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Gail in C.J.'s office.

Gail is a goldfish owned by C.J. Cregg. She was a gift from Danny Concannon.[1]


In 1999, Congressman Peter Lillienfield held a press conference alleging that one in three White House staffers used drugs. Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman figured he was gearing up to reveal something embarrassing to the Bartlet Administration and asked Danny what he knew. Danny refused to reveal any information he had but offered Josh general advice, and knowing that he had a crush on C.J., Josh told Danny that she liked Goldfish crackers in gratitude. Danny misunderstood, thinking he meant the animal, and promptly bought her one as a pet. Amused by Danny's gesture, C.J. kept the goldfish, which Danny had named "Gail."[1]

In 2000, C.J. clumsily attempted to carry Gail out of her office while attempting to evade Danny.

In 2006, C.J. nearly caused Gail to fall out of her bowl when a phone call she was using knocked Gail's fishbowl to the floor. She was luckily able to pick up the bowl after only a limited amount of water spilled out.[2]

On January 20, 2007, C.J. left Gail in her office when she left the White House for the last time.[3] Gail might have been picked up by C.J. at a later date or shipped to her in California. It's possible, however, that C.J. left Gail in the care of the incoming White House Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman.


C.J. treated Gail well and often placed small objects and decorations in her fishbowl.

This was actually a production in-joke, often connected to the plot of the episode it appeared in.

These decorations include:

  • miniature Christmas tree[4]
  • green Army soldiers[5]
  • replica podium and US flags[6]
  • toy panda bears[7]
  • Easter eggs[8]
  • toy telephone[9]
  • miniature space shuttle[10]
  • small podium and microphone[11]
  • toy elephant[12]
  • miniature bed[13]
  • toy missile[14]
  • Peace Doves [15]
  • fake statuette of Bast[16]
  • piece of piping[17]
  • chair and microphone[18]
  • miniature slide projector screen[19]
  • toy submarine[20]
  • female symbol pendants[21]
  • toy doll in a dress[22][23]
  • road sign to Washington, DC[24]
  • snow globe[25]
  • toy cows[26]
  • miniature White House[27]
  • small calendar[28]
  • miniature flag-draped coffin[29]
  • toy cabbage[30]
  • "no fishing" sign[31]
  • fake icicles[32]
  • clock[2]
  • "For Sale" sign[33]
  • "That's All Folks" sign[3]

Background information[]

Although seen in many episodes, Gail was only referred to directly in five (The Short List; He Shall, from Time to Time...; Guns Not Butter; Liftoff & Internal Displacement)

It's a common myth that goldfish have short and limited lifespans, but in fact many can live up to ten years in good conditions. It's possible that Gail (who we saw for over seven years) was one of them. (Props Master Blanche Sindelar said there were three Gail's throughout the series: The West Wing Weekly Podcast - 3.12)


Notes and references[]