The West Wing Weekly

The West Wing Weekly

By Joshua Malina & Hrishikesh Hirway

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


0.20: A West Wing Weekly Special to Discuss A West Wing Special To Benefit When We All Vote (with Aaron Sorkin)

We’re back! The West Wing cast reunited for this special episode, so we got back together to discuss it. And Aaron Sorkin joins us to talk about his experiences adapting "Hartsfield’s Landing" for this voter turnout initiative. Please go to to donate! For more, visit
28/10/201h 15m

Introducing: Home Cooking

We want to introduce you to a brand new emergency quarantine podcast mini-series called Home Cooking. It’s from Hrishi and chef Samin Nosrat, author of the award-winning cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and host of the Netflix show by the same name. The first episode just came out, and features Josh as the special guest. If you’ve missed hearing Josh and Hrishi in conversation, we thought you’d appreciate this excerpt. The rest of the episode centers around giving people advice about what to cook with whatever they’ve got in the house, and we think you’ll really enjoy it! Listen and subscribe to Home Cooking on your favorite podcast app, or at
30/03/2017m 31s

7.22: Tomorrow (Live with cast and crew of The West Wing)

As the Bartlet administration ends, so does our podcast. We recorded our finale live in Los Angeles, at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel. This episode has two parts: first, we discuss "Tomorrow," with several guests joining us. Then, we take a fond look back at the entire series, along with thirty (30!) guests from the cast and crew, including Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme. Here’s everyone who was with us on stage: Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Schlamme, Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Marlee Matlin, Jack Jason, Kathleen York, Allison Smith, Melissa Fitzgerald, Ramon de Ocampo, Evan Arnold, Karis Campbell, Teri Polo, Christopher Misiano, Dylan K. Massin, Matthew Del Negro, Eli Attie, Jimmy Smits, Josh Singer, Mary McCormack, Kevin Falls, Lawrence O'Donnell, Paul Redford, Ron Ostrow, Kim Webster, Peter James Smith, William Duffy, Tim Davis-Reed Thanks for listening to the podcast. We're very grateful for the experience we’ve had making this over the past four years. Okay. What's next? For more, including photos from the event, visit
29/01/202h 12m

7.21: Institutional Memory (with Janet Ashikaga)

CJ & Danny and Will & Kate all ponder what's next, and Josh & Hrishi do, too, as we discuss "Institutional Memory." We're joined by someone who also posseses institutional memory: the fantastic Janet Ashikaga, editor on The West Wing (including this episode), as well as Sports Night and Seinfeld. Plus: listen to the trailer for Hrishi’s new podcast, Partners, and subscribe to it here. For more, visit
22/01/201h 12m

7.20: The Last Hurrah (with Mary-Louise Parker and Teri Polo)

We discuss "The Last Hurrah" in this, our antepenultimate hurrah. And what a hurrah it is, with not one, but two great guests: Mary-Louise Parker and Teri Polo. Hurrah! For more, visit
15/01/201h 19m

7.19: Transition (Live with Bradley Whitford)

We traveled all the way to London to make a lot of references to "Fiddler on the Roof." Bradley Whitford joined us to record this episode in front of a sold-out crowd at the Hammersmith Apollo. For more, visit
08/01/201h 17m

0.19: John Wells

For our last episode of the year, we've got a special one with television legend John Wells. We've been talking about him for seven seasons, and now we finally got him to talk to us directly. Our conversation spans the entire history of The West Wing, since John Wells served as Executive Producer for every single episode. For more, visit Right now, Radiotopia is holding its annual fundraiser. Help us keep The West Wing Weekly available and free forever by supporting the network. Make your mark. Go to **** to donate today.

7.18: Requiem (with memories of John Spencer from the cast and crew)

In this episode, some thoughts on John Spencer, shared by Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, Rob Lowe, Jimmy Smits, Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Del Negro, Emily Procter, Eli Attie, Michael Hissrich, and Josh Malina. For more, visit Support The West Wing Weekly and Radiotopia. Make your mark. Go to today.
11/12/191h 13m

0.18: Small Block of Cheese Day (The West Wing Weekly Forever)

In the main foyer of our podcast, we have this small block of cheese, there for any and all who might want a snack. We want this block of cheese to stick around forever, and never get moldy, or get thrown out! To do so, we’re hoping you’ll support our wonderful podcast network, Radiotopia, the refrigerator that keeps our show fresh in this increasingly painful metaphor. We’re sharing some stories from you, our lovely listeners, in hopes that you’ll want to chip in and help keep this podcast around forever. Make your mark, go to to donate today. For more, visit
06/12/1914m 31s

7.17: Election Day, Part 2 (with Jimmy Smits)

As we finish the long arc of the Presidential campaign with this momentous West Wing episode, Jimmy Smits joins us to tell us about his experience playing Matt Santos. For more, visit Right now, Radiotopia is holding its annual fundraiser. Help us keep The West Wing Weekly available and free forever by supporting the network. Make your mark. Go to to donate today.
27/11/191h 18m

7.16: Election Day, Part 1 (with Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Michael Hissrich)

This week’s episode is one of love and loss, but with our guests this week, we’re celebrating the joyful side. Lauren Schmidt Hissrich wrote this episode, and she and her husband, West Wing line producer Michael Hissrich, join us to tell us how their path together mirrored and influenced Josh and Donna’s. For more, visit
19/11/191h 13m

0.17: Casting the Pilot (with John Levey)

Before we get to the end, we're going back to the beginning. For this bonus episode, we talk to John Levey, Emmy-winning casting director for the first two seasons of The West Wing, about putting together our renowned ensemble. For more, visit
13/11/1941m 17s

7.15: Welcome to Wherever You Are

In this week's episode, Toby says, "You should do the crossword," so Hrishi made a mini puzzle to go along with our discussion. Get a PDF of the puzzle at ACROSS 1. Grammy-winning singer and creator of questionable slogans, Bon _ 5. Nights before, like Erevs Yom Kippur 6. What Josh wants when he yells, "I want the numbers!" 7. __ chunks, like when you eat way too much candy DOWN 1. POTUS’s rap name, maybe 2. The room where it happens 3. To do this, actually, you stamp it, then sign it 4. The second thing Caesar said he did, in a saying
06/11/1951m 20s

7.14: Two Weeks Out

We take this episode in our bone-crushing grip and shake it with everything we've got. For more, visit
30/10/1945m 12s

7.13: The Cold (with Janel Moloney and Bradley Whitford)

Josh and Donna There on my TV   K-I-S-S-I-N-G Let's discuss. For more, visit
23/10/191h 9m

7.12: Duck and Cover (with Eli Attie)

Eli Attie joins us to discuss this tension-filled episode about a potential nuclear disaster. For more, visit
16/10/1955m 48s

7.11: Internal Displacement (with Bradley Whitford and Annabeth Gish)

Bradley Whitford returns to gleefully tell us about writing this episode and giving Josh the lines, "I can't act. I'm a terrible actor." And Annabeth Gish joins us, too! (How lucky are we?) We talk to her about the complicated character of Liz Bartlet Westin, whom she portrayed so thoughtfully. For more, visit
09/10/1958m 0s

0.16: Annabeth Schott (with Kristin Chenoweth)

This week, the great Kristin Chenoweth joins us to discuss her role as Annabeth. She's an Emmy and Tony Award winning actress and singer, and we’re so glad she’s finally joining us! For more, visit
02/10/1940m 57s

7.10: Running Mates (with Matthew Del Negro)

This week, we discuss the beautiful performance by John Spencer in "Running Mates," the first episode of his to air posthumously. We’re also joined by Matthew Del Negro to discuss Bram, telebrams, and more. For more, visit
25/09/191h 9m

