34. Even down to the unlikely ending, it turned out. With former chief of staff and party elder Leo McGarry (John Spencer) as his running mate, Santos was still meant to lose out to likable California senator Vinick. Then Spencer died midway through the season in December 2005. “Up until his death, the Republican was going to win the election,” Sheen told Empire. “Jimmy Smits would be defeated and that wonderful actor Alan Alda would win. But with John’s death they said no and, against history, the Democrats would continue.”

35. An eighth season—focusing on the early days of the Santos administration with Bartlet popping in as advisor—was possible as well. “But when John died, they folded the tent,” said Sheen. “It was over, and we thought, ‘No, we can never go back there.'”

Instead they paid tribute to Spencer and McGarry with season seven’s “Requiem,” a slew of former guest stars returning for the party giant’s funeral. “The episode where we actually had to carry his casket because his character had died,” Hill told THR, “it was an empty casket, but it wasn’t an empty casket.”