The senior members of the White House staff are summoned to the office early in the morning to handle difficult situations: Hundreds of Cubans are on their way across the Atlantic Ocean in search of freedom; and klutzy President of the United States Josiah Bartlet accidentally sprained his ankle riding a bicycle into a tree. Some members of the staff experience crises of their own. Sam discovers the law student he slept with last night, Laurie, also works as a high-priced call girl. Josh's former lover and fellow campaign worker, Madeline "Mandy" Hampton, now dates and works for a senator who might vie for the office of President. Also, a rumor persists that Josh will be terminated because of a remark he made on a TV show. The comment offends the Christian fundamentalists and upsets Reverend Al Caldwell, an influential religious leader and necessary Presidential ally.
Rollins goes under cover at a rehab center to find information about a dead teenage girl.
As Thanksgiving arrives, Bartlet decides the fate of a container ship full of illegal Chinese immigrants who claim to be Christians seeking asylum from religious persecution.
Jack and the team search for Joe Gibson (Jerry O'Connell - "Kangaroo Jack," "Mission to Mars"), who disappeared after a chase and gunfight with unidentified figures. But as they learn more about Joe, who worked as a public defender, the squad members become convinced that he is a paranoid schizophrenic and poses a danger to himself and others. Jack's training in psychology becomes crucial as they track him down through a variety of associates, many of whom are worried about Joe's sanity. And when a little girl is reportedly abducted by the delusional Joe, the investigation becomes even more intricate and urgent.
A large box with a body stuffed inside leads Brenda in search of suspects, and she winds up with several: a scripture-thumping stepfather, a disgruntled ex-girlfriend, a buddy who was constantly being hit up for money and a landlord who simply hated the victim's guts. Gabriel is studying for the detective exam, so Brenda uses the case as a teaching tool. Meanwhile, Brenda's niece, Charlie (recurring guest star Sosie Bacon), pulls a stunt so severe that Brenda and Fritz are ready to put her on a plane home immediately.
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