West Wing - Spoilers to the End

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by edc, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. edc

    edc Active Member

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    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ent/3607192.html

    Spoilers about the rest of the season:

    PASADENA, CALIF. - "Too close to call."


    That's how Josh Lyman sized things up at the conclusion of Sunday night's episode of The West Wing.

    The race between presidential candidates U.S. Rep. Matt Santos, D-Texas, and U.S. Sen. Arnold Vinick, R-Calif. — a riveting race that has been playing out since last season — had been leaning Vinick's way. But after a near-meltdown at a California nuclear plant, pro-nuclear Vinick has lost his grip on such key states as Florida and Ohio.

    The result: "Too close to call."

    But what chance will Santos have if his running mate, Leo McGarry, should suddenly pass away?

    That is a story line that will play out during the nine remaining episodes of the show. On Sunday, NBC announced that the Emmy-, Peabody- and Golden Globe-winning series will end in May.

    Three of those nine episodes feature John Spencer, one of them prominently. Spencer, who died of a heart attack Dec. 16, plays McGarry.

    "We spent a lot of time during the Christmas holidays trying to figure out what we were going to do," executive producer John Wells said Sunday night. "We had conversations about whether it was even appropriate to continue to do the show without John. He was such a central part of the ensemble and of our lives together as a group."

    Unknown to most, Wells had already had a private conversation with NBC Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly on Thanksgiving. They had discreetly agreed that the show, suffering from anemic ratings, should come to an end.

    Wells kept that information mostly to himself. In huddles and e-mails with the show's other producers over the Christmas holidays, a decision was reached on how the series should proceed.

    Five days before the election Leo will die, leaving Santos with a choice unprecedented in American politics, one without constitutional provision: how to deal with the death of a vice presidential candidate on the eve of an election.

    Santos will have to decide to either publicly reveal a last-minute substitute choice for his vice presidential running mate or go silent. If he's elected, he'll have to try to get his choice nominated and passed by Congress via the 25th Amendment.

    Producers briefly considered reshooting the unaired episodes in which Spencer appeared. They considered going in other directions. A report after Spencer's death suggested that in a September episode he had a scene set after the election. The producers checked and discovered Spencer wasn't seen in the future.

    So they decided to proceed with episodes he shot shortly before his death.

    "John was so wonderful in those episodes that the best homage we could make to his contribution to the show was to let people see the last days of his work," Wells said.

    The show will go on hiatus in February during NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics. It will return in March.

    The highly anticipated election episodes will air April 2 and 9, and as the series races to its finale, it will deal with a government in transition.

    The final episode, May 14, will show an inauguration. Whose inauguration? The producers and cast members are not saying.

    What is known is that efforts are being made to bring back characters from the show's seven seasons. There's a good possibility, for example, that Rob Lowe (Sam Seaborn) will take a final bow.


    Saturday, producers and cast members gathered for a private memorial service in Spencer's honor. At the service, some in the cast asked Wells about a press session scheduled Sunday. He told the cast to gather Sunday and all would be explained. Some knew and others had guessed, but on Sunday Wells made it official when he announced that a decision had been reached to end the series.

    Cast members there reflected on the passing of Spencer and the closing days of a landmark series.

    Proceeding without Spencer "is incredibly difficult," said Allison Janney (C.J. Cregg). "To be on that set without him, I feel a great loss. It feels like a very organic ending to the show with him gone, because I just can't imagine doing it without him."

    "John was the guy saying, 'This is phenomenal. Relish this.' He was always saying that to me," said Bradley Whitford (Lyman). "It's very hard to understand how somebody just goes away."

    For Martin Sheen, playing the role of President Jeb Bartlet ranks as one of the three standouts in his career, to go with his roles in the movies Badlands and Apocalypse Now.

    "We knew we had a special show," he said, "and we all knew as actors we were not going to get this opportunity again in our lives, particularly myself and John, because we were the oldest and we felt we had a great restarting or rebirth of our careers and maybe the most important parts of our lives.

    "Because we were the oldest, and I guess because we had so many similar experiences with our demons and had gone through so much of life and family and coming to grips with where we were with age and career, we felt like the parents to these wonderful children."
     
  2. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    Very interesting info. Thanks for posting. Not sure why some of it was spoilered, but I'll follow suit:
    I will be very happy if Sam Seaborn comes back for the finale. I never liked the way they just wrote him out and didn't even acknowledge his existence anymore.
     
  3. edc

    edc Active Member

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    I suppose those comments are closer to "speculation," but some folks are also sensitive to that (see the "WW cancelled" thread). I do hope some folks come back before the end. I'm probably the only one who would put an appearance by Moira Kelly (who has not been rumored) above some of the more notable names.
     
  4. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

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    It's Jed. Jed Bartlet. Sheesh.
     
