Last month, Sorkin was arrested at a Los Angeles-area airport on suspicion of carrying drugs and later was charged with possessing hallucinogenic mushrooms, rock cocaine and marijuana. He has since pleaded not guilty and is eligible for a drug diversion program.
Although the 39-year-old producer-writer concedes that it's been a difficult month, he adds that it could have been a lot worse were it not for his faithful cheering section. "I've had great support from my family, friends, everybody at the show, everybody at NBC and Warner Bros.," he says. "I feel good."
Sorkin would feel even better if he had a job to go to; unfortunately, West Wing is currently on spring break. "[The] hiatus hasn't been good for me," he says. "I'm very excited to get back to work." And now that film and television producers have reached a tentative agreement with scribes, he won't have to cross any picket lines to do so. "It was going to be awful," he says of a writer's strike. "That's the real good news of the spring: There is no strike and everybody gets to keep their jobs."
Optimistic that a work stoppage by actors will also be averted (labor talks commenced Tuesday), Sorkin reports that he'll start mapping out next season's West Wing "in about four weeks. And in about three weeks, the panic will have settled enough that I can start writing something."
Speaking of panic, Sorkin said he did just that last September when the show picked up a record nine Emmys. "I was happy for about 30 seconds before I realized, well, now we have to be as good as everybody just said we were," he recalls. "You're standing at the bottom of the mountain looking up 22 flights of stairs thinking, 'OK, we just have to keep it up and get better and better.' We still want the show to keep getting better. We're all tired, but everybody is still very juiced, very excited to be working with each other."
In the meantime, Sorkin — who is due back in court on June 4 — is keeping his lips sealed about tonight's highly-anticipated season finale. "I don't want to give [anything] away and spoil it for people," he says. This much Sorkin will reveal: Whereas other TV producers routinely ditch their creations in order to go off and launch other shows, he promises that as long as there's a West Wing, he'll be its commander in chief. Quips the acclaimed auteur: "It's gonna take the Budweiser Clydesdales to drag me out of there."