The West Wing (season 6)

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The West Wing (season 6)
West Wing s6.jpg
DVD box cover. Cast from left to right:
Sen. Vinick, President Bartlet, and Rep. Santos.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run October 20, 2004 (2004-10-20) – April 6, 2005 (2005-04-06)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 May 9, 2006 (2006-05-09)
Region 2 September 26, 2005 (2005-09-26)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 5
Next →
Season 7
List of The West Wing episodes

The sixth season of the American political drama television series The West Wing aired in the United States on NBC from October 20, 2004 to April 6, 2005 and consisted of 22 episodes.[1][2]

Crew[edit]

The season was produced by John Wells Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.[3] The executive producers were the production company's namesake and founder John Wells, Christopher Misiano and Alex Graves – Llewellyn Wells (who left the show), Misiano and Graves had previously been co-executive producers in season five.[4] Carol Flint, Peter Noah and John Sacret Young were supervising producers, and Eli Attie, Kristin Harms, Michael Hissrich and Andrew Stearn were producers.[3][4] The West Wing was created by Aaron Sorkin. For the sixth season, regular staff writers were Wells, Flint, Noah, Young, Attie, Debora Cahn, Josh Singer, and former Democratic chief of staff on the Senate Committee on Finance, Lawrence O'Donnell.[5] Cast member Bradley Whitford wrote his first episode of the series. The regular directors were Misiano and Graves, while cast member Richard Schiff directed his second episode of the series.

Cast[edit]

The sixth season had star billing for twelve major roles. Stockard Channing as Abbey Bartlet, Dulé Hill as Charlie Young, Allison Janney as C. J. Cregg, Joshua Malina as Will Bailey, Janel Moloney as Donna Moss, Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler, Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet, John Spencer as Leo McGarry and Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman all returned to the main cast.[6][7] In an initial 10-episode arc, Alan Alda joined the cast as Californian Republican Senator Arnold Vinick alongside Jimmy Smits (as three-term Houston Democratic Congressman Matt Santos) with both characters described as having "presidential aspirations".[8][9] Mary McCormack also joined the main cast after recurring in the previous season as Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper.[10]

Characters that returned in recurring roles were Gary Cole as Vice President Bob Russell, Tim Matheson as former Vice President John Hoynes and Mark Feuerstein as Senate Majority Counsel Clifford Calley.[11][12] Roger Rees as British ambassador, Lord John Marbury also returned for one episode.[11] Kristin Chenoweth joined the recurring cast as Annabeth Schott, former feature writer who becomes Deputy Press Secretary.[9][11][13] Recurring guest-star Ed O'Neill played Governor Eric Baker with Mel Harris (as Senator Rafferty) and Christopher Lloyd (portraying the real-life Lawrence Lessig) also guest-starring in an episode apiece.[11] Actors who left the cast include John Amos as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Percy Fitzwallace who was killed in the penultimate episode of the previous season,[14] Jesse Bradford as intern Ryan Pierce[15] and Michael Hyatt as legislative affairs advisor Angela Blake.[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The season was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards in 2005 without any wins. The show was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series for the sixth year running. Alan Alda, as Senator Vinnick, and Stockard Channing, as Abigail Bartlet were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series respectively.[4] Alex Graves was nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series and production sound mixer Patrick Hanson and re-recording mixers Dan Hiland and Gary D. Rogers were nominated in the Outstanding Single-Camera Sound Mixing for a Series category, both for the episode "2162 Votes".[4][17] "2162 Votes" also got Hanson, Hiland and Rogers a Cinema Audio Society Awards nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Series.[18] The show received a nomination in the Dramatic Series category and Carol Flint received a Writers Guild of America Award nomination in the Episodic Drama category for "A Good Day".[19] Allison Janney, as C. J. Cregg, was nominated at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series and the whole ensemble for the Outstanding Performance in a Drama Series award.[20] John Wells won the Humanitas Prize in the 60-minute category for "NSF Thurmont".[21] At the Producers Guild of America Awards ceremony in 2005, the show was nominated for the Norman Felton Producer of the Year Award – Episodic Drama.[22] Seth Adkins, as Cody Zucker, was nominated for a Young Artist Award in the Best Performance in a Television Series (Comedy or Drama) – Guest Starring Young Actor category.[23] Composer W. G. "Snuffy" Walden was awarded a BMI Television Award for his work on the show.[24] The season won two Imagen Awards, a Latino awards ceremony, with the submitted work "La Palabra". Executive producers John Wells, Christopher Misiano, Alex Graves, Director Jason Ensler, writer Eli Attie, and the executive producers won Best Primetime Series and Jimmy Smits (as Matt Santos) won Best Actor in Television.[25]

