The West Wing

Season 1 Episode 16

20 Hours in L.A.

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 23, 2000 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
150 votes
  • After the misfire that was Celestial Navigations, this superb episode features whip-smart dialogue and an especially strong performance from Martin Sheen, portraying a President under increasing strain.

    I am compelled to write another review to ensure the record shows that I love this show. Season One has been terrific, but I know there are truly brilliant episodes ahead, so I hesitate to offer up a 9.0 or higher. Then there was the vast disappointment of Celestial Navigations, which seemed to have arisen out of writers in some alternate universe. 20 Hours in L.A. was a robust return to form.

    The Aaron Sorkin script is crackling with sharp exchanges. I particularly liked the discussions around flag-burning polling data, red meat for political junkies. Great guest performances. Marlee Matlin reels you in. Bob Balaban was electric as a David Geffen-esque Hollywood mogul, who is prone to "adolescent tantrums". And then there was Martin Sheen, who is always terrific, but really shines in this episode, as President Bartlet is overcome by fatigue, and you feel his exhaustion in his scene with Balaban, and later aboard Air Force One speaking to his Vice-President.
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