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(Part 1)

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

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President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) wastes no time making his intentions clear ("Yeah. And I'm gonna win.") as the third season begins. Not surprisingly, that's the first question at the press conference that follows his MS disclosure. But everyone knows that his predicament will make the reelection campaign exceedingly difficult. Adding to Bartlet's problems is Abbey's reaction to his decision, not to mention Haiti's obstreperous dictator, who's giving National Security Advisor Nancy McNally (Anna Deavere Smith) fits. Meanwhile, the White House press corps is making life particularly miserable for C.J. (Allison Janney).
From NBC:
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.


Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Stockard Channing as Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D. First Lady
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Stars    
Oliver Platt as Oliver Babish White House Counsel
Ron Silver as Bruno Gianelli Campaign Strategist
Marlee Matlin as
Joey (Josephine) Lucas Pollster
Guest Starring    
Anna Deavere Smith as Dr. Nancy McNally National Security Advisor
Evan Handler as Doug Wegland (last name)
Campaign Strategist
Connie Britton as Connie Tate (last name)
Campaign Strategist
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Renée Estevez as Nancy Aide
Bill O'Brien as Kenny Thurman Sign Language Interpreter
Victor McCay as Peter previously "Jake"
Jim Beaver as Carl Reporter
Earl Boen as Paulson Reporter
Glenn Morshower as Mike Chysler  
Dennis Cockrum as Military Officer  
Gregalan Williams as Robbie Mosley Military Officer
Kim Webster as Ginger Assistant to Communications Director
Peter James Smith as Ed Congressional Liaison
William Duffy as Larry Congressional Liaison
Ivan Allen as Newscaster Roger Salier
Mindy Seeger as Reporter Chris  
Charles Noland as Reporter Steve  
Kris Murphy as Reporter Katie  
Doris McMillon as Reporter Sandy Newscaster
Dayna Devon as A.F.1. Reporter #1  
J.P. Stevenson as A.F.1. Reporter #2 Jonathan
Jacqueline Torres as A.F.1. Reporter #3 Sondra
Lois Foraker as Bartender Lois
Jill Remez as Reporter #4  
Randolph Brooks as Reporter #5 Arthur Leeds
Kirk Kinder as One Star General  
John Emmanuel as Agent  
Mark Henderson as Driver  

Information Links



Shine Awards

Series Storyline Nomination with Part 2

Media Quotes

In a converted apartment house on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, writers for "The West Wing" are busy hatching the third-season opener, where President Jeb [Jed] Bartlet announces from the steps of the New Hampshire statehouse that he is seeking a second term.

They need a subplot; under consideration is the approval of the abortion pill RU-486, which most of them know next to nothing about. So they have summoned on a conference call President Clinton's former top economic adviser, Gene Sperling, who is telling them everything he knows about the morning-after pill--not to mention living the fantasy of political operatives all over Washington.

"Washington Casts an Eye on Hollywood"
by Faye Fiore
July 15, 2001
Los Angeles Times

"They've got to convince the public that MS isn't fatal, and that the president is not going to have an attack in the situation room and bomb Heidelberg during Oktoberfest or something. They're all still a little shellshocked. The president whom they loved and trusted so much has surprised them with something they didn't expect. They're not 100 percent on board with him yet. It's put some dents in the bumper of this guy." - Aaron Sorkin

"Sorkin's drug subplot ending"
by Ed Bark
July 22, 2001
Dallas Morning News

Aaron Sorkin said he's glad the halo over Bartlet has been tarnished.

"I love that it put some dents in the bumper of this guy," he said. "I think Martin really likes it too."

"Sorkin's glad to be back and working on 'West Wing'"
by Rob Owen
July 23, 2001
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"In coming back and writing the season opener, I found that a lot of what I feel about the chaos of the time [in his own life] is in there. You know, there's an invasion of privacy that happens that is pretty staggering when it happens to you.

"I'm trying to remember who said it, but they were talking about jealousy, and they said it's like seasickness: For the person it's happening to, they want to kill themselves. For everybody else, it's hysterical. That's what this was like, too. I know, it's Orson Wells who said it.

"So there's a little of that in the season opener. Everyone, including the press to a certain extent, feels a sense of betrayal and is reacting in a certain way. The press in Bartlet's world - which by and large has been very supportive and sympathetic because he's their kind of guy and they like him and a lot of them feel like they're responsible for getting him elected - have all of sudden come down on him like a brick bank. And so he's feeling that pressure,"

"Sorkin faces up to a sorry spring"
by David Zurawik
July 23, 2001
Baltimore Sun

"They're all a little shell-shocked," Sorkin explained. "They're doing their jobs and they're trying to do them well. But this guy, who they love and trusted so much and worked so hard for, has surprised them with something that they didn't expect. And they're not 100 percent on board." - Aaron Sorkin

"'West Wing's' Sorkin gives state-of-detox address"
by Allan Johnson
July 23, 2001
Chicago Tribune

We are working on episode one and two now simultaneously. - Stockard Channing

"West Wing's First Lady"
July 24, 2001
ET Online

"It's three months later, and they're now in full re-election mode, ..." "They've gone to New Hampshire to prepare for a big campaign announcement. They're in trouble because they hid the president's multiple sclerosis, Abbey (Stockard Channing, who becomes a regular this season as the president's wife, Abigail Bartlet) is in trouble with the American Medical Association for what she knew, and they're in trouble in the polls. But the numbers show they're in the game." - Aaron Sorkin

""West Wing"'s Sorkin has had a lot to answer for"
by Gail Pennington
July 26, 2001
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Sorkin has already written to two-part season opener in which Press Secretary to C.J. Cregg makes a mistake and pays a heavy price with the press, and Bartlet, who has lied about having multiple sclerosis and betrayed the trust of the people who work for him, suffers the consequences. Sorkin is clearly exploring the issues that breach of trust and public exposure of one of the deepest and most private secrets: "Something has shaken their world. There is fear in their world now."

