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The West Wing

7 Seasons

Season 5
4.6 out of 5 stars (409) IMDb 8.8/10

Experience the inner workings of the White House in this innovative, multi-award-winning drama series created by Emmy® winner Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night). Martin Sheen, as President Bartlet, continues to leads an acclaimed ensemble cast. Entering its fifth season with 24 Emmys®, The West Wing begins as the President - and the nation - faces the traumatic kidnapping of his youngest daughter.

Starring:
Allison Janney, John Spencer

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Season 5

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1. 7A WF 83429

As the White House reels from the kidnapping of Zoey, the youngest daughter of Democratic U.S. President Josiah Edward Bartlet, the government is temporarily passed from the distraught Bartlet to the Republican party.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: September 23, 2003
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2. The Dogs of War

The international crisis concerning the terrorist abduction of Bartlet's daughter Zoey reaches a critical point as Speaker of the House Glenallen Walken, the acting President, orders the bombardment of Qumari terrorist camps.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: September 30, 2003
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3. Jefferson Lives

Following a harrowing chapter in the nation's history, the White House celebrates the Fourth of July. Bartlet endures the painful process of nominating a candidate for vice president.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: October 7, 2003
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4. Han

A renowned North Korean pianist is greeted at the White House for a solo performance, but the formalities change when the musician slips a message to the President stating that he wants to defect.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: October 21, 2003
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5. Constituency of One

After Josh is hailed as the "101st Senator" in a newspaper profile, he clashes with conservative Senator Carrick, a Democrat from Idaho.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: October 28, 2003
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6. Disaster Relief

Bartlet is preoccupied with a killer tornado in Oklahoma and flies there to lend his support. But his compassion overrules good judgment, and Bartlet stays longer than planned.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: November 4, 2003
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7. Separation of Powers

The President's staff wrangles with new Speaker of the House Jeff Haffley over the pending federal budget. Meanwhile, Toby dispatches former Supreme Court clerk and friend Joe Quincy to check on the condition of stricken Chief Justice Roy Ashland.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: November 11, 2003
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8. Shutdown

A disastrous fiscal crisis looms when the federal government is shut down after the President and the powerful Republican Speaker of the House disagree over an extra two percent in budget reductions that would trim many of Bartlet's key social programs.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: November 18, 2003
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9. Abu El Banat

The festive Christmas spirit at the annual White House tree-lighting celebration is dimmed when the President learns that Christian relief workers have been jailed in Islamic Northern Sudan.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: December 2, 2003
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10. The Stormy Present

When a former President of the United States dies, the two remaining ex- Presidents fly on Air Force One with Bartlet to attend the funeral. Onboard, Bartlet's two historic guests partake in a lively debate about their administrations.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: January 6, 2004
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11. The Benign Prerogative

Toby finishes the State of the Union Address a few weeks early, and a pregnant Joey Lucas polls responses to the speech from everyday people.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: January 13, 2004
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12. Slow News Day

Toby convinces Bartlet to secretly sanction his solo attempt to make history by reforming Social Security, but Toby's efforts to recruit a Republican senator and a Democratic cohort are publicly divulged.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: February 3, 2004
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13. The Warfare of Genghis Khan

When the flash of a secret nuclear detonation is detected over the Indian Ocean, Bartlet calls upon his people to investigate which nation now has the atomic bomb.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: February 10, 2004
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14. An Khe

When five crew members of an airborne Thunderchief are shot down by North Korean jets near the hostile country, President Bartlet dispatches a Navy SEAL team to retrieve them.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: February 17, 2004
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15. Full Disclosure

The Bartlet administration reels from press leaks that former Vice President Hoynes is preparing a tell-all book that will embarrass the President and Leo as Hoynes plans to become a candidate for President of the United States.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: February 24, 2004
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16. Eppur Si Muove

Bartlet becomes furious when a rival conservative congresswoman tries to end funding for a controversial National Institute of Health medical study by exposing the fact that Bartlet's daughter Ellie is working at the institute as a scientist.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: March 2, 2004
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17. The Supremes

When a Republican Supreme Court justice suddenly dies, the Bartlet administration scrambles to find a worthy replacement, and the halls are filled with candidates.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: March 23, 2004
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18. Access

Producing a program on past and present White House press secretaries, a television documentary crew follows C.J. around to film a "typical" day.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: March 30, 2004
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19. Talking Points

On the eve of the President's controversial trade summit meeting in Brussels, Josh is troubled when he learns that Bartlet will reverse his position concerning the loss of American jobs to foreign nations.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: April 20, 2004
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20. No Exit

After attending a formal dinner at another location, Bartlet and his staff return to the White House and experience an emergency quarantine inside the West Wing when the environmental hazard monitor detects a dangerous foreign substance.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: April 27, 2004
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21. Gaza

Donna and Admiral Fitzwallace travel with a few Congressmen to the hotly disputed Gaza Strip on a fact-finding mission, trying to sort through the rival issues between the Palestinians and Israelis.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 42 minutes Release date: May 11, 2004
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22. Memorial Day

In the season finale, after the murders of high-ranking U.S. officials in the explosive Gaza Strip, Bartlet weighs appropriate military action.

