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The West Wing
Season 3 Descriptions

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3.1 Isaac and Ishmael   Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 10-03-01

A special episode of the Emmy Award-winning series, dealing with some of the questions and issues currently facing the world in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks on the United States.

3.2 Manchester (Part 1)  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 10-10-01 Rerun 01-02-02 8 p.m.

In the season premiere, flashbacks reveal how the President (Martin Sheen) will officially announce his plans to run for re-election, which sends his staff into disarray as they work on the speech. But two problems dog them when Sam (Rob Lowe) realizes that Bartlet never apologized for not disclosing his multiple sclerosis while C.J. (Allison Janney) makes a crucial gaffe during a press conference. Meanwhile, the Chief Executive has his own problems with wife Abbey (Stockard Channing) who is still fuming that she was not consulted in his decision. Outside the Beltway, the President must decide if he should greenlight a military rescue of the besieged U.S. embassy in Haiti and chief counsel Babish (Oliver Platt) informs Charlie (Dulé Hill) to hire his own expensive lawyer before a special prosecutor begins looking into Bartlet's possible concealment of his illness.

3.3 Manchester (Part 2)  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 10-17-01 Rerun 01-02-02

In the second part of the season premiere, flashbacks reveal the President (Martin Sheen) as he refines his speech for a major re-election announcement while his staff works uneasily with a heavyweight political strategist (Ron Silver) over whether Bartlet should include a public apology in his remarks. Meanwhile, C.J. (Allison Janney) considers drastic action in the wake of her ill-timed statements during a crucial press conference. In addition, Bartlet tries to patch up a misunderstanding with his wife Abbey (Stockard Channing). The President must also decide if he will accede to the requests of a corrupt Haitian leader that could lead to peace. Chief counsel Babish (Oliver Platt) shocks Charlie (Dulé Hill) with the probable cost of hiring a fancy lawyer since a special prosecutor is preparing to ask him tough questions.

3.4 Ways and Means  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 10-24-01 Rerun 01-23-02

When a fearless special prosecutor (Nicholas Pryor) begins investigating the President's (Martin Sheen) non-disclosure of his illness and issues subpoenas to the White House staff, C.J. (Allison Janney) cannily tries to light a backfire by dropping clues to the press that might ultimately force the replacement of the prosecutor with someone more favorable to the Administration. Elsewhere: a real forest fire rages in Wyoming but the governor is incensed when Bartlet backs the forestry experts who believe the fire should just burn itself out; the President is in a political bind as he decides whether or not to push for the repeal of the estate tax -- or "the death tax," as labeled by his savvy rivals, and a wary Donna (Janel Moloney) goes out on a blind date with a charming Republican (Mark Feuerstein) who might represent a conflict of interest.

3.5 On the Day Before  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 10-31-01 Rerun 03-13-02

As a State Department dinner nears, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) boldly vetoes the "death tax" bill but his staff must hustle when they are surprised to learn that the House of Representatives have enough votes to immediately override the veto. Meanwhile, as some important Democratic congressmen are holding out for some compromising political favors that incense Bartlet and Leo (John Spencer), Josh (Bradley Whitford) tries to smooth-talk a promising governor (Kevin Tighe) who is considering running against Bartlet. On the fringes, C.J. (Allison Janney) singles out an overmatched entertainment reporter (Mary Mara) for retribution and Charlie (Dulé Hill) is strongly urged by his fellow White House teammates to ask for immunity in his upcoming testimony into the President's non-disclosure of his illness.

3.6 War Crimes  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 11-07-01 Rerun 03-20-02

The President (Martin Sheen) asks the reluctant Vice President (Tim Matheson) to speak at an anti-gun rally in Texas after a church shooting but the uneasy allies have a starkly candid showdown while Donna (Janel Moloney) goes before a Congressional committee investigating Bartlet's lack of disclosure -- and she lies to her inquisitor (Mark Feuerstein). Elsewhere, Leo (John Spencer) debates an old friend and Air Force officer (Gerald McRaney) about the United States' future stance regarding the War Crimes Tribunal; C.J. (Allison Janney) informs Toby (Richard Schiff) that a reporter (Michael O'Keefe) heard his comment that puts the President in an unfavorable light; and Sam (Rob Lowe) tries to find common sense when a Congressman (Bob Glouberman) proposes legislation that would eliminate the penny.

