How can one ever forget the thrills of the West Wing characters in the acclaimed series? The drama depicts the politics of America and how decisions are reached in the west wing of the White House where the Oval Office and the offices of presidential senior staff are located. The series did not play down on the scandals in the west wing and the dangers posed by terrorists to the world. Although based on the fictitious Democratic administration of President Josiah Bartlet, most of the issues raised by the movie are still relevant topics of discussion in politics today.
Created by Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing is a political masterpiece that still intrigues everyone in America and beyond as it presented a positive view of public service and made the human side of public servants more real, even as it educates the masses on public cynicism.
There are characters in the series whom we grew to cherish as the series progressed. These characters whom we long to see time and time again as they engage in the fast-paced dialogue while walking are by no doubt our favorite. Below is a compiled list of 10 best West Wing characters who topped the chart.
10 Best West Wing Characters We Have Fallen In Love With
1. C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney)
The first person on our list of 10 best West Wing characters we have fallen in love with is C.J. Cregg played by Allison Janney. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because she totally killed the show. Apparently, Aaron Sorkin was at his best in the development of her character. Although with quite a few flaws, Cregg is absolutely charming; her cheerful and classy approach to issues of ultimate importance makes her lovable to everyone. Through the course of the series, we witnessed CJ hit by several mean plots and how she rose above all of them through a gift of compassion and strong will.
She starts as the Press Secretary for the Jed Bartlet administration then she succeeds Leo McGarry as Chief of Staff after his heart attack and at the end of the Bartlet administration, she left the White House. C.J. Cregg is a wonderfully strong woman who appeared in 154 episodes of The West Wing series.
2. Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff)
Toby Ziegler is the Communications Director for the President, writing many of Bartlet’s speeches. He is a cynical character who has an irrepressible desire to do things right, thus, this character’s idealistic pessimism was endearing, making even those who did not like him agree with him. He could be said to have a combined emotion of some of the major characters; having Bartlet’s fury, C.J.’s sense of humor, Sam’s inclination for morality and Josh’s loyalty.
Toby also exhibits a certain self-righteous attitude that made some people dislike him. He represents the school of thought with a crystal clear democratic ideology, such that sometimes he is in tandem with the president and sometimes, he becomes his worst critic. The character Toby, in later seasons after Aaron Sorkin left, took a downturn as he gets fired from the Bartlet administration after he is linked to an information leak – that led to a scandal during an investigation. At the end of the series, he is pardoned for the crime.
3. Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen)
Mr. President also made the first three on our list. The character of the president was portrayed By Martin Sheen and was originally thought to pop up in a few episodes for quick scenes since The West Wing was written to focus mainly on the lives and decisions of the working staff, but the character becomes so incredible that Aaron had no choice but to include him on scenes in almost every episode of the series. According to the script, Jed Bartlet’s political career rises from being a former Congressman and New Hampshire’s Governor to surprisingly winning the Democratic Party nomination.
President Jed Bartlet is not just a figurehead; he’s inspiring, courageous, funny, brilliant, flawed, wise, paternal and fits in perfectly for the job. He is widely known as one of the greatest fictitious presidents. The character suffers from multiple sclerosis, a fact he initially hides from the electorate which later leads to a scandal when it is revealed. Although his act as an almost all-knowing president put some viewers off, we still love to daydream of a real president who would fit into the shoes of the fictional Jed Bartlet.
4. Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford)
Josh Lyman is the Deputy Chief of Staff to Leo McGarry. The character is definitely one which stands out from the crowd, while most people may not think much of Josh, he is inarguably a dominant character that was featured in almost every episode. His role was quite a serious one and even harsh conditions could not kill his ebullience for governing. His arrogant, stormy character may be endearing to some people but he has an overbearing pride for his act.
Sometimes, he is a caring friend who is so sympathetic, sometimes he is just a pompous overestimating dork. When President Bartlet begins to take a downturn, Josh Lyman leaves the White House to become the campaign manager for Santos and when Santos is elected, Josh becomes White House Chief of Staff. That notwithstanding, he was loved for the fun he brings to the series.
5. Leo McGarry (John Spencer)
Leo McGarry is President Bartlet’s close friend and Chief of Staff and therefore, seemed to have an exaggerated sense of his own authority; frequently dismissing the opinion of other staffs. After having a heart attack, he becomes Counselor to the President, and later becomes the Democratic Candidate for Vice President, which was ironic as he had demanded that Josh should get his candidate Santos to concede the election because “he’ll never win”. His principal won the election but since the actor, John Spencer died in real life, the character Leo McGarry also dies before assuming office.
6. Abbey Bartlet (Stockard Channing)
Abbey Bartlet is the First Lady, Jed’s wife, and a physician. There are so many things to love about Abbey; she does not allow people to push her around, she has her own career, she did not allow herself to be bandied around like a doll throughout her husband’s tenure as president, she was not content with sitting by the sidelines and got into little fights with her husband – the president, on quite some issues. She was willing to aid Jed Bartlet with his illness and was ready to go miles for her family.
Abbey is a fiery and fierce First Lady who knew what she wanted for herself, her husband, her family, and her nation.
7. Amy Gardner (Mary-Louise Parker)
Amy Gardner started out as a lobbyist for feminist groups, eventually, she served as an adviser to the Bartlet administration and later as the Chief of Staff of the First Lady. Although she made it seventh on this list, she actually ticked some persons off by standing in the way of the romantic pairing of Josh and Donna by being in a relationship with Josh Lyman. Most times, it is noticed that she almost always references her relationship with Josh and seemed kind of infatuated with him.
8. Charlie Young (Dule Hill)
Charlie Young was originally the Personal Aide to the President and later a Deputy Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. It can be said that he was added to address the issue of the main cast being totally white, this inference can be seen from a lot of his early material which is mostly friendly bantering with Bartlet as he follows him around. Dule Hill was so good in the role that Charlie had great relationship with everyone he worked with. He soon becomes a crucial part of the Bartlet family.
He got into a relationship with Zoey Bartlet (Jed’s Daughter) and at the series’ end, the character begins to decline.
Also Read About: What Really Happened To Ainsley Hayes, The West Wing Actress?
9. Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe)
Sam Seaborn is the Deputy Communications Director to Toby Ziegler. His being the most cheerful and optimistic of the president’s first team is a contradiction of his boss’ cynicism and pessimism. Sam is responsible for writing many of Bartlet’s speeches, being a brilliant speechwriter, although not as good as his boss. He left the White House after Jed Bartlet was reelected to run for Congress. At the end of the series, he’s recruited to become Santos’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Rob Lowe had chosen to leave in the fourth season of the series. Sam Seaborne is a charming character and we loved the act, thus, he made our list of 10 best West Wing characters we have all fallen in love with.
10. Donna Moss (Janel Moloney)
The last on our list of 10 best West Wing characters we have fallen in love with is Donna Moss, the Senior Assistant to Josh Lyman and there was seeming chemistry between them which kept us hopping, considering how cute she was, but alas! she was a controversy!
She later leaves to become the spokesperson for the Russell campaign and then the Santos campaign. After Santos won the election, she assumes Chief of Staff to the First Lady.