Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Created by West Wing writer Lawrence O'Donnell Jr., the weekly, 60-minute political drama Mister Sterling was a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington for the 21st century. Josh Brolin starred as William Sterling Jr., the idealistic young "reformist" son of a popular retired California governor (James Whitmore). Selected by his state's political machine to fill out the term of a dead Democratic senator, Mister Sterling arrived in the nation's capitol with a naïvely altruistic agenda -- and with no party ties, since he was a registered Independent (though in West Wing tradition, he tended to veer toward the left). Doing their best to educate Sterling to the facts of life about Washington, and sometimes expressing amazement at how much smarter he was than the "established" politicos, were his chief of staff, Jackie Brock (Audra McDonald); his legislative director, Tommy Doyle (William Russ); and resident techno-geek Leon (David Noroña). Mister Sterling was elected to office on January 10, 2003.