The West Wing: Season 1, Episode 15

Celestial Navigation (16 Feb. 2000)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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In a lecture at Georgetown, Josh recalls the previous week at the White House, during which he replaced a dentally impaired C.J. in the press room and gave a memorably disastrous briefing, ... See full summary »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Deborah O'Leary, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development
David Nessler
Sgt. MacNamara


In a lecture at Georgetown, Josh recalls the previous week at the White House, during which he replaced a dentally impaired C.J. in the press room and gave a memorably disastrous briefing, responding to a reporter's question (sarcastically, although taken quite seriously) that the White House had a secret plan to fight inflation. Meanwhile, he's intermittently on the phone with Toby and Sam, who have flown to Connecticut and are now lost in a rental car on the Connecticut Turnpike. They've gone on critical business: the president's nominee for the Supreme Court, Roberto Mendoza, was pulled over by the local police for "driving while Hispanic" and refused to take a drunk test, so he was incarcerated. Toby has to talk the judge down from making a big public issue of his arrest by fighting the charges in court. Written by meebly

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Release Date:

16 February 2000 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The exterior of the police station in "Celestial Navigation" is the show's post-production office. See more »


The President oversleeps and the 7am staff meeting starts late. The clock on the desk in the Oval Office reads 3:00. See more »


Officer Peter: You walk in here, you tell me you work for the President...
Sam Seaborn: [looks at officer's name tag] Officer Peter, we're in a certain amount of trouble tonight and the only thing I've got going for me is that you're in more trouble than we are. My name is Sam Seaborn, I work for the President and the sooner you reach the conclusion that I'm telling you the truth the better off we're all gonna be. Why don't you go get your watch commander?
[Officer Peter leaves the room. Sam turns to Toby]
Sam Seaborn: Let me tell you ...
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References Rocky and His Friends (1959) See more »


West Wing Main Title
Written by W.G. Snuffy Walden
Performed by Pete Anthony
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User Reviews

Sam's in Foggy Bottom
22 October 2012 | by (Jersey City) – See all my reviews

Josh does an interview show, while Toby and Sam go to Connecticut to get Supreme Court nominee Mendoza out of jail, after he'd been arrested on a false drunk-driving charge. Josh's emergency substitution for C.J. in a press conference, because she had emergency root canal, turns into a flaming disaster. Playing the Wesley police sergeant is Vaughn Armstrong (ENTERPRISE). There's also a little CCH Pounder, for all you SHIELD fans out there. The jail cell scene between Toby and Mendoza is touches upon the raw wound of racism that still festers in this country. Olmos' rage and humiliation are palpable. One of the top ten scenes in show history.

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