7.09: The Wedding (with Nina Siemaszko)

Today, we’re talking about "The Wedding" (or The Marriage, or The Espousal, or The Nuptials, or The Union). We’re joined by Nina Siemaszko, who tells us about the twist in this subplot that she didn’t see coming. For more, visit
18/09/1958m 3s

7.08: Undecideds

In "Undecideds," Santos gives a speech meant to uplift and inspire, but Josh and Hrishi are "Unconvinceds." Plus, we look at Toby’s apartment, Godwin’s Law, and Will’s butt. For more, visit
11/09/1943m 50s

7.07: The Debate (Part II, with Ronald Klain and Beth Myers)

How did Santos and Vinick do in the debate? To help us judge the candidates on both substance and style, we’ve enlisted the people in charge of debate prep on either side of the 2012 Presidential election. Ronald Klain led President Obama’s debate prep, and Beth Myers was in charge of Senator Mitt Romney’s prep. It was fascinating to speak to both of them together for this bipartisan episode of our podcast. For more, visit
04/09/1958m 25s

7.07: The Debate (Part I, with Lawrence O'Donnell)

In our first of two episodes on "The Debate," we talk to Lawrence O’Donnell, who took on the challenge of writing a live episode — one that takes place entirely in the context of a Presidential debate. For more, visit
28/08/191h 1m

7.06: The Al Smith Dinner

At long last, everyone is ready to unleash their negative ad campaigns. Here's one Hrishi came up with. JOSH MALINA—he's not nearly as mean as he makes himself out to be! He says he "ruined The West Wing," but even Richard Schiff says 'Arctic Radar' is one of the best episodes of the series. What else is Josh hiding? JOSH MALINA—actually pretty nice. (My name is Hrishikesh Hirway, and I approve this message.) For more, visit
21/08/1951m 14s

7.05: Here Today (with Richard Schiff)

Richard Schiff joins us to discuss this gorgeous, eerie, heartbreaking episode and to tell us his true feelings about Toby’s storyline. For more, visit
14/08/191h 14m

7.04: Mr. Frost

Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway (collectively, “The Hosts”) have been served a subpoena to appear on this episode of the podcast, to testify in regards to the above television episode. Pursuant to this agreement, you (“Listener”) are required to listen to our nonsense. Failure to do so may result in missing out on some dumb thing that gets called back later, like a reference to a 2004 movie about dance battles. For more, visit
07/08/1954m 16s

0.15: Alex Graves

At long last, West Wing director and executive producer Alex Graves joins us to talk about his time on the show. From "In Excelsis Deo" to "17 People" to our current episodes in Season 7, we discuss some of the big moments in the series that he helped shape. For more, visit
31/07/1951m 53s

7.03: Message of the Week

This week, the message is The Message of The Week. Just to brief you: we're keeping it brief. As they say in athletics. For more, visit
24/07/1939m 19s

7.02: The Mommy Problem

In this mother of an episode, Alex Graves cranks the style up to 11. We’re introduced to the character of Louise Thornton (played by Janeane Garofalo). We get real-time text answers to our quests from the unstoppable Eli Attie. So get ready cuz, as Steve Miller says, "we go down Carolina!" For more, visit
17/07/1954m 11s

7.01: The Ticket

It’s the Season 7 premiere! Which begins, naturally, with a scene from the Season 10 premiere! Suspense hovers over this episode, like a space station in need of maintenance—or a baker about to be sent home from the tent—as Josh and Hrishi sort through both the wise and foolish acts of our heroes. For more, visit
10/07/1956m 0s

0.14: Veep (with Gary Cole and David Mandel)

We wanted to honor the end of Vice President Bob Russell's storyline in The West Wing with Gary Cole, who played Bingo Bob. Gary also plays Kent Davison in the brilliant, vicious, hilarious Veep, so we decided to celebrate two great(?) Vice Presidents in one episode. It's a Veep special! We're also joined by Veep showrunner David Mandel, a huge West Wing fan, to talk about where these two very different, political, Emmy-winning shows intersect. For more, visit
26/06/1946m 53s

6.22: 2162 Votes (Live with Mary McCormack and Lawrence O'Donnell)

We wrap up Season 6 with a live taping from Washington, DC, joined by special guests Mary McCormack (@marycmccormack) and Lawrence O’Donnell (@lawrence). Cue the balloons! Go balloons! Uhhh, where are the balloons?! For more, visit
19/06/191h 11m

6.21: Things Fall Apart (with Jennifer Palmieri)

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the DNC, The delegate tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of democracy is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.  With special guest, Jennifer Palmieri. For more, visit
12/06/191h 6m

6.20: In God We Trust (with Alan Alda and Rev. Katey Zeh)

The legendary Alan Alda joins us this week to discuss Arnie Vinick, the Constitution, and eating ice cream. Plus, we speak to Reverend Katey Zeh, the executive director of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. For more, visit
05/06/191h 20m

6.19: Ninety Miles Away

"Ninety Miles Away" really takes us somewhere, and we're not talking about Cuba. Josh and Hrishi try to navigate their way through wigs, termites, and Hemingway. For more, visit
29/05/1943m 17s

0.13: Graphic Design for President! (with Michael Bierut and Leslie Wah)

When you’re running for President, how you present yourself to the public is crucial. The West Wing often underscored that it’s not just what one says, it’s how one says it. So in this special episode, we look at what goes into designing a Presidential campaign – both fictional, and non-fictional. Michael Bierut designed Hillary Clinton’s ubiquitous 'H' logo, and Leslie Wah designed the logos and signage for all of the West Wing candidates in Season 6. This might be the nerdiest episode of the West Wing Weekly yet! For more, visit

6.18: La Palabra (with Eli Attie and Angelica Salas of CHIRLA)

Eli Attie joins us again to talk about his third episode in the trilogy of Santos campaign episodes that he wrote for Season 6. We also hear from Angelica Salas of CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights) on the real story behind California’s fight over driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. For more, visit
15/05/191h 2m

6.17: A Good Day (with Richard Schiff)

Richard Schiff returns as our guest this week to tell us about his experience directing "A Good Day." For more, visit
08/05/1959m 1s

6.16: Drought Conditions (with Debora Cahn and Richard Schiff)

This week, we’re joined by Debora Cahn, to talk about her script for "Drought Conditions," and by Richard Schiff, to talk about his heartbreaking performance in it. For more, visit
01/05/191h 14m

0.12: How Barack Obama Shaped Matthew Santos (with David Axelrod and Eli Attie)

"Tell me about Barack Obama." That's what Eli Attie said to David Axelrod in 2004, while searching for inspiration to help flesh out the character of Congressman Matthew Santos. In this episode, we talk to both of them to find out what Eli learned and how it shaped the sixth season. And David Axelrod tells us about his own experiences as the guy behind the guy, and what The West Wing means to him. For more, visit
24/04/1934m 51s

6.15: Freedonia (with Eli Attie)

Eli Attie joins us to discuss the Santos campaign, the return of Amy Gardner, and the Marx Brothers. For more, visit
17/04/191h 12m

6.14: The Wake Up Call (with Lawrence Lessig)

We’re joined by the real-life Professor Lawrence Lessig, who appears as a character in this episode, played by the real-life Christopher Lloyd. For more, visit
10/04/1957m 35s

6.13: King Corn (with Karis Campbell, Evan Arnold, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, and Michael Grunwald)

