"The West Wing" aired for seven seasons and 156 episodes from 1999 to 2006.
Throughout its run, plenty of familiar faces showed up for five episodes or less.
Amy Adams, Glenn Close, and Laura Dern all walked and talked their way through the show.
Glenn Close appeared in an episode in season five as Judge Evelyn Baker Lang, who goes on to become the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
In the episode, "The Supremes," Close plays a potential Supreme Court justice, Lang, who is thought to be "too liberal" to actually secure the nomination.
Connie Britton appeared in four episodes as Connie Tate, a member of President Jed Bartlet's re-election team.
The future "Friday Night Lights" star appeared in four episodes throughout season three: "Manchester Part I," "Manchester Part II," "Ways and Means," and "Gone Quiet" as a campaign staffer.
Laura Dern had a memorable one-episode stint as US Poet Laureate Tabatha Fortis in season three.
Dern's character spends most of the episode, which is aptly titled "The U.S. Poet Laureate," sparring with Toby Ziegler, the White House communications director, who is attempting to convince her to not speak out about the US' lack of support for an anti-landmine treaty.
While "Friends" was still airing, Matthew Perry appeared in three episodes of season four in 2003.
Quincy is a Republican lawyer chosen in season four to replace the previous Republican White House counsel, Ainsley Hayes. He appeared in episodes "Evidence of Things Not Seen," "Life on Mars," and "Separation of Powers."
Just a few years later, Perry would team up with creator Aaron Sorkin again to star on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" alongside "West Wing" alum Bradley Whitford.
Before "NCIS," Mark Harmon appeared as Agent Simon Donovan, a Secret Service agent, throughout season three.
Harmon was in four episodes in 2002 — "Enemies Foreign and Domestic," "The Black Vera Wang," "We Killed Yamamoto," and "Posse Comitatus" — just one year before he began starring on "NCIS" as Jethro Gibbs, a role he still plays today.
A young Evan Rachel Wood played Hogan Cregg, the niece of White House press secretary CJ Cregg, in season three.
Hogan's main concern in her one episode, "The Black Vera Wang," was finding a dress for her junior prom.
A young Amy Adams appeared in season four's premiere as a character named Cathy.
In the premiere, "20 Hours in America Part I," Adams plays a farmer named Cathy who tries to help Toby, Josh Lyman (deputy chief of staff), and Donna Moss (Josh's assistant) return to the presidential motorcade, which mistakenly left without them.
Ed O'Neill played the governor of Pennsylvania, Eric Baker, for four episodes in season six.
A pre-"Modern Family" but post-"Married with Children" O'Neill appeared as Governor Baker, a potential Democratic presidential nominee, in "A Change Is Gonna Come," "In the Room," "Things Fall Apart," and "2162 Votes."
Jane Lynch had a blink-and-you-miss-it role as an unnamed reporter in two episodes.
Lynch appeared in two high-stakes episodes — the season two premiere "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen Part I," and the season two finale "Two Cathedrals."
Gabrielle Union played a character named Meeshel in a season-five episode.
During the episode, "The Benign Prerogative," Meeshel spends time getting to know Charlie Young, the president's body man and close confidante, before he finds out she's a new reporter on the White House beat.
The legendary John Goodman appeared as Speaker of the House Glen Allen Walken in seasons four and five.
Walken temporarily becomes president due to the kidnapping of President Bartlet's daughter Zoey, and he chafes with the staff, as he's a Republican. He appears in "Twenty Five," "7A WF 83429," "The Dogs of War," and "The Stormy Present."
Before he was an Oscar winner, JK Simmons played Harry Ravitch, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman in a pivotal episode in season seven.
During the episode, "Duck and Cover," a nuclear power plant comes dangerously close to a meltdown, which turns the tide of the upcoming presidential election.
Felicity Huffman, an Aaron Sorkin regular, appeared as Ann Stark in season two.
Huffman, who had starred on Sorkin's first TV show "Sports Night," appears in the episode "The Leadership Breakfast" as a Republican operative who plays on Toby's genuine desire for bipartisanship.
Before "Parks and Recreation," Nick Offerman played Jerry, a wolf enthusiast, in the fifth episode of the entire show.
We'd like to think Offerman's "Parks and Rec" character, Ron Swanson, would get along with Jerry, who appears in the episode "The Crackpots and These Women" and advocates for a wolf-only highway so the animals can travel safely.
Christian Slater played Lieutenant Commander Jack Reese, a brief love interest for Donna, in three episodes throughout season four.
Slater appeared in three episodes ("Election Night," "Process Stories," and "Arctic Radar") as a Republican military officer who was willing to trade votes with Donna after she realized she accidentally voted for the Republican candidate, instead of her boss, President Bartlet.
