Spin City

Watch Spin City

  • TV-14
  • 1996
  • 6 Seasons
  • 7.3  (30,537)

Spin City is an engaging American television sitcom that aired on ABC from the fall of 1996 until the spring of 2002. Created by the prolific television duo Gary David Goldberg and Bill Lawrence, the show amassed plenty of accolades in its six-season run. The series offers a unique and amusing perspective on the behind-the-scenes workings of the New York City Mayor's office, and the government officials responsible for ensuring the city remains a vibrant, bustling, world-class metropolis.

The charismatic Michael J. Fox, popularly known for his roles in "Family Ties" and the "Back to the Future" franchise, stars as Mike Flaherty, the Deputy Mayor of New York City. A taskmaster with quick wit, Mike is the glue that holds the Mayor's office together, smoothing out public relations problems and putting out fires, both literal and metaphorical.

Flaherty is the Mayor's right-hand man, serving as the public face and voice of the administration. His commitment to the City of New York is unwavering, despite the wide range of crises the administration faces daily. These range from political maneuvering and public image crises, to full-blown scandals and administration innuendo, as well as daily personal issues that mess with his life outside the office.

Reflecting the boisterous energy of New York City, Spin City is populated with delightfully offbeat characters. Serving alongside Mike Flaherty is a team of flawed but extremely competent individuals. Paul Lassiter (Richard Kind), the eccentric Press Secretary, has good intentions but is often challenged by his inability to keep secrets. Stuart Bondek (Alan Ruck), is the lecherous, power-hungry Chief of Staff, and Carter Heywood (Michael Boatman), is the Activist Head of Minority Affairs, adept at maneuvering the politics of City Hall.

The main cast is rounded out by the lovable and sometimes spacey Mayor Randall Winston, portrayed by Barry Bostwick. Winston is often clueless about the political intrigue that surrounds him, frequently oblivious to the schemes and strategies his staff are constantly devising to keep his administration functional. Despite this, his faith and trust in his team remains strong, and his innate charisma often helps to save the day.

While rooted in politics, Spin City is not primarily a political show. It is more focused on the interplay between its characters, and how they cope with the pressures of working in such a critical and high-stakes environment. The series thrives on sharp, witty dialogue, physical comedy, and carefully balanced character dynamics. Additionally, there is a succession of romantic entanglements and personal dilemmas that weave in and out of the central storyline. These are often as urgent and critical as the political crises the team must manage, further playing into the show's comedic elements.

After four seasons, Fox departed the show due to Parkinson’s disease, but this didn’t spell the end for Spin City. As a testament to its importance, the show adapted with new energy and continued for two more seasons with Charlie Sheen as replacement for Fox. Sheen plays Charlie Crawford, the new Deputy Mayor, who brings a fresh yet chaotic energy to City Hall.

Spin City blends comedic storytelling with the realities of political life, making it a mainstay of American television in the late 90s and early 2000s. Set against the backdrop of arguably the world’s most famous city, Spin City offers an inside look into the turbulent yet often hilarious world of city management. It balances office politics and romantic entanglements with a light-hearted touch, creating an endearing comedy that is both topical and relatable. Through all the innuendo and political shenanigans, it is the camaraderie among the City Hall staff that binds the show together and keeps viewers rooting for them, despite their many, often humorous, problems. Spin City is both a love letter to New York City and an entertaining reflection on the trials and tribulations of political life.

Spin City is a series that is currently running and has 6 seasons (145 episodes). The series first aired on September 17, 1996.

