The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 1, Episode 10 - In Excelsis Deo - full transcript

When a homeless veteran dies on the National Mall and his body remains uncollected for hours, Toby becomes fixated on getting him a proper burial.


- What are you holding?
- Josh said you like goldfish.

The crackers, Danny.
The cheese things you eat at a party.

Got a thing tonight?

He calls, tells me what to wear.
The rest is a surprise.

Your night job stinks.

- There's gonna be trouble.
- Lillienfield?

Were you into something
not acceptable?

- Pills.
- Were you in treatment?

Records kept by these facilities
are confidential.

He's got them.

The president will be by the tree
with the carolers off to the side.

- With Santa hats?
- No, Dickensian costumes.

- Maybe both. Will they clash?
- They might.

- Why am I here?
- To weigh in on this.

- I could care less.
- Toby!

- Who's playing Santa?
- Al Roker.

- Why?
- He went on a diet.

- How do you know?
- I read.

We'll pad him.
We have Jose Feliciano, Sammy Sosa--

Did you know that "Feliz Navidad"
outsold "White Christmas"?

He speaks on the season of hope
and the new millennium.

The new millennium? Fine.

- Don't start.
- I said, fine.

- Are we done?
- Yeah.

- It's not the new millennium.
- It is.

2000 is the last year of the
millennium, not the first of the next.

To quote Steven Gould--

- He needs a calendar.
- He says this is unresolvable.

It's tough to resolve.
You'd need a calendar.

Toby, phone call.

- I'll call back.
- It's the D.C. police.

- What do they want?
- They want you.

Which is better, watching your car
roll over from 99,999 to 100,000. . .

. . .or watching it go from 100 to 101 ?

- The millennium's a year away?
- Yeah, but we've made plans.

- Would you tell them I'm on my way?
- Flamingo is on her way.

What did you--?
What did he call me?

- Excuse me. I'm Toby Ziegler.
- Where you been?

The coroner's office
told me to come here.

Do you know this man?

- No.
- You sure?

- Yeah.
- His name's Hufnagle. Ring a bell?

He had a driver's license on him.
It expired in 1973. Hufnagle, Walter.

- Why'd you call me?
- He also had your business card.

Did he?

- Toby Ziegler? From the White House?
- Yeah.

He had your business card.

That's my coat.
I gave it to the Goodwill--

The card was in it.
Well, that explains that.

Well, thanks for your time.

- This isn't a crime scene, is it?
- No, sir.

I was called an hour ago.
Why's the body still here?

An ambulance will come by.
It's not a high priority.

- Then you're gonna call the V.A.?
- V.A.?

The tattoo on his forearm,
it's Marine battalion, 2nd of the 7th.

This guy was in Korea.


Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

- Good morning, Josh.
- Good morning.

Merry Christmas to you
and your Protestant family.

I've not yet bought you a present.

I know you're agonizing over how
to show your appreciation for me.

That, and how I scrape
together the $10.

- I've prepared a list.
- Of gifts?

"Ski pants, ski boots, ski hat,
ski gloves. " You already have skis?

- Page two.
- Right.

Just pick something.
Feel free to pick two things.

- I should feel that freedom?
- I want to learn to ski.

- Why?
- I like the equipment. Where you going?

- I need to speak to Leo.
- Why?

- He wants to talk about your present.
- Really?

- You'll think about the skis?
- I'll give it a lot of thought.

- Hello?
- Come on back.

- Quite an operation.
- We're spreading holiday cheer.

Who is this? Do I care
if he has a nice Christmas?

Sign the damn thing.

- Leave us for a minute.
- We're not done.

Two minutes!


I'm tired of waiting
for the other shoe to drop.

Lillienfield's waiting
till after Christmas.

I don't want to tell you too much,
but I want to try a preemptive strike.

You gotta tell me more than that.

- Sam knows a girl.
- I've heard rumors.

I want to talk to her.
Something to keep in our pocket--

I don't want it in anyone's pocket.
Especially the president's.

Lillienfield's coming, it's no joke.

You don't have to tell me,
it's my life.

All I'm saying is,
we don't do these things.

- All right.
- All right?

- You hear about the kid in Minnesota?
- No.

A gay high-school senior.
He got beaten up.

They stripped him, tied him to a tree
and threw rocks and bottles at him.

You know how old the assailants were?


- ls the kid dead?
- He's in critical condition.

We're gonna have to revisit hate
crimes legislation after the break.

We need to gauge reaction
before we wade in.

C.J.'s gonna send up
a test balloon at her briefing.

All right.


- Yes, sir?
- Let's get this over with.

See you later.