TV-14 CC Runtime: 43 minutes Release date: May 18, 2004
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Constance Anderson on June 14, 2007
Format: DVD
After the great first four seasons, season five of the West Wing is, quite frankly, terrible. Aaron Sorkin, the architect of the four first seasons and creator of the show, was fired mid-story arc by NBC and probably had a hard time watching this season, as many familiar characteristics were stripped away. Donna has suddenly gone from being a bright-eyed optimist to a jaded Washington insider, constantly speaking in a bizarre low voice. Toby is no longer quirky, but simply mean and uninteresting. The assasination of Abdul Sharif, a story arc that had existed for over a season, is ended unceremoniously in a matter of a few minutes, shoved into the end of an episode and never spoken of again. Josh's character, once funny and energetic, is reduced to screaming at the capital building, a scene, intending to be a dramatic, more likely to produce laughter than further unerstanding of his character. Will Bailey, a great replacement for Sam in season four, takes a job with the new vice president, and loses his sharp wit along the way. Despite no longer working for the president, Will is still often at meetings determining presidential policy(?).

And all of a sudden, everyone's having sex. It turns out C.J. and the Vice President were once together, an absolutely absurd story line that is difficult to believe to say the least.Then, C.J. encourages Donna to "broaden her horizons" beyond Josh, and as a result, she sleeps with a guy before getting blown up while on a fact-finding mission to the Gaza strip.(Don't ask... just don't ask.)

The fast-paced dialogue that was a trademark of the show through its first four seasons disappears. Meetings in Leo's office or the Roosevelt Room that were once fast-paced now consist of short, bland dialogue, lacking real meaning.
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We're super "West Wing" fans, but have to admit that Season 5 was missing a lot of the humor of the first 4 seasons. Still, it had some great moments, such as the selection of two judges for the Supreme Court. Aaron Sorkin's brilliant writing was sorely missed during this particular season, but keep watching. During seasons 6 & 7, someone found humor once again. Not as great as the Sorkin years, but still definitely worth watching.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Continuing my WEST WING Binge to distract me from the 2016 political circus, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching these episodes again for the first time since they were originally aired. Although I do not always agree with their politics (often I do), I enjoy the process. I am always encouraged to see this fictitious group of hard working, big hearted people doing whatever they can to make this a better world. The casting is great from the regulars to the extras...there are those you love and those you love to hate, but all are well cast and well directed. The show sheds light on the good days, the bad days, and the rare mundane days -- there is a bit of dramatic license in some of the story lines, but it is a balanced "what if this happened..." that keeps the momentum going. Oh, that we could see this in today's politics~~
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I spend all of my time on the treadmill at home watching DVDs. I am now on this season of WW. I wish I had watched it when it was on! Great cast, and very plausible scenarios. I wish Jed Bartlet was really in office.
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Format: DVD
I discovered the West Wing late in 2003, just as the first season became available on DVD. As a person who looked upon TV with some disdain (having not really watched any significant amount of television since I was a kid), the show demonstrated to me that TV really could be something worth watching. I eagerly ate up every available episode on Bravo and bought the DVDs as they came out.

Imagine my pain when I learned of the departure of Sorkin and Schlamme. Season 4 ended on a cliffhanger like no other in all of television, on several levels. Here I was, a person who didn't really even like TV, actually mourning the fact that the situation would never see a "proper" resolution as Sorkin would have imagined it.

In fact, my worst fears were true. The first three or so episodes of season 5 are without a doubt the worst episodes of this series ever made. The climax at the end of season 4 is resolved clumsily, in true "deus ex machina" form. It was almost heartbreaking. However, the show did pick up again, though never achieving its former glory, and there are definitely some worthwhile moments in season 5. Season 6 started out terrific, and I really had hopes for the show's future. But I think interest petered out with the transformation of the show into "The Campaign Trail." Alan Alda notwithstanding, I suppose the show's recently announced finality was inevitable all along.

I'll be buying this DVD set, however, and not just for the sake of completeness. West Wing is much like pizza and sex: even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. In fact, it's better than pretty good. It's still just about the best thing on TV, and the smartest.
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As I watch this now, so many years after the series ended, I get chills as the plot lines continue, constantly, to mirror the same political and social issues we're dealing with today. Middle Eastern unrest. The shutdown of the government due to political posturing. The assassination of Middle eastern terrorists. The stalemate between a Democratic president and his Republican Congress. Every episode is still relevant. Still powerful. If only we our real life leaders could be this wise and charismatic, with a staff just as erudite and lightning "quick" with both the comebacks and the pertinent facts and strategies. Sorkin's new "Newsroom" pales by comparison, but it's good to see him still fighting the good fight. "The West Wing" is one of TVs shining moments, though. And I am eternally grateful that he was bold enough to tackle Washington, warts and all, with such remarkable insight--it's good entertainment, too.
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