We have so many great guests for our discussion of “King Corn” that you’re going to look at this podcast episode the way Will Bailey looks at an ice cream sandwich. We talk Ned & Ronna with Evan Arnold & Karis Campbell, we talk Turkey with West Wing writer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, and Politico senior writer Michael Grunwald walks us through the political maize of supporting ethanol. For more, visit
03/04/191h 20m

0.11: Big Block of Cheese Special

You sent in your queries; you know we've got answers—it's a feta compli. In the queso one or two questions, we got a little help from Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford, who sent us some really gouda answers of their own. We're always fondue these episodes, and we hope you'll think this one's grate, too. For more, visit
26/03/1938m 13s

6.12: 365 Days (with Fmr. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken)

There’s only a year left in the Bartlet Presidency—and only 9 months left in the TWWW Podcastency!—and it feels like the last chance to make history. We’re joined by Tony Blinken who once held the same NSA position as Kate Harper, to talk about how hard it is to make long-term plans while you’re putting out little fires everywhere. For more, visit
20/03/1956m 12s

6.11: Opposition Research (with Mayor Pete Buttigieg)

We’re joined by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 2020 Presidential hopeful, for our discussion of “Opposition Research,” in which Matt Santos travels to New Hampshire to introduce himself to the electorate. For more, visit
13/03/191h 5m

6.10: Faith Based Initiative (with Bradley Whitford)

Bradley Whitford joins us this week to discuss "Faith Based Initiative," which he wrote! Incredibly, his first time writing for television was this episode of The West Wing. He tells us how it all came together, as we pick it apart. For more, visit
06/03/1955m 6s

0.10: In the Writers' Room (with Paul Redford)

We’re joined by Paul Redford, who wrote for West Wing Seasons 1–5, as well as Sports Night and The Newsroom. He’s responsible for some classic West Wing storylines, and we’re long overdue for a chat with him, so we’re making up for lost time with this bonus episode. For more, visit
27/02/1945m 22s

6.09: Impact Winter (with Ben Murray)

We’re joined this week by Season 6 newcomer Ben Murray, who played Curtis Carruthers, the President’s new body man. He tells us the hilarious story of auditioning to be the guy who had to pick up and carry Martin Sheen. For more, visit
19/02/1948m 42s

6.08: In the Room (with Penn & Teller)

Join us in the room to discuss "In the Room," in which the President’s need to be 'in the room' in China is the central topic of discussion in the room—President Room—the Oval Office. We’re joined by magicians Penn & Teller, who light a flag on fire in the (East) Room in this episode. Or did they? (They didn’t.) For more, visit
13/02/1950m 31s

6.07: A Change Is Gonna Come (Live with Mary McCormack and Roman Mars)

Mary McCormack joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss "A Change Is Gonna Come," recorded live in San Francisco. Plus, Roman Mars, host of 99% Invisible and noted flag expert, drops some vexillological knowledge. Special thanks to Professor Rebecca Nedostup for shedding light on Taiwan and China. For more, visit
06/02/191h 6m

0.09: Casting Special (with Tony Sepulveda)

In this special bonus episode, we learn about what it’s like casting The West Wing. Our guest is Tony Sepulveda, who was the casting director for Seasons 3 and 4. For more, visit
30/01/1917m 0s

6.06: The Dover Test

Wait a second: Is Annabeth Mandy 2.0? Plus Donna pushes Josh away, CJ pushes Toby away, and Santos pulls Josh in with his wily political moves. We need a bipartisan summit with Red Vines families and Twizzler families so we can discuss all of this and more. For more, visit
23/01/1955m 34s

6.05: The Hubbert Peak

In this episode, a little chess, to test cognitive ability. First move: SUV to Prius. What's the opposite of checkmate? For more, visit
16/01/1956m 27s

6.04: Liftoff (with Allison Janney)

Everything about “Liftoff" feels like a new era is beginning, so we’re welcoming the new year by welcoming Allison Janney (@AllisonBJanney) to talk about CJ’s new job as the new chief of staff. For more, visit
09/01/191h 1m

6.03: Third-Day Story

Big changes are getting announced: CJ is the new Chief of Staff. More importantly, Josh and Hrishi announce "Melon Day" as an official West Wing holiday. Grab a muskmelon and a plate of brownies, and hit play! For more, visit
19/12/1843m 25s

6.02: The Birnam Wood (with Fmr. Ambassador Jacob Walles)

Hello Mother, I'm elated Here I am at old Camp David I'm respectful, all due deference But I don't really get the Macbeth reference Plus, former ambassador Jacob Walles tells us about the years he dedicated to brokering Mideast peace, including his time at 2000 Camp David Summit, and he tells us what this episode got right about those conversations. For more, visit
12/12/1856m 20s

6.01: NSF Thurmont

It took a lot of diplomacy behind the scenes, but Josh and Hrishi have agreed to come together to negotiate our feelings on Season 6, Episode 1. Pull up a chair and join us for the discussion at Camp Josiah. For more, visit
04/12/1851m 24s

0.08: Meet the Twwweam (Bonus Mini-Episode)

Introducing the folks behind the scenes of our podcast. You can help us make our show, too, by supporting Radiotopia's annual fundraiser, going on right now! For more, visit
28/11/188m 1s

0.07: Parks and Recreation (with Rob Lowe, Adam Scott and Michael Schur)

We literally cannot wait for you to hear how much The West Wing influenced Parks and Recreation. We spoke to the co-creator of the show, Michael Schur, and two of the stars, Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, to learn about the parallels between the Bartlet White House and the Pawnee Parks Department. Stop pooping! Just listen. For more, visit
21/11/181h 46m

5.22: Memorial Day (with Josh Singer)

We're wrapping up Season 5 with screenwriter Josh Singer, whose first writing credit was "Memorial Day." We also look back at the past 22 episodes to ask: what kind of season has it been? For more, visit
14/11/181h 15m

5.21: Gaza (with Jason Isaacs and Janel Moloney)

We're joined by special guests Jason Isaacs and Janel Moloney to discuss the big, ambitious, penultimate episode of Season 5. For more, visit
07/11/181h 13m

5.20: No Exit (with Fmr. Senator Tom Daschle, Wilson Cruz, and Eli Attie)

We’re joined by three guests for our discussion of "No Exit." Former Senator Tom Daschle tells us about what it was like getting sent anthrax in the mail; Wilson Cruz tells us about playing Jack Sosa for his two episodes on The West Wing; and Eli Attie tells us about the writing of the episode, specifically the Will and Toby scenes, which he co-wrote with Peter Noah. But first, a poem that this episode inspired Hrishi to write: Albert Camus Cried, "What do we do? We're all stuck here in a cell!" So Samuel Beckett Got totally nekkid. "Let's go!" he started to yell. But Jean-Paul Sartre Just let out a fartre And said, "Other people are hell." For more, visit
31/10/181h 7m

5.19: Talking Points (with Richard Schiff)

We're joined by Richard Schiff to discuss this episode, his television directing debut! Hear what it was like for him to step behind the camera for this story about power and labor and international trade. For more, visit
24/10/181h 21m

5.18: Access

In "Access," we're given a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to work inside the West Wing. …wait a second, what have all these other episodes been about? Let's discuss. For more, visit
10/10/1846m 38s

5.17: The Supremes (with Debora Cahn)

We hereby appoint the Honorable Debora T. Cahn, West Wing writer, for the position of Chief Guestice of The Supremes episode. For more, visit
03/10/181h 8m

5.16: Eppur Si Muove (with Dr Muller Fabbri and Jason Zengerle)

They tried to get us to renounce The West Wing, but Eppur Si Puodcaste! Josh and Hrishi investigate some of the real world mechanics behind NIH grants and the federal judiciary with help from cancer researcher Dr Muller Fabbri and political journalist Jason Zengerle. For more, visit
26/09/181h 22m

