The West Wing

10 Best Episodes of The West Wing - Season 1

The West Wing provides a glimpse into presidential politics in the nation's capital as it tells the stories of the members of a fictional presidential administration. These interesting characters have humor and dedication that touches the heart while the politics that they discuss touch on everyday life.

Written by Sophie and last updated on feb 02, 2023.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

The West Wing - S1E2

#15 - Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (Season 1 - Episode 2)

The Vice President refuses to fall in line with Bartlet; Sam discusses the problem of Laurie with Josh and Toby; the plane carrying President Bartlet's doctor, a naval officer, is shot down en route to Jordan; Bartlet hires Mandy as his consultant.

The episode was rated 7.94 from 552 votes.

The West Wing - S1E14

#14 - Take This Sabbath Day (Season 1 - Episode 14)


After the Supreme Court refuses to stay the execution of a convicted murderer, Bartlet has forty-eight hours to decide whether or not to commute the sentence; Josh faces off with Joey Lucas about his staff's not backing her candidate as vigorously as she'd like.

The episode was rated 7.95 from 387 votes.

The West Wing - S1E11

#13 - Lord John Marbury (Season 1 - Episode 11)

War breaks out between India and Pakistan and Bartlet consults with Lord John Marbury; Toby accuses C.J. of being too friendly with the press when she objects to being kept in the dark; the staff realizes that Lillienfield's efforts to bring down Leo are going to get ugly when Josh gets a subpoena.

The episode was rated 8.01 from 382 votes.

The West Wing - S1E7

#12 - The State Dinner (Season 1 - Episode 7)


The president of Indonesia is honored at a state dinner; the staff deals with Hurricane Sarah, a potential teamster strike, and a raid involving children in Idaho; a reporter flirts with C.J.

The episode was rated 8.01 from 403 votes.

The West Wing - S1E5

#11 - The Crackpots and These Women (Season 1 - Episode 5)

The staffers spend the day ("Big Block of Cheese day") dealing with private organizations, aka the crackpots. Throughout the day, Sam deals with a UFO nut, CJ gets a proposal to build a wolves-only road, Toby and Bartlet clash over everything, and Josh is overwhelmed by guilt regarding his sister's death.

The episode was rated 8.02 from 454 votes.

The West Wing - S1E21

#10 - Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics (Season 1 - Episode 21)


Bartlet gets closer to making the FEC campaign finance reform-friendly, but his opponents strike back by making Sam's former dalliance with the call girl public knowledge; CJ waits anxiously for the administration's approval rating.

The episode was rated 8.03 from 345 votes.

The West Wing - S1E1

#9 - Pilot (Season 1 - Episode 1)

In the series premiere, the White House staff is being called into work in the early hours of the morning to the news that the President of the United States has crashed his bicycle into a tree, much to the enjoyment of the press. The staff must run damage control on this and a gaffe by Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman who, after provocation by Christian activist Mary Marsh on a televised debate, quips "Lady, the God you pray to is too busy being indicted for tax fraud." Also, Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn meets and spends an evening with Laurie (Lisa Edelstein), not knowing she is a call girl, and then accidentally tells White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry's daughter, Mallory O'Brien, about it.

The episode was rated 8.06 from 727 votes.

The West Wing - S1E3

#8 - A Proportional Response (Season 1 - Episode 3)


Still enraged at Morris's death, Bartlet makes a show of deadly force; C.J. is upset about being kept out of the loop about Laurie; Josh hires Charlie to be Bartlet's new personal assistant.

The episode was rated 8.07 from 504 votes.

The West Wing - S1E6

#7 - Mr. Willis of Ohio (Season 1 - Episode 6)

Toby and Mandy push for a commerce bill with a census-counting provision, with three votes as the deciding factor; Sam tutors C.J. on the finer points of the census; Josh & Sam take Charlie out for a beer and are joined by Zoey and Mallory. Zoey faces a potentially dangerous situation when she goes out for the evening.

The episode was rated 8.10 from 432 votes.

The West Wing - S1E9

#6 - The Short List (Season 1 - Episode 9)


Bartlet struggles to name a nominee to the Supreme Court when the perfect nominee turns out to be not so perfect; A congressman attacks the staff, claiming that 1 in 3 use drugs.

The episode was rated 8.11 from 380 votes.

The West Wing - S1E12

#5 - He Shall, from Time to Time... (Season 1 - Episode 12)

Bartlet collapses before his first State of the Union address; Leo publicly admits to his former alcoholism and drug abuse; things get interesting romantically for both Sam and C.J.; Lord John Marbury helps the staff negotiate an agreement between India and Pakistan.

The episode was rated 8.12 from 383 votes.

The West Wing - S1E15

#4 - Celestial Navigation (Season 1 - Episode 15)


Toby and Sam travel to Connecticut to get Roberto Mendoza released from jail; Josh must run a press briefing when C.J. has an emergency root canal.

The episode was rated 8.18 from 386 votes.

The West Wing - S1E19

#3 - Let Bartlet Be Bartlet (Season 1 - Episode 19)

Mandy's old memo about Bartlet administration weaknesses surfaces; Josh tries to get administration nominees appointed to the Federal Elections Committee; Sam works to get a better policy on gays in the military.

The episode was rated 8.19 from 360 votes.

The West Wing - S1E10

#2 - In Excelsis Deo (Season 1 - Episode 10)


Toby tries to arrange a proper funeral for a homeless veteran; Josh and Sam try to set up a preemptive strike against Lillienfield, who is attacking Leo because of his prior drug and alcohol problem; CJ tries to get the staff to revisit the hate crimes issue; Bartlet sneaks out to do some last minute shopping.

The episode was rated 8.23 from 395 votes.

The West Wing - S1E22

#1 - What Kind of Day Has It Been (Season 1 - Episode 22)

The staff deals with the crisis of an American pilot who was shot down in Iraq; Toby's brother is in danger on a space shuttle whose doors won't close; Bartlet and the senior staff walk into trouble as they leave a town meeting.

The episode was rated 8.47 from 381 votes.

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