  5. edc

    edc Active Member

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    Well, to be pedantic about it, it is "Josiah Bartlet" :)
     
  6. sieglinde

    sieglinde Active Member

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    Since the Electoral College actually elects the President, they could choose anyone to be Vice President.
     
  7. dswallow

    dswallow Save the Moderatоr TCF Club

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    Almost anyone -- they have to be eligible to be President; 35 or older, natural born citizen, etc.
     
  8. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    Ugh. Getting rid of her character and never referencing her again was the best decision the producers ever made. Had it not been for her character, S1 of WW would have been the most perfect season of TV ever produced.
     
  9. edc

    edc Active Member

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    That isn't quite the case. If a candidate (President or VP) dies before the Electoral College meets, it is the responsibility of the party to put up a new nominee.

    In the WW-verse, Leo dies as nominee for Veep. The party will likely go with whoever Santos chooses, but that is far from a sure thing. Further, between 5 and 4 days from the election is far too late for the ballots to change. The politics *within* the party to choose the VP would likely make the vetting and confirmation hearings of the 25th amendment look like a lovely tea party.
     
  10. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

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    It was always assumed that Santos would win the election. They were looking for a younger actor to play the president to appeal to a younger demographic and Alan Alda is older than Sheen.

    Since the show isn't being renewed either can win.

    Eagleton was replaced as a VP candidate after the convention but before the election. I don't understand all the posts and spoilers who talk about a crisis. The procedure to replace a VP candidate before the election is already in place and has been used. I don't see any difference between a VP candidate who resigns and one who dies.

    A more interesting issue would be what happens if the winning candidate dies after the November election but before the electors vote.
     
  11. Animgif

    Animgif Stud, Esquire

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    I'll spoiler this, but not sure if it needs to be:

    Maybe Sam is going to be the VP nominee if Santos wins?
     
  12. edc

    edc Active Member

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    The difference is that Eagleton left the ticket in July. Leo will die five days before the general election, far too late to change the ballots. The "crisis" is whether Santos/the DNC will have enough time to pick a politically acceptable successor, *and* whether you reveal that choice to the public, or leave the ticket as "Santos and the Dead Guy."

    The situation happened in 1912, but Taft lost big. In current-day, media and "big money" politics, and a close race, things would likely be vastly different.
     
  13. edc

    edc Active Member

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    NBC will run the final nine consecutively from March 12 to May 14.

    A couple more spoilers:

    Leo will indeed die of a sudden fatal heart attack, just after the events of "Welcome to Wherever You Are" (five days out). Almost eerie, making his heart attack comments a counterpoint to Vinick and his nuclear comments which were written as foreshadowing.

    "Election Day" covers two episodes, with a third dedicated to Leo's memorial.

    The final two scenes of the series (order to be determined) will be:

    The new President entering the oval, and Bartlet on Air Force One, coming out from behind his desk to sit next to his wife."
     
  14. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

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    Spoiler information aside there isn't any reason WW has to kill off Leo. The show isn't coming back and it wouldn't be hard to just use previously filmed scenes as filler and just not show him very much. Leo is off campaigning.

    It is interesting to think about what would happen if a candidate dies or resigns after the election but before the electoral college meets. The party will be appointing a candidate, really a VP or President, that wasn't voted on by the voters or confirmed by congress. It would give the party a unique opportunity to appoint someone that wouldn't otherwise be electable or confirmable.

    The electors are basically loyal party members who will almost certainly approve the replacement candidate.
     
  15. Sparty99

    Sparty99 Well-Known Member

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    Is that true, or would the rules of succession skip the VP in such a circumstance? I know that Madeline Albright served as Secretary of State when she had no opportunity to succeed to the presidency, God forbid that should become necessary. Is the VP held to the same rules as the president, or could they skip him/her?
     
  16. busyba

    busyba The Funcooker

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    According to the 12th amendment:
     
  17. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

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    The 12th Amendment says
    This rule is specific for the VP. Others in the line of succession can hold their positions without meeting the qualifications required to be President (like Albright and Henry Kissinger). They will get skipped over if necessary. If the House elected some 26 year old Congressman as Speaker, he would be skipped over in the line of succession too.
     
  18. Animgif

    Animgif Stud, Esquire

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    I'd have to look this up, but I believe that the VP MUST be someone who can assume the presidency but that no other person in the line of succession has that same distinction.

    Edit:
    12th Amendment (last sentence)
    But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
     
  19. dswallow

    dswallow Save the Moderatоr TCF Club

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    I feel left out; I should've quoted the 12th Amendment. ;)
     
  20. Sparty99

    Sparty99 Well-Known Member

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    Well, yeah. If you had just done that my dumb@$$ wouldn't have asked such a stupid question. :D
     

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