Plot[edit]

The sixth season opens with the Israeli and Palestinian delegations arriving at Camp David for peace talks. Despite problems at the summit, a deal is thrashed out by President Bartlet, but not before he fires Leo as chief of staff. Leo suffers a heart attack in the aftermath, leading to a re-shuffle of the White House staff. CJ Cregg becomes chief of staff but she finds it difficult to adapt, a fact not helped by the President's MS and the interference from the First Lady. Away from the White House, Josh convinces Texas Congressman Matt Santos to run for President, and after a shaky start, he finds himself in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination with Vice-President Russell and former Vice-President Hoynes. While the Republican primaries provide a clear winner in California Senator Arnold Vinick, the Democratic ticket is not finalised until the Democratic National Convention, at which Santos is chosen as Presidential nominee, with Leo McGarry as his running mate. Meanwhile, someone at the White House has leaked national security information to reporter Greg Brock.

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
111 1 "NSF Thurmont" Alex Graves John Wells October 20, 2004 (2004-10-20) 2T5001 12.27[26]
The world watches the aftermath of the Gaza attack on U.S. officials. The President learns that 82% of the American people, almost all of Congress, Vice President Bob Russell, Secretary of Defense Miles Hutchinson, the Joint Chiefs, and all of his staff besides C.J. Cregg and Kate Harper want him to launch retaliatory military strikes immediately. Meanwhile, he tries to arrange peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians at Naval Support Facility Thurmont, commonly known as Camp David, the President's retreat in Maryland. Finally, he strikes one of three suggested targets and readies for peace talks. Meanwhile, in Germany, Josh anxiously waits for Donna's recovery, leading to his feelings about her being questioned by Colin.
112 2 "The Birnam Wood" Alex Graves John Wells October 27, 2004 (2004-10-27) 2T5002 12.07[27]
Josh returns to the US as Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at Camp David result in a momentous peace accord. President Bartlet fires White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, who was strongly against the talks. Moments later, Leo suffers a massive heart attack. ("The Birnam Wood" is a reference to the warning given to Macbeth in the Shakespeare play of the same name, in which he is warned that "Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until / Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill / Shall come against him.")
113 3 "Third-Day Story" Christopher Misiano Eli Attie November 3, 2004 (2004-11-03) 2T5003 13.82[28]
The senior staff clash with Congressional leaders on how to fund U.S. peacekeepers destined for the Middle East following the peace accord signed by Israel and the Palestinians. Donna returns to Washington as her injuries slowly heal. As Leo McGarry recovers from his heart attack, the Cabinet secretaries and senior staff members continually make missteps without a Chief of Staff. Bartlet eventually asks C.J. to become the new Chief of Staff.
114 4 "Liftoff" Alex Graves Debora Cahn November 10, 2004 (2004-11-10) 2T5004 15.26[29]
C.J. Cregg begins her tenure as White House Chief of Staff, as Toby and Donna begin searching for a new Press Secretary. The Republic of Georgia offers to give the United States its stockpile of weapons-grade uranium. Josh meets with Representative Matthew Santos of Texas, who is retiring from Congress despite having only recently been elected to his seat. Santos will become a recurring character this season, as he begins a campaign for the Presidency.
115 5 "The Hubbert Peak" Julie Hébert Peter Noah November 17, 2004 (2004-11-17) 2T5005 12.41[30]
Josh crashes an SUV into a hybrid vehicle, causing a public relations disaster. He meets with environmental supporters who berate the White House for doing too little to beef up laws in this area, including raising fuel emissions standards; Josh points out that they have had seven years of a hostile Congress. Annabeth Schott decides she can coach Toby to do the White House's press briefings. Kate confronts Donna about her experiences in Gaza.
116 6 "The Dover Test" Laura Innes Carol Flint November 24, 2004 (2004-11-24) 2T5006 11.76[31]
Santos gets friendly with Republicans over a Patients' Bill of Rights, and the first American soldier dies in the Gaza peacekeeping mission, upsetting Donna.
117 7 "A Change Is Gonna Come" Vincent Misiano Teleplay: John Sacret Young & Josh Singer
Story: John Sacret Young
December 1, 2004 (2004-12-01) 2T5007 13.28[32]
While preparing the upcoming China summit, the Chinese are insulted by President Bartlet's acceptance of a Taiwanese independence movement flag at a prayer breakfast. Charlie must try and return the flag, which proves difficult. Meanwhile, CJ has to agree to stipulations the Chinese are making in order to mend fences. Eventually at a performance by James Taylor that evening paying tribute to Sam Cooke, Jed confides to Abbey that he didn't see the flag. He couldn't tie his bow tie, hasn't been able to focus for over a day, and has lost the sight in his right eye. Meanwhile, former Vice-President John Hoynes asks Josh to run his presidential campaign.
