The West Wing: Season 3 (2001 - 2002)

SEASON:

Season 3
The West Wing

Critics Consensus

The West Wing still fires off enthralling repartee as if the series' wit was mandated by executive order, but this underwhelming third season finds the series' idealism curdling into a smug self-satisfaction that can't seem to stop wondering why real politics can't be as simple as they are in the fantasy world Aaron Sorkin has crafted.

64%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 11

100%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 78
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Episodes

1
Air date: Oct 3, 2001
2
Air date: Oct 10, 2001
3
Air date: Oct 17, 2001
4
Air date: Oct 24, 2001
5
Air date: Oct 31, 2001
6
Air date: Nov 7, 2001
7
Air date: Nov 14, 2001
8
Air date: Nov 21, 2001
9
Air date: Nov 28, 2001
10
Air date: Dec 12, 2001
Show More Episodes

The West Wing: Season 3 Photos

Tv Season Info

Series 3 begins with President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) announcing that he intends to run for re-election. Parallel storylines include Bartlet being accused of committing electoral fraud by concealing his MS, a death threat against C.J. and terrorist attacks against the US.

Cast

Martin Sheen
as President Josiah `Jed' Bartlet
Rob Lowe
as Sam Seaborn
John Spencer
as Leo McGarry
Richard Schiff
as Toby Ziegler
Allison Janney
as C.J. Cregg
Dulé Hill
as Charlie Young
Janel Moloney
as Donna Moss
Stockard Channing
as First Lady Abigail Bartlet
Anna Deavere Smith
as Nancy McNally
Tim Matheson
as Vice President John Hoynes
Ron Silver
as Bruno Gianelli
Mark Harmon
as Simon Donovan
John Amos
as Fitzwallace
Oliver Platt
as Oliver Babish
Emily Procter
as Ainsley Hayes
Connie Britton
as Connie Tate
Randolph Brooks
as Reporter No. 5
Evan Handler
as Doug Wegland
Marlee Matlin
as Joey Lucas
Joanna Gleason
as Jordon Kendall
Adam Arkin
as Dr. Stanley Keyworth
Peter Scolari
as Jake Kimball
Thomas Kopache
as Civilian No. 1
Dennis Cockrum
as Officer No. 2
Rick Cramer
as Officer
Michael O'Neill
as Butterfield
Mary Mara
as Sherri Wexler
James Hong
as Chinese Ambassador
Laura Dern
as Tabatha Fortis
Lily Tomlin
as Deborah Fiderer
Sam Lloyd
as Robert Engler
Kathleen York
as Rep. Andrea Wyatt
Roger Rees
as Lord John Marbury
Nicholas Pryor
as Clem Rollins
Kevin Tighe
as Jack Buckland
Traylor Howard
as Lisa Sherborne
Alanna Ubach
as Celia Watson
Hector Elizondo
as Dr. Millgate
Mioguel Sandoval
as Victor Campos
James Keane
as Registrar
James Brolin
as Governor Ritchie
Kathryn Joosten
as Mrs. Landingham
Svetlana Efremova
as Svetlana Koss
Carmen Argenziano
as Leonard Wallace
Ian McShane
as Nickolai
Michael O'Keefe
as Will Sawyer
Hal Holbrook
as Albie Duncan
Patrick Breen
as Kevin Kahn
Dinah Lenney
as Mary Klein
Robin Thomas
as Senator Enlow
Clark Gregg
as Agent Mike Casper
Nancy Cassario
as Janet Price
Jerry Lambert
as Chuck Kane
Tom Porter
as Officer
Gerald McRaney
as General Adamley
Bob Glouberman
as Terry Beckwith
James Handy
as Chairman
Ted Garcia
as Newscaster
Basil Wallace
as McKonnen Loboko
Steven Gilborn
as Rep.Dearborn
James Eckhouse
as Bud Wachtel
Bill Cobbs
as Mr. Tatum
Matthew Yang King
as Chinese Staffer
James Hornbeck
as Bedrosian
Doug Ballard
as Gov. Pratt
Todd Waring
as Rep. Rathburn
Mark D. Hutter
as Rep. Erickson
Dave Hager
as Faragut
Damien Leake
as Dr. Tatum
Thom Barry
as Mark Richardson
Diana Morgan
as Reporter
Edmund L. Shaff
as Bill Horton
David St. James
as Rep. Gibson
Ralph Mayering Jr.
as Civilian No. 2
Greta Sesheta
as Congresswoman
Marcy Goldman
as Reporter
Steve Tom
as General
Christopher Michael
as Floor Manager
Dan Sachoff
as Reporter
David Katz
as Assistant
Bruce Kirby
as Barney Lang
Lionel D. Carson
as Security Guard
Tim Haldeman
as Barnett
Sid Conrad
as Ed Ramsay
Kate Palmer
as Assistant
Bill Erwin
as Ronald Kruickshank
William J. Jones
as Secret Service Agent
Jack Choy
as Civilian
Ivan Allen
as Newscaster
Jill Remez
as Reporter No. 4
Lois Foraker
as Bartender
Earl Boen
as Paulson
Kirk Kinder
as One-Star General
Dayna Devon
as Air Force One Reporter
J.P. Stevenson
as Air Force One Reporter
Jacqueline Torres
as Air Force One Reporter
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The West Wing Season 3

