The West Wing

Season 3 Episode 20

We Killed Yamamoto

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 15, 2002 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Leo: They used a pencil.

      In this episode Leo says that the Russian solution for writing in zero gravity is the use of a pencil. This is an urban myth, It would actually be dangerous, if the tip were to break off and float around freely.

    • David: We have no extradition treaty with Qumar.

      Qumar is not a real country.

    • Fitzwallace uses the example of the Battle of Agincourt to discuss how well enemies were treated if they surrendered. However, Agincourt is an example of the opposite. After the first and second attacks by the French, they had too many prisoners. Fearing the prisoners would overtake them, Henry
      ordered them slaughtered. The code of chivalry does not permit such action, so Henry had his archers aim at the knights and forced them to kill the prisoners.

    • When Donna is at the meeting in Bismarck, North Dakota, there is a banner hanging in the background that says "Democratic Party of North Dakota". North Dakota does not have a Democratic Party. Years ago, the Nonpartisan League merged with the Democratic Party to form the Democratic-Nonpartisan League (Dem-NPL for short), which serves as North Dakota's version of the Democratic Party. The state party is quite adamant about publicizing itself with the full name at all times, and would do so on such a banner.

    • The current duty weapon for the Secret Service is the Sig Sauer P229 9mm semiautomatic pistol, which is the only weapon agents are allowed to carry. If an undercover assignment required the use of a revolver, it would be a short barrelled model, and never a .357 Magnum revolver, since a long barrel prevents quick drawing from a holster.

  • Quotes

    • Leo: We spent millions of dollars developing a pen for the astronauts that would work in zero gravity. Know what the Russians did?
      Toby: Used a pencil?
      Leo: They used a pencil.

    • Donna: Eliminating the term north from North Dakota is an important state issue and the President feels it should be resolved on a state level. While the President is sympathetic towards the cause and understands the large economics ramifications of this name change, he feels the issue is not yet ripe for national attention. The President wishes you well on your endeavors and thanks you for your support.
      Man:Uh, Miss Moss? Are you aware that studies clearly show the word 'north' leaves the impression
      that this state is cold, snowy and flat, significantly depressing tourism and business startup.
      Donna: With due respect, sir, your average temperature is 7 degrees. Your average snowfall: 42 inches, and a name change isn't going to take care of that.
      Woman We enjoy roughly the same climate as South Dakota. We took in 73.7 million in tourism revenue last year. They took in 1.2 billion. They have the word south.
      Donna: Also Mount Rushmore.

    • Simon: Have you ever shot a gun before?
      C.J.: Yeah.
      Simon: What kind?
      C.J.: Well, I haven't shot one as much as I have seen someone shoot one in the movies.

  • Notes

    • Awards and Nominations:
      John Spencer won the 2002 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in this episode and in "Bartlet for America"

      This episode along with many others from the season won the 2002 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series (Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Schlamme, John Wells, Kevin Falls, Alex Graves, Christopher Misiano, Michael Hissrich, Kristin Harms, Llewellyn Wells)

    • Music: Amy Gardner dances to two songs by Van Morrison, "Caravan" and "Moondance", both from the Moondance CD.

  • Allusions

    • C.J.: Agent 99.

      Referring to Simon Donovan, C.J. alludes to the classic comedy series Get Smart (1965-1970). The show starred Don Adams as the inept yet inexplicably successful Maxwell Smart, agent 86 of CONTROL. Barbara Feldon co-starred as Agent 99, perhaps CONTROL's most intelligent and competent spy who was inexplicably in love with Max.

    • Leo: "We Killed Yamamoto"

      Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, was killed in an aerial ambush on April 18, 1943 by American P-38 aircraft.