"House" star Lisa Edelstein recurred in season one as Laurie, who was a sex worker to pay for law school and a friend of deputy communications director Sam Seaborn.
Around five years before Edelstein starred on "House" as the no-nonsense Dr. Lisa Cuddy, she was in the pilot, "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc," "The State Dinner," "In Excelsis Deo," and "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics."
The '80s star and future "Stranger Things" villain Matthew Modine played Marco, a high school classmate of CJ's in an episode in season four.
The episode in question, "The Long Goodbye," focuses on CJ's return to her hometown for her 20th high school reunion, while also dealing with her father's Alzheimer's disease.
"Sex and the City" star Evan Handler appeared in three episodes as another campaign staffer on Bartlet's re-election campaign, Doug Wegland.
A far cry from Handler's "Sex and the City" character, the charming, if a bit schlubby, divorce lawyer Harry, Doug constantly clashed with Bartlet's staff in his season-three episodes ("Manchester Part I," "Manchester Part II," and "Ways and Means").
You may not recognize him without his platinum blond Lucius Malfoy wig, but that was Jason Isaacs as Colin Ayres in seasons five and six.
Isaacs appeared in the last two episodes of season five ("Gaza" and "Memorial Day") and the premiere of season six ("NSF Thurmont") as Donna's photojournalist love interest Colin, who is in the Gaza Strip with her when she's attacked.
Noah Emmerich appeared in one episode as Bobby Zane, a lawyer who asks Sam for a favor.
In season one's "Take This Sabbath Day," Emmerich's character is a lawyer looking for a way to get the president to stop his client's upcoming execution.
"Sweet Home Alabama" actress Mary Kay Place played Surgeon General Millicent Griffith in three episodes.
Initially, Place's character appeared in season two's "Ellie," as both the godmother to one of President Bartlet's daughters (the titular Ellie) and the surgeon general who clearly states that there aren't any known serious side effects to smoking weed.
She reappears in two season-six episodes ("In the Room" and "Impact Winter") when the president has a serious MS attack during a trip to China.
Gerald McRaney was in two episodes as US Air Force General Alan Adamle, an old friend of chief of staff Leo McGarry.
You may recognize McRaney from his role in "One Tree Hill" as Nathan's overbearing grandpa Royal, or for his Emmy-winning role as Dr. K in "This Is Us."
But before that, he was in season three's "War Crimes," cautioning Leo against an international war crimes tribunal. He reappears in an episode in season five, "Memorial Day."
James Brolin played the Republican presidential candidate Governor Robert Ritchie in two episodes.
Brolin, husband to Barbra Streisand and father to Josh Brolin, appeared in season three in "Posse Comitatus" and in season four's "Game On" as President Bartlet's opposition and the governor of Florida.
Secret Service Agent Wesley Davis was played by Taye Diggs for two episodes in season four.
Agent Davis was assigned to Zoey Bartlet, the youngest Bartlet daughter. He's introduced in the episode "Commencement," and he deals with her kidnapping in "Twenty Five."
Iconic character actor Hector Elizondo played Dalton Millgate in an episode in season three.
In "Dead Irish Writers," Dalton is a former physics professor of Sam's who wants the government to invest in a particle accelerator.
Before "Battlestar Galactica," Edward James Olmos played Judge Roberto Mendoza, a candidate for the Supreme Court, in two episodes.
Mendoza is introduced in the season-one episode "The Short List" as a potential nominee for the Supreme Court. He pops up later in the season, in "Celestial Navigation," after he's mistakenly pulled over while driving and later arrested for no reason.
Cress Williams is now known as the superhero Black Lightning, but before that he was Lester, a campaign staffer in season seven.
Williams is in episodes "Undecideds" and "Election Day Part I."
"Breaking Bad" star Dean Norris appears as Republican Party Chairman Steve Hodder in season seven.
Norris, who played Hank on "Breaking Bad," appeared in two episodes in season seven ("The Al Smith Dinner" and "The Cold") as Hodder, who tries to convince Republican candidate Senator Arnold Vinick to appeal more to the Republican base.
After appearing in two episodes of season four as Tyler, John Gallagher Jr. would go on to star in Aaron Sorkin's next drama series, "The Newsroom."
Gallagher Jr. appeared in both parts of season four's premiere, "20 Hours in America," as one of the residents of Indiana who Josh, Toby, and Donna come into contact with while stranded.
In 2012, 10 years later, he began playing senior news producer Jim Harper in "The Newsroom."
William Fichtner appears as Judge Christopher Mulready, another Supreme Court nominee, in season five's "The Supremes."