5.15: Full Disclosure (with Lawrence O'Donnell)

Full disclosure: you’re going to hear the words 'full disclosure' a lot in this episode, as we discuss "Full Disclosure." Lawrence O’Donnell joins us to discuss how he wrote this episode, how Richard Schiff changed its meaning without changing a word, and how Josh Lyman’s plot line landed him in Hillary Clinton’s crosshairs. For more, visit
19/09/181h 21m

5.14: An Khe

In this episode, the past is laid bare like a nude portrait, or at the very least, like a photo of your ex in a bikini. Grab your copy of Latin Phrases for Awkward Situations, and parachute in with us. For more, visit
12/09/1850m 47s

5.13: The Warfare of Genghis Khan (with Fmr. Congressman John Tierney and Jacob Keaton)

A potential nuclear threat looms on the horizon, so let’s head down to the Situation Room to discuss The Warfare of Genghis Khan. We’re joined by former congressman and nonproliferation advocate John Tierney, who catches us up on nuclear politics then and now. And Josh and Hrishi manage to listen to the arguments of NASA analyst Jacob Keaton without him even having to take them stargazing or anything. For more, visit
05/09/181h 7m

5.12: Slow News Day (with Eli Attie and Nancy Altman)

Sleep in! We'll wake up the President for you to tell him about our great idea to record a podcast about the Slow News Day episode of the West Wing. Joining us in this historic endeavor is returning guest Eli Attie, who shares his memories about real and fictional West Wing attempts to build a legacy. Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, also drops by to tell us just how Toby's efforts compare to the real history of Social Security reform. PS: we had a data glitch while recording and lost Josh's mic audio, so his side of the conversation is not up to our usual standards. Sorry about that! For more, visit
22/08/181h 19m

5.11: The Benign Prerogative (with Janel Moloney)

This week, we discuss "The Benign Prerogative," and the not so benign aspects of Presidential pardons. We're joined once again by Janel Moloney to talk about Donna's moving storyline in this episode. Plus, Lin-Manuel Miranda makes a little cameo (#Hameo) to help us with the original text by Alexander Hamilton from which this episode takes its name. For more, visit
15/08/181h 11m

5.10: The Stormy Present (with Bellamy Young)

It's the 100th episode of The West Wing! Our guest this week is Bellamy Young, who made her first appearance in a TV White House here, some years before joining Josh on Scandal as PRESIDENT Mellie Grant. For more, visit

5.09: Abu el Banat (with Joe Fab)

"Cauliflower." For more, visit
31/07/181h 6m

5.08: Shutdown (with Gene Sperling)

Shut! It! Down! Josh and Hrishi are walking right up to the hallway outside your office to talk about “Shutdown.” Gene Sperling, former White House Director of the National Economic Council, joins them to compare Bill Clinton's shutdown game plan to Jed Bartlet's apparent lack of one. For more, visit
25/07/181h 1m

5.07: Separation of Powers (with Michael Hyatt)

The Supreme Court is looking at a case that relates to Korematsu v. United States, while the White House starts to make their moves towards appointing a new justice. But ai yai yai, we aren’t talking about last month’s headlines—we’re talking about “Separation of Powers,” from November 2003. And this week, we’re joined by special guest Michael Hyatt who plays Angela Blake. She gave us a wonderfully candid interview about how she got the role—and why Angela didn’t stick around for longer. For more, visit
18/07/181h 7m

5.06: Disaster Relief (with Alexa Junge and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich)

We're joined this week by Alexa Junge and returning guest Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. They co-wrote "Disaster Relief," and together, we try to propulgate the backstory of this episode onto the frontstory. Like President Bartlet in Oklahoma, you'll never want to go back to work! For more, visit
11/07/1849m 23s

5.05: Constituency of One (with Jennifer Palmieri)

What is a “Constituency of One”? You know, it’s all about that boss, ‘bout that boss, those troubles. It’s all about that boss, ‘bout that boss, those troubles. Toby and POTUS. Will and Bob Russell. Amy and the First Lady. Plus, we speak with Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, whose list of bosses includes Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. For more, visit
27/06/181h 4m

5.04: Han (with Paula Yoo)

Listener beware - like the episode we're discussing, Han, this installment of The West Wing Weekly has more sad piano music than all previous episodes combined. When they're not lost in a sadness so deep no tears will come, Josh and Hrishi interview Paula Yoo, the writer who came up with the story of a would-be North Korean defector who visits the White House. For more, visit
20/06/181h 5m

5.03: Jefferson Lives

Jefferson lives, but the President's dreams for a strong VP die—killed by committee. But Josh and Hrishi, pilgrim detectives, are on the scene to investigate. PS: Jefferson is also dead. For more, visit
13/06/1847m 30s

5.02: The Dogs of War

Friends, Romans, people in other places, lend us your ears. We come to dissect this episode, and to praise it, or at least the parts we liked. So cry "havoc!" and let slip this podcast into your downloads. For more, visit
06/06/1848m 48s

5.01: 7A WF 83429 (Live with Bradley Whitford and Ronald Klain)

Josh and Hrishi take a deep breath and dive headfirst into the post-Sorkin years. They're joined by guests Bradley Whitford and Ronald Klain to discuss the suspense of the Season 5 premiere — a fateful moment for the characters, and the show itself. Recorded live at Georgetown University. For more, visit
30/05/181h 8m

4.24: Season 4 Retrospective (Live with Aaron Sorkin and Emily Procter)

We’ve reached the end of the fourth season, and the end of Aaron Sorkin’s tenure on The West Wing. For this special farewell, Aaron himself joined us on stage at the historic Town Hall in New York to teach us how to say goodbye. He surprised us with his candor, and we surprised Aaron and the audience with special guest Emily Procter, as well as heartfelt messages sent in by the cast and crew. For more, visit
16/05/181h 24m

4.23: Twenty Five (Live with Thomas Schlamme)

Recorded live in Boston, Tommy Schlamme joins Josh and Hrishi to talk about the last days of the Sorkin-Schlamme era as they recap the episode Twenty Five. For more, visit
09/05/181h 21m

4.22: Commencement (Live with Bradley Whitford, Ronald Klain, and Melissa Fitzgerald)

Live from the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC, Josh and Hrishi discuss the penultimate episode of Season 4—and all its trip-hop-laced anomalies—with special guests Bradley Whitford, Ronald Klain, and Melissa Fitzgerald. Plus: a surprise guest who’s surprised to be part of the podcast. For more, visit
03/05/181h 7m

4.21: Life on Mars (Live with Richard Schiff, Eli Attie, and The Swingles)

We’re live in London! Josh and Hrishi discuss Life on Mars with guests Richard Schiff (@Richard_Schiff) and Eli Attie (@EliAttie). Plus some special West Wing-themed musical performances from Debbie Fiderer’s favorite a capella group, The Swingles (@swinglesingers). For more, visit
25/04/181h 25m

4.20: Evidence of Things Not Seen (Live with Richard Schiff and Marlee Matlin)

We’re live in Dublin to discuss Evidence of Things Not Seen with special guests Richard Schiff, Marlee Matlin, her interpreter Jack Jason, and a pint of Guinness that is like an angel crying on Richard’s tongue. Cilantro! For more, visit
19/04/181h 10m

0.06: Hamilton Special (with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail)