The president is scheduled to leave
for New Hampshire at 10 a.m. ...

. . .so he'll leave around noon.

He'll attend Christmas services
with his family in the morning.

Are you aware
a student was attacked--?

His name is Lowell Lydell,
he's 17 years old. . .

. . .he's in critical condition with
a cracked skull, internal bleeding. . .

. . .and broken bones and lacerations.
We'll keep you updated.

Will this revisit
the hate crime debate?

Yes, but the best time to do that
would have been. . .

. . .before Lowell Lydell was beaten,
not after.

Walter Hufnagle.

I don't know.

I don't know!

I've been holding on
for the better part--

Sure. Yeah.

- Are you busy?
- I'm holding.

What's going on?

A homeless vet died last night.
I don't know if anyone's been contacted.

- I don't know what kind of burial--
- How do you know him?

I don't. Don't worry about it.
What do you need?

- This might seem trivial right now.
- What?

The Santa hats do clash
with the Dickensian costumes.

- It might seem trivial?
- Keeping you in the loop.

- Yes, I'm here. Go away.
- Yeah, I know.

Josh, I need to talk to you.

I'm giving your list
the consideration--

Seriously. What's going on with Leo?


I just heard something
from Margaret.

- You shouldn't be--
- Yeah, but we did.

ls it true?


- Well?
- Well, what?

- What are you gonna do?
- Right now, nothing.

We're gonna wait and see.
There's not much else I can do.

- We'll wait and see?
- Yes.

Could you stop looking at me
like I just killed your hamster?

If one of us was in trouble,
he would be the first person--

I know!

I know.

It was my regular face.
I wasn't trying to guilt you.

I know.

I have to work.

Okay, kids, remember the drill.

You'll say your name, your grade
and you'll ask the president. . .

. . .the question you and your teacher
prepared on your index card.

Okay, how about a big "Good morning,
Mr. President" when he comes in?

Good morning, Mr. President!

That sounded weak to me.
Let's try it again.

Good morning, Mr. President!

That's better. Now, who are
all these people making a ruckus?

- What's your name?
- Jeffrey.

When are you gonna get taller?
What are you, 16?

- I'm 7.
- Then you're fine.

Let's go!
Come on, I'm a busy man.

I am, after all,
the president of Bulgaria.

- No!
- Wait, that's not right.

I'm the president of Luxembourg.

- No!
- I'm the president of something.


Yes, thank you.
I am the president of the U.S.A.

- Now, who has a question?
- Me!

Yes, ma'am?

My name is Jessica Hodges,
and I'm in the third grade.

What's your favorite part
about being president?

My favorite part about being
president? I'm doing it right now.

- Who's next?
- Me!

Wait, hang on a second.

Apparently there are kids in
the other room I might like better.


Sorry to interrupt, but you
asked to be notified.

Lowell Lydell died
about 15 minutes ago.

Send flowers,
and I'll call his parents.

All right, on with the questions.

Wait. When you address me, bear in
mind that I'm the king of England!


- What was it again?
- America!


- I saw your briefing.
- What'd I do?

You hit the gas with
hate crimes legislation.

- First, I didn't. Second, why not?
- We're not sure where we stand.

I know where I stand.
They threw rocks at his head.

I understand. I'm just saying--

I'll keep my foot off the gas.
What's your code name?

They just changed it.
It's Princeton.

- Mine's Flamingo.
- It's nice.

No, it's not nice.

- It's a nice-looking bird.
- It's ridiculous-looking.

- You're not.
- I know I'm not.

- Any way I can get out of this?
- I'm gonna talk to someone.

Sam, how you doing?

I'll be in Bermuda soon,
that's how I'm doing.

- Where's Toby?
- Out.

Sam, you got a second?

Yeah. 83 degrees in Bermuda--

Just me, some suntan oil,
and 655 pages of briefing memos.

I need to ask you something
about your friend.

- What happened?
- Nothing.

Listen, you would describe her as--
What's her name again?

- Laurie.
- She's expensive?

- I have no way of--
- I understand.

Yes. Very expensive.

- She's elite?
- Yes. Why?

I need to know
if she would divulge the names. . .

. . .of any Republican members
of Congress that she--

There's no way, Josh!

- A thing's gonna happen.
- What?

- Lillienfield knows Leo was a drunk.
- Everyone knows that.

But they don't know there were pills.
There was Valium. He was in rehab.

- When?
- Six years ago.

He was secretary of labor
six years ago.

He was high when he was running
the Labor Department.

And Lillienfield knows?

I'm fairly sure that's why he
started this. He's gone hunting.

