The West Wing

Season 1 Episode 10

In Excelsis Deo

2
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Dec 15, 1999 on NBC
9.4
out of 10
User Rating
195 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Toby tries to arrange a proper funeral for a homeless veteran; Josh and Sam try to set up a preemptive strike against Lillienfield, who is attacking Leo because of his prior drug and alcohol problem; CJ tries to get the staff to revisit the hate crimes issue; Bartlet sneaks out to do some last minute shopping.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • How good TV can get...

    9.0
    It's not story line of Josh and Sam going to Laurie for information to try to cover Leo's butt was a little overdone, and they go a bit overboard with the "nerd" bit with the Prez going after obscure books, I love old books and some strange stuff, but this one just felt a little over-done. Laurie's a good character, though just say very easy on the eyes)

    But what makes this one one of the greatest in the show's run is the story line of Toby and the dead veteran. It breaks liberal with a deep love for his country and respect for servicemen, the very gruff Toby with his heart broken for the disrespect shown for a courageous hero, Mrs. Landingham scolding Toby for exploiting his position, then asking in a voice that is the best of her great acting ability to go along to the funeral, the President placing his hand on Toby's shoulder, a great moment of caring and one just hits nothing but winners.

    Then an episode that was already a great goes into the Hall of Fame with what becomes a trademark of "The West Wing," the closing music montage in which the children's voices singing "Little Drummer Boy" mix with the scenes from the funeral right up to people responding very naturally to the 21 gun salute, it was as good as television gets. Brilliant in every way possible. There would be other great music end of the episode in which Simon Donovan is killed, the tear-jerker as the President's family prays for the missing Zoey and Josh and Donna visit "The Fence" while contrasted with the violence of the Sit Room, and perhaps the finest and most underrated, the "Brothers In Arms" scene at the end of Season 2 Nobody else does this nearly as well, and it's why TWW will be remembered among the best series ever.moreless
  • About this episode

    10
    It was depressing. This had great Teleplay.
  • Christmas in The West Wing.

    9.5
    It was nice to see a softer side of Toby, even if it was only spawned from his anger at the mistreatment of a war vet. The continuation of Leo's rehab troubles was very well done. Really showed how desperate Josh and Sam were that they would try something that they know is so immoral and underhanded.



    "I could care less about your indignation right now. A man has left himself open to the kind of attack from which men in my business do not recover. Now if our tactics seem less than civilized it's because so our are attackers. In any event I don't feel like standing here and taking a civics lesson from a hooker."



    The story of the gay student being basically stoned to death was pretty upsetting. Seeing the characters reactions(mainly CJ and Bartlet) made for some very moving scenes.



    All in all, an excellent Christmas episode, very emotional.moreless
  • Review

    10
    In the 10th episode of the first season of the hit TV show The West Wing Titled. In Excelsis Deo. Toby arranges a funeral for a homeless war veteran. Josh and Sam try to a congressman to lay off of Leo because of problems in his past.Meanwhile President Bartlet, Leo and some other West Wing staffers do a little book shopping. Overall a good episode of The West Wing. All the stories of the episode where good and not boring at all and I thought the scene in the book store was a very funny scene my overall rating of the episode 10 out of 10 the end of review.moreless
  • Super episode, moving, well written.. All the good things in so good episode.

    9.8
    I am impressed. I did not expected it to be so good - it was just stunning. The way it first looks maybe just as another episode, but the way the main storyline is worked out and the ending.



    It is Christmas time and most of the people are in holiday spirit. Donna wants skies but in the end get a old book with signed by Josh and like Donna says - most of the time he acts like he and then he wrote something stunning. Toby gets a call as a man is found dead with his name label in is bucket. It comes out the man was war veteran and Toby gets emotionally involved and tried to get proper funeral for him. With Christmas song in background .. he with president's secretary go to the funeral...moreless
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Moira Kelly

Moira Kelly

Mandy Hampton (Episodes 1-22)

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Sam Seaborn (Episodes 1-84)

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

Christian Copelin

Christian Copelin

Jeffrey Lucas

Guest Star

Morina Pierce

Morina Pierce

Jessica Hodges

Guest Star

Becky Woodley

Becky Woodley

Aide

Guest Star

Lisa Edelstein

Lisa Edelstein

Laurie

Recurring Role

Renée Estevez

Renée Estevez

Nancy

Recurring Role

Kathryn Joosten

Kathryn Joosten

Delores Landingham

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (4)

    • C.J.'s fish bowl decoration: Christmas tree (this is of course the Christmas episode)

    • Goof (props/editing): In the scene where Josh gives Donna her Christmas gift (a book), there is a moment where the camera is focused on Josh's back and you can see the microphone receiver clip on his belt.

