A President’s only as good as his (or her!) so-called “body man” – and in The West Wing‘s fictitious Bartlet administration of Jed Bartlet on the landmark political drama The West Wing, Dulé Hill’s human Rolodex provided the President with valuable counsel every now and then. In this exclusive ‘100 Greatest TV Shows’ video, the actor reflects on the series’ stellar ensemble cast and its continued relevance in the modern political climate.
“The further we get away from it, the more I realize the impact [the show] had,” Hill says. “Shows that are on TV, what they’re doing now, so many are in the vein of the West Wing. You see it and say, ‘That’s very Sorkinesque.'”
Sorkin grew famous for his obsessive attention to detail and exhaustive research, elevating the show’s depiction of the White House from fiction to research tool. “When I first got on the show, Kris Engskov was the body man for President Clinton,” he says. “[Former White House Press Secretary and West Wing consultant] Dee Dee Myers organized for me to sit down and talk with him. Talking with him started to give me insight to the power that position had. By the time new people were coming in, I knew more about what the position entailed than they did. That’s a very high-pressure job. I take my hat off to those who do do it, but I have no desire to ever do it for real. No thank you.”
While much has changed since 2006, the show’s idealistic take on the tricky business of American government remains timely, Hill claims. “Even though administrations have changed over the years,” he says, “even the temperature of the country has changed over the years, the show is still relevant. You can watch an episode right now and it’ll resonate for what’s going on today.”