Sam, we owe Leo everything.
I mean, everything.

I'll call her,
and we'll go see her together.


- Charlie?
- Yes, ma'am?

Remind the president
he's allergic to eggnog.

- Sure.
- Thank you.

This place looks great.
I've never seen a Christmas like this.

The trees and the lights
and everybody singing. The presents.

I brought it up
because you seem down.

I tend to get a little down
during the holidays.

- You don't like Christmas?
- I miss my boys.

I never knew you had kids.

Twins. Andrew and Simon.
I tried not to--

I dressed them differently,
but they did everything together.

They went to medical school together,
and their lottery number came up.

- For the draft?
- Yeah.

Couldn't they get a deferment
to finish school?

They didn't want one.

I begged them, but they wanted to go
where people needed doctors.

We begged them,
but you can't tell kids anything.

They joined up as medics,
and four months later. . .

. . .they were pinned down during
a fight and were killed by enemy fire.

That was Christmas Eve, 1970.

They were so young, Charlie.
They were your age.

It's hard when that happens
so far away. . .

. . .because with the noises and the
shooting, they had to be so scared.

It's hard not to think that,
right then, they needed their mother.

Anyway, I miss my boys.

You want to sign the book?

- Excuse me?
- Sign in the book?


Are you looking for
anything in particular?

No. I'm not a visitor. I was. . . .

I'm not the police, I was. . . .

A homeless man died this morning
near the monument.

When the weather gets down. . . .

I thought that maybe he slept
there a lot, maybe you knew him.

He was one of them.
Was he a friend of yours?

- No.
- I didn't think so.

I'm just trying to contact
someone that might. . .

. . .you know,
be interested that he died.

They hang around Capitol and P,
I'd try there.

Thanks. You a veteran?


Toby Ziegler.

John Noonan.

- Merry Christmas.
- Merry Christmas.

- A couple of guys.
- No. Leave me alone.

- Josh, what are you doing right now?
- Preparing for the economic summit.

Blow it off. Seriously.
Come shopping with us.

- Shopping?
- He won't take any press.

- How are you going shopping?
- I sneak out every now and then.

A few agents, an unmarked Suburban,
they clear the store, I'm in, I'm out.

I never knew this.

You know there's a tunnel out of here?
I haven't found it.

- Where are you going?
- To Rare Books. Know what they sell?

- Fishing tackle?
- Funny boy.

The president is shopping,
and he won't let me send press along.

- Tell her to leave me alone.
- A couple of guys?

- We don't have to make hay out of it.
- It's good hay!

- Wanna come?
- With you to a bookshop?

Drop me off the top of
the Washington Monument instead.

It's Christmas. No reason
we can't do both. Let's go shopping!

Hey, C.J. I saw the Suburban.
President's slipping away?

- He realized he forgot your gift.
- How sweet.

I made a list of reasons
you should go out with me.

Give me time to put together
a list of why I shouldn't.

- Then we'll compare them.
- Good.

My Secret Service code name
is Flamingo.

- Nice bird.
- Go away.

Sam, what do you and Josh
have going on tonight?


I just meant did you want
to come over for dinner?

Oh. Yeah.

- What did you think I meant?
- I'm going to Bermuda tonight.

- What did you think?
- That's what I thought.

Then why did you say nothing
if you're leaving?

I really don't know.
But thank you for the invitation.

What do you and Josh
have going on tonight?


The Fables of Phaedrus, 1886.

First edition, red leather,
gilt leathering, engraved frontis.

Phaedrus, a slave who was
later given his freedom. . .

. . .wrote his animal fables
in iambic verse.

Nothing says Christmas like
animal fables in verse.

That's what I say.

- Photographers would have killed him?
- Let it go.

Here's a book which, if I was stuck on
an island, I still wouldn't read it.

The Adventures of James Adams,
Mountaineer and Hunter of California.

I would eat this book
before I read it.

- Sure you won't change your mind?
- No, I appreciate it--

- You gonna be by yourself?
- I've got lots of work.

You're gonna work on Christmas?
I feel better.

Come stay at the house.

So you can read aloud
from Phaedrus?

Now that you suggest it. . . .

- I'll be fine.
- Suit yourself.

Mr. President, when you get back. . .

. . .we'll have to talk seriously
about my situation.

I'm not worried about it. It'll
be fine. These things can go away.

No, they can't,
and they usually don't.

I'll need an exit strategy that won't
cause turmoil during the confirmation.

I don't want to talk about
an exit strategy.

It's gonna be fine.

Mr. President, it's time.

Zoe starts Georgetown in two weeks.
I was thinking about this for her.

