The West Wing 7 Seasons 2001

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Season 3
(465) IMDb 8.1/10
Available in HD

1. Isaac and Ishmael TV-NR CC

The premiere episode of the third season of "The West Wing" deals with some of the questions and issues facing the world in the wake of the tragedies that recently occurred in America.

Starring:
Rob Lowe, Stockard Channing
Runtime:
40 minutes
Original air date:
October 3, 2001

Available in HD on supported devices.

Isaac and Ishmael

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Season 3

Customer Reviews

The West Wing is one of the best shows ever.
Sandy
It's a perfect balance of humor, serious discussion of political/social issues, and character drama.
Scott V
This is an excellent well acted series with a well written story line.
Jesse Sandoval

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Adam Dukovich on October 2, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The West Wing's third season began in sadness. The 9/11 attacks would change much about our country (and this show), and we got an episode after them (Isaac and Ishmael) that attempted to show sensitivity and comfort during a confusing time. At that time, it wasn't generally liked, but it seems to have aged well (it was voted the 10th best episode by Bravo viewers earlier this year). After this, though, the season began in earnest, picking up where the astonishingly good "Two Cathedrals" episode left off and begins a multi-episodic story arc that has the staff at odds with each other as well as the introduction of the fabulous Ron Silver as Bruno Gianelli (he would get an Oscar nod for his performance). Truth be told, this season didn't have the same uniformity of excellence that previous ones did--the middle of the season was lukewarm, with episodes like "The Two Bartlets" and "Night Five" which rank among the lowest in the series (let's keep it in perspective, though: the worst of this season is still better than the best of the current one). However, the show pulls off one of the best episodes of the show in the finale, "Posse Comitatus", which has President Bartlet grappling with faith, law and morality in the matter of having an Osama bin Ladin-like terrorist assassinated. The sheer shock of the final act still brings chills down my spine every time I see it. Also notable: perhaps the most emotional episode in the series, "Bartlet for America" won an Emmy and its final scene between the President and Leo rivals the denouement in Kubrick's Paths of Glory for full-force emotional impact. "Gone Quiet" is a gripping story about a lost submarine, and features a wonderful, curmedgeonly performance by Hal Holbrook as Assistant Secretary of State Albie Duncan.Read more ›
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66 of 73 people found the following review helpful By J. Sheldon on October 21, 2004
Format: DVD
The third season of The West Wing follows President Bartlett and his staff as they kick off his re-election campaign. This comes in the wake of President Bartlett's admission to the public that he has M.S. and concealed it from the public during the campaign.

The season actually starts off with an episode entitled "Isaac and Ishmael," a stand alone episode written in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Many people did not like the episode (although it has gained popularity) but I really enjoyed it. After that, the season resumes where it left off in "Two Cathedrals" (the second season finale). Ron Silver comes on as Bruno Gianelli, the campaign director for Bartlett's re-election. There are some spectacular guest appearances throughout this season (besides Silver). First is Mark Harmon, as a Secret Service Agent who is assigned to protect CJ Cregg after she receives several death threats. Also, Hal Holbrooke is great as Assistant Secretary of State Ablie Duncan.

Bartlett's opponent in the presidential race is Republican Governor Richie, a man with a President George W. Bush-type persona. Besides having to overcome his lie about his medical condition, Bartlett must compete with a candidate who seems to be more like the "average American" and he must decide whether to try and take that path, or stick with being himself, an academic liberal from New England.

All in all this is a great season, although perhaps not as consistent as the first two. The last episdoe, "Posse Commitatus," is a great finale in which the President must decide whether or not to use military foces to assisinate a foreign leader. West Wing fans should own this season as it continues on the tradition of superb writing, wit, and drama.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Political Critic on September 2, 2004
Format: DVD
While I agree with many of the other reviews listed here, I must respectfully disagree with the contention that this is the last "great" season (or that Season 2 was the best, for that matter: West Wing seems to be one of that rare breed like "Upstairs, Downstairs" or "Fawlty Towers" that hit the ground running and most enjoyed the freedom of exploring its characters in its premiere season - a freedom and looseness missing in later seasons). Season 4, which will be the last season that any true West Wing fan need bother to purchase, was not as bad as other reviewers are implying. While the Season 4 episodes after "Inauguration" rapidly spiral into explosions and melodrama that only a hyperactive network executive desperate for ratings could love, the denouement of the Sorkin tenure era is a masterstroke that was a brilliant way for him to stick it to NBC and prove that great writing, above all else, makes for great shows.

As for Season 3, it continues in the fine tradition of the first two seasons with delightful characters and interesting explorations of the ethical and moral problems regularly faced in government. Sorkin once again shows his mastery of the musical rhythm of dialogue, as well as his distaste for prolonged story arcs (just as in Season 2 he rapidly tried to move past the aftermath of the shooting - except in the incredible Christmas episode - in Season 3 he rapidly tries to move beyond the impacts of the President's admission of MS). Sorkin does deal with the MS implications to an extent, again providing an amazing Christmas episode . . . this time for Leo (which extended for a third year the tradition of the featured character of the Christmas episode winning the Emmy for Supporting Actor).
Read more ›
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