118 8 "In the Room" Alex Graves Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr. December 8, 2004 (2004-12-08) 2T5008 12.33[33]
At Zoey Bartlet's birthday party, magicians Penn and Teller appear to burn an American flag in the White House, prompting a publicity nightmare. Aboard Air Force One, Bartlet is stricken by a paralyzing MS episode, while Josh is approached to run the Vice President's presidential campaign. The Bartlet Administration offer Republican California Senator Arnold Vinick the position of the US Ambassador to the UN, but he turns it down and announces his candidacy for the Presidency instead. Governor Baker drops out of the Democratic nomination race, making Russell the clear front-runner.
119 9 "Impact Winter" Lesli Linka Glatter Debora Cahn December 15, 2004 (2004-12-15) 2T5009 12.53[34]
In China, an impaired Bartlet is having trouble sitting through meetings following his MS attack. In Washington, a NASA functionary warns that an asteroid could strike Earth, while Josh wonders who should be the next guy to occupy the Oval Office and puts off a talk with Donna about her future until she finally quits her job.
120 10 "Faith Based Initiative" Christopher Misiano Bradley Whitford January 5, 2005 (2005-01-05) 2T5010 11.74[35]
A senator attaches a rider to the federal budget bill that would ban gay marriage, almost daring the President to veto it. Josh struggles with his replacement assistant. The Internet is rampant with a story that questions C.J.'s sexual orientation, and it is only fueled further when the White House refuses to dignify the allegations by putting out a statement. Donna joins the Vice President's campaign staff and heads for New Hampshire, while Santos decides that he will run for President if Josh will run his campaign.
121 11 "Opposition Research" Christopher Misiano Eli Attie January 12, 2005 (2005-01-12) 2T5011 11.88[36]
Santos starts up his presidential campaign in New Hampshire, where he and Josh immediately disagree on campaign philosophy and Santos is criticized by Doug Westin, and Josh has a reunion with Donna.
122 12 "365 Days" Andrew Bernstein Mark Goffman January 19, 2005 (2005-01-19) 2T5012 10.92[37]
On the day after Bartlet has given his last State of the Union address, Leo returns to the West Wing, figuring out what to do during the remaining 365 days of Barlet's term and writes "365" on a whiteboard. The tone of the episode is one of melancholy: Leo wanders about at first, seemingly aimless. He tries, and fails, to give a little speech to the team at the beginning of the episode before they scatter to the crises of the day, and is left in his new office watching old State of the Union addresses. After the U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia makes a speech about the upcoming elections there, a Socialist candidate surges in the polls. His followers later kidnap several American contractors working on drug eradication efforts. The President is harshly critical of the CIA Director and Kate points out that the contractors are prisoners of war. The First Lady has to attend a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Martinsville. She is dreading it, until Annabeth briefs her on the "advantages". The President is sick and needs to take regular naps but, eventually, calls together the White House Staff, and Leo gets to finally speak. 364 days left, he says, and we can effect more change in any one of them than in a lifetime after leaving the White House forever. One by one, C.J., Toby, Charlie, Annabeth, Will, and Kate all suggest pressing concerns, changes they would like to see made in the time they have left.
123 13 "King Corn" Alex Graves John Wells January 26, 2005 (2005-01-26) 2T5013 10.69[38]
The presidential candidates journey to Iowa, where Democrats Russell and Santos, and Republican Vinick, are all told by their handlers that when they appear before the corn growers association they must support subsidies for ethanol as fuel, regardless of their true feelings.
124 14 "The Wake Up Call" Laura Innes Josh Singer February 9, 2005 (2005-02-09) 2T5014 9.62[39]
When a British passenger aircraft is accidentally shot down over Iran, causing an international crisis, C.J. battles with the First Lady over the how much to let Bartlet's MS affect his schedule; Toby and constitutional scholar Lawrence Lessig work with Belarusian diplomats on a new constitution.
125 15 "Freedonia" Christopher Misiano Eli Attie February 16, 2005 (2005-02-16) 2T5015 10.17[40]
It is 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 front-runners Russell and 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.
126 16 "Drought Conditions" Alex Graves Debora Cahn February 23, 2005 (2005-02-23) 2T5016 9.93[41]