The Nature of Things, translated
from the Latin. What do you think?

- It's better than a stereo.
- Because it's got a Moroccan spine.

- You head for the car and I'll pay.
- Thank you all. Merry Christmas!

- You heard what I said before, right?
- What?

- In my office this morning?
- Yeah.

-Life of Epicurus, two volumes.
- Let's go.

Excuse me.

Excuse me.

I was wondering if by any chance
you know a man named Walter Hufnagle.

- Walter?
- Yes.

You looking for Walter?

- I wasn't looking for him, I--
- That's his brother down there.

- Thank you.
- What's the problem?

There's no problem.
Down on the end?

Yeah. Listen. . . .

He's a little slow.

He's all right, just a little slow.


Excuse me.

Mr. Hufnagle?

I'm George.

- Are you Walter Hufnagle's brother?
- Yeah.

I'm afraid I have some very bad news.

Walter died last night.

Oh, jeez.

It was a very cold night.

Yeah, because of the northeasterly
wind off the Chesapeake.

Everything all right?

- Walter died.
- Who are you?

I'm Toby Ziegler.

Walter was wearing my coat,
and it had my business card.

- You want your coat back?
- No.

The northeasterly wind
off the Chesapeake.

- Did you know he fought in Korea?
- I'm sure he didn't mean nothing.

- Sometimes people start things--
- No.

He was in the Marines
about 45 years ago.

Yeah, I think I remember.

He was given a medal.

It's called the Purple Heart.
It's for getting wounded in battle.

- He was wounded?
- Yeah.

I guess he wasn't too good at it, huh?

No, no. A lot of people
were wounded or even killed.

Were you there?

No. No, I was. . . .

Anyway. . . .

I wasn't sure if anyone
had contacted you.

I slept over there
at the shelter last night. . .

. . .because of the northeasterly wind
off the Chesapeake.

It was pretty cold.

And I guess there weren't
enough beds for Walter.

I'm sorry.

Good night.

I'm sorry, this is
none of my business--

Your brother is entitled to a proper
funeral. He deserves an honor guard.

And you don't know me.

But I'm an influential person,
I'm a very powerful person. . .

. . .and I would like to arrange it.

A funeral?

- Will you be here tomorrow?
- Yeah.

So if I come pick you up,
then I'll bring you back after--

- I'll make sure he's here.
- Will you?

Thank you.

Let me just. . . . Here.
Please, just take that.

No, that's all your money. You don't
live around here. You need it.

- I'm fine.
- Here. Take it.

- Really, I'm fine.
- You don't live around here.

Thank you.

You're a reporter.
I'm the press secretary.

It's an unavoidable
conflict of interest.

It would hurt our reputations.

- Your editors would--
- C.J., what are you doing?

- I'm reading my list.
- You made a list?

- Didn't you?
- Sure.

- You didn't make a list?
- It's right here. It's a mental list.

- I made an actual list.
- I can see.

- Why are you in here?
- To give you a present.

You gave me a goldfish.
What more could I want?

Goldfish food.

I'm gonna ignore your list.
It's ridiculous.

Also because I've got a crush on you.

- Leo's here.
- See you later.

- Hey, Danny.
- Hey, Leo.

- That's a nice goldfish.
- Isn't it?

- Happy holidays.
- You too.

- I'm rebuffing him.
- Whatever.

- Dial it down on hate crimes.
- You told me to float a test balloon.

Float, not shove.
I'm not sure where we stand.

They made him say Hail Marys as
they beat him. It was entertainment.

This is a manifestation of racism
or sexism or homophobia. . .

. . .that are only the start of
a pathology troubling this country.

I know. I'm just not sure it's right
to legislate against how people think.

A lot of people aren't sure.
A lot of them work here. Dial it down.

Thank you.

- You have plans yet?
- For Christmas?

- My plan is to do nothing.
- You want me to cook you something?

- What, are you my mother?
- I was just asking.

I'll see you later.

This is Josh Lyman.

Come in.

Like I said,
I only have a few minutes.

- We'll get right to the point.
- Please.

Here's what's going on.
A guy we work with is in some trouble.

A congressman is about to expose
something damaging about his past.

Doing what you do, we thought--

I could name an influential
Republican who likes kinky sex. . .

. . .so you can scare Lillienfield?

- I never said it was Lillienfield.
- ls it?


This is for real?
This isn't a joke of some kind?

It's for real.

Then get out and we'll pretend
this never happened.

Haven't we met?

- Yes, we have.
- Where?

White House. She came
with Carl Everett.

Who raised $5 million for Bartlet.
Think only Republicans pay for sex?

