From his office in the White House, President Josiah Bartlet (series star Martin Sheen) leads the most powerful nation on earth. Directly descended from one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, New Hampshire Democrat Bartlet exudes a country-lawyer charisma that complements his brilliance, his deep conviction and his devotion to what he believes is right for the country. A brilliant academician in her own right, first lady Dr. Abigail "Abbey" Bartlet (series star Stockard Channing) staunchly supports her husband but does not hesitate to keep him in line when necessary.As always, professorial Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (series star John Spencer) resolutely serves as Bartlet's political and emotional right hand, while Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (series star Bradley Whitford) keeps his highly regarded political mind in overdrive. Donna Moss (series star Janel Moloney), Josh's capable assistant, more than holds her own in their friendly verbal sparring. Despite the constant media scrutiny in the briefing room, Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (series star Allison Janney) remains cool and competent. Stoic Toby Ziegler (series star Richard Schiff), the rumpled and sleepless communications director, stays focused, while brash new Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper (series star Mary McCormack) and Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the Vice President Will Bailey (series star Joshua Malina) continually rise to the occasion. Also proving himself more and more valuable each day is the President's brilliant young personal assistant, Charlie (series star Dule Hill .In the aftermath of the Gaza Strip attack that seriously wounded Donna and killed Admiral Fitzwallace and two American congressmen, Bartlet faces strong opposition to his peace plans. Defying the wishes of the majority of Congress--including some of the White House's Democratic allies--the American people and the Vice President, Bartlet persists in the hope that inviting Palestinian and Israeli leaders to participate in peace talks will forestall the necessity of a U.S. military retaliation. Even Leo feels that the President should order an attack to make a decisive statement on terrorism. Bartlet's only hope is that a risky secret negotiation will deliver the leader responsible for the bombings into U.S. custody. Meanwhile, Josh hovers worriedly by Donna's bed in a German military hospital. As doctors try to stabilize Donna's deteriorating condition, no one knows whether or not she will suffer brain damage if she survives.