Spin City
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A Friend in Need
22. A Friend in Need
April 30, 2002
Charlie and Caitlin are caught having sex on a surveillance camera in the Mayor's office and their secret affair is blown. Carter is finally granted a foster child, but is frustrated when he sees that Paul is better with the baby than he is - until the Mayor helps him tap into his paternal instincts.
A Tale of Four Cities
21. A Tale of Four Cities
April 30, 2002
Charlie and Caitlin struggle to find security in their new relationship. To spite Charlie for downplaying an encounter with an ex, Caitlin accompanies one of New York's ten sexiest men on a business date to make Charlie jealous. Meanwhile, the Mayor plots a way to one-up his rival, the Mayor of Los Angeles.
Look Who's Not Talking
20. Look Who's Not Talking
April 23, 2002
Caitlin ends her relationship with Tom and tells Charlie she's interested in dating him. When they go out on their first date, things are awkward... until they end up in bed together, that is. But are they ready for a real relationship? Meanwhile, the Mayor hires a temp, Pete, to fill in for Stuart while he's out, but Paul and Carter see him as a threat.
Let's Give Them Something to Talk About
19. Let's Give Them Something to Talk About
April 16, 2002
Caitlin is confused by the kiss she and Charlie shared and seeks the advice of a therapist. Meanwhile, the Mayor buys the staff palm phones which enable Charlie to accidentally eavesdrop on Caitlin's session. He decides to try to fulfill Caitlin's fantasies, which in turn prompts her to decide between Charlie and her current boyfriend, Tom. Paul appears on a controversial radio talk show with Carter feeding him answers.
An Affair Not to Remember
18. An Affair Not to Remember
April 9, 2002
Caitlin takes a trip down memory lane and realizes that she and Charlie met years before and that he was the reason why she lost what might have been the best relationship of her life. Flashback to a preppy and conservative Caitlin and a cool, life-of-the-party Charlie at an old college bash. The flashback makes Caitlin realize that her current boyfriend, Tom, might not be right for her, and she ends up kissing Charlie! Meanwhile, the Mayor bartends at a fundraiser at which Paul is trying to pick up a woman, and the woman's friend has fallen for Carter, who is gay.
Age Against the Machine
17. Age Against the Machine
March 26, 2002
Charlie has a hard time keeping up with Tracy, his new 23-year-old girlfriend who likes to party every night. Caitlin and Paul join them at a club one night and they are all arrested after one of Tracy's friends is caught with marijuana. Meanwhile, the Mayor is invited to a fund-raising gala by a very prominent member of the gay community, Martin, whom Carter has a crush on. Both Carter and Stuart also attend, and Martin hits on Stuart who is clueless to his advances, though they feed Carter's jealousy.
Eyes Wide Open
16. Eyes Wide Open
March 19, 2002
When Carter is unexpectedly called to a late-night meeting, Charlie's left in charge of entertaining Spencer, a 16-year-old boy whom Carter sponsors through the "Big Brother" program. Having already had a date planned, Charlie has no choice but to bring Spencer along for the ride. Meanwhile, the Mayor is racked with guilt which is causing him insomnia.
Sex, Lies and Video Date
15. Sex, Lies and Video Date
March 12, 2002
The Mayor's niece, Stephanie, pays a visit to City Hall and flirts with Charlie, who reciprocates - until he finds out who she is. Somewhat later he and Caitlin are caught in a compromising position in the Mayor's bedroom, trying to cover up for Stephanie's wild ways. Meanwhile, Mayor Winston and Carter get trapped in a car for hours, leading Carter to vow to give up his materialistic ways if they are saved, and Paul becomes a contestant on the popular dating show, "Blind Date."
Rags to Riches
14. Rags to Riches
March 5, 2002
Caitlin surprises Charlie on his birthday by inviting his father, Ray, for a visit. What no one knows is that Ray is a con man who abandoned Charlie as a child, and who's about to con his way through City Hall as well. Meanwhile, Paul makes every effort to comfort Carter about Rags, who has passed into the great doggy beyond.
O Mother, Where Art Thou?
13. O Mother, Where Art Thou?
January 8, 2002
Caitlin finds love with an older man, Tom -- whose daughter, Tracy, flirts with Charlie. Meanwhile the Mayor is depressed by the anniversary of his mother's death, but Carter introduces him to a woman, Christine, who cheers him up in more ways than one. Later, though, Carter reveals that Christine is the receiver of the Mayor's mother's donor heart, potentially threatening their relationship.
An Office and a Gentleman
12. An Office and a Gentleman
December 11, 2001
Caitlin makes plans with the City Hall Santa without knowing what he looks like. Stuart wrestles with his feelings when he realizes that he's in love with Michelle. And Charlie must decide which staff member is most deserving of a nice new office.
11. Chinatown
November 27, 2001
