This episode was utterly disappointing to me. Just a glimpse of the end of the funeral?

I thought this episode was to be Leo’s funeral!

Too much politics. Not enough honoring Leo.

The moments that did get me:

I did love the montage in the teaser.

All three of Jed’s daughters in one shot!

When Jed told Margaret, "he loved you, you know." And the last scene between Jed and Josh . . . "Leo and I are the past, you are the future . . ." Also, Charlie was awesome, with Toby, with Donna, and throughout.

The second half got a little better — good Josh/Amy banter, Santos/Josh tension, Santos rendering Amy speechless — but the whole time, I’m waiting for them to get back to Leo, to a goodbye worthy of both the character and the actor, so the scenes didn’t play as well as they might have otherwise. And finally — FINALLY — the Leo story session: good stuff, but too little, too late.

Maybe even Sorkin would have found Leo’s requiem a daunting task, but this was appallingly off the mark. Leo, and John, deserved better.

For Mrs. Langinham we got one of the most moving hours on television. For Leo/John Spencer we got "another episode".

And he really died.

Maybe it’s just because Leo was one of the reasons I kept watching this show, but I was terribly disappointed. The moments that were best were the moments where they really commemorated Leo and how wonderful he was and they could have really used this episode to focus on that. They also could have found ways to work in scenes from previous episodes that really remind us of how wonderful the man was and what a fantastic actor John Spencer was, instead, this episode was devoid of the one soul who should have been a part of every single scene: Leo McGarry.

Next week Sam is back!!!



Sun, Apr 23

Former cast member Rob Lowe returns as Sam Seaborn in this episode, which finds Bartlet and his staff making the transition as easy as possible for the president-elect, who discovers some unpleasant realities about his new job. Meanwhile, a stressed-out Josh realizes that he may need to take some time off after he reaches his breaking point.


Leo Thomas McGarry

Position: White House Chief of Staff


Played By: John Spencer

Leo Thomas McGarry is a fictional character played by the late actor John Spencer on the television serial drama The West Wing. McGarry is the former United States Secretary of Labor, former White House Chief of Staff, Senior Counselor to Democratic President Josiah Bartlet, and the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee for the 2006 election. McGarry is in two of the five episodes of the show which were filmed but had not yet aired on television at the time of Spencer’s death on December 16, 2005. The show’s producers decided to let those episodes air in his memory.

Leo McGarry is from Chicago, Illinois, though there seems to be some family connection to (likely one or more of his parents were born in) Boston, Massachusetts. In seasons 2 and 6, Leo is said to be from Chicago, and in a season 1 episode Josh Lyman calls Leo "Boston Irish-Catholic." During the episode "The Portland Trip", it is strongly suggested by a conversation between the President and Leo that Leo attended the University of Michigan, at least for undergraduate work. Leo is a recovering alcoholic and valium addict. His problems with alcohol, as well as his workaholic attitude towards his job as Chief of Staff, contributed to his divorce from wife Jenny. It has also been revealed that Leo is an Air Force veteran and has achieved the rank of colonel, having flown F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers in the Vietnam War. Leo and Jenny have a daughter, Mallory, who is a recurring character and was a potential love interest for Sam Seaborn. They spent most of their time arguing; Mallory usually picks the fights just to have Sam argue with her. Since Sam left the White House, Mallory has been largely absent from the show as well.

Having resigned from his post as Secretary of Labor to Republican President Owen Lassiter some time in mid-1997, Leo went to New Hampshire to persuade Governor Josiah Bartlet, an old friend, to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Having so persuaded Bartlet, Leo became his campaign manager, dubbing the campaign "Bartlet For America" and hiring such top political talent as Josh Lyman, Toby Ziegler, C.J. Cregg, and Sam Seaborn to work for the campaign. Eventually, Governor Bartlet, who was considered to be an insurgent candidate by the media, defeated Senator John Hoynes of Texas (whom Leo picked as Bartlet’s vice presidential nominee to balance the ticket) for the nomination and went on to win the presidency.

As President Bartlet’s top advisor, Leo had an office adjacent to the Oval Office and sat in with the President in the Situation Room. Leo was very involved in the formation of policy and the day-to-day operations of the White House and its staff. On more than one occasion, Leo was said to be the man who "runs the country", and is treated with great respect/fear by people on both sides of the aisle.

Education: Undergraduate – There is a discussion in "The Portland Trip" that might indicate that he went to Michigan (traditional rival of Notre Dame where Bartlet went). Law School (?Chicago?) Background:

Military Service: Served in Vietnam as a pilot (flew an Air Force F-105, one mission he was part of was called "Rolling Thunder" in 1966 as part of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing



A truly talented actor who gave a depth and dimension to the roles he played that we very rarely see in the modern acting world. Leo McGarry was one of my my favorite characters on the West Wing and one of my all time favorite characters on television.

The untimely and premature death of John Spencer and to this character will leave a deep void in the acting industry and many of us around the world will miss seeing his face and his wonderful acting grace our television screens.

Rest in peace John Spencer and thank you for your contribution to this world. My sincere and heartfelt thoughts, and condolences go out to John Spencer’s family, friends and co workers on the loss of such a wonderful man.

You will be deeply missed!!


Bartlet: Thank you for coming. How was your flight?

Marbury: Intoxicating.

Leo: So I see.

Marbury: [to Leo] Allow me to present myself, Lord John Marbury, I was summoned by your President.

Leo: Yes. We’ve met, ten or twelve times. I’m Leo McGarry.

Marbury: I thought you were the butler.

 Leo: No, I’m the White House Chief of Staff.

Marbury: Nonetheless, would you have something with which to light my cigarette?

Leo: No, I’m afraid we don’t allow smoking in this part of the world.

Marbury: Really? In that part we encourage it!


Leo McGarry and John Spencer




Posted on April 17, 2006, in The West Wing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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