3.7 Gone Quiet  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 11-14-01 Rerun 04-10-02

When an American spy submarine suddenly goes silent in hostile North Korean waters, an angry President (Martin Sheen) receives advice from the Assistant Secretary of State (Hal Holbrook) and must decide whether he should notify the enemy or attempt a risky, secret rescue -- while his wife, Abigail (Stockard Channing), learns that her past malpractice suits might be Bartlet's Achilles heel in his criminal investigation. In other White House action, C.J. (Allison Janney) is ecstatic over a potential presidential candidate's indecisive public remarks; Toby (Richard Schiff) meets with a representative from an appropriations committee who wants to funnel money away from Congress' controversial funding of avant-garde artists.

3.8 The Indians in the Lobby  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 11-21-01 Rerun 04-17-02

While President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) frets about where to spend Thanksgiving -- and how to best cook a gourmet turkey -- C.J. (Allison Janney) powwows with two Native Americans (Gary Farmer and Georgina Lightning) who are camped in the lobby and promise to cause a media dustup if they can't meet with a bigwig about receiving better public health projects on their reservation. Elsewhere, Josh (Bradley Whitford) pulls some political levers as he tries to gain the extradition of a teenaged boy who murdered his teacher and fled to Italy; Toby (Richard Schiff) informs Bartlet of an inexpensive way to improve his polling numbers; and Sam (Rob Lowe) questions a new poverty income index that could spell trouble for the President by classifying millions more people as poor virtually overnight.

3.9 The Women of Qumar  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 11-28-01 Rerun 05-29-02 8 p.m. and 10-23-02

At the First Lady's (Stockard Channing) urging, Josh (Bradley Whitford) meets with a powerful women's caucus over the proposed language of a U.N. treaty banning prostitution while the President (Martin Sheen) grapples with the possibility of a Mad Cow epidemic and ponders how much the public should know. Meanwhile, staffers are stunned at C.J.'s (Allison Janney) emotional outburst concerning the administration's renewal of its air base lease in a Mideast country that abuses its women. Some World War II veterans come to the White House to protest a pending Pearl Harbor exhibit at the Smithsonian and Bartlet is sued by an angry woman who intends to raise a public fuss over his remarks regarding the hot-potato issue of a national seat belt law.

3.10 Bartlet For America  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 12-12-01 Rerun 06-05-02 8 p.m. and 12-25-02

While the White House is festooned with Christmas finery, Leo (John Spencer) fears the worst when he testifies in the Congressional investigation into the President's (Martin Sheen) possible lack of public disclosure about his illness while flashbacks reveal the background leading to Bartlet's decision as governor to not come forward with the damaging information. In addition, the President personally investigates a series of church firebombings in the South after a two-year probe proves fruitless and threatens using troops to protect parishioners the next day on Christmas Eve.

3.11 H.CON - 172  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 01-09-02 Rerun 06-12-02 8 p.m.

A defiant Leo (John Spencer) rejects the Congressional Oversight Committee's offer of a presidential public censure that would finally end its investigation of Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) concealment of his illness -- and spare Leo of any possible personal repercussions -- while the staff reacts to an insider's tell-all book published by a fired White House photographer. Meanwhile, a tongue-tied Josh (Bradley Whitford) hatches a shameless scheme to meet socially with an attractive women's rights leader (Mary-Louise Parker), and Bartlet wants to frame Charlie's (Dulé Hill) gift of a 1709 map of Palestine -- one that excluded Israel at the time -- but his staff warns him of its political implications.

