Last Sunday, Madam Secretary premiered on CBS, just after 60 Minutes. The hour-long drama, which stars Tea Leoni, is (so far) the story of Elizabeth “Bess” McCord, a former spy turned college professor, a happily married mother of two teenagers, who gets called up by POTUS—a former intelligence head himself—when the Secretary of State is tragically killed in a freak airplane crash. Would she take the job?
Of course she would.
The pilot draws on our by now well-established political TV vocabulary to pack a lot into its narrative: there is some intrigue, some comedy, some nice moments of marital harmony, and of course the need to perform some political gymnastics in order to do good in the world. There's also a bit of Thomas Aquinas from Bess's husband Henry (Tim Daly), an apparently appreciative religion professor at Georgetown (stay tuned for commentary, if this becomes significant), and a cast of minor characters that recall the fun quirk of the minor characters who pop up in another political TV show: West Wing. Also, it's nice to see Leoni, aged 48, in a leading role. Actually, Madam Secretary recalled West Wing to me in several respects, not just for the marriage and the characters, but for the way it characterizes politics in DC. Over at The AV Club, Sonya Saraiya gave the pilot a B+, saying that the show is solid and has the seeds of being something great, but “its idealism and patriotism both sound a little too uncomplicated for the modern viewer choosing among True Detective, Game Of Thrones, and Homeland on a Sunday night.” So I'm gonna go out on a limb here: I'm totally okay with that. For a reason I hope is good. Don't get me wrong: I love ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
A Tale of Two Political Dramas
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.