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (7)

Are these folks just a wee bit over-impressed with themselves or what? Has Sorkin perhaps just slightly overestimated the importance of what he has to say?

Jun 27, 2018 | Full Review…

It made up for its cheap sentiments and preachiness with a few very strong episodes.

Jun 27, 2018 | Full Review…

It was intelligent, acutely relevant and well acted, yet populated as always mostly by characters on speedspeak with one glib, witty voice, as if Sorkin were a ventriloquist.

Jun 27, 2018 | Full Review…

I've grown increasingly underwhelmed by the profoundly disappointing third season of The West Wing... I tried to accentuate the positive for as long as I could, but eventually, the show's chronic shortcomings just wore me down.

Jun 27, 2018 | Full Review…

This remains the smartest, snappiest, most ambitious entertainment around, and features the most evenly matched ensemble on TV.

Jul 6, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Now that three seasons of the show have passed, I completely understand why people are so obsessed with Jed Bartlet... He's infectious, is why.

Jun 27, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

What was once impassioned and earnest became patronising and self-righteous, and what had seemed effortless began to overreach.

Jun 27, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Earnest in its tone, admirable in its charitable intent and God-awful in its condescending pedantry - if irony had been dead, it has by now clawed itself out of its coffin and is roaming the moonlit countryside looking for revenge.

Jun 27, 2018 | Full Review…

By far one of the most exciting political seasons of television that also featured the widest leading cast the show would ever have.

Sep 25, 2018 | Full Review…

By the middle of Season 3, it was clear that Sorkin was trying to give Rob Lowe more to do-to have an actor of his caliber playing a speechwriter was limiting to be sure, and some storylines worked better than others.

Sep 25, 2018 | Full Review…

The West Wing always raised the bar when it came to end-of-season finales and the closer for the third season was an absolute classic.

Sep 25, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The West Wing: Season 3

  • Oct 08, 2019
    3rd season is the darkest season... like literally, I think it was an intentional choice? to have many of the episodes set at nighttime. This season followed 9/11 and so it must have been a difficult to write what is in essence a really optimistic and idealistic show. The final episodes of Season 3 has less of a major storyline compared to other seasons. Season 1 and 2 both end the seasons with Bartlett in a major crisis. Season 3's endings focus on CJ and Bartlett with equal? weight, so the impact is a little divided and the last few episodes seem a little too heavyhanded and kind of out of nowhere. Still, S3 is no less enjoyable than 1 or 2 and all the characters are well written, consistant and 3 dimensional. My favorite episode is Bartlet for America... its shows like this that really makes me miss the 90s.
  • Aug 30, 2019
    It was a great show. Entertainment is what TV does best. Did RT really think they'd try to portray a real working West Wing.
  • Mar 24, 2017
    The first season was not awful. In fact, it was still very good in establishing our main characters and the most scandalous problems that the executive branch faces. Where it faltered is a rush of romantic problems for, well, every character. Josh and his ex who also worked in the West Wing, Toby and his ex wife, CJ and a Wall Street Journal reporter, Leo and his wife, Sam and a sex worker AND Leo's daughter, President Bartlet and Abby, and Charlie and Bartlet's youngest daughter. Good grief. It was not entirely overwhelming, but in retrospect, it was quite typical of late nineties programming to be sure every character had some romantic interest. The second season slowly filtered out that crap, and at this third season, we are treated to a much deeper focus of our main characters. We know what everyone has to face, and the problems do not go away, no matter how many other large-scale issues arise or how much effort they make in brushing away the problems. Sound familiar? The fine details are even more enthralling, culminating in one of the most intense season finales I have seen in years. The West Wing has greatly distinguished itself from other dramas by not only foregoing the romantic and gossipy garbage that sinks other shows, but also sets up an environment where law comes first. No sudden fits of physical rage, no death threats, no permanent goodbyes. Rhetoric will prevail.
  • Jun 17, 2014
    The best of the first three series. Much less smugness and preachiness, more character-based and incident-based stories. Unfortunately, however, Toby was still there...
  • Feb 19, 2014
    Outstanding musical writing, compelling characters and storytelling--what else has topped this on network television?

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