West Wing Undecided On Dealing With Loss of John Spencer
With the unexpected news on the death of John Spencer, questions remain as to how The West Wing will deal with the loss of a Vice Presidential candiate during an election. Decisions have not yet been made as to how to handle this, as reported by the New York Times:
This season, the show’s seventh, Mr. Spencer’s Leo McGarry has been a critical character. McGarry, former chief of staff to the incumbent president, Josiah Bartlet, is the running mate of the Democratic candidate for president, Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits.
So far this season, NBC has broadcast nine new episodes of the show. Mr. O’Donnell said five more episodes had been completed, including the next one - to be shown on Jan. 8 - titled “Running Mates,” which centers on Mr. Spencer’s character. The episode or episodes in which the election takes place have not yet been filmed, Mr. O’Donnell said, nor have producers said when the fictional election would be broadcast.
Mr. O’Donnell said the show’s staff had been on hiatus since last Monday and that questions about whether the next episode would need to be edited - to say nothing of the larger question of how to deal with the loss of a vice-presidential candidate in the midst of a campaign - would not be broached until the next scheduled production meeting, in the first week of January.
While this reports gives the impression that the next show featuring McGarry won’t appear until January, program listings at present do include an episode on the campaign as scheduled for December 25.