Yo-Yo Ma plays a cello piece. Instead of miming the motions of the song to recorded music, however, he actually played the song for each take. According to director Thomas Schlamme, this amounted to playing the song about 45 times.
On the DVD commentary for this episode, Aaron Sorkin recalls that during a break from the filming of Yo Yo Ma's performance scene, in an attempt to help his performance and "get into the rhythm" of the scene, Dulé Hill (who plays Charlie) started to tap dance to the cello piece. Hill is a highly accomplished professional tap dancer who has performed with Savion Glover and other tap luminaries.
The subplot about the lady who recognizes the painting, although fictional in its particulars, is based on truth in some ways. Bernard, the protocol officer, tells C. J. that the painting author was Gustave Cailloux ( fictional painter, not to be confused with real artist Gustave Caillebotte ). The painting discussed is "The Etretat Cliffs after the Storm" by Gustave Courbet ). The Nazi element of this storyline is based in fact; many pieces of art that had been owned by Jewish families before World War II were looted by the Nazis before their owners had been sent off to concentration camps, as had happened to the lady's family in this episode.
During the initial briefing on the rogue pilot in the Situation Room, a general mentions scrambling F-16's out of "Edwards". Edwards Air Force Base is a massive operational air base in Edwards, CA, in the Mojave Desert. It is one of the largest air bases in California, but is most notable for historical flights including Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier in 1947 as well as the location of the first landing of any space shuttle in 1981. It is also the home of the Dryden Flight Research Center, the Air Force Flight Test Center and the Air Force Rocket Research Laboratory. However, Edwards is primarily a test and training facility and would be unlikely to have armed F-16s available for missions such as this.
When Josh (Bradley Whitford) talks to Sam (Rob Lowe) in his office, there is a Christmas stocking on the wall beside the chalkboard. Twenty minutes later, when Leo (John Spencer) is there, the stocking has disappeared.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The suicide crash story line refers to an incident in 1997, where an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot unexpectedly broke formation, turned off his transponder and radio and continued in apparent controlled flight for hundreds of miles before impacting a peak in Colorado.