AARON BURR: How does a podcast, web thing,  Recap and chat on The West Wing,  Dropped on the internet by nostalgic pals On a fake President—it makes no sense! How do Josh and Hrish, on balance, Manage to land two major Broadway talents? The two gallants, Lin-Manuel and Tommy Kail, Got a lot farther by working a lot harder By being a lot smarter, by being self-starters By watching Bartlet, who's based a bit on Jimmy Carter Well, the word got around that they’re like, "Sorkin is insane, man" So we sent a lot of emails till we got into their brainpan: "Do a special episode, lend us some acclaim and Let's talk about the napkin in the frame." Roll the name, son: West Wing Weekly Hamilton  This thing is West Wing Weekly Hamilton There's a million things these guys have won  So just hit play, just hit play… For more, visit
04/04/181h 10m

4.19: Angel Maintenance (with Fmr. Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning)

Please set your cell phones to airplane mode, it’s Angel Maintenance time. In this episode we’re joined by former Acting Secretary of the Air Force (and former Secretary of the Army) Eric Fanning for lots of juicy details about Air Force One, including the fact that there’s more than one Air Force One. And Josh looks back fondly on filming this episode, for reasons involving Vaseline. For more, visit
28/03/181h 2m

4.18: Privateers (with Allison Janney, Jeff Perry, Helen Slayton-Hughes, and the DAR)

Privateers has a special place in our hearts because we love the scene where Allison Janney can’t stop laughing - and she’s here with us to talk about the fugue state necessary to create such memorable giggles. We’re also joined by Josh’s Scandal costar Jeff Perry, and Helen Slayton-Hughes, who played Marion Cotesworth-Haye of Marblehead. And we get the final word on the privateer question from Bren Landon of the DAR. For more, visit
21/03/181h 21m

4.17: Red Haven’s on Fire (with Senator Tammy Duckworth and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich)

The Laurens make good! West Wing writer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich joins us to recap Red Haven's on Fire and share stories of the real world Lauren confusion behind this episode. And Senator Tammy Duckworth tells us what to expect when you're a senator who's expecting. For more, visit
07/03/181h 16m

4.16: The California 47th

Ah, Miss Hamantaschen! It's the California 47th. Josh and Hrishi discuss the linguistic nuance of Rice Krispies and what one calls the treats made from them. And, Mrs Hottentot, Hrishi introduces a handy online tool for President Bartlet: the Debbie Fiderer nickname generator. For more, visit
28/02/1853m 35s

0.05: Big Block of Cheese Live (with Dulé Hill, The Memory Palace, The Allusionist, and more)

A live Big Block of Cheese Day from San Francisco Sketch Fest! Hrishi and Josh are joined by Dulé Hill to answer questions from fans - including a semi-surprise guest. Nate DiMeo of The Memory Palace (@thememorypalace) podcast tells the history of the big block of cheese, and Helen Zaltzman of The Allusionist (@AllusionistShow) gets VERY salty with her language as she explains the origin of the word “sh**hole.” Saltiest of all, though, is the 50 pound wheel of Pecorino Romano that we actually had delivered to the Marines’ Memorial Theater to feed our hungry questioners. For more, visit
21/02/181h 9m

4.15: Inauguration: Over There (with Gene Sperling)

For our discussion of Inauguration: Over There, Josh regales Hrishi with tales of shooting in his underwear and throwing snowballs at Janel Moloney. Plus, we’re joined by West Wing writer and former Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling (@genebsperling). He tells us how the Clinton administration's regrets over the handling of the Rwandan genocide led to the Bartlet administration's doctrine for the use of force. For more, visit
14/02/181h 3m

4.14: Inauguration: Part 1 (with Danica McKellar)

Inauguration: Part I is the first part of our two-part series about a two-part series of West Wing episodes. Josh and Hrishi dig up fun facts about presidential bibles, and cast a critical eye on CJ's flirting and Josh's mean sass about Jack Reese. They also talk with Danica McKellar (@danicamckellar) about how a character named Tracy became Elsie Snuffin. For more, visit
07/02/181h 9m

4.13: The Long Goodbye (with Jon Robin Baitz and The Alzheimer’s Association)

As the West Wing takes a trip to Dayton, OH, for The Long Goodbye, Josh and Hrishi talk to playwright Jon Robin Baitz, who playwrought the episode. He talks about how his own father's illness informed the script in ways he didn't realize at the time, and gets props from our hosts for finally letting C.J. get some. For more, visit
31/01/1847m 50s

4.12: Guns Not Butter (with MAZON and The ONE Campaign)

For our discussion of Guns Not Butter, Josh and Hrishi go on a hunt for Hrishi’s Hebrew name that is almost as intense as Donna’s quest to get Josh’s phone into the hands of Senator Hardin. Tom Hart of ONE (@OneCampaign) makes the case for foreign aid, and MAZON’s CEO & President Abby Leibman (@MAZONusa) backs Charlie up on the subject of food stamps on the military, but not one single person sides with poor Josh Lyman on the remote prayer issue. For more, visit
24/01/181h 8m

4.11: Holy Night (with The Whiffenpoofs and Robert Malina)

On the West Wing, it’s Toby’s birthday (December 23), and his father visits. On the West Wing Weekly, it’s Josh’s birthday (January 17), and HIS father visits. We turn to Mr Robert Malina for some Yiddish info and some Joshish insights. Plus, we’re joined by a couple of the Yale Whiffenpoofs who appeared in "Holy Night" to tell us about how they ended up singing for President Bartlet. For more, visit
17/01/181h 13m

4.10: Arctic Radar (with Richard Schiff, John David Coles, and Fmr. Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu)

One of us! One of us! Will Bailey finally arrives in the West Wing and we've got a trio of guests to welcome him. Former Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) talks about the (nonexistent) precedent for cabinet resignations; director John David Coles breaks down his unusual camera choices; and Richard Schiff (@Richard_Schiff) reveals what song Toby had stuck in his head the first time he met Will. For more, visit
20/12/171h 30m

4.09: Swiss Diplomacy (with Kevin Falls and Eli Attie)

Eli Attie (@EliAttie) and Kevin Falls (@KevinFalls) are our guests to talk about the “break glass in case of emergency” writing that went into “Swiss Diplomacy”, a rare episode without a Sorkin writing credit. These guys have stories! And they’ll tell you why, when in doubt, you should always run for president. For more, visit
13/12/171h 14m

4.08: Process Stories (with Joanna Gleason)

Stock up on Cheetos, because Joanna Gleason (@TheRealJGleason) is our guest and she’s got a drinking game - sorry, an eating game - for anyone who loves to pick apart Bradley Whitford’s acting technique. Needless to say, Josh is on board. It’s a probable impossibility that by the end of this episode we’ll all understand what an improbable possibility is, and why Sam is so down on it. For more, visit
05/12/1757m 54s

4.07: Election Night (with Clark Gregg)

As the characters anxiously await election results and Donna tries to swap votes with Christian Slater, Josh and Hrishi interview Clark Gregg (@ClarkGregg) about how everybody wants to call him Agent Something. And, Josh looks back fondly on the mighty superpowers that allowed him to summon rain from a clear sky. For more, visit
21/11/171h 6m

4.06: Game On (with Rob Lowe, Bradley Whitford, and Joshua Malina)

Hrishi and Josh welcome special guest Joshua Malina to talk about Joshua Malina’s first episode as Will Bailey. [fanfare] With special appearances by Bradley Whitford, Rob Lowe, and Joshua Malina. For more, visit
15/11/171h 25m

4.05: Debate Camp (with Ronald Klain)

To discuss the Bartlet Administration's debate camp, we're joined once again by Ronald Klain, who has been in charge of debate prep for every Democratic presidential candidate since 2004. For more, visit
07/11/1759m 1s

4.04: The Red Mass

Pretty much one long “ai yi yi.” For more, visit
01/11/1754m 0s

4.03: College Kids (with Aimee Mann and Fmr. Secretary of Education John King, Jr.)

