In Season 1 Episode 5, The Crackpots and These Women, I noticed for the first time that Josh Lyman has a paper gun range target in his office:

josh with target

I just started rewatching The West Wing, and considering the weight put on the anti-guns message in the first few episodes, it's a strange thing for Josh to have displayed, even though it does appear unused.

I did find this reddit post asking the same question but with no satisfactory answer. And, as one reddit commenter points out, I am also of the opinion it most likely was not foreshadowing for

the shooting that occurs later in the series

but I agree it is a possibility.

Has anyone connected with the show ever commented on this? Or does the show itself ever reference it in a later episode?

  • 2
    One of the political arguments is that guns are/are not solely for killing people. Pro-gun people speak about target practice as an example in support. Anti-gun people point out the targets are in the form of people, and "what are they used to practicing for?" So IMO, the possession of such a target is not really out of character. I haven't watched the show enough to know if this very discussion was in the script (so not an answer), but I have seen such back-and-forth "in real life."
    – Yorik
    Oct 5, 2017 at 19:04
  • Someone may have gifted that to him as a trophy.
    – ashik
    Oct 6, 2017 at 9:42
  • @Yorik Not all gun targets are in the shape of people, though. Bullseye targets like those used for bow shooting are often used as well.
    – JAB
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:51
  • 1
    A target doesn't imply someone is pro gun, or imply really anything, but TV props are not picked at random. I have watched the series a few times, and given the show's context it seems out of place to me.
    – Dpeif
    Oct 6, 2017 at 15:12
  • People have quirky items in their office - dartboards, velcro "dartboards", mini basketball hoops over trash cans, pictures on walls that they throw tennis balls at, etc. I don't think there's any special significance to it. Nov 29, 2017 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


The target is in Josh’s office for all of season 1. After that, the target on longer appears. To me, this is clear foreboding of Josh getting shot in the season finale of season 1.

  • 1
    Hi Cortez; welcome to the Movies StackExchange. Be sure to take a look at the tour for a good rundown of how the site works. I'm not saying your answer is bad or wrong, but it is a little short for the typical StackExchange answer. Do you have any additional references or information you could add to it? In particular, the question seems to be looking for confirmation of the foreshadowing theory from cast or crew of the show.
    – LazyGadfly
    Apr 6, 2018 at 13:16
  • 2
    I would also add a spoiler tag
    – Dpeif
    Apr 6, 2018 at 13:20

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