Fichtner, whom you might recognize from "Armageddon," "The Perfect Storm," or "Veep," to name a few, played a bright young conservative judge whom the main characters convince the president to nominate to the Supreme Court, so they can push through a liberal Chief Justice.
David Ramsey is now a huge part of the CW's Arrowverse, but first he had a brief role as one of the Santos campaign's aides in season seven.
Ramsey appears in two episodes — "Welcome to Wherever You Are" and "Election Day Part I" — as Teddy.
Just a few years later, he'd begin starring on "Arrow" as John Diggle, a character that has outlived the show and pops up on multiple other series. This year alone, he was on "Batwoman," "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," "The Flash," "Superman and Lois," and "Supergirl."
You may recognize Carl Lumbly from his role on "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," but first, he appeared in season one as Jeff Breckenridge.
In "Six Meetings Before Lunch," Lumbly plays the nominee for assistant attorney general for civil rights, who advocates for reparations for Black Americans.
Legendary TV actress CCH Pounder played Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Deborah O'Leary in "Celestial Navigation."
The episode sees Pounder's character, best known for her roles in "NCIS: New Orleans," "The Shield," and "ER," called into the White House after she calls many Republicans racist on national TV.
Fellow TV legend John Larroquette popped up in one episode as lead White House counsel Lionel Tribbey.
Memorably, Tribbey makes his entrance holding a cricket bat and threatening to hit people with it in the season-two episode "And It's Surely to Their Credit" — only the "Night Court" star could make him likable. We wish he'd stuck around for more.
"Deadwood" icon Ian McShane played a Russian negotiator in an episode in season three.
Officially, McShane's character from "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" is named Nikolai Ivanovich.
James Cromwell played one of the last living former presidents, President D. Wire Newman, in an episode of season five.
Something fun about "The West Wing" is that it's kind of unclear when the "real world" stops existing and when the show's universe takes over American history.
An example of that is Cromwell's President Newman, whom we meet in "The Stormy Present" at a funeral for another former president.
Dr. Richard Webber himself, James Pickens Jr., appeared in season five as the unnamed mayor of Washington, DC.
Just one year before he'd start playing Dr. Webber on "Grey's Anatomy" — a role he still holds today — Pickens Jr. appeared in the episode "Full Disclosure" as a DC mayor asking for the White House to endorse school vouchers.
Professor Lawrence Lessig is played by Christopher Lloyd in season six's "The Wake Up Call."
Professor Lessig is brought in by Toby to help the country of Belarus draft a new constitution, though the two butt heads.
Before "Modern Family," Ty Burrell played Tom Starks, a Rotarian who wants to talk to Sam about seatbelt laws.
In just his second-ever TV performance, Burrell made an impression as Starks in season three's "The Women of Qumar."
The same year she began playing Paris Geller on "Gilmore Girls," Liza Weil played a similar character named Karen Larson in season one.
Weil's scene, in which she tells off Sam for not really knowing anything about the programs he's attempting to cut in "Take Out the Trash Day," remains iconic over 20 years later.
Eric Stonestreet, another future "Modern Family" star, appeared as an unnamed staffer in season two.
He appeared in the episode "Bad Moon Rising."
Bellamy Young might've gotten a taste for the White House when she played lawyer MaryLou Meriwether in season five.
Young would go on to play FLOTUS and eventual POTUS Mellie Grant in "Scandal," but first, she played a North Carolinian lawyer in "The Stormy Present."
In her second on-screen role ever, "Pretty Little Liars" star Ashley Benson (left) appeared in "Game On," an episode in season four.
Benson's full character name, according to IMDb, is "Girl."
Similarly, future "Community" star Danny Pudi played an unnamed aide in his first on-screen role in season seven.
He appeared in the episode "Two Weeks Out."
David Burtka's character's name was literally "Intern Bruce" in an episode in season three.
Intern Bruce, Burtka's second credit ever, only appeared in "The Black Vera Wang."
Jorja Fox is now best known for her 296 episodes of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," but first she played Secret Service Agent Gina Toscano in seasons one and two.
Gina appeared in five episodes as one of the agents assigned to Zoey's detail — she was in "20 Hours in LA," "The White House Pro-Am," "Six Meetings Before Lunch," "What Kind of Day Has It Been," and "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen Part I" — and critically noticed a shooter who was attempting to assassinate President Bartlet.
"The Wire" star Lance Reddick played a DC police officer in a beloved episode.
Reddick, who also played a police officer in "The Wire," appears in the first holiday episode of "The West Wing," called "In Excelsis Deo."
Any "Homeland" fan would recognize Navid Negahban, aka Abu Nazir, as Maz in season five's "Memorial Day."
He plays a "mysterious foreign operative" whom Josh meets up with after a terrorist attack in Gaza.
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