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, Danny, who had a crush on C.J., asked White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman for personal information about C.J.'s likes and dislikes. Lyman expressed that C.J. was "crazy about Goldfish," referring to Goldfish-brand crackers. Danny thought he meant domesticated pet goldfish, and promptly bought her one. 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]

Supposedly, Gail would've been picked up later or shipped to C.J. It's possible, however, that C.J. left Gail in the care of the next 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]
  • snowglobe[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

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Short List
  2. 2.0 2.1 Internal Displacement
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tomorrow
  4. In Excelsis Deo
  5. Lord John Marbury
  6. He Shall, from Time to Time...
  7. Six Meetings Before Lunch
  8. Let Bartlet Be Bartlet
  9. Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
  10. What Kind of Day Has It Been?
  11. The Midterms
  12. In This White House
  13. And It's Surely to Their Credit
  14. The Drop-In
  15. "NSF Thurmont"
  16. The Stackhouse Filibuster
  17. Bad Moon Rising
  18. The Fall's Gonna Kill You
  19. On the Day Before
  20. Gone Quiet
  21. Enemies Foreign and Domestic
  22. The Black Vera Wang
  23. We Killed Yamamoto
  24. 20 Hours in America (Part II)
  25. Holy Night
  26. Guns Not Butter
  27. Evidence of Things Not Seen
  28. A Constituency of One
  29. The Stormy Present
  30. Slow News Day
  31. No Exit
  32. Mr. Frost
  33. The Last Hurrah
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