Charlie endangers his relationship with Jennifer when he realizes that he loves his staff more than her. The Mayor decides to propose to Claire, but she says no because he's in the public eye and must be dishonest. This causes problems, because it's Election Day, and a truth-telling campaign by the Mayor could jeopardize his re-election.
Fight Flub
10. Fight Flub
November 20, 2001
The Mayoral race hits a snag when Mayor Winston's opponent suffers a heart attack which forces him to drop out of the running, but his wife, Nancy Wheeler, steps in to take his place and surges in the polls due to an outpouring of sympathy. Meanwhile, Charlie gets punched in the face by Caitlin's new love interest and she makes him promise to be the bigger man by not fighting back.
The Wedding Scammer
9. The Wedding Scammer
November 13, 2001
Caitlin's mother Jane comes to visit when Caitlin tells her she finally has a boyfriend. In a panic, Caitlin enlists Charlie to play the part, and Charlie gets stuck having to attend a family wedding to help her. Meanwhile, Paul's childhood friend-turned-Victoria's Secret model, Rhea Durham, invites Paul and a guest backstage at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. Stuart is the lucky attendee and is shocked to find out that Rhea has been in love with Paul all these years, but Paul is not interested. Also, on two hours sleep, the mayor must meet with the head of the teacher's union for her endorsement.
She's Gotta Habit
8. She's Gotta Habit
November 6, 2001
Charlie discovers that Jennifer's ex is a woman. He becomes jealous when watching her be affectionate with Caitlin, something Caitlin dismisses until Jennifer kisses her on the lips. Claudia and Paul's divorce settlement may be affected by the mayor's bickering with Judge Claire.
Sleeping with the Enemy
7. Sleeping with the Enemy
November 6, 2001
The mayor prepares to debate his opponent, while Charlie and Jennifer, his opponent's campaign manager have been dating for 3 weeks. The mayor wants Charlie to dump her, but he doesn't. When the mayor visits Charlie in the middle of the night to share something that may be damaging to his campaign, Jennifer may have overheard it. Meanwhile, Paul and Robin become involved; Paul thinks it's a relationship, while Robin thinks it's a fling.
Yeah Baby!
6. Yeah Baby!
October 23, 2001
The mayor hires a political strategist to act as his campaign consultant. The consultant, Robin, is a bit of a psychic, predicting that a date of Charlie's will result in disaster, so Caitlin rushes to save him. As Stuart becomes more involved with Michelle, she tries to determine whether she is pregnant with Carter's artificially inseminated child yet. Stuart realizes that he may be the father after revealing that he forgot protection one night. However, Michelle discovers that she's not pregnant.
Yet Another Stakeout
5. Yet Another Stakeout
October 16, 2001
Carter's friend Michelle visits and begins dating Stuart. However, Carter has just asked her to be his child's surrogate mother. Meanwhile, Charlie and Caitlin struggle over what to do with incriminating photos of the mayor's opponent.
The Apartment
4. The Apartment
October 9, 2001
The mayor's approval ratings are going down, thanks to his relationship with the not-yet-divorced Judge Simmons. Charlie convinces the mayor to seek quiet time with Claire at a friend's house--only he didn't anticipate the mayor showing up at his. Paul hires a publicist to improve his image. After going to a friend's baby shower, Caitlin becomes obsessed with having a baby. Carter lets her watch Rags for a day, but he swallows Charlie's pager. Caitlin decides not to have a child, but apparently, Carter does.
Wife with Mikey
3. Wife with Mikey
October 2, 2001
Mike calls off his engagement with Allison and increases his presence in the office, making Charlie feel threatened. However, Charlie talks him into staying with Allison and marrying her--in City Hall. Meanwhile, Caitlin helps the mayor dress like a woman for a charity event.
A Tree Falls in Manhattan (2)
2. A Tree Falls in Manhattan (2)
September 25, 2001
The mayor has a tree cut down to impress his new girlfriend. Unfortunately, it was a tree planted by George Washington in 1796. Meanwhile, Charlie has a one-night stand, who turns out to be a rival mayoral candidate's campaign manager. Mike helps out with crisis control. Charlie and Caitlin decide to be friends for the time being, while Mike announces his return to City Hall.
The Arrival (1)
1. The Arrival (1)
September 25, 2001
Mike shows up at Caitlin's to announce that he's met someone. Meanwhile, the mayor is dating a judge who's not yet divorced. Charlie suggests that the mayor break it off, but after getting some advice from Mike, he decides to let the mayor do what makes him happy. Charlie impresses Caitlin but Mike interrupts again to announce his engagement.
Where to Watch Spin City
Spin City is available for streaming on the ABC (US) website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Spin City on demand at Amazon Prime.
  • Premiere Date
    September 17, 1996
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (30,537)