This week, we’re joined by former Secretary of Education John King, Jr. (@JohnBKing) and Aimee Mann (@aimeemann) to discuss “College Kids”. For more, visit
25/10/171h 14m

4.02: 20 Hours in America, Part Two (with Christopher Misiano)

Josh and Hrishi discuss second part of Season 4 premiere with episode director, Christopher Misiano. West Wing Weekly love episode! For more, visit
18/10/171h 23m

4.01: 20 Hours in America, Part One (with John Gallagher, Jr.)

Our discussion of Season 4 begins! We’re joined by John Gallagher, Jr., who made his Sorkin debut in the premiere, years before he would go on to star in The Newsroom. Here we go, cuties! For more, visit

4.00: President Bartlet Special (with Martin Sheen)

Martin Sheen joined Josh and Hrishi for a conversation about The West Wing, The American President, Aaron Sorkin, and more. For more, visit
04/10/171h 5m

0.04: Big Block of Cheese III (with 99% Invisible)

Before we dive into Season 4, we're answering some pressing listener questions like: why hasn't Martin Sheen been on the podcast yet? Plus questions about music, musicals, and underwear. (Don't be scared.) And to go along with our new Bartlet's Army challenge coin, we present an episode of 99% Invisible that explains what challenge coins are, where they come from, and what to do with them. For more, visit
27/09/1758m 52s

3.22: Posse Comitatus (Live with Aaron Sorkin, Allison Janney, and Melissa Fitzgerald)

To discuss the Season 3 finale, we traveled to San Francisco to record a live episode at the Castro Theatre. We'd announced the show would be with a special guest: Aaron Sorkin. But what we didn't tell anyone was that we'd also be joined by a couple of surprise guests: Allison Janney (@AllisonBJanney) and Melissa Fitzgerald (@MaffyFitz). You can hear the audience go crazy when they come out; you wouldn't believe how thunderously loud it was in the actual theater. This one was so much fun to record. Thanks to our guests for joining us, thanks to Sketchfest for hosting us, and thanks to you for continuing to watch the West Wing along with us. Okay, what's next? For more, visit
20/09/171h 4m

3.21: We Killed Yamamoto

Josh and Hrishi discuss a few conflicts central to this episode and its making: Amy vs Josh, President Bartlet vs moral absolutes, and script deadlines vs directing schedules. For more, visit
13/09/1747m 32s

3.20: The Black Vera Wang (with Mark Harmon)

We’re joined by Mark Harmon to discuss all things Simon Donovan. Our interview with him spans the rest of Season 3, so if you're watching The West Wing for the first time, be warned that spoilers abound during that part of this episode. For more, visit
06/09/171h 2m

3.19: Enemies Foreign and Domestic

A correction: Eli Attie's teacher, Mrs Morello, is alive. A reminder: Paxton Whitehead, who played Bernard, is also alive. Josh and Hrishi discuss Russians being played by non-Russians, Tom Lehrer, and the Sorkinism of having nothing to do. Plus, to accompany the story of the letter that gets sent to the President, we're thrilled to present one of our favorite episodes of 99% Invisible, “Ten Letters to the President.” It’s a perfect companion for this episode of The West Wing. Big thanks to Roman Mars (@romanmars) and the folks at Slate’s Working podcast for letting us share it with you. For more, visit

3.18: Documentary Special (with William Couturié)

This week, Josh and Hrishi speak with the director of The West Wing Documentary Special episode. For more, visit
16/08/1734m 46s

3.17: Stirred (with Eli Attie and Fmr Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu)

This week we're joined by Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44), who served as the White House Cabinet Secretary during the first term of the Obama administration and the Deputy Secretary of Labor during the second term. He gives us some real-world insight into Presidential Proclamations. Plus, we use the special West Wing Weekly Hotline to call Eli Attie (@EliAttie) to get the inside scoop on the writing of this episode. For more, visit
09/08/171h 5m

3.16: The U.S. Poet Laureate (with Television Without Pity and David Wade)

We’re joined by two of the co-founders of the website Television Without Pity, Tara Ariano (@TaraAriano) and Sarah D. Bunting (@TomatoNation), to discuss the plotline—inspired by Aaron Sorkin’s own posts on TWoP. We’re also joined by David Wade (@davideckelswade) who was national spokesman for then-Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign and who later served as Secretary Kerry’s chief of staff. We compare President Bartlet’s hot mic moment in this episode with a famous one from John Kerry when he was a candidate. For more, visit
02/08/171h 7m

3.15: Dead Irish Writers (with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

In light of Donna's brief time as a Canadian in “Dead Irish Writers,” we’re honored to be joined this week by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau). (We know. We can't believe it either.) The PM discusses political idealism – both on- and off-screen – and gives us his thoughts on what The West Wing got right, his father's tenure as Prime Minister, how he feels about President Bartlet, and more. Plus, Josh and Hrishi talk about the parallels between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and The Troubles, and the value of overcoming your fear of public failure. For more, visit
26/07/171h 2m

3.14: Hartsfield's Landing

This week, our discussion ranges from chess and poker games, to code switching, to West Wing Weekly themed fart machines. All this, plus Josh, the master prankster, ranks the pranks in CJ and Charlie’s prank war. For more, visit
19/07/1759m 47s

3.13: Night Five

To get some real-world insight into the Sam/Ainsley/Celia scene in Night Five, we invited three West Wing Weekly listeners – Amy Carlson, Jamie Lynn Crofts, and Debora Verdier, employment attorneys in three different states, representing both plaintiffs and defendants – to give us their perspective in a panel discussion. It's our episode, it's about to become your episode, and we sleep…ehh, ok, not that well. For more, visit
12/07/171h 14m

3.12: The Two Bartlets (with Blanche Sindelar)

President Bartlet and his father; CJ and her father; Bob Engler and his father…this episode is the Dada of Dada issues. And Josh and Hrishi talk to Blanche Sindelar, the property master for all seven seasons of The West Wing — the keeper of Gail’s fishbowl. For more, visit
28/06/171h 5m

3.11: 100,000 Airplanes (with Dr. Leo Mascarenhas)

This week, we’re joined by Dr Leo Mascarenhas, the Deputy Director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and the Section Head of Oncology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, to discuss the cancer crusade that President Bartlet wanted for the State of the Union. Hey, Toby, how many words are in this description? (56.) For more, visit
21/06/171h 1m

3.10: H. Con-172

Is Cliff Calley actually a good guy? Hrishi thinks it’s obvious. Josh thinks he’s not so great. Meet us in the Georgetown Law Library so we can discuss. For more, go to
14/06/1749m 38s

3.09: Bartlet for America (with John Spencer)

To accompany our discussion of "Bartlet for America," we're thrilled to present an interview with John Spencer, who won an Emmy for his performance. We talk to David Daniel (@CNNLADavid), who is a senior producer at CNN Newsource. He interviewed John Spencer in 2002, just before the Emmy awards, about The West Wing pilot, "Bartlet for America," addiction, and more. We're so lucky to have gotten David's original raw tape from that day, which we used to put this segment together. For more, visit
07/06/171h 24m

3.08: The Women of Qumar (with Allison Janney and Fmr UN Ambassador Sarah Mendelson)

This week's episode gets a bit dark, as does our discussion of it. We're honored to have two amazing guests. We learn more about the realities of trafficking with former UN Ambassador Sarah Mendelson (@SarahMendelson). And the brilliant but elusive Allison Janney (@AllisonBJanney) finally — finally! — makes her West Wing Weekly debut. For more, visit
31/05/171h 17m

