Even among the very best shows, holiday episodes often feel like an obligatory gesture. Not so with "In Excelsis Deo," the Season 1 episode of The West Wing that saw Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) use the president's name to arrange for a military funeral with an Honor Guard for a homeless Korean War veteran, whose death he only learned about because he died wearing a coat Toby donated to Goodwill that still had one of his cards in it.
In this clip from the episode's conclusion, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) confronts Toby about this happening without his knowledge. "Toby, if we start pulling strings like this, you don't think every homeless veteran will come out of the woodwork?"
Toby's response was simple and powerful. "I can only hope, sir."
Schiff won the Emmy for Oustanding Supporting Actor for this episode, which also won Aaron Sorkin and Rick Cleveland the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.
TOPICS: The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin, Martin Sheen, Richard Schiff, Christmas