3.12 100,000 Airplanes  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 01-16-02 Rerun 06-19-02

While the staff furiously labors over the President's crucial State of the Union speech, Bartlet suddenly demands to include a passage that ambitiously promises a crusade to cure cancer within 10 years while Sam (Rob Lowe) is interviewed for a Vanity Fair profile by a woman (Traylor Howard) whom once was his fiancee. A lovestruck Josh (Bradley Whitford) brashly informs a prominent women's rights leader (Mary-Louise Parker) that her budding romance with a Congressman is solely a product of political machinations. While pollster Joey Lucas (Marlee Matlin) studies the sampled responses to the Chief Executive's speech.

3.13 The Two Bartlets  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 01-30-02 Rerun 06-26-02 and 12-18-02

While the President (Martin Sheen) and his staff ponder whether to counter a verbal assault on affirmative action by a fast-rising Republican presidential candidate, Josh (Bradley Whitford) must postpone his tropical vacation with a women's rights advocate (Mary-Louise Parker) to defuse a risky powderkeg on an island that serves as the Navy's firing range. When Josh rolls up his sleeves to remove protesters who have planted themselves in harm's way on the Puerto Rican island, he makes his first call to the cell phone of an old friend who's leading the group. Meanwhile, Sam (Rob Lowe) meets with an eccentric politician (Sam Lloyd) who believes that Ft. Knox is missing a fortune in gold bullion; a defiant C.J. (Allison Janney) debates with Toby (Richard Schiff) over the merits of affirmative action; and Donna (Janel Moloney) asks Josh to intercede and relieve her of pending jury duty.

3.14 Night Five  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 02-06-02 Rerun 07-10-02

President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) consults a psychiatrist (Adam Arkin) for a troubling sleep disorder -- and gets a sobering personal assessment -- while C.J. (Allison Janney) lobbies hard to help secure the release of a White House reporter who's been taken hostage on assignment in the Congo. Elsewhere: Toby (Richard Schiff) knows he will be visited by his irate ex-wife (Kathleen York) when he writes an inflammatory speech that condemns Islam for fanaticism; Sam (Rob Lowe) asks Republican lawyer Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter) to review a proposed act that calls for payment of U.S. back dues to the United Nations in exchange for special requests; Donna (Janel Moloney) is stunned when she is offered a prestigious and well-paid new job outside the White House.

3.15 Hartsfield's Landing  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 02-27-02 Rerun 07-17-02

The President (Martin Sheen) engages both Sam (Rob Lowe) and Toby (Richard Schiff) in intricate chess matches that underscore the wily game of brinkmanship Bartlet is playing with the Chinese who threaten to turn their war games in the Taiwan Strait into the real thing if Taiwan begins test-firing their new U.S. Patriot defense missiles. Meanwhile, Josh (Bradley Whitford) is edgy about every vote out of the 42 cast in a remote New Hampshire burg that are counted immediately and always predict the winner of the day's crucial state primary. Elsewhere, a mischievous C.J. (Allison Janney) tries to upset Charlie (Dulé Hill) by not accounting for her copy of the President's top-secret daily schedule -- prompting a war of mischievous games and tricks.

3.16 Dead Irish Writers  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 03-06-02 Rerun 07-24-02 and 12-04-02

Many issues are in play during a White House party to celebrate the argumentative First Lady's (Stockard Channing) birthday as she contemplates the likely loss of her medical license the next day while the President (Martin Sheen) is visited by proper British Ambassador Marbury (Roger Rees) who argues against Bartlet's meeting with a murderous Irish terrorist. In other rooms, Sam (Rob Lowe) meets with a Senator (Robin Thomas) who is blocking funding a controversial superconductor that would cost billions; Donna (Janel Moloney) discovers that she's really Canadian -- and technically not an American; Abbey, C.J. (Allison Janney) and several of the women mischievously steal away in a closet to drink, dish and diss.

3.17 The U.S. Poet Laureate  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 03-27-02 Rerun 08-07-02

When the President (Martin Sheen) is overheard making a disparaging comment on an open-mike about the potential Republican nominee, C.J. (Allison Janney) does damage control for days after while Toby (Richard Schiff) tries to finesse the newly named poet laureate (Laura Dern) from speaking out against the United States' lack of support for a land-mines treaty. Elsewhere, Sam (Rob Lowe) recalls Republican White House legal counsel Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter) from vacation to help spin the administration's response to Bartlet's gaffe; Josh (Bradley Whitford) is both repulsed and intrigued by the fact that he has his own fan-based Web site --; the President also ponders an effort to save a failing giant computer company.

