Catherine Dawson March, of the Toronto Globe and Mail, takes a close look at what NBC faces with the holiday return of The West Wing since series regular John Spencer’s sudden death. The first new episode airs this weekend. How will the series explain the absence? How many episodes featuring Spencer’s character Leo McGarry are yet to be seen? An excerpt:
It will be interesting to watch how the show accommodates the change. Will McGarry also die of a heart attack, which is probable since he already had a massive one two seasons back. Or is that too eerie? Will another actor simply take Spencer’s place (a la Bewitched’s Darrin switch)? Will all Spencer’s unaired episodes be seen, or will the character be written out as soon as possible and frantic reshooting done to make way for the new guy. What actor will be chosen as the new VP? Perhaps a woman? That could be tempting, ABC’s Commander in Chief (with Geena Davis in the top job) beats West Wing hands down in the ratings.
Many critics think this seventh season will be the show’s last as its ratings continue to drop since it moved to Sunday night in September. Could this sea change in storyline ignite viewer interest once again and boost the ratings? Anything is possible, and the producers can look back at how others in their situation coped with the death of a prominent character.
You can get the complete article here.