Richard Schiff on the later years of The West Wing.

TV Another suitably brilliant Random Roles at The AV Club with Schiff offering his thoughts on what happened to Toby towards the end of The West Wing:
"There was that, but there’s also the endgame for my character on that show. [It] was not one that was pleasing for me, to say the least. The culture of the show changed at the end. Tommy and Aaron [Sorkin] left after season four. I don’t think anyone got Toby better than Tommy and Aaron. Aaron, I think, loved that character and loved writing that character. They understood it. I don’t think the next generation of runners really got him the way those two did. So the battles became difficult. There were some writers that were great with Toby, like Eli Attie and Debora Cahn. Then, I think, the culture of the show was more factory-like. As the show’s winding down, they want to squeeze every dollar they can out of it, which is normal and understandable. They had started to look for ways to save money, and part of it was offering us less shows the last year. I think they came up with a storyline in which they could reduce Toby significantly by making him a traitor. [Laughs.] Which is diametrically opposite of everything that I had fought and battled for for five years. It was excruciatingly painful to discover that that is what they were doing with this character."
One of the worst mistakes in television history and having just watched the final season of Gilmore Girls (a topic I should return to) that's saying quite a lot. I completely agree with his comments about Eli Attie and Debora Cahn who were as much a pair of pseudo-Sorkins as Rebecca Rand Kirshner reacted some of the Paladino magic in GG's closing stages.

Here's my old review of the final stages in which I note Cahn's contribution.  She wrote The Superemes, the best episode of season five and the moment when it seemed as though there might be some magic left in the show, so long as John Wells was nowhere near it.  Cahn went on to write whole swathes of Grey's Anatomy.

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