The West Wing

Season 5 Episode 20

No Exit

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Apr 28, 2004 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Tularemia,Francisella tularensis, is known as Pahvant Valley plague, but is better known as Rabbit Fever and is not to be confused with what is generally known as The Plague (the Black Death, killer of 1/3 of Europe), Yersinia pestis, as seems to be implied by the doctor's reference to it in this episode. Its symtoms include fever, lethargy, anorexia, septicimic signs and inflammed lymph nodes that sometimes suppurate - which does look like the bubonic plague. The respiratory signs the doctor mentioned, however, are not associated with Tularemia or Bubonic Plague. Plague used to be said to have the bubonic strain and a respiratory strain (which was a more certain death than the bubonic) but that has since been disproved by analysis of Yersinia pestis. It is now thought to be likely that other illnesses contributed to the dramatic loss of life. Interestingly, in September of 2005 Tularemia was detected on the Mall in Washington, D.C after an anti-war demonstration. No infections were reported, however.

  • Quotes

    • Leo: Believe me, I love the idea of you ministering to the wayward and unwashed. I don't love you becoming a de facto spokesperson for a load of issues we can't support.
      Abbey: I'm not on a lecture tour, I'm seeing patients.
      Leo: "Hello. My name is Clarissa Ponsissa. I'm 14 and sexually active. But I know it's okay, 'cause I got my condoms from the First Lady." Fox News is throwing a party.

    • Leo: What are you doing at this hour?
      Abbey: I'm at the clinic one night a week: midnight, 8:00 am.
      Leo: Graveyard?
      Abbey: We try not to call it that in front of the patients.
      Leo: Midnight to 8:00 doesn't sound like you're handing out lollipops. Does C.J. have anything to say about this?
      Abbey: C.J. doesn't go to the clinic.

    • Donna: Who's Maura Leary?
      C.J.: Press Secretary in Congressman DeSantos' office. Oh, it's you. You're going on the CODEL.
      Donna: Yeah.
      C.J.: You bumped Jack. He was doing Press Detail. He's probably making a voodoo doll of you right now.
      Donna: I... I don't want to kick him off the trip. Josh didn't say anything about...
      C.J.: White House only gets one rep. But don't worry: you're not his first voodoo doll, and they rarely work.

    • Bartlet: I smoked a cigarette. Did the First Lady install a nicotine upgrade on the detector?

    • Josh:NSC? The NSC killed my Panama joke?
      Donna: Was it a joke about warheads?
      Josh: Call Colonel Klink over there. I want to know what happened.

  • Notes

    • Error: Congressman Santos is mentioned as going on the Middle East trip. In the next episode his name is changed to De Santos.

  • Allusions

    • Toby: (whistling "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof)
      Will: You serenading me?
      Toby: Myself, an ode to my sunset years.

      Fiddler on the Roof is a musical, first performed on Broadwayin 1964,withmusic by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick andbook by Joseph Stein. It is the story of Tevye and his family struggling against poverty, growing Anti-Semitism, and religious traditions verus outside influences in 1905 Russia. The wistful song "Sunrise, Sunset" is sung at the wedding of one of Tevye's daughters and speaks to the passage of time.

    • Josh: Call Colonel Klink over there. I want to know what happened.

      Colonel Wilhelm Klink was the German camp guard in Hogan's Heroes, played by Werner Klemperer.

    • Will: "Hell is other people."

      Unlike many other episodes of The West Wing this episode's title is not spoken outright by a character. "No Exit" is a play written by Jean-Paul Sartre. It was originally published in French under the title "Huis Clos." In the play, 3 people come to Hell and find it to be much like a hotel when they are all put in a room together. Sartre strays away from the conventional ideas that hell was all about fire and pitchforks. The theme of the play is that hell is other people. So in the play, as in the episode, the people who are stuck with one another torture each other.