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Holy Night

Original Airdate 12-11-02

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It's two days before Christmas and who should appear but reporter Danny Concannon (Timothy Busfield). He's dressed as St. Nick, but isn't spreading good cheer. Also showing up at the White House is Toby's father (Toby isn't exactly pleased to see him); Bartlet's daughter Zoey, who's accompanied by her French boyfriend (Charlie isn't pleased to see him); and psychiatrist Stanley Keyworth (Adam Arkin), to whom both Bartlet and Leo complain about concentration lapses. Meanwhile, the president decides to rip up the HHS budget just before it's due at the printer's. That'll mean a lot of work over the holidays.
From NBC:
The Christmas Episode. A winter storm blankets the northeast as a staffer gets a surprising visit from his father and Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and Leo (John Spencer) start to hear the footsteps.
From Warner Bros.:
A winter storm blankets the northeast as a staffer gets a surprising visit from his father, and Bartlet and Leo start to hear the footsteps.


Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Joshua Malina as Will (William) Bailey Speechwriter
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Stars    
Adam Arkin as Dr. Stanley Keyworth ATVA Psychiatrist
Timothy Busfield as Danny (Daniel) Concannon Washington Post Reporter
Guest Starring    
Jerry Adler as Jules Ziegler Toby's Father
Elisabeth Moss as Zoey Patricia Bartlet Bartlets' youngest daughter
John Diehl as Larry Claypool Freedom Watch Lawyer
Trent Ford as Jean Paul FULL NAME Zoey's Boyfriend
Kim Webster as Ginger Assistant to Communications' Director
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Devika Parikh as Bonnie Communications' Aide
Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell (last name) / Reporter
Kris Murphy as Katie Witt (last name) / Reporter
Steve Ireland as Ron Toby's Lawyer
Danny Jacobs as Jules Toby's Father in 1954 / "Julie"
Harry Karp as Zev in 1954
Alex Reznik as Jacob in 1954
Special Appearance by The Whiffenpoofs  

Information Links



Emmy Awards

Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series Nomination for
Thomas Del Ruth, A.S.C.
Submitted for consideration for Outstanding Drama Series Win

ASC Awards

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Episodic TV Series Nomination for
Thomas Del Ruth, A.S.C.

Banff Rockie Awards

Continuing Series Episode Win

Media Quotes

Finally, there's Larry Klayman, a "one-man litigation explosion," as the online magazine Slate once tagged the conservative leader of Judicial Watch, a nonprofit firm. While Hearsay covered the legal beat, Judicial Watch filed about a dozen lawsuits, and Klayman sued his mother. (They settled out of court when she agreed to pay him $15,000.) Klayman also sued Hearsay for libel. (The case is pending.)

Even Hollywood has taken note. The NBC series "West Wing" has created a Klayman-clone named "Harry Klaypool," the head of a litigious watchdog group called "Freedom Watch." ...

"Hearsay: The Lawyer's Column"
by David Segal
January 17, 2000
Washington Post

Youngest daughter Zoe[y] will be back -- she and Charlie (Dule Hill) are still dating, [Aaron] Sorkin said

"'West Wing' improves by taking some chances"
by Rob Owen
January 19, 2002
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

So terrorism as a daily concern is played down in the show, though it can't help but seep in. "This new global threat, terrorism, is part of the water supply now," Sorkin says. "Even in episodes that don't directly deal with it."

The new atmosphere led to a plot turn last season that might otherwise have seemed out of character for Bartlet: He approves the covert assassination of a foreign defense minister.

"How this devout Catholic and lover of the law is able to assassinate someone," Sorkin said. "It's very interesting to me."

"This Is Not The Real World"
by Roger Catlin
September 7, 2002
Hartford Courant

"I think the normal re-election cycle is, we win the election and then the scandals start happening one by one," he said. "I don't know if we'll repeat that, but in real life, you win the election and that's when all the dirt gets uncovered, right?" - Richard Schiff

"Aaron Sorkin wants to put fun back into 'West Wing' "
by Rob Owen
September 25, 2002
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

More recently, Busfield played White House reporter Danny Concannon on Aaron Sorkin's "The West Wing," a character that may resurface at some point this season.

"From a weasel to a big cheese"
by Mike Duffy
October 2, 2002
Detroit Free Press

"Aaron Sorkin is a big fan of the Whiffenpoofs and gave me a call and said he would like us to appear on his Christmas episode," said Vikram Swamy, Whippenpoofs' business manager. "So we're being flown out to LA this Sunday night."

Swamy claims he has no idea how the Whiffenpoofs' role will play out, but indicated it will be "more than a cameo appearance in a concert set in the White House." He said the show's writers are still preparing the script, but he believes the group could perform more than one song on television.


Swamy said he kept the likelihood of The West Wing appearance from group members, fearing the gig would fall through. He spent the past week-and-a-half rearranging the Whiffenpoofs' demanding concert schedule and worried over whether members would agree to the possibility of sacrificing the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Bass singer Kevin Sladek, 22, said Thursday he can't quite remember what words he used to accept the offer of appearing on "the best show on television and one of the very best ever on television."

"I was too busy pumping my fists (in excitement)," Sladek said. "I know I stood up and hollered."

"Yale's Whiffenpoofs to appear on 'The West Wing'"
by Tara York
November 22, 2002
New Haven Register

In the show, the Whiffenpoofs perform two songs for the White House staff, "West Wing" producer Llewellyn Wells said.

Wells said Aaron Sorkin, the show's creator and executive producer, selected the group because he had been a Whiffenpoofs fan since childhood.

Whiffenpoofs business manager Vikram Swamy '04 said Sorkin called him last week to discuss whether the group might appear on the show. Not wanting to raise the group's expectations in case the appearance fell through, Swamy waited until the Whiffenpoofs' weekly performance at Mory's to tell the group.