3.07: The Indians in the Lobby (with W.G. Snuffy Walden)

Thanksgiving! Native Americans! Turkey! Foodborne illness! Hrishi's dad! All this, plus we present the recording of our live interview with Emmy-winning West Wing composer Snuffy Walden (@snuffywalden). For more, visit
24/05/171h 12m

3.06: Gone Quiet

Our discussion of this episode takes many a twist and turn: from the NEA to JFK, from Star Trek to Eddie Murphy. Plus, Toby's confession that he is no fan of musicals leads us to the next chapter of "Hrishi Hruins a Musical." For more, visit
17/05/1752m 8s

3.05: War Crimes (with Fmr. UN Ambassador David Pressman)

David Pressman is the former US Ambassador to the United Nations and was the first-ever Director for War Crimes and Atrocities on the National Security Council at the White House, and we're thrilled to have him on the podcast to discuss the "War Crimes" episode with us. Plus, Josh and Hrishi get into it over Toby's "we're a team" speech. For more, visit
09/05/171h 23m

3.04: On The Day Before (with Janel Moloney)

For this episode, we're joined once again by Janel Moloney (@NellyMoloney), who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Emmy in part for her performance in this episode. Alas, she did not help us learn to tie a proper bow tie. (At the end of the podcast episode, you want to be able to pull it open, like Tony Bennett.)
03/05/171h 5m

3.03: Ways and Means (with Eli Attie)

We’re joined again by our friend Eli Attie, the former speechwriter to Al Gore who went on to join The West Wing in Season 3. Eli has a ‘story by’ credit on “Ways and Means”, and we dig into what that really means. Plus, we talk about the importance and danger that stage directions can provide actors and politicians. Take a listen, you won’t be . . . DISAPPOINTED!!!!
26/04/1754m 54s

3.02: Manchester, Part II (with Connie Britton)

Josh and Hrishi are joined by Connie Britton (@conniebritton) to discuss the second half of the Season 3 premiere. I made a joke about Freudian slips in the show notes for Part I (“Josh and Hrishi try to sort their way through it all without making any Freudian slips while talking to each mother”), but it really should have gone here, in Part II. Sorry about that. My dad. I mean, my bad.
19/04/171h 6m

3.01: Manchester, Part I

The Season Three premiere has a dense script, and an enormous production to match. Josh and Hrishi try to sort their way through it all without making any Freudian slips while talking to each mother.
11/04/1745m 20s

3.00: Isaac and Ishmael (with Ajay Naidu and Fmr Press Secretary Mike McCurry)

This is a controversial episode of The West Wing, and one that falls outside the regular storyline of the show. We hash out our conflicting opinions on it to find some common ground. We're also joined by Ajay Naidu to discuss his role as Rakim Ali. And we talk to former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry, who is now a Professor of Theology; in the spirit of this episode, it's a Jew, an atheist, and a Methodist having a conversation about religion, politics, and pluralism.
05/04/171h 25m

2.22: Two Cathedrals (Part II, with Aaron Sorkin and Kirsten Nelson)

Aaron Sorkin joins Josh and Hrishi for our final episode of Season Two, to talk about his experience writing "Two Cathedrals." Plus, Kirsten Nelson (@NelsonKirsten) tells us about playing the role of the young Mrs Landingham.
22/03/171h 12m

2.22: Two Cathedrals (Part I, with Lawrence O'Donnell and Mary Graham)

We present the first of two episodes of our podcast discussing the Season Two finale. In this episode, we're joined by West Wing writer / producer Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence), aka Jed's father, Headmaster Bartlet. Plus, Mary Graham, author of Presidents' Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power tells us all about how presidents have hidden the truth about their health from the American people. And, introducing the BARTLET SECRETARY NAME GENERATOR.
15/03/1746m 43s

2.21: 18th and Potomac (with Oliver Platt)

It's the penultimate episode of Season 2. Oliver Platt (@OliverPlatt) joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss his role as Oliver Babish.
08/03/1757m 58s

2.20: The Fall's Gonna Kill You (with Marlee Matlin)

Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss her role as Joey Lucas. Along with her interpreter, Jack Jason (@655Jack), she pranked us pretty badly just before we recorded her interview. Listen for the brutal details of that, plus our discussion of satellites, Sam’s "fair share" of taxes, and our favorite cute will-they-or-won’t-they couple, Ed & Larry.  
01/03/171h 18m

2.19: Bad Moon Rising

Before we get into Oliver Babish and the Big Hammer, and Donna Moss and the Secret Pumpkin, we start with a much needed follow-up to our discussion of autism in 2.17: The Stackhouse Filibuster. Special thanks to Amy and Jill, who were two of the many listeners who sent us messages with concerns about how autism was addressed.
22/02/1750m 44s

2.18: 17 People (with Richard Schiff, Emily Procter, Rebecca Walker)

We've got 7 people for "17 People." Richard Schiff (@Richard_Schiff) talks to us about Toby's journey, and the origins of the Spalding ball. Emily Procter (@emilyprocter) talks to us about Ainsley "spilling coffee" with Sam. Rebecca Walker (@rebeccawalker), one of the actual ERA panelists set to debate Ainsley at Smith, responds to her arguments, along with the President of the ERA Coalition, Jessica Neuwirth. And we get a little insight into a fantastic website dedicated to this episode,, from its creator, Jon White (@jonwhitebriefly).
15/02/171h 9m

2.17: The Stackhouse Filibuster (Live with Bradley Whitford)

Josh and Hrishi are joined by Bradley Whitford (@WhitfordBradley) for the first-ever live taping of a West Wing Weekly episode, recorded at the Marines' Memorial Theatre in San Francisco at the SF Sketchfest Comedy Festival. We also hear from Dee Perkins and Marc Bernardin, parents of autistic children, about the impact "The Stackhouse Filibuster" had on them. Check out photos from the taping at
08/02/1759m 8s

2.16: Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail (with Rob Lowe)

Sitting here in the darkness I’ve gotta post the show Somebody’s joining us this episode Somebody named Rob Lowe We found somebody to explain free trade Cuz there is so muuuch we don’t knowwww And we asked Aaron about the song… It’s the West Wing Weekly (ooh-oo-oooh) Aaron wrote us baaack! It’s the West Wing Weekly (ooh-oo-oooh) How f*$%ing cool is that? It’s the West Wing Weekly (ooh-oo-oooh) All the maps are wack It’s the West Wing Weekly We're joined by Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) to discuss this episode, which earned him an Emmy nomination. And we welcome back Ben Casselman (@bencasselman), chief economics writer for FiveThirtyEight, to give us some modern context for Toby's line, "Free trade stops wars."  Ooh-oo-oooh!
01/02/171h 24m

2.15: Ellie (with Nina Siemaszko)

In this episode, we look at the uncomfortable contiguity of Bartlet the President and Bartlet the Dad. Along the way, we discuss zeugma, gloriosky!, Smoot-Hawley, and other ridiculous sounding words. We also talk to Nina Siemaszko (@MsSiemaszko) about her role as Ellie Bartlet.
25/01/1751m 35s

2.14: The War At Home

Stockard Channing was nominated for an Emmy based on her performance in this episode. Though her performance in the first part of this two-part arc was also excellent, we discuss why this second episode may have had the edge. Plus, a discussion around the language used to identify different groups of Americans.  Donate to Mazon in honor of Josh's birthday today.
18/01/1744m 19s

What's Next? featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda [clean]

