The third season of The West Wing aired in the United States from October 3, 2001 to May 22, 2002 and consisted of 22 episodes. It aired in the United States on NBC, a terrestrial television network.
Bartlet's decision about Haiti falls under scrutiny; C.J. makes a horrible blunder in a press conference and is hounded about the president's health by reporters; the staff disagrees about whether Bartlet should apologize for not revealing his medical condition; Abbey is angry that Jed has decided to run for reelection.
The senior staff clash with the consultants who are to work on Bartlet's reelection campaign; C.J. is concerned that the press senses the Bartlets' marriage could be in trouble; Josh asks Leo to let him use his connection to postpone the FDA's drug announcement; the situation on Haiti comes to a head.
The Special Prosecutor sets his probe in motion; Sam and Bruno are concerned about the loyalty of a powerful labor leader; Toby and Josh are preoccupied with a congressional battle over the estate tax; Ainsley fixes up Donna with a Republican.
When Bartlet vetoes the "death tax", the staff must scramble to keep the veto from being overridden; Josh tries to smooth talk a promising governor who is considering running against the President; Charlie is urged to ask for immunity in his upcoming testimony.
The President has a showdown; Donna lies when she appears before the Congressional committee investigating the President; Leo debates with an old friend about the US future stance regarding the war crimes tribunal; Sam tries to find the logic in a Congressman's proposed legislation to eliminate the penny.
When an American spy submarine suddenly goes silent in hostile North Korea, Bartlet must decide whether to inform the enemy or attempt a secret rescue operation; Abbey learns her past malpractice suits might compromise Bartlet's criminal investigation; Toby meets with a representative from an appropriations committee who wants to funnel money away from Congress's funding of avant-garde artists.
Disgruntled that Abbey has decided that the Bartlet's will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday at Camp David instead of New Hampshire, Bartlet takes out his pique by boring everyone within earshot over his plans to cook Thanksgiving dinner, going so far as to call "The Butterball Hotline" to ask questions about cooking the stuffing. Josh works to expedite the return of a 13 year old Georgia boy whose parents sent him to Italy after he murdered his teacher. When Italy refuses to extradite the boy to a death penalty state, Josh makes a deal with the district attorney prosecuting the case, offering him unlimited financial backing for his reelection campaign in exchange for his not seeking the death penalty. Sam struggles with the revised OMB poverty level formula which will instantly create four million new poor people until Bruno finds a way to spin it to the administration's advantage. On Thanksgiving Eve, C.J. tries to find someone, anyone, from Interior to meet with two Stockbridge-Mu
C.J. is outraged about an arms sale to secure an airbase lease with a Middle-Eastern country which perpetuates atrocities against its women; the staff anxiously awaits test results to determine the possibility of an outbreak of mad-cow disease; Josh debates a woman's group lobbyist over a treaty's wording concerning prostitution; Toby meets with veterans upset about a Pearl Harbor anniversary exhibition at the Smithsonian; Sam explores the idea of a national seat belt law after Bartlet is sued by a woman whose husband died in an automobile accident.
The staff and the F.B.I. work to combat a threat to firebomb black churches in Tennessee on Christmas Eve; accompanied by Jordan, Leo testifies before the House committee probing Bartlet's failure to disclose his M.S. during the presidential campaign; Sam and Josh try unsuccessfully to get Leo out of the line of fire of a Congressman on the committee intent on destroying Leo to advance his own political career; surprisingly, Leo receives a last minute reprieve at the hands of the Majority Counsel and the committee Chair.
Majority Counsel Clifford Calley makes Leo an offer regarding the MS affair he wants very much to refuse; Josh looks for any excuse to see Amy Gardner; a fired White House photographer has written a tell-all book about the Administration that Sam wants to refute point by point; Charlie gives the President a present that touches him and troubles everyone else.
On State of the Union night, Sam is being trailed by a magazine reporter to whom he was once engaged; the President' Congressional censure weighs heavily on staffers' minds as they debate whether to include an anti-cancer initiative in the President's address; Josh can't get Amy Gardner to talk to him.
