Rob Lowe’s final episode of The West Wing aired on May 14, 2003. Lowe had originally planned to leave the show after the fourth season, but his character Sam Seaborn was so popular with fans that producers convinced him to stay for one more year. In the final episode, Sam resigns from his position as Deputy White House Communications Director and leaves Washington, D.C. to work on the presidential campaign of Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits).
Rob Lowe’s departure from The West Wing was a big loss for the show, but his replacement, Joshua Malina, did an admirable job filling Sam’s shoes. Malina played Will Bailey, a young political consultant who quickly rose through the ranks of the Santos campaign. Will became one of the most important members of the team and helped Matt win the election in the series finale.
After The West Wing ended, Lowe went on to star in a number of films and television shows, including Parks and Recreation, Brothers and Sisters, and The Grinder. He currently stars in 9-1-1: Lone Star, a spin-off of the hit procedural drama 9-1-1.