West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Episodes * #10 "In Excelsis Deo"
NBC Toby at the Korean War Memorial © NBC Photo: Eric Liebowitz
Written by Aaron Sorkin & Rick Cleveland, Directed by Alex Graves
Takes Place: Christmas (1999?) (Dec. 23 is stated on the screen, there is an argument on when the millennium starts and the days the dates land on correspond to 1999)
Broadcast: December 15, 1999
Queries: Who was the other person at the funeral at the end of this episode?

A homeless vet is found dead near a war memorial wearing a coat Toby gave to the Goodwill. The coat still had Toby's White House business card in it and when the police find the card, they call Toby to come identify the body. Although the only thing he can tell about the body is that the man had served with a unit which served in the Korean war, Toby becomes involved.

Meanwhile the President is shopping at a bookstore for last minute gifts:
"Well, nothing says Christmas like animal fables in Iambic verse," Leo says with his oft-used irony.

The President finds a book for Zoey and asks Charlie if he thinks she'd like it. Charlie has obviously been around this group too much 'cause he responds with irony:
"I think she would like that better than a new stereo." As Leo listens to Charlie's statement, he turns his head away from the President and finally walks away to keep from laughing out loud.

Vietnam MemOn Friday, December 24th, Toby is called to the Oval Office. While he waits to see the President, Mrs. Landingham, the President's secretary, asks him:
"Did you use the President's name to arrange a funeral?" When Toby admits that he did, she tells him, "You shouldn't have done that."
"I know."
"You absolutely shouldn't have done that."
"I know."

Toby tells the President he's appalled at how homeless veterans are treated:
"The guy got better treatment at Panmounjom." Little things throughout the episode have indicated that Toby is a veteran and spent some time on duty in Korea (not during the war, of course but around the '70s when there were still incursions from the north on a regular basis --- there was only an armistice after the war and there were battles and U.S. soldiers died in Korea fairly regularly up until the last 15-20 years).

It has turned out earlier that Mrs. Landingham lost her twin sons in Vietnam around Christmas. She joins Toby for the funeral.

Theme of Episode: Responsiblity toward those we have little connection to. And the need to treat our veterans better.

For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode,
let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.

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