to ask for immunity in his upcoming testimony.

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Ways and Means
star
7.59
877 votes

#6 - Ways and Means

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/24/2001

The Special Prosecutor sets his probe in motion; Sam and Bruno are concerned about the loyalty of a powerful labor leader; Toby and Josh are preoccupied with a congressional battle over the estate tax; Ainsley fixes up Donna with a Republican.

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The Lame Duck Congress
star
7.63
819 votes

#7 - The Lame Duck Congress

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/8/2000

The president considers recalling the Senate to push ratification of a nuclear-test-ban treaty. Meanwhile, Donna lobbies new legislation introducing ergonomic standards in the White House; A Ukrainian politician shows up at the White House drunk demanding to see the president.

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The Indians in the Lobby
star
7.63
842 votes

#8 - The Indians in the Lobby

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/21/2001

Disgruntled that Abbey has decided that the Bartlet's will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday at Camp David instead of New Hampshire, Bartlet takes out his pique by boring everyone within earshot over his plans to cook Thanksgiving dinner, going so far as to call "The Butterball Hotline" to ask questions about cooking the stuffing. Josh works to expedite the return of a 13 year old Georgia boy whose parents sent him to Italy after he murdered his teacher. When Italy refuses to extradite the boy to a death penalty state, Josh makes a deal with the district attorney prosecuting the case, offering him unlimited financial backing for his reelection campaign in exchange for his not seeking the death penalty. Sam struggles with the revised OMB poverty level formula which will instantly create four million new poor people until Bruno finds a way to spin it to the administration's advantage. On Thanksgiving Eve, C.J. tries to find someone, anyone, from Interior to meet with two Stockbridge-Mu

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The Portland Trip
star
7.65
909 votes

#9 - The Portland Trip

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/15/2000

After ridiculing Notre Dame, C.J. is forced to accompany the President on a trip to Oregon; Toby and Sam struggle to write Jed's education speech for the following day; back at the White House, Josh tries to dissuade a gay Congressman who supports legislation banning same-sex marriages and Leo gets divorce papers, which causes Margaret to worry that he may fall off the wagon.

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Eppur Si Muove
star
7.67
751 votes

#10 - Eppur Si Muove

Season 5 - Episode 16 - Aired 3/3/2004

When a conservative Republican Congresswoman targets Ellie's research project in an effort to discredit Jed, Toby discovers that the source of the leak is uncomfortably close to home, and Will realizes that they've all greatly underestimated his boss; Josh investigates the wisdom of a recess appointment as he tries to convince an old friend to be patient with the Sixth Circuit judicial nomination process and keep his hat in the ring; C.J. completely misreads Ben's intentions; Donna tracks down an AWOL Ryan; an opening is created on the Supreme Court; in an effort to redefine Abbey's image with the press, C.J. sets her up to do a public service announcement with the Muppets, which inspires Ellie to stand up before the press in defense of scientific research unhampered by politics.

Directors: Llewellyn Wells
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Talking Points
star
7.67
718 votes

#11 - Talking Points

Season 5 - Episode 19 - Aired 4/21/2004

Hail the conquering hero. Josh returns after nailing down details for a trade agreement. But the devil in the detail, including information kept from Josh. C.J. fights megamedia ownership of local TV.

Directors: Richard Schiff
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The Leadership Breakfast
star
7.68
842 votes

#12 - The Leadership Breakfast

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired 1/10/2001

To get real issues to be discussed at a bi-partisan breakfast, Toby makes a deal with a former acquaintance who is the majority leader's new Chief of Staff to strike a bargain and put an issue on the agenda, thereby undermining CJ and setting up the administration to ridicule; The possibility of moving the press corps across the street is briefly explored; Leo and Toby start to face harsh realities about Bartlet's re-election; Josh and Sam build a fire with unfortunate consequences; Leo tells Josh to apologize for him after embarrassing himself in front of a columnist. Unfortunately the embarrassment continues with Sam and Donna.

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Access
star
7.70
631 votes

#13 - Access

Season 5 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/31/2004

A documentary camera crew follows C.J. around for a not-so-typical day in the White House.

Directors: Alex Graves
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Debate Camp
star
7.71
935 votes

#14 - Debate Camp

Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/16/2002

As the staff prepares for the presidential debates at a North Carolina conference center, a vexing question about a failed attorney-general nomination (amid charges of racial profiling) leads to flashbacks of the administration's first weeks in office. Back then, Toby's marriage to Andrea Wyatt was about to end; now Sam and Charlie are helping him in his effort to reconcile with her. Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force weighs in on the Qumari matter, and Joey Lucas reports that the president is likely to lose New Hampshire.