On the day of the Democratic Caucus, Bartlet, Toby and C.J. go to Iowa to kick off the presidential race, and disagree over Bartlet's making a statement about affirmative action. Back in Washington, Leo forces Josh to intercede with an old friend leading a protest against Navy arms testing at Vieques, Puerto Rico. Sam meets with Bob Engler again, who is now acting on behalf of two congressmen who want an inventory of Fort Knox because they believe that most of the gold bullion has been replaced with alien bodies recovered from Area 51 in Roswell, New Mexico. After Josh rebuffs her request, Donna seeks Sam's help in getting out of jury duty. Josh brings a little bit of Tahiti to his relationship with Amy Gardner.
Stanley Keyworth revisits the White House to uncover the reason Bartlet hasn't been able to sleep since the night of the Iowa caucus; C.J. enlists Leo's help in freeing a White House reporter kidnapped while on assignment in the Congo; Toby and Andy joust over an upcoming presidential speech condemning Islamic fanaticism by name; Donna is offered a lucrative dot.com job by an old friend; Sam sparks an exchange on radical versus lipstick feminism when he comments on Ainsley's evening attire immediately after asking her to review language in Bartlet's U.N. address.
On the day before the New Hampshire primary, Josh drafts Donna as his frontwoman to ensure that Bartlet wins the nation's first primary in the small town of Hartsfield's Landing; C.J. and Charlie play an ever-escalating game of practical jokes; Jed plays simultaneous chess games with Sam and Toby while he plays delicate diplomatic and military games with the Chinese government over Taiwan.
Concern arises over the medical board's decision on Abbey's actions in treating Jed's M.S.; Sam tries to get a Senator he doesn't like to pass a bill for a super-conducter that he doesn't even understand; Amy tries to influence Josh; Lord Marbury explains to Toby why a member of the IRA cannot be invited to the White House; Donna receives shocking news when the Secret Service won't give her clearance to attend Abbey's birthday party.
Toby looks forward to meeting the new U.S. Poet Laureate; Jed fires the first salvo of his reelection campaign when he calls his likely opponent less than brilliant, and the national press just can't get enough of it; Ainsley gets promoted; Josh overreacts to posts on the message board of a website devoted to "all things Josh".
Hoynes and Bartlet each make an unexpected announcement about Hoynes' place on the ticket; fears of a terrorist attack arise when a truck carrying depleted uranium-fuel rods is involved in a head-on collision in an Idaho tunnel; Donna seeks a Presidential Proclamation to honor her high-school teacher/mentor who's retiring; and Bartlet's insistence on helping Charlie with his tax return sparks a discussion on the true nature of a tax rebate.
The revelation that a Russian company may be building a heavy water reactor in Iran puts Jed in a difficult position as he prepares to meet with the new Russian president; Jed orders the Secret Service to protect C.J. when she receives death threats after making a comment at a press conference about the deaths of Saudi girls; Leo wants to find a way to help a major campaign contributor whose company is faced with a massive product recall; Charlie ponders the mystery of a strangely out of context letter written to the President.
Bartlet and the staff are on high alert when they receive reports of an impending attack on a military installation; Josh is furious when he discovers that a gift he passed on to Donna, who in turn passed in on to an unpaid intern, ends up for sale on eBay; C.J. takes her niece shopping for a prom dress while the threats on her life continue, and her stalker manages to get close to her despite the protection of the Secret Service.
While Jed, Leo and Fitzwallace grapple with terrorism and moral absolutes, Josh and Amy grapple with each other over a welfare-reform bill; Donna represents the White House at a North Dakota state-party caucus whose goal is to remove the word "North" from the state's name; Toby doesn't want Jed to attend a New York fund-raiser because Ritchie will be there; Charlie is assigned the responsibility of finding Jed a new secretary; C.J. discovers that Simon Donovan is a very straight shooter
Bartlet continues to struggle over the wisdom of assassinating the terrorist Qumari defense minister; after Ritchie declines to meet Bartlet, Sam and Toby play a dirty trick; as the search for Mrs. Landingham's replacement continues, Charlie finds the perfect candidate, who makes less than a stellar first impression on Bartlet; Josh's determination to pass a welfare bill costs Amy; as C.J.'s stalker is finally captured, the night ends in tragedy.