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The West Wing: Season 3

486 customer reviews

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Product Description

West Wing: The Complete Third Season (DVD)

Experience the inner workings of the White House in this innovative drama series created by Emmy® winner Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night). Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now) leads a commended ensemble cast. The West Wing continues to earn its acclaim in its third Emmy® Award-winning season. Starting with a bang -- and a boom -- the first episode deals with the aftermath of a terrorist attack, and has the White House in security lockdown. The drama continues through the season's 23 episodes, as the president and his players mine the delicate political terrain amidst personal trials and triumphs.


There is no letdown in talent or skill for the third season of this blue ribbon drama. One could say these 22 episodes play as a continuation of the second season; there are no major new characters or earth-shattering plots and the Emmys rewarded the series with its third straight award for Best Drama (and unlike season 4, no one argued about the laurels). The third year starts with a stand-alone episode "Isaac & Ishmael", a special show created, shot, and broadcast 22 days after the 9/11 events. Although the final results tend to be sermonic, the fact the show was able to drop everything and commit to a new season opener is evident not only of talent, but of a disciplined work force operating at the top of their game.

President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) decision to run for reelection after the disclosure of suffering MS fuels the fire for the first half of the season. Depositions are filed against the staff, minor mistakes take on more significance, and the White House consul (Oliver Platt) has the run of the table warning of worst-case scenarios. The focus soon turns to the First Lady (Stockard Channing) as the potential "Lady Macbeth" of the scandal. Channing aces her role and turns her birthday celebration ("Dead Irish Writers") into one of the season's highlights. Assistant Donna (Janel Moloney), her boss Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), and press secretary C.J. (Alison Janney) all have charismatic romances, but the ace supporting player this year is John Spencer as the relentlessly loyal Chief of Staff Leo McGarry. Whether delivering the hard truth, accepting the proverbial bullet for the President, or being our guide to how Bartlet ran in the first place (in another wonderful flashback episode, "Bartlet for America"), all roads lead to McGarry. Acting Emmys went to Channing, Spencer, and Janney, but the strength of this show is that the entire cast has glorious moments (Toby's taking on the President's mode of operation, Sam's belief in government, or the President's peculiarities of Thanksgiving are just a few). Recurring guest stars--the likes of Ron Silver, Tim Matheson, Mary Louise Parker, and Mark Harmon--deliver some of their career-best work. Crack writing, a breathless pace, plus you learn a bit about government. What else do you want from a TV drama? --Doug Thomas

Special Features

  • All 22 episodes from 2001-02 season
  • "Reel-Life to Real-Life" documentary
  • "A Property Master's Story" featurette
  • "The Chief of Stuff" featurette
  • Political Missteps - deleted scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford
  • Directors: Thomas Schlamme, Chris Misiano
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2007
  • Run Time: 968 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (486 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002WZN9Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,542 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The West Wing: Season 3" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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.Read more ›
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67 of 74 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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28 of 30 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).
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