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Mandatory Minimums
star
7.71
960 votes

#15 - Mandatory Minimums

Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired 5/3/2000

Andrea Wyatt insists that mandatory minimums be added to a new drug policy the staff is developing; C.J. makes a mistake and sets them back.

Directors: Robert Berlinger
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Ellie
star
7.71
951 votes

#16 - Ellie

Season 2 - Episode 15 - Aired 2/21/2001

During an online chat, the Surgeon General comments favorably on the legalization of marijuana. The controversy heightens when Ellie Bartlet tells a reporter that her father would never fire the Surgeon General. Toby asks his ex-wife, a Congresswoman, for her help in strongly persuading Seth Gillette to participate in the Social Security panel.

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Bartlet's Third State of the Union
star
7.72
835 votes

#17 - Bartlet's Third State of the Union

Season 2 - Episode 13 - Aired 2/7/2001

The President delivers his 3rd State of the Union address, what critics call "the speech of his political career" and ends up angering Abbey by what he does and doesn't say; Josh must work the polling center with Joey Lucas, but a power outage delays the results; Sam attempts to introduce Ainsley to the President with disastrous results; CJ must juggle a live recording of the show "Capitol Beat" being broadcast within the White House and run damage control when a cop has a (possibly undeserved) black mark on his record; Leo and Bartlet must handle the matter of five DEA officials who are taken hostage by Columbian terrorists.

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Manchester (1)
star
7.73
888 votes

#18 - Manchester (1)

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 10/10/2001

Bartlet's decision about Haiti falls under scrutiny; C.J. makes a horrible blunder in a press conference and is hounded about the president's health by reporters; the staff disagrees about whether Bartlet should apologize for not revealing his medical condition; Abbey is angry that Jed has decided to run for reelection.

Directors: Thomas Schlamme
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The War at Home
star
7.73
875 votes

#19 - The War at Home

Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired 2/14/2001

Bartlet authorizes a special ops team to rescue the five DEA agents only to have them caught in an ambush; CJ arranges for the host of "Capitol Beat" to have an exclusive interview with the wronged police officer; Toby must deal with Senator Gilette who threatens to make a third party run for president due to the tone of the changes on social security reform; Sam gives Ainsley another chance to meet the President, but she still fails to create a good impression; Josh finally gets the poll results from Joey; Abbey and Bartlet discuss his running for a second term.

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Five Votes Down
star
7.73
1276 votes

#20 - Five Votes Down

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/13/1999

Five votes keep an important gun-control bill from being passed and the West Wing has 72 hours to track down the errant congressmen; Toby is accused of manipulating the stock market by having a friend testify to Commerce on internet stocks; and Leo's wife gets fed up with his long hours.

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The Drop In
star
7.73
897 votes

#21 - The Drop In

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired 1/24/2001

Bartlet has the duty of formally welcoming newly appointed ambassadors from other nations; Leo continues his efforts to get the President to support the "missile shield: defense system", even though the shield doesn't quite work; CJ must ask a popular comedian to turn down an offer to host the Will Rogers dinner; Sam is angered when Toby adds a "drop-in" to Sam's already perfect speech without consulting him.

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The White House Pro-Am
star
7.74
988 votes

#22 - The White House Pro-Am

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired 3/22/2000

Abbey keeps the staff busy with the fallout when she leaks her personal preference for a Federal Reserve Board appointment and discusses child labor on a talk show, prompting a Congresswoman to offer an amendment which could shoot down the entire international tariff bill; Charlie's date with Zoey is cancelled because of threats by a white supremacist group.

Directors: Ken Olin
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The Women of Qumar
star
7.75
747 votes

#23 - The Women of Qumar

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/28/2001

C.J. is outraged about an arms sale to secure an airbase lease with a Middle-Eastern country which perpetuates atrocities against its women; the staff anxiously awaits test results to determine the possibility of an outbreak of mad-cow disease; Josh debates a woman's group lobbyist over a treaty's wording concerning prostitution; Toby meets with veterans upset about a Pearl Harbor anniversary exhibition at the Smithsonian; Sam explores the idea of a national seat belt law after Bartlet is sued by a woman whose husband died in an automobile accident.

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20 Hours in L.A.
star
7.75
892 votes

#24 - 20 Hours in L.A.

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired 2/23/2000

Bartlet and the senior staff fly to California to attend an important fundraiser; Hoynes must decide whether he will support Bartlet's stance or go with his convictions when the Senate is deadlocked on an ethanol tax bill.

Directors: Alan Taylor
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Full Disclosure
star
7.76
732 votes

#25 - Full Disclosure

Season 5 - Episode 15 - Aired 2/25/2004

He's back, Former VP John Hoynes, who resigned in sex scandal, makes a bid for political resurrection by trashing Barlet and Leo in a tell-all book. But it's C.J. who's taking the news the hardest,

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