The West Wing

Season 5 Episode 17

The Supremes

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Mar 24, 2004 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
127 votes
  • Entertaining but naive.

    This was certainly one of the best episodes of season 5, but it also showed the weaknesses of The West Wing. At times its good intentions make it go into an unreal world. At the heart of the episode there is the matter of choosing a new supreme court justice. Of course the West Wing staff try to get a liberal candidate, but playing a very dangerous political game, they go for a conservative one on condition that the liberal candidate can replace the aging chief justice. Both candidates are introduced as extreme examples of their side of the aisle, later turning out to be very sensible people with some differences in interpreting the law. So supreme court justices are some kind of impartial superhumans? I believe in real life we have discovered that they can take very shortsighted decisions, influenced by politics. Yet, The West Wing chooses to believe in the perfect image of the Supreme Court.

    Having said that, the scene of Toby and Josh arguing outside the Oval Office and President Bartlet peeking from behind the door, is one of the best scenes in the entire seven seasons.
  • This episode has perhaps the best premise behind it. It truly displays why the "West Wing" has so many loyal viewers.

    I do not want to give away any secrets of this episode so let me simply say this, this episode is about both sides compromising without loosing, a balance of the left and right. Furthermore if it were not for one minor director's mistake towards the end this episode would be a perfect 10.
  • Great story

    I like the plot and the politcing that Josh got up to to seize the moment rather than settle on a "mediocre" candidate. These episodes showing the behind the scenes manoeuvering are infrequent in the series now. I liked the candidates too - its nice to see fresh faces although we won't see them often if at all
  • Probably one of my favorites of the series. Not just because of my Deirdre Lovejoy and Glenn Close obsessions, because of the superb writing.

    To me, this was one of the first episodes since the departure of Sorkin at the end of the fourth season that felt "Sorkinesque". Frankly, in some moments of it I thought maybe he had ghost written it with Debora Cahn. However, this show was one of the highlights of the season for me.

    One reason why I loved this episode was because for the first time I really understood the Supreme Court and how the make up of the court can really turn the balance of important issues. I rewatched this episode right after Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement and it reminded me so much of what is going on now. A Chief Justice was ill a lot and then the sudden surprise of a Justice departing. Although in this show, the departure was literal.

    When Glenn Close walked in you pretty much knew she would probably make it on the Court, but her final position was a definite shock. I didn't imagine her being the Chief Justice or the fact that Chief Justice Ashland resigned at all. He just didn't seem like the kind of guy who'd let that chair go quickly or at all. The fact that the whole scenerio happened because of Donna's mother's cats was wonderful. Yay Meshach and Shadrach you saved the fake nation!

    I loved Josh and Toby fighting it out in the Outer Oval about moderates and when Debbie spritzed Josh in the face, I thought I'd die. C.J and Ryan's uncle singing "American Pie" while drinking = priceless. I did find it odd that there was never a mention of Mendoza at all on the entire episode, since he was Bartlet's first appointee to make it to the Court However, that was my only qualm with this episode.

    Beautifully written and acted, this is a standout of all The West Wing episodes IMO. It's pretty evident the reason why this episode won the 2005 WGA award for Episode Drama.