Missing ''The West Wing'' already? Reminisce about the just-ended show with the cast and crew, who told Lynette Rice about its beginnings
Credit: Janele Maloney and Allison Janney by Gail Albert Halaban

Time to pack up the china and ship it to the presidential library — The West Wing has closed its doors forever. The often brilliant political drama never lacked in its ability to generate headlines, and managed to overcome impossible odds — the premature departure of creator Aaron Sorkin, a late-in-the-game critical backlash, and ultracompetitive time slots — to last seven years on NBC. Along the way, it won the best drama Emmy an impressive four times, a feat matched only by L.A. Law and Hill Street Blues. Not bad for a show that relied on the (rapidly) spoken word rather than violence, nudity, explosions, or high concepts to engage its viewers.

Before Josiah ”Jed” Bartlet (Martin Sheen) ceded the Oval Office on May 14 to the country’s first Latino president, Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) — oh, what we wouldn’t give to watch his first 100 days! — EW asked the cast and crew to put down the fake policy papers and reflect on how The West Wing came together, from the early negotiations with NBC and the arduous casting calls, to Sorkin’s uncanny ability to turn even the most mundane discussion about clean coal power initiatives into an oratorical work of art.

The West Wing
  • TV Show