"Up until this Monday, I had been hiding it from the guys," Swamy said. "It was difficult to restrain myself and not tell my guys about it."

Although the all-male, all-senior group will have to miss part of their Thanksgiving vacation to film the show, Swamy said the Whiffs had few reservations about traveling to Los Angeles next week.

"The response was overwhelmingly positive," Swamy said. "This is the kind of thing when you join the Whiffenpoofs you hope to have the opportunity to do."

Swamy said he was excited for the opportunity to reach a wide audience.

"This is good publicity for us and I'm excited for what it will do for our name recognition," Swamy said.

Warner Bros., which produces "The West Wing," will pay for the Whiffenpoofs to travel to California early next week. Swamy said the group had not yet negotiated any other form of compensation for its appearance.


Courtney Williams '03, the group's musical director, said he was not entirely surprised by the offer given the Whiffenpoofs' history.

"I don't think in recent years any of the a cappella groups have done anything this high-falutin'," Williams said. "It wasn't completely unheard of, but 'The West Wing' is very special."

"Whiffenpoofs to sing for 'West Wing' president"
by Jacob Liebenluft
November 22, 2002
Yale Daily News

Casting is underway for a young actor to play a visiting French student at Georgetown University who will become the love interest of President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) daughter on "The West Wing."

"Love is in the Air"
by Marilyn Beck and Jenel Smith
November 22, 2002
Creators Syndicate

Busfield will be reappearing on "The West Wing" on Dec. 11, reprising his role as investigative reporter Danny Concannon, who will have uncovered something rotten in the White House.

"It's very 'Watergatey,' " Busfield told Distractions from New Jersey, where "Ed" is taped. "I've got this story that I think will become the big story as the season snowballs ... but I haven't told the guys on 'Ed' yet."

"Timothy Busfield will make a 'Watergatey' return to 'The West Wing'"
by David Barton
December 3, 2002
Sacramento Bee

Vikram Swamy '04, the Whiffenpoofs' business manager, declined to discuss details about the show's plot but said the group performs two songs on the show. Whiffenpoofs recordings will also play in the background during the episode, Swarmy said.

The group traveled to Los Angeles to film the episode during Thanksgiving break after Aaron Sorkin, the show's creator, called Swarmy to ask the group appear on the show. Swarmy said the Whiffenpoofs will watch the show with Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead, who invited the group to his house for the episode.

"Whiffenpoofs to perform tonight on 'West Wing'"
by Unknown
December 11, 2002
Yale Daily News

Unfortunately, we do not have a recording of "O Holy Night" (as heard on 'West Wing'). The song was recorded on the set of 'West Wing' and was essentially live -- it was only edited to be fit for the show, not for a CD.

by Unknown
December 11, 2002

Rabbi Wolpe mentioned the teaser for Holy Night being all in Yiddish, and Aaron said basically, "yes, that was to lure back the younger viewers we've been losing. To appease the network, we started the episode with 5 1/2 minutes in Yiddish."

Posted at
by List Owner
December 16, 2002
Message 26221
Notes from discussion with Rabbi David Wolpe and Aaron Sorkin

The show's annually anticipated Christmas episode went on the air with so little fanfare that most fans tuned in expecting a rerun (though [Thomas] Schlamme accepts some of the blame in that he didn't finish shooting the episode until the Friday before its Wednesday air date).

"Shedding light on murky look of 'West Wing'"
by Phil Rosenthal
January 15, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times

... but his [Rob Lowe's] Sam Seaborn character has been so scarce that he's turned up on a milk carton -- a joke gift Lowe sent castmates and execs at NBC and Warner Bros. His mug's on the back of a real half-gallon container, under "Missing Persons." Along with listing Seaborn's vital stats, the carton informs he's been "Missing since Christmas episode 2002" and was "Last seen, Edison Field, upper deck," where Lowe was seen during the World Series. "Please call Bernie Brillstein if you've seen this man," the carton implores.

"The "Great" race is shifting into high gear"
by Michael Fleming
January 17, 2003

Klayman's publicity-hungry nonprofit--fictionalized as "Freedom Watch" on NBC's "West Wing" -- has filed numerous lawsuits over the past seven years against Bill and Hillary Clinton and their staffs, and now is tormenting Vice President Cheney's office.


Klayman told us he has trademarked the name "Freedom Watch" for his own use.

"The GOP's Secret Weapon"
by Lloyd Grove
January 28, 2003
Washington Post

For Malina, it was a neat trick getting his face in WW's opening credits. "I started out with a five episode contract," the 37-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "It was 'five and we'll see' - and finally, we saw. How did Aaron Sorkin let me know I was now a regular? I checked the phone machine one day, and he was humming the West Wing theme song. He hummed it and said, 'Welcome to the main titles.' There was much rejoicing."

"Sports Night Star Replaces Rob Lowe"
by Daniel R. Coleridge
February 5, 2003
TV Guide Online

"Sure I'm politically shrew, but not nearly as much as Aaron," Malina states. "In fact, I had to have someone tape all of "The West Wing"'s third season just to get into the right frame of mind before becoming a regular on the show. The show is really inspiring, though. I find myself reading the paper and having strong opinions on certain political topics much more often than I did prior to "The West Wing." There's just this overall message in Aaron's writing, and watching the characters you start wishing everyone really did care and was motivated to make the world a better place. "The West Wing" actually makes you want to get more involved, so Aaron does a good thing. He keeps you entertained while you watch people doing their civic duty."

"Joshua Malina Goes Inside "The West Wing""
by Heather Wadowski
January 24, 2003
Hadley Media

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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