The loss of Josh Lyman to the Santos campaign has left the West Wing staff noticeably shorthanded. Meanwhile, a bill to combat drought conditions in the western U.S. presents problems for C.J., particularly in dealing with lobbyist Clifford Calley – whom Leo suggests as a replacement for Josh. Reporter Greg Brock investigates the possibility of the White House secretly supporting one of the presidential candidates. Senator Rafferty, a new contender, garners media attention with a ground-breaking speech, her words echoing President Bartlet's original health care plan known only to White House insiders. Asked about this, Toby, who since the recent death of his brother has been even more morose than usual, confronts Josh with his feelings of betrayal over Josh leaving. Their heated argument escalates into a short brawl. In the aftermath, Toby confesses to C.J. that his brother didn't die of cancer, but committed suicide – just “walking away” and leaving his loved ones behind. When Charlie tells Kate Harper that a man from his gym – who, eventually, turns out to be her ex-husband – asked about her, she's unsure if she's ready to date again, but seems to be attracted to Will Bailey.
127 17 "A Good Day" Richard Schiff Carol Flint March 2, 2005 (2005-03-02) 2T5017 10.66[42]
Congressman Santos masterminds a plot to vote down Republican legislation in the House that would de-fund the President's program for stem cell research. A group of middle school children who are part of the Future Leaders for Democracy visit the White House and seek out Toby to discuss the voting age. Kate has to deal with a ridiculous impending invasion of Canada.
128 18 "La Palabra" Jason Ensler Eli Attie March 9, 2005 (2005-03-09) 2T5018 10.10[43]
As Super Tuesday approaches, the three Democratic candidates battle it out to win California as the state legislature passes a bill that would prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses.
129 19 "Ninety Miles Away" Rod Holcomb John Sacret Young March 16, 2005 (2005-03-16) 2T5019 9.75[44]
When speculations fly surrounding the nexus between communist Cuba and the United States, President Bartlet is propelled into a dubious conundrum-that is, to continue secret talks with Cuba's ailing dictator and lift the longstanding embargo or to yield to bipartisan political pressure and reaffirm decades-old sanctions. Meanwhile, Leo and Kate learn that they have more in common than politics when a distant memory of corrupted elections and bar room antics reveal a more intimate connection.
130 20 "In God We Trust" Christopher Misiano Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr. March 23, 2005 (2005-03-23) 2T5020 8.96[45]
Senator Vinick wins the Republican nomination for presidency and begins working on his campaign. He gets political advice from Bruno about choosing a vice president and how to deal with the latest controversy of Vinick's church attendance, or lack thereof. Meanwhile the Democrats are stuck in a three-way race for enough delegates to win the Democratic nominations; Russell barely leads Santos and Hoynes is a distant third. Bartlet tries to show unity in the party by wrangling the candidates.
131 21 "Things Fall Apart" Nelson McCormick Peter Noah March 30, 2005 (2005-03-30) 2T5021 9.88[46]
The clear organization of the Republican Convention is making the Democrats look in disarray as the three candidates continue to battle for a clear Democratic Presidential nominee. Bartlet asks Leo to take control and organize the Democratic Convention. Meanwhile, the International Space Station has a leak and is losing oxygen which jeopardizes the lives of the three astronauts aboard and morality and mortality are examined. And a super-secret space shuttle might help them but it's considered too sensitive to reveal, until someone has a different idea.
132 22 "2162 Votes" Alex Graves John Wells April 6, 2005 (2005-04-06) 2T5022 11.62[47]
Despite the best efforts of the White House, there is still no Presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention. As convention chair, Leo, sits down with representatives from the various campaigns, trying to organize proceedings despite in-fighting. Meanwhile, the lives of the three astronauts in the International Space Station are still hanging in the balance as their oxygen supply dwindles. The White House is trying to deal with the aftermath of the leaked rumor of a military shuttle that can be used save them. With voices on all sides furious, President Bartlet demands that the leaker's name be on his desk by Friday and has given the task to Toby and Kate Harper. Back at the Convention, Josh is trying to work out where he can find the crucial votes needed to win Santos the nomination. With the belief that Hoynes' campaign is over, Josh asks his former boss to transfer his votes to Santos after the first ballot. Meanwhile, the Russell camp receives some bad news. At the White House, Kate and Toby meet the FBI agents in charge of interviewing people capable of leaking the shuttle information. The guilty party is facing ten years in a federal prison for releasing classified information. Santos eventually receives the presidential nomination. Josh tells Leo they still need a Vice President and that the choice for the candidate is Leo.

