The West Wing Weekly

The West Wing Weekly


An episode-by-episode discussion of one of television’s most beloved shows, co-hosted by one of its stars, Joshua Malina, along with Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder.


2.05: And It's Surely to Their Credit  

Loosen your tie. Loosen whatever you'd like. But don't get it twisted: leaf peeping is totally a thing.

2.04: In This White House (with Emily Procter and Ambassador Deborah Birx)  

Ginger, get the popcorn, because we're joined by Emily Procter (@emilyprocter) to talk about her first appearance on the West Wing as Ainsley Hayes. Plus, for some context and perspective on the storyline about AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, we speak to Ambassador-at-Large Deborah L. Birx, the US Global Coordinator to Combat HIV/AIDS (@PEPFAR).

And introducing The West Wing Weekly t-shirt!

2.03: The Midterms  

While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, it's in fact the weekly meeting of the West Wing TV Book Club. (The Ignorant Tight-Ass Club meets down the hall, on the right.)

2.02: In The Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part II (with Bradley Whitford and Michael O'Neill)  

In Part II of our double header, Bradley Whitford (@WhitfordBradley) makes his West Wing Weekly debut to talk about getting the role of Josh Lyman, and starting the season by getting shot. But first, we speak with Michael O'Neill, who played Special Agent Ron Butterfield. Plus, a few thoughts on Emily's List from its former executive director, Amy Dacey (@AmyKDacey).

2.01: In The Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part I (with Thomas Schlamme)  

"In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" was the Season 2 premiere of the West Wing. The two-part episode aired as a special 2-hour broadcast. In honor of that, here's our own two-part episode. 

In Part I, we're joined by director and executive producer Thomas Schlamme, who created the visual language of The West Wing around Aaron Sorkin's words. We ask him about his directorial decisions for the show, and for this cinematic premiere. And we ask: what happened with Mandy?

2.00: Special Interim Session (with Aaron Sorkin)  

West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin joins Josh and Hrishi for a special episode. Aaron reflects on the experience of making the first season of the West Wing while making the second season of Sports Night at the same time. We look back on the previous season, and look ahead to the upcoming one.

1.22: What Kind of Day Has It Been (with Tim Matheson)  

For the finale of season one: you get Hoynes. Tim Matheson (@Tim_Matheson) joins us as we reflect on what kind of season it has been. Plus, a little preview of what's next.

1.21: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics (with Bill O'Brien)  

Josh and Hrishi are joined by Bill O'Brien to talk about his role as Kenny Thurman. This West Wing episode focuses on polling, so here's a poll question: do you approve or disapprove of the lack of Oxford comma in the title?

1.20: Mandatory Minimums (with Kathleen York and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson)  

Kathleen "Bird" York (@birdyork) talks to us about playing Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt, and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson (@karenaboutgary), former CEO of The National Association of Drug Court Professionals and current mayor of Gary, Indiana, talks to us about mandatory minimums.

1.19: Let Bartlet Be Bartlet (with Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy)  

This episode of the West Wing represents the lowest point so far for the Bartlet team, but perhaps the highest point so far for the series. Josh and Hrishi are joined by The Honorable Patrick Murphy (@USAMurphy), Under Secretary of the Army. While he was a Congressman from Pennsylvania, Secretary Murphy helped overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

1.18: Six Meetings Before Lunch  

The Good: a conversation about reparations; the Bad: Mandy and pandas; and the Ugly: Josh and Sam dancing (?) to “The Jackal.” Plus, a few words from West Wing music supervisor Anne Kline (@theannkline). 

1.17: The White House Pro-Am  

If you don't like this episode, just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong and get used to it. Plus, Hrishi brings back a field report from the Democratic National Convention, with thoughts on The West Wing from former DNC CEO Amy Dacey (@AmyKDacey), Senator Chris Coons of Delaware (@ChrisCoons), and Zeke Miller of TIME (@ZekeJMiller).

1.16: 20 Hours in L.A.  

We live in Los Angeles, but no one has offered *us* a development deal. We're going to the wrong parties.

1.15: Celestial Navigation (with Jay Carney)  

Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (@JayCarney) joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss Josh Lyman's secret plan to fight inflation, and other ways press briefings can go horribly, horribly wrong.

0.02: Live with FiveThirtyEight  

Josh and Hrishi team up with the FiveThirtyEight Elections Podcast to discuss how polling is used in The West Wing, by looking at a few scenes from the show. This episode was recorded live at the Crest Theatre in Los Angeles. We talk about scenes from seasons 1–4, so there are spoilers throughout.

1.14: Take This Sabbath Day  

Like Toby in this episode, Josh and Hrishi go to shul to try and learn more about the death penalty and faith. They have a conversation with Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett. Plus, we email Aaron Sorkin to ask how Marlee Matlin came to be cast as Joey Lucas.

1.13: Take Out the Trash Day (with Senator Bob Casey and Liza Weil)  

This episode of the West Wing deals with hate crimes, and our discussion comes close on the heels of the massacre in Orlando. So, we asked Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) about the current state of hate crime legislation. We also talk to Liza Weil (@liza_weil) about her role as Karen Larson, as well as the Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation (

1.12: He Shall, from Time to Time…  

Is it right to defend someone, even when they've asked you not to? Josh and Hrishi debate. Plus, a supercut of The West Wing opening theme music with accompanying lyrics, from submissions sent to us by West Wing Weekly listeners.

0.01: West Wing Reunion (Live from ATX)  

Live from the ATX Television Festival, a panel discussion looking back at the West Wing. With Aaron Sorkin, Tommy Schlamme, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Joshua Malina, moderated by Lawrence O'Donnell.

1.11: Lord John Marbury (With William Duffy and Peter James Smith)  

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, Josh and Hrishi are joined by William Duffy (@WilliamDuffy_) and Peter James Smith (@PJSActor), who played Ed and Larry.

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