3.18 Stirred  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 04-03-02 Rerun 08-14-02

The President's staff reacts to the crash of a heavy rig bearing uranium fuel rods in a remote Idaho tunnel that could pose an environmental -- or terrorist -- crisis, while in another room, electoral strategy is stealthily mapped out that could include jettisoning Vice President Hoynes (Tim Matheson) from the next ticket. Meanwhile, the unwitting Veep ponders how to keep a favorite bill intact that would provide Internet access for the poor; earlier, Hoynes finds himself in the same meeting with Leo for Alcoholics Anonymous. In addition: Charlie (Dulé Hill) regrets getting advice from a meddling Bartlet (Martin Sheen) for filing his tax forms online; Donna's (Janel Moloney) request to Josh (Bradley Whitford) for a presidential proclamation honoring the retirement of her favorite teacher might prove more difficult than first imagined.

3.19 Documentary Special  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 04-24-02 Rerun 07-03-02

The producers of "The West Wing" present a documentary special celebrating the real players inside the White House. The one-hour special will include, among others, interviews with former White House staffers David Gergen, Dee Dee Myers, Henry Kissinger, Leon Panetta and former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The show will also feature highlights of three seasons of the Emmy Award-winning "The West Wing."

3.20 Enemies Foreign and Domestic  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 05-01-02 Rerun 08-21-02

As Sam (Rob Lowe) works out the President's (Martin Sheen) final maddening details of an important upcoming summit with the Russian president, satellite photos reveal an Iranian nuclear bomb facility built with Russian technology -- a revelation that could torpedo the leaders' meeting. Elsewhere, C.J. (Allison Janney) makes a harsh public statement about the deaths of Saudi yong girls, prompting a serious death threat from a stalker that forces Bartlet to assign her Secret Service protection. In addition, Charlie seeks to find the source of a curious encoded letter addressed to the President; Toby (Richard Schiff) considers issuing a press pass to a Russian journalist (Svetlana Efremova) who's been unfairly critical of her country's leader.

3.21 The Black Vera Wang  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 05-08-02 Rerun 08-28-02

The President (Martin Sheen) and his staff scramble to head off a predicted terrorist attack over a broad area while C.J. (Allison Janney) chafes under the protective collar provided by a handsome but capable Secret Service agent (Mark Harmon). Also, Toby (Richard Schiff) plays hardball with network executives over future political convention TV coverage.

3.22 We Killed Yamamoto  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 05-15-02 Rerun 09-04-02

The President (Martin Sheen) is torn over forfeiting the principle of diplomatic immunity for an important Middle Eastern official known to be plotting terrorism while Josh (Bradley Whitford) duels with his feminist activist/lover (Mary-Louise Parker) over a key welfare reform bill. Elsewhere: Bartlet is advised not to attend a politically sensitive fundraiser; a chastened Sam (Rob Lowe) nixes ecology-friendly legislation for the Everglades; C.J. (Allison Janney) gains new respect for her Secret Service bodyguard (Mark Harmon); Donna (Janel Moloney) is dispatched to North Dakota to represent the administration at a meeting to change the state's name.

3.23 Posse Comitatus  Credits  |  In Reality  |  Episode Page

Original Airdate 05-22-02 Rerun 09-18-02

In the season finale, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) encounters Ritchie (James Brolin) -- his Republican presidential rival -- when they attend a Broadway play while the President faces a terrorist threat after he discovers that a high-ranking Middle Eastern official has been supporting terrorism. When Josh (Bradley Whitford) supports a key welfare reform bill that his feminist activist/lover Amy (Mary-Louise Parker) opposes, it threatens their personal relationship. Elsewhere, the flirtation between C.J. (Allison Janney) and her Secret Service bodyguard (Mark Harmon) is limited by the boundaries of their professional relationship and the search continues for a replacement for Mrs. Landingham.

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