DVD release[edit]

The DVD release of season six was released by Warner Bros. first in the UK on September 26, 2005 and then in the US on May 9, 2006, after the season had completed broadcasting on television. As well as every episode from the season, the DVD release features bonus material including audio commentary on three episodes from directors and writers, and a documentary on Allison Janney's portrayal of C. J. Cregg.[48][49]

The West Wing: The Complete Sixth Season
Set details[48] Special features[49]
  • Audio Commentary:
    • "King Corn" by John Wells and Alex Graves
    • "In God We Trust" by Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr. and Christopher Misiano
    • "2162 Votes" by John Wells and Alex Graves
  • Featurettes:
    • C. J. Cregg: From Press Secretary to Chief of Staff
    • Easter Egg – A Conversation with John Spencer
Release dates[48][50][51]
 United States  Canada  United Kingdom  Australia
May 9, 2006 September 26, 2005 May 2, 2007

All episodes from the season are available to purchase and download through Warner Bros. Studio online store,[48] to registered users of iTunes Stores in certain countries,[52][53][54][55] and in the US through Amazon Video on Demand.[56] In Canada, the sixth season was simulcast on CTV.[2] In the United Kingdom the series was moved from E4 to Fridays at 9:00 p.m. on sister-station More4 with the season premiering in October 2005.[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2004 Prime-time TV Lineup". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Company) 59 (12): 132. October 2004. ISSN 0012-9011. 
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  3. ^ a b NBC: Press release (July 14, 2005). "NBC Universal Television Group scores big at Emmy nominations". The Futon Critic. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "The West Wing". Primetime Emmy Awards. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
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  8. ^ "Jimmy Smits joins 'West Wing'". USA Today. August 30, 2004. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Shister, Gail (August 28, 2004). "Alan Alda will join cast of 'West Wing'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ MacDonald, Daniel (August 14, 2006). "The West Wing: The Complete Sixth Season". DVD Verdict. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Download The West Wing: The Complete Sixth Season". WBShop.com. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  12. ^ Beck, Marilyn; Smith, Stacy Jenel (June 21, 2009). "Ask Stacey: Chris Noth, Mark Feuerstein...". The Jacksonville Observer. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  13. ^ Buckman, Adam (November 11, 2004). "Smits not the Best "Wing"". New York Post. Retrieved October 16, 2010. "...new deputy press secretary played by new cast member Kristin Chenoweth." 
  14. ^ Pennington, Gail (October 20, 2004). "Critic's Picks". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. F06. Retrieved October 14, 2010.  (subscription required)
  15. ^ "Breaking News – Development Update". The Futon Critic. August 11, 2003. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ "ABC TV Guide". ABC Online. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
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  18. ^ "42nd CAS Award Winners and Nominees for 2005". Cinema Audio Society. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
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General references