The West Wing

Season 3 Episode 18

Enemies Foreign and Domestic

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM May 01, 2002 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
113 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

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.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • What people will do.

    The cold open help set the tone for what was a more somber episode than the last two had been. The news of the 17 middle school girls that burned to death because of their improper attire was horrifying to hear. I was amazed CJ was able to keep her rage in check as much as she did, and agreed with every word she said in the press briefing.

    CJ: "Seventeen schoolgirls were forced to burn alive because they weren't wearing the proper clothing. Am I outraged? No, Steve. No, Chris. No, Mark. Neither is Saudi Arabia, out partners in peace."

    As if she wasn't having a bad enough day from having to deal with that situation, some psycho sends a death threat. For some reason I was like CJ in thinking it was much ado about nothing. So when Butterfield showed her the pictures they received in the latest email, it hit me hard as well. The idea of someone wanting to kill you and having been close enough to do it on several occasions is pretty unsettling. Despite not being a fan of Mark Harmon, he did okay as Agent Simon Donovan in his brief introduction at the end of the episode. I'll wait and see how he works out before passing final judgment, but with Sorkin's dialogue he seems to be doing okay.

    The real praise for a guest star though has to go to Ian McShane as Nikolai Ivanovich, the Russian logistics negotiator. He's one of my top three favorite actors, and he didn't disappoint this time around. I loved his scenes with Sam going over the details for Bartlet's trip to Helsinki, just as McShane did in Deadwood he handled drama and comedy with equal aplomb, which is almost a necessity if you're going to be TWW. Funniest moment was when he told Sam that they wanted Bartlet to wear a coat.

    Nicholai: "While in comparison our leader looks like, I don't even know what word is."

    Sam: "Frumpy?"

    Nicholai: "I don't know what 'frumpy' is, but onomatopoeticly, sounds right."

    Sam: "It's hard not to like a guy who doesn't know frumpy but knows onomatopoeia."

    I liked how Nicholai's true motives for being there rolled into the issue with the Russians building Iran a Heavy Water Reactor, which was pretty frightening news. The Russian president reaching out like that to try to bring an end to nuclear proliferation was admirable and gave some hope to the future. Kudos to Josh for realizing it was a rouge element behind the Reactor and to Sam for spotting the message from the President, though I guess it takes more than that to impress Fitz though.

    Admiral Fitzwallace: "Hang on. You're telling me that foreign policy of this magnitude is conducted through Sam? And I'm still alive!"

    Sam: "We're pretty impressed ourselves, Mr. Chairman."

    Charlie's plot trying to figure out who had written a letter to Bartlet(or not to him as it turned out) was interesting, and ended with a pretty heartwarming moment. I also liked Toby's scenes with the Russian reporter; here I was thinking only American and British reporters preferred gossip over real news.

    Some good laughs, but more focused on the drama, which is to be expected as the season winds down.moreless
  • A great episode

    This was amazing episode. I loved the story lines.

    First the CJ and the death threat - it was something new and really exciting and not only about politics but about something else and maybe they have missed that kind of excitement for a while.

    Then the man Charlie got into White House and the photo shot and the way how the man was so happy and pleased with Charlie. It was well written storyline.

    But the best storyline was about foreign politics and the new Russian president and the way he tried to deal with the situation as a nuclear reactor comes in play. And Sam doing foreign politics.. and how that general responded.. it was fine momentmoreless
  • CJ gets a death threat.

    The begining of this episode made me very happy that I live in a country that does not allow someone to die simply because they are not dressed properly. It was sad to hear that 14 girls burned alive because no one was allowed to save them because they were not dressed the how the government wanted them to. I was happy that the Presient made CJ get secert service protection because she recieved death threats in her email. It was funny to Sam in nogatations with a Russian offiacals for the President trip to Russia and was changing the details of the trip.moreless
  • The beginning of the end... of Season Three.

    The last episodes of the season are always the best. They get so dramatic and exciting. I love them!

    *CJ and Saudi Arabia... CJ is awesome and that was wayyy cool, her little rant. And then when Donna sees the email, and calls Josh in and she has a DEATH THREAT??? Who would want to kill CJ? But I love how she's telling the President, it would make me look weak, and he's all, your apart of my family. But then they see the pictures... So awesome! And Simon at the end. I love that guy, but watching it for a second time... it make sme sad.

