Season 7 was the final on-air season of The West Wing. It consisted of twenty-two episodes, the first of which aired on September 25, 2005 and the last on May 14, 2006.

About

A special episode, The Debate, was broadcast live in both the Eastern/Central and Pacific Time zones and used the format of an actual Presidential debate, with News Anchor Forrest Sawyer as moderator. The season also saw the death of cast member John Spencer and subsequent death of his character, Leo McGarry. Unlike the previous seasons of the show, which mostly followed the calendar year over the course of several months, this season closely followed the post-convention week-to-week behind-the-scenes operations of both the Santos and Vinnick campaigns, and the Bartlet administration's efforts to cement its legacy. It was the first season that did not feature all of the regular cast members in the opening credits of every episode. Alda, Janney, McCormack, Whitford, Smits, and Sheen are credited in every episode whether or not they appear. Spencer continued to be credited as a main character even in the episodes that were filmed after he died.

Summary

As the season opens, Congressman Matt Santos has just received the Democratic party's presidential nomination and begins his campaign in earnest against Republican party nominee Senator Arnold Vinick for the presidency. Santos begins his season 9 points down against his opponent, and must struggle to catch him throughout the season. A pivotal point in the campaign comes when both candidates engage in a single debate, which was depicted in a special episode that was aired live on both the East and West Coasts of the United States.

Meanwhile, the lame duck Bartlet administration struggles to maintain a balance between establishing its own legacy while simultaneously ensuring a Democratic victory. While doing this, the President attempts to avert a war between Russia and China over who controls an oil-rich former Soviet state, a war which could escalate into a much larger conflict. On a lighter note, the President's middle daughter, Ellie, marries her fiancee in a hastily arranged White House ceremony after revealing that the couple is expecting a baby.

Leo McGarry, a veteran of conducting campaigns behind the scenes, must deal with being thrust into the spotlight as a nationally recognized political figure. He must learn not only to campaign effectively but also to learn how to deal with handling ambushes from the Press and debating a skilled political opponent.

As the Santos campaign continues to lag consistently in the polls, an accident at a Nuclear power plant in California suddenly swings the balance in favor of them when it is revealed that Vinick pushed hard to get the same plant up and running. The presidency is suddenly completely up for grabs.

On election day, the race is neck and neck. As both campaigns await the outcome of the close election, it is revealed that Leo McGarry (played by John Spencer, who had died earlier in the year) has died from a heart attack on the night of the election. At the end, Matt Santos wins an extremely narrow Electoral College victory.

Following the election, both the White House staff and the President-elect's staff mourn Leo's death, and look for someone who can take his place as VP. The remaining episodes of the series deal with the transition to the new administration, including the selection of the new cabinet and senior staff, the incoming first family's adjustment to their new living conditions, and the outgoing staff's future careers. The season - and series - ends with the inauguration of President Santos

Cast

Alan Alda as Arnold Vinick (12 episodes)
Stockard Channing as Abigail Bartlet (4 episodes)
Kristin Chenoweth as Annabeth Schott (11 episodes)
Dulé Hill as Charlie Young (6 episodes)
Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg (17 episodes)
Joshua Malina as Will Bailey (17 episodes)
Janel Moloney as Donna Moss (13 episodes)
Mary McCormack as Kate Harper (12 episodes)
Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler (11 episodes)
John Spencer as Leo McGarry (7 episodes)
Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman (19 episodes)
with Jimmy Smits as Matthew Santos
and Martin Sheen as President Bartlet (12 episodes)

Recurring cast

Teri Polo as Helen Santos

Guest Cast

Episodes

# Title Writer Director Notes
1 701.jpg The Ticket Debora Cahn Christopher Misiano
2 702.jpg The Mommy Problem Eli Attie Alex Graves
3 703.jpg Message of the Week Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. Christopher Misiano
4 704.jpg Mr. Frost Alex Graves Andrew Bernstein
5 705.jpg Here Today Peter Noah Alex Graves
6 706.jpg The Al Smith Dinner Eli Attie Lesli Linka Glatter
7 150px The Debate Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. Alex Graves
8 708.jpg Undecideds Debora Cahn Christopher Misiano
9 709.jpg The Wedding Josh Singer Max Mayer
10 710.jpg Running Mates Peter Noah Paul McCrane
11 711.jpg Internal Displacement Bradley Whitford Andrew Bernstein
12 712.jpg Duck and Cover Eli Attie Christopher Misiano
13 713.jpg The Cold Teleplay by Debora Cahn
Story by Debora Cahn and Lauren Schmidt
Alex Graves
14 714.jpg Two Weeks Out Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. Laura Innes
15 715.jpg Welcome to Wherever You Are Josh Singer Matia Karrell
16 716.jpg Election Day (Part I) Lauren Schmidt Mimi Leder
17 717.jpg Election Day (Part II) Eli Attie and John Wells Christopher Misiano
18 718.jpg Requiem Eli Attie, Debora Cahn and John Wells Steve Shill
19 719.jpg Transition Peter Noah Nelson McCormick
20 720.jpg The Last Hurrah Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. Tim Matheson
21 721.jpg Institutional Memory Debora Cahn Lesli Linka Glatter
22 722.jpg Tomorrow John Wells Christopher Misiano
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