Having fallen into the world of American politics in viewing the documentary I Am the Ambassador (about Rufus Gifford, until recently the US ambassador to Denmark), I went on to doing the whole 7-year run of the tv series The West Wing, which I am urging everyone to watch at least some of — as a canny depiction of American political life (Wikipedia tells us that it “received acclaim from critics, as well as praise from political science professors and former White House staffers”), as a gripping drama with an earnest moral core, and as a show worthy of praise for its snappy dialogue, inspired casting, and first-rate acting.
This posting is about just two of the actors, Mark Feuerstein and Jimmy Smits (both prominent in season 6 of the series, which I’ve just finished watching), solid members of what I’ve called the “acting corps“, the bank of accomplished and reliable actors (short of first-magnitude star rank) that make the stage, the movies, and television hum for our pleasure and enlightenment. I find them both attractive, as men and as actors — in particular, as embodiments of an “acting persona” (a more or less enduring persona that cuts across an actor’s roles).
Through Smits, that exploration will take us to another member of the acting corps, the admirable Marg Helgenberger. (I know, I know, you also want me to write about Allison Janney and Stockard Channing, among others, but there’s only so much I can do in one posting.)