    • How does Toby know the man served in the 2/7 USMC infantry battalion? The tattoo looks like a (simple) Marine Corps insignia with 'korea' written under it.

    • Bartlet: I am the president of the Great Kingdom of Luxembourg.

      Luxembourg is not a Great Kingdom. It is a Grand Duchy, because it is ruled by a Grand Duke.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Josh: Could you stop looking at me with the face--
      Donna: It's my face.
      Josh: --like I just killed your hamster.

    • C.J.: My Secret Service name is Flamingo.
      Danny: That's nice.
      C.J: I have to go feed my fish.

    • Donna: You haven't bought me a Christmas gift yet.
      Josh: No.
      Donna: It's because you're agonizing over how to express your affection.
      Josh: Actually, it's more how I can spend ten dollars.
      Donna: I have a list.
      Josh: Ski boots, ski hats, ski pants, ski goggles, ski gloves, ski poles... I'm assuming you already have skis.
      Donna: Page two.

    • Leo (while signing cards): Who's this for?
      Margaret (looking at list): Elizabeth.
      Leo: Who the hell is that?
      Margaret: Your sister.

    • Bartlet: You know, Zoey is starting Georgetown in two weeks. I was thinking about getting this for her: The Nature of Things. A Viviscalic Poem Translated from the Latin of Titus Lucrecius Carus.
      Charlie (with irony): Well, I think she would like that better than a new stereo, sir.

    • Margaret (presenting cards for Leo's signature): We like to spread holiday cheer.
      Leo: Who the hell is this guy, and why do I care if he has a Merry Christmas?
      Margaret: Just sign the damn thing!

    • Leo (at the bookstore): Well, nothing says Christmas like animal fables in iambic verse."

    • Toby (about the Korean War veteran who died, homeless): Took the ambulance an hour and twenty minutes to get there. A lance coproral in the U.S. Marines, Second of the Seventh. Guy got better treatment in Pan Moon Jong!

  • NOTES (4)

    • Additional Credit: Washington DC Production Services by THINKFILM INC

    • Additional Credit: Special Thanks to the Department of Defense

    • Music: The music from the montage at the end of the episode is the popular Christmas carol "Little Drummer Boy."

    • Awards and Nominations: 2000 Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Series (Bill Johnson, A.C.E.) This episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series in conjucnction with several other episodes from the first season. 2000 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series (Kenneth B. Ross, Len Schmitz, Dan Hiland, Gary D. Rogers) This episode was the 2000 Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (Aaron Sorkin, Rick Cleveland) 2000 CAS Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Series 2000 Humanitas Prize (Aaron Sorkin, Rick Cleveland) 2001 WGA Laurel Award Nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Television Writing for Episodic Drama

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Episode Title: "In Excelsis Deo"

      A Latin phrase meaning "to God in the highest", the more usual quotation is Gloria in Excelsis Deo meaning "glory to God in the highest" which is said to be the song the angels sang announcing the birth of Jesus. Gloria in Excelsis Deo is also the title and first line of the doxology (song of praise) in the Catholic mass, as well as the recurring chorus of the classic Christmas carol "Angels We Have Heard on High".

    • Josh: A book which if I was stuck with it on a desert island, I still wouldn't read, The Adventures of James Capen Adams Mountainer and Grizzy Bear Hunter of California. I believe I would eat this book before I would read it.

      The Adventures of James Capen Adams, Mountaineer and Grizzly Bear Hunter, of California by Theodore Hittlel which was written in 1860 and illustrated by Charles Nahl. Legendary hunter and trapper Grizzly Adams collaborated with Theodore Hittell to publish a first-person narrative of his life and adventures in California and the West. It is said to be one of the first books written about California.

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