The West Wing (1999–2006)
8.5/10
562
2 user

Shibboleth 

Dozens of Chinese stowaways are discovered in a container ship in California; Toby looks to pick a fight over school prayer with a recess appointment; Thanksgiving at the White House sees C.J. in charge of turkeys and Charlie looking for the ultimate carving knife.

Director:

Laura Innes

Writers:

Aaron Sorkin (created by), Aaron Sorkin (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rob Lowe ... Sam Seaborn
Dulé Hill ... Charlie Young
Allison Janney ... C.J. Cregg
Janel Moloney ... Donna Moss
Richard Schiff ... Toby Ziegler
John Spencer ... Leo McGarry
Bradley Whitford ... Josh Lyman
Martin Sheen ... Jed Bartlet
F. William Parker ... Al Caldwell
Annie Corley ... Mary Marsh
Deborah Hedwall ... Josephine McGarry
Kathryn Joosten ... Mrs. Landingham
NiCole Robinson ... Margaret
Sam Anderson ... John LaSalle
Henry O Henry O ... Jhin Wei
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Storyline

A container ship is caught attempting to smuggle nearly a hundred people from China into California. Toby urges the President to appoint Leo's outspoken sister to a position in the Department of Education as a way of starting a battle over school prayer. C.J. discovers that she is expected to arrange White House Thanksgiving ceremonies which include the traditional Presidential turkey pardoning. The President sends Charlie on a seemingly endless mission to find the ultimate carving knife. Written by Murray Chapman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-14
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 November 2000 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shibboleth is used in modern parlance to mean any language usage that signifies a social or regional origin. The use originates from a story in the biblical book of Judges, in which one clan rooted out spies from another clan by asking them to say the Hebrew word, which both clans pronounced differently. The actual meaning of the Hebrew word is "an ear of grain." See more »

Goofs

When the president is explaining what Shibboleth is, he quotes the King James Bible, which varies significantly from the Catholic Bible. Having grown up Catholic, Bartlet would not have studied the King James Bible. See more »

Quotes

Josh Lyman: Leo, do me a favor: Don't tell the President we're just watching football. He'll wanna invite us for dinner.
Leo McGarry: Oh yes, I'm sure upon hearing the news that you're free, the President of the United States will insist that you join him for dinner.
Josh Lyman: I'm just saying, we've been working hard, and we'd prefer to watch football rather than listen to a history of the yam in Latin.
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Soundtracks

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

 
The Best of All the Episodes
21 November 2014 | by championbc-99-5005See all my reviews

I was going to write this review anyway, but seeing the horrible commentary already posted, I now have two reasons. First, this is one of the best series I have ever had the privilege of watching, the last two seasons notwithstanding. I enjoy going back to my favorites, and the Thanksgiving episodes from the first two seasons are two of them.

Whether it's the delightful story of CJ trying to select which turkey to pardon, or the very satisfying gift that the President gives at a crucial juncture of the show, this one is filled with wave after wave of good feelings and happy occasions.

Leo's confrontation with his own sister shows him for what he always was: the voice of integrity that kept the whole administration running smoothly, never too fast, never flying off the handle. It was a classic "Leo" episode.

But the best part of it all was the reason for the title. The president has to deal with the touchy situation of refugees from China who claim religious persecution. President Bartlett has to balance his own desire to do the right thing personally with the intricate economic and political ramifications of making the wrong decision, and he comes through majestically.

The short interview with the spokesman for the refugees is one of the best moments in the entire series.

I have watched this entire series on "Netflix," but I have only thought one episode was valuable enough to purchase as my own, and it is this one. I really don't know why the other reviewer would make the crude and insulting comments that he made about this show, but they are undeserved.

I will watch this episode every year at least once near Thanksgiving, just like some of the Christmas shows I never miss in season. Give this episode a fair shake, and see if I am right about this. If you have loved the great writing and insight of this show, you will love this one too.


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