The West Wing Weekly presents an ode to The West Wing. Hrishi made a beat, an extended remix of our podcast’s intro theme, for the biggest West Wing fan we know— Lin-Manuel Miranda — who wrote lyrics and recorded vocals for the track! What's next?   To watch the video for this song, go to:
16/01/173m 51s

What's Next? featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda [explicit]

The West Wing Weekly presents an ode to The West Wing. Hrishi made a beat, an extended remix of our podcast’s intro theme, for the biggest West Wing fan we know— Lin-Manuel Miranda — who wrote lyrics and recorded vocals for the track! What's next? To watch the video for this song, go to:
16/01/173m 51s

2.13: Bartlet's Third State of the Union (with Don Baer, Fmr. White House Communications Director)

In this episode, we're joined by Don Baer, who was the chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, to tell us what it's really like to write a State of the Union Address. And when you're done listening and you're ready to go home, we only have one question for you: How's Grampy?
11/01/171h 8m

0.03: Big Block of Cheese II

For the last episode of the year, we answer listener questions in our 2nd edition of The West Wing Weekly Big Block of Cheese Day. Thanks so much for listening to the show this year and giving us a great 2016 — apart from, well, everything else that happened. If you are looking for good causes to support this holiday season, we suggest: Mazon The Pablove Foundation Southern Poverty Law Center Bet Tzedek  Justice for Vets footnotes — Hrishi's West Wing cast list  
21/12/1648m 52s

2.12: The Drop In (with Kim Webster)

Forget the popcorn, we got Ginger! Kim Webster joins us to talk about the fortuitous path that led her to the role. So affix your signature and seal, baby — Plus, we're doing our FIRST EVER live taping. It's in San Francisco, on January 15, 2017, at the Sketchfest Comedy Festival. We'll be joined by friend (?) of the show, Bradley Whitford. GET TICKETS.
14/12/1653m 8s

2.11: The Leadership Breakfast

When we spoke to Emily Procter (episode 2.04), she told us a story about a lunch meeting she had with Tommy Schlamme that had an unexpected twist. We've been holding on to her story until this episode. You'll hear why. Plus, a lot of #TrumpAiYiYi.
06/12/1645m 21s

2.10: Noël (with Bradley Whitford and Ellen Totleben)

(sung to the melody of "Carol of the Bells") Hark! oh my gosh Hrishi and Josh Discuss Noël Puns and intel Ellen Totleben Tells us laymen All that you see Was her duty She was the West Wing Set Decorator And we’ll talk to Bradley Whitford later When it’s just us Things we discuss: PTSD Tommy Schlamme I got a job? You got a job Bush versus Gore Flentls and more Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas! Bradley Whitford won an Emmy with this Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas! Epic flentl; you don't want to miss this.
30/11/161h 12m

2.09: Galileo

At this extremely historic moment, we present a very unique episode. (Wow, that really is some terrible writing.) In this episode, we bone up on our Mars with help from NASA Systems Engineer Mallory Lefland, who is working on the Mars 2020 mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. footnotes — Freddie Mercury said it right.
16/11/1657m 32s

2.08: Shibboleth

The pressure is on as we discuss one of Hrishi's all-time favorite episodes. Will his feelings be spared by Josh, or will they be placed on the chopping block and pulled apart like a turkey's giblets and flentls?! Introducing the TWWW University Sweatshirt! You can get one for yourself or for your favorite West Wing Weekly listener at
08/11/1652m 42s

2.07: The Portland Trip (with Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, Congressman Brendan Boyle, and Fmr. Congressman Steve Gunderson)

For "The Portland Trip," we try to slip the surly bonds of Earth. We are, in turns, lifted and dragged down by our feelings. In honor of Josh Lyman's conversation with Congressman Matt Skinner, we ask real-life former Wisconsin congressman Steve Gunderson what it was like to be the first openly gay Republican in Congress. And we're joined later by Pennsylvania Congressman Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle), as well as the Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning (@SecArmy) — the first openly gay person to head any service in the U.S. Military.
02/11/161h 7m

2.06: The Lame Duck Congress (with Dave Chameides)

How ya doin, Dalai Lama? In this episode, we're joined by steadicam operator Dave Chameides to talk about the complex choreography of the shooting a walk and talk. Plus, we get a visit from Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) to talk about his Sorkinisms supercut videos. footnotes — Sorkinisms: Part I, II, and III
26/10/1651m 54s

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.
19/10/1650m 19s

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!
12/10/161h 15m

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.)
05/10/1643m 20s

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).
28/09/161h 17m

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?
28/09/161h 12m

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.
20/09/1650m 19s

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.
07/09/1653m 1s

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?
31/08/161h 4m

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. More at:
24/08/161h 9m

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.
17/08/1656m 57s

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). 
10/08/1642m 19s

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).
03/08/1651m 23s

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.
27/07/1642m 21s

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.
20/07/161h 16m

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.
13/07/161h 7m

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.
06/07/161h 2m

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 (
29/06/161h 15m

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.
22/06/1645m 50s

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, Thomas Schlamme, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Joshua Malina, moderated by Lawrence O'Donnell. (For any of listeners watching the series for the first time, there are spoilers throughout the discussion.)
15/06/161h 42m

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.
07/06/161h 2m

1.10, continued: Memorial Day Special (with Melissa Fitzgerald)

On this Memorial Day, we bring you a special episode with Melissa Fitzgerald (@maffyfitz) talking about her work with Justice for Vets.
30/05/1622m 54s

1.10: In Excelsis Deo (with Richard Schiff)

Richard Schiff (@Richard_Schiff) joins Josh and Hrishi to talk about "In Excelsis Deo." His performance as Toby in this episode earned him his first Emmy win.
25/05/161h 7m

1.09: The Short List (with Ronald Klain)

The path to a Supreme Court nomination takes us through a discussion of the right to privacy. Plus, Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) tells us about the real-life short list that he put together for President Clinton that led to the appointment of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
18/05/1650m 40s

1.08: Enemies

Retribution, romance, and The Antiquities Act. Plus, Josh and Hrishi attempt their own Big Block of Cheese Day.
11/05/1648m 51s

1.07: The State Dinner (with Lyn Paolo)

Josh and Hrishi largely disagree with each other about this episode. Plus, award-winning costume designer Lyn Paolo (@lynpaolo) discusses her work on the series and on this episode in particular, which earned her an Emmy nomination.
04/05/1650m 14s

1.06: Mr. Willis of Ohio (with Janel Moloney)

Janel Moloney (@nellymoloney) joins Josh and Hrishi to talk about playing Donna, and Ben Casselman (@bencasselman) gives an update on the state of the census.

1.05: The Crackpots and These Women (with Eli Attie)

For Big Block of Cheese Day, Josh and Hrishi are joined by Eli Attie, who was Vice President Al Gore's chief speechwriter before leaving politics and joining The West Wing as a writer and producer. Plus, the truth about David Rosen.
20/04/1649m 4s

1.04: Five Votes Down

The limits of practical idealism. Plus, Hrishi sets Leo's dialogue to music, and Josh unwittingly reveals a secret.
13/04/1631m 21s

1.03: A Proportional Response (with Dulé Hill)

Dulé Hill joins Josh and Hrishi to talk about shooting his first episode of The West Wing, visiting the real White House, and losing to Martin Sheen in 1-on-1.
06/04/1651m 40s

1.02: "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc"

Latin, the Vice President, Morris Tolliver, and more.
30/03/1633m 12s

1.01: Pilot

Josh and Hrishi discuss the West Wing’s pilot episode, in the pilot episode of this podcast.
23/03/1648m 50s

0.00: Cold Open

Introducing The West Wing Weekly.
15/03/163m 53s
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