- This isn't about that.
- You get this out of a book?

- It was my idea.
- You're the brains?

Yeah. And I could care less
about your indignation.

This is the kind of attack from which
men in my business do not recover.

If our tactics aren't civilized,
neither are our attackers!

I'm not taking civics lessons
from a hooker!

We don't need your cooperation.
The IRS works for me!

Just a name! You want money?

Fine, then you can leave
the money on the nightstand!

- I don't think he meant--
- Yes, he did!

No, I didn't.

In fact, I'm sorry.

I apologize, that was very rude.

We wouldn't have asked,
but this person means a lot to us.

You're the good guys.

You should act like it.

I have to get dressed now.

We're not talking about
burning crosses. People are dying.

And people get punished for that.

You want to punish them
for what's in their mind?

- Yes.
- Really?

- Who is this?
- Elizabeth.

- Who's Elizabeth?
- Your sister.

This isn't abstract theory. We can't
say we're protecting civil rights. . .

. . .we have to do it.
Plus, it's good politics.

- Now I'm listening.
- We'll get into it?

- We'll get into it after the break.
- Excuse me.

- You wanted to see us?
- Oh, yes, very much.

- Should I leave?
- As quickly as possible.

You went and did it?

- What?
- Exactly what I asked you not to do?

You saw Sam's friend.
I had you tailed.

- You had us tailed?
- Why?

On the off-chance you'd be stupid!
Whose idea was it?

It was mine.

Sam was a reluctant accomplice.
You had us tailed?

- Get over it.
- She didn't say anything.

- It's not what we do.
- That may be true, but still--

- It's not what we do.
- Yes, sir.

You should apologize to her.

- I did.
- Do it again.

Like I'm not gonna have enough
problems without the Keystone Kops?

- We meant well.
- That means something?


It does.

I'm glad.

- Go to work.
- It's Christmas Eve.

The country isn't open
on Christmas Eve?

Fair point.

Leo. . . .

I know.

It's gonna get bad
before it gets better.

I know.


- Let's get this over with.
- I'm here Christmas.

There's been no change in departure,
so we're still looking at noon.

This is a half-day for us,
so it is for you too.

There is no more news,
have a merry Christmas.

Hey, fish boy.

Answer this.
There's a lot riding on it.

- What's riding on it?
- A date with me.

ls imposing penalties
for hate crimes. . .

. . .a powerful statement
against intolerance?

- No. A crime's a crime.
- Wrong answer.

Punishing beliefs is the end.
And you agree with me.

I don't. Take me out tonight
and convince me.

- Excuse me?
- You heard me.

- I was distracted.
- I won't say it again.

Then I'm gonna assume
you asked me out.

I didn't ask you out. You asked me out
49 times and I'm saying yes to one.

You understand we're having dinner,
not a fling?

- I understand.
- It's business. Bring your notebook.

- My Secret Service name is Flamingo.
- Nice.

I have to feed my fish.

- Hey, Danny.
- Hey, Josh.

- How's it going?
- Hard to say.

Heinrich Breckengruber
on the Art and Artistry of Skiing.

It's got a molted calf cover
and original drab boards.

- I don't know what to say.
- I wrote a note inside.

Don't get emotional.
Donna, don't get--

Let's try and maintain some sort of--

You see?

You spend most of your time being,
you know, you. . .

. . .and then you write
something like this to me.

Thank you.

I meant it.

Skis would have killed you?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

Welcome to the White House!

Good morning!
Welcome to the White House!

- Good morning.
- Morning, Mrs. Landingham.

- The president wants you.
- I know.

Did you use his name to arrange
a funeral for a homeless veteran?

- Yes.
- You shouldn't have done that.

- I know.
- You absolutely shouldn't have.

I know.

The president's in the Mural Room.

Thank you.

- How would it be if I just mentioned--?
- No.

- Shopping on your own at a bookstore?
- Deal with it.

I'll be right back.

- Merry Christmas, Mr. President.
- Merry Christmas, Nancy.

- How you doing?
- I'm fine.

Seems I've arranged
an honor guard for somebody.

I'm sorry.

Tell me, anything else
I've arranged for?

We're still in NATO, right?
What's going on?

A homeless veteran died last night.

He was wearing a coat I gave to
the Goodwill. It had my card in it.

It took an hour and 20 minutes
for the ambulance.

A lance corporal, Marine Corps.
I got better treatment at Panmunjom.

If we pull strings like this,
every homeless veteran will show up.

I can only hope, sir.

When is it?

I'm going to pick up his brother
and go there now.

Sir, your absence in
the other room is conspicuous.


I'd like to come along.