The West Wing (1999–2006)
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In Excelsis Deo 

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.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Concannon
Paul Austin ...
George Huffnagle
Tom Quinn ...
John Noonan
Nancy (as Renee Estevez)
Homeless Man


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.

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Release Date:

15 December 1999 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the first season episode "In Excelsis Deo", after reading through the script, the Pentagon was very touched by the handling of the story line dealing with the death of a homeless veteran of the Korean conflict. In fact, they were so impressed that they gave the show access to film at Arlington National Cemetery, (ANC is administered by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington). The Department of Defense then supplied the Marine Honor Guard and chaplain, and set up the whole funeral. During the funeral scene, all persons in uniform are members of the U.S. Armed Forces, performing their actual roles in a military funeral. Richard Schiff, (Toby Zeigler) has said that it was such a powerful and moving story, that after every take, he broke down and cried. See more »


This episode was scripted to be on Christmas Eve in Washington, DC. Near the end of the episode, Tobey, Mrs. Landingham, and George Huffnagle arrive at Arlington National Cemetery. The grass in green and the deciduous trees all have green leaves, not consistent with the winter timing of the episode. See more »


Josh Lyman: A man has left himself open to the kind of attack from which men in my business do not recover. Now, if our tactics seem less than civilized, it's because so are our attackers. We don't need your cooperation, Laurie. One of your guys wrote you a check, and the IRS works for me. And anyway, I don't feel like standing here, taking a civics lesson from a hooker.
Sam Seaborn: Josh...
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Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Christmas Themed Episodes (2014) See more »


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

I agree with the previous poster.
2 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

I am a very conservative guy, and not a big fan of West Wing, BUT I happened to catch this episode in a hospital waiting room one day. I think this episode is the best thing I have ever seen on TV, period. The montage between the Arlington funeral and the children's choir in the White House was some of the best production I have ever seen anywhere. Pure genius! If it weren't for the show's generally liberal bias I would have become a big fan based on this episode alone. I have to give my props to the creative writers. I wish they had left out the political commentary and had been more balanced (over the entirety of the series). It wouldn't have hurt the quality of the series and this episode shows what they were capable of, if they would just entertain and not try to preach.

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