    *The thing with the computer chips, you know, it wasn't exciting or dramatic but, i don't know. I love the scene at the end with the business guy, cause for once there's a business man that actually cares! *Charlie's letter was cool, it kept you wondering.

    *The Helsinki thing was good. I love the Russian guys Sam was meeting with and the quote they gave him. That was really great. Good episode, I wouldn't have rated it so high, because it didn't seem like a whole lot happened, except that I LOVED the CJ thing.moreless
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Sam Seaborn (Episodes 1-84)

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

John Spencer

John Spencer

Leo McGarry

Damien Leake

Damien Leake

Ted Tatum

Guest Star

Valarie Pettiford

Valarie Pettiford


Guest Star

George Tasudis

George Tasudis

George Kowzlowski

Guest Star

Kris Murphy

Kris Murphy

Katie Witt

Recurring Role

Charles Noland

Charles Noland


Recurring Role

Kim Webster

Kim Webster


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Toby Zeigler is 44 years old.

    • When Fitzwallace enters the room to show Bartlet photos of the reactor being built in Busher. He says that the photos were taken by SR71.

      SR71 Blackbird was long-range reconnaissance aircraft in use by U.S. from 1968 and retired from active duty in 1998. As this episode was aired in 2002 they wouldn't have used this aircraft instead they would have used F-117A, Lockheed U-2 or some sort of UAV or reconnaissance satellite.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Agent Donovan: This guy isn't small time, Miss Cregg. You're being hunted. By the way, I can't guarantee anything except to say that if you're dead, chances are, I'm dead too.

    • C.J.: How does this work?
      Simon: What is it you'd like to know?
      C.J.: Well, first of all, from how far away can you do this?
      Simon: I can respect a certain perimeter of privacy.
      C.J.: What does that mean?
      Simon: I don't need to see you naked or anything. (pauses) Though, 'better safe then sorry' is a bit of a motto for us at the Treasury.

    • Josh: There's something... really good on television.
      Leo: What?
      Josh: That's why he can't go, there's something really good on television and the President doesn't know how to work a VCR. Well, it's not that he doesn't know how to work it, they know he's got a staff and wouldn't buy it. It's... It's that he doesn't trust technology.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Music Featured In This Episode:- "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" By The Marx Brothers

    • Awards and Nominations:
      Dulé Hill was nominated in 2002 for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in this episode and in "Hartsfield's Landing"

    • Guest Star Mark Harmon is the latest in a line of former Chicago Hope cast members to make a guest apperance on The West Wing. He is preceded by Adam Arkin ("Noel"), Roma Maffia ("Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail"), Rocky Carroll ("The Drop In"), Ron Silver ("Manchester"), and Hector Elizondo ("Dead Irish Writers"). The West Wing executive producer Thomas Schlamme directed a number of episodes of Chicago Hope.


    • Sam: 20 years in the KGB, an election that will make Tammany Hall look like The League of Women Voters... I'm not sure that qualifies as a... C.J.?

      The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization founded by Carrie Chapman Catt that fights for women's issues and sponsored several Presidential debates.

    • Sam: 20 years in the KGB, an election that will make Tammany Hall look like the League of Woman Voters... I'm not sure that qualifies as a... C.J.?

      Tammany Hall was the name given to the Democratic political machine that ran New York City politics by controlling mayoral elections. Their "reign" lasted from the 1850s to the 1930s.

    • Sam: 20 years in the KGB, an election that will make Tammany Hall look like the League of Woman Voters... I'm not sure that qualifies as a... C.J.?

      The KGB, or Committee for State Security, is often considered the Soviet Union's equivalent of the American CIA. After the Soviet Union dissolved the successor organization came to be known in most areas of the former Soviet Union as the FSB.

    • C.J. to Toby: I'll give you $500 if you perform "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" at this year's Gridiron.

      "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" is a Groucho Marx song that was written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, for the movie At the Circus.

    • C.J.: Hooray for Captain Spalding...

      Captain Spaulding is a character created by actor Groucho Marx.

    • C.J.: Not Freedonia? We're going to leave Freedonia out there?

      Freedonia is a fictional country in Europe that was seen in a 1933 Marx Brothers movie called Duck Soup. Later there is another episode of The West Wing in which Matthew Santos, played by Jimmy Smits, points out that Freedonia does not exist.