As there is now in his world?

"If he will literally be able to connect the dots to what has happened. But..." he says, before his voice trails off.

"State of Disunion"
by Mary Murphy
August 11, 2001
TV Guide (American edition)

Word is the show's wranglers have been talking with Democratic political consultant Carter Eskew about using his ranch in Virginia.

Aaron Sorkin and his writing staff want to turn it into the "summer White House" of President Josiah Bartlet -- though, on a coming episode titled "Manchester," the ranch would be in Bartlet's home state of New Hampshire.

"Mariah's Feeling More Secure in City"
by Rush & Molloy
August 14, 2001
New York Daily News

"It's funny because in the season opener one of the things that we talk about is Bartlet's polling numbers have obviously gone down, and the difficulty in raising them is once the press writes about the polling numbers going down, that pushes the polling numbers down, and it's difficult to climb out of that." - Aaron Sorkin

"'West Wing' writer makes no excuses"
by Scott D. Pierce
August 21, 2001
Desert News

When Purcellville mayor John Marsh's historic farmhouse was the runner-up (55 houses were considered) for shooting the at-home scenes in the episode, the producers offered him a deal he couldn't refuse in return for selecting Bluemont to shoot the television program: bring some friends and neighbors and join the 300 extras in the crowd scenes.

Martin Sheen told him, said Marsh, "You picked the right place to be mayor. This is absolutely beautiful."

"Only in Hollywood"
by Shannon Sollinger
August 28, 2001
Loudoun Times-Mirror

I asked Aaron how the shoot in VA went and he said great, except for some cows that couldn't take direction. Now, I thought he was joking because he knows I love his play, "Hidden in this Picture," where the last shot of the movie they're making is ruined by some cows that wander into the shot. It's totally hilarious and you have to read the play if you haven't. So, anyway, I was like, are you kidding? Did that really happen? And he said, yeah, they were real prima donnas too. So I said, who'd a thunk you could prophesize something like that happening? Cows ruining a shot? And he said, "yeah, except this time we WANTED them there, but they kept wandering into the shade. Teach us to use non-union cows."

Posted at
by List Owner
August 30, 2001
Message 6582

Aaron Sorkin, creator of NBC's "The West Wing," has asked that the program's season premiere, scheduled for Wednesday, be delayed in light of the attacks.

While declining official comment, network sources stressed that the request did not have to do with specific content concerns, but rather with a general sensitivity about reaction to the Emmy-winning drama, given its focus on political themes. The series is set in a fictional White House.

NBC and the other networks had already delayed their premieres one week from the original start date, which was Monday, but Sorkin would reportedly like "The West Wing," held longer. The network has limited time to decide whether the show, one of its highest-rated series, will be postponed further.

Those responsible for the program have sought to keep a low profile since the crisis, shunning interview requests. A spokeswoman for Sorkin declined comment.

"Sears, FedEx Pull TV Ads in Protest"
by Dana Calvo, Brian Lowry, Elizabeth Jensen and David Shaw
September 20, 2001
Los Angeles Times

"Yes, episodes have tended to end more somberly this year than perhaps everyone had come to expect. But I think we've done some of our best work," he [Aaron Sorkin] added, citing the two-part season premiere, "Manchester, Parts I and II," and "The Women of Qumar," in which C.J. adamantly opposes selling arms to a Persian Gulf country where women have no rights.

""West Wing" returns to nothin' but blue skies"
by Gail Pennington
January 29, 2002
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On Wednesday, he recalled one scene in which C.J. Craig [Cregg] (Allison Janney) breaks down in tears on the steps of the White House from the pressure of press hounds and ever-changing current events.

"I cried several times in the White House,"[Marlin] Fitzwater said, "when you get so exhausted, and you say, 'I can't do this.' "

"'West Wing': Fitzwater tells real story"
by Kelly Regan
January 31, 2002
Charleston Gazette

In 2001, a Bartlett descendant joined New Hampshire Magazine in a campaign to persuade the show's producers to film certain scenes in New Hampshire. Producers said that would be too expensive.

Instead, the crew went to rural Virginia to film the Bartlet family farm.

"I was very sad," said Ruth Albert, 55, Bartlett's great-great-great-great-granddaughter. "It would have been so fun to have them come to the real house. It would have brought a little more authenticity to the show."

" As 'West Wing' folds, NH will miss its fictional native son"
by Scott Brooks
January 24, 2006
Manchester Union Leader

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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