West Wing
In Excelsis Deo

Episode Report Card
In Excelsis Deo

Previously on The West Wing, C.J. got a blah blah blah fish.

According to the title card, it's December 23rd, 7:30 AM. Mandy "Toepick" Hampton tells C.J. where the carolers, tree, and Prez will go. The carolers will wear both Dickensian costumes and Santa hats. One assumes that the Prez will not. They stroll by Toby, who, as he flips through the paper, asks why he's there. C.J. says, "So you can weigh in on this." Toby says, "I could care less," but at Mandy's pouting, amends his statement: "More?" Sam enters, and they all chat about such topics as who will play Santa (Al Roker) and what the Prez will speak about ("pageant of hope, season of peace, coming of the new millennium," according to Sam). "The new millennium?" asks Toby. When Sam confirms this, Toby says, "Fine," in a way that indicates it isn't. Mandy dismisses the Bickersons, and Toby, C.J., and Sam head down the hall, arguing about whether it is or is not a new millennium. Sam claims that Stephen Jay Gould has described this as "a largely unresolvable issue." Toby responds, "Tough to resolve, yes. You have to look at a calendar." Donna pops up and tells Toby he has a phone call. Toby says, "I'm arguing now; call back," but Donna says it's the DC police calling. Toby goes to answer the phone. C.J. asks Sam, "So technically, the millennium is still a year away?" Sam concedes the point, adding, "But we've made all these plans." As C.J. passes a secret service guy, she asks him to tell "them" she's on her way to see the Prez. The agent tells his shirt cuff, "Flamingo is on her way." C.J. overhears, and turns back demanding, "What did you call me?" but Sam pulls her out of the way so that we can see the credits.

People stroll past the Korean War Memorial, and we begin to suspect that this episode might not be laff riot. This theory is confirmed when we see police gathered around a dead man lying on a bench. Toby approaches and introduces himself to a detective, explaining that he'd gone to the coroner's office and was told to come here. The cop asks Toby if he knows the dead guy, and Toby says that he does not. The cop says that, according to the driver's license, the guy's name is Walter Hufnagle, but Toby doesn't recognize the name and asks why they called him. Apparently Walter had Toby's business card in his pocket. Toby figures it out, and tells the cop that Walter is wearing a coat Toby donated to Goodwill, and that his card must have been in the coat. The cop dismisses Toby, but Toby lingers to ask why the body hasn't been moved yet. The cop tells Toby that an ambulance will come eventually, and that "it's not a high priority." Toby next asks if the cop will contact the Veterans' Administration. When the cop asks why, Toby points to the tattoo on Hufnagle's arm, and says it is for a Marine Battalion: "This guy was in Korea." The cop pulls a blanket over Hufnagle, thanks Toby, and wishes him a Merry Christmas.

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West Wing




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