Madam Secretary (TV series)

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Madam Secretary
Madam Secretary (CBS) Logo.png
Created by Barbara Hall
Theme music composer Transcenders
Opening theme Theme to Madam Secretary
Ending theme Theme to Madam Secretary
Composer(s) Transcenders
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 35 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time 44 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Original network CBS
Original release September 21, 2014 (2014-09-21) – present
External links

Madam Secretary is an American political drama television series created by Barbara Hall and executive produced by Lori McCreary and Morgan Freeman. It stars Téa Leoni as Elizabeth Adams McCord, Madam Secretary explores her life as the shrewd, calculating, and extremely determined newly appointed United States Secretary of State who drives international diplomacy, battles office politics, and circumvents and ignores protocol as she negotiates worldwide issues, She is also a college professor and a brilliant former CIA analyst who left the agency for ethical and personal reasons. The President values her apolitical leanings, deep knowledge of the Middle East, flair for languages, and ability to not just think outside the box, but to not even acknowledge there is a box.The series premiered on CBS on September 21, 2014.[1][2][3] On October 27, 2014, CBS placed a full season order consisting of 22 episodes for the first season.[4]

On January 12, 2015, Madam Secretary was renewed for a second season which will consist of 22 episodes. It premiered on October 4, 2015.[5]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Téa Leoni as Dr. Elizabeth "Bess" Adams McCord, the United States Secretary of State. She spent twenty years as a CIA analyst before becoming a professor of political science at the University of Virginia. She was selected by her old boss, Conrad Dalton, who is now the President of the United States, to replace Secretary of State Vincent Marsh, who died in a plane crash. Not a natural politician, Elizabeth frequently clashes with the White House Chief of Staff Russell Jackson. In "Tamerlane", Elizabeth is in the home of Iranian Foreign Minister Zahed Javani when a coup d'état orchestrated by Secretary Marsh, CIA Director Andrew Munsey, and CIA analyst Juliet Humphrey, is attempted; during the attack, both Minister Javani and her personal bodyguard, DS Agent Fred Cole, were killed. In the aftermath, Elizabeth was left with some post-traumatic stress and has been seeing Russell Jackson's personal therapist. In "The Show Must Go On", Elizabeth is temporarily appointed Acting President of the United States after Air Force One loses communication over the Pacific Ocean and the first three people within the line of succession are unable to take office for health and unavailability reasons.
  • Tim Daly as Dr. Henry McCord; Elizabeth's husband of 25 years. His father is Patrick McCord (Tom Skerritt), a lifelong steel worker and union boss in Pittsburgh, who died in 2016; his mother died three years prior to the series. He has a large family in Pittsburgh, including his sister Maureen (Kate Burton), and numerous nieces and nephews. He attended the University of Virginia as a 17-year-old scholarship student, where he first met his future wife. He is a Georgetown University theology professor and recently reactivated operative for the National Security Agency. In "Spartan Figures", Henry is headhunted by the National War College and is hired as a professor of military ethics, with the understanding that he would also consult for the Defense Intelligence Agency. He served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps and flew F/A-18 Hornets in the Gulf War. In "Unity Node", after losing his student/asset in the Russian crisis, Henry resigned from the DIA.
  • Bebe Neuwirth as Nadine Tolliver, Elizabeth's Chief of Staff who had a six-year affair with the deceased Secretary of State, Vincent Marsh, beginning when he was a Senator. Originally extremely resentful of the new Secretary of State, Nadine and Elizabeth have since cultivated a strong working relationship.
  • Željko Ivanek as Russell Jackson, White House Chief of Staff[6] He and the newly appointed Secretary McCord frequently clash due to her not being a natural politician.
  • Erich Bergen as Blake Moran, Elizabeth's personal assistant, and the only member of her staff that she hired rather than inherited.
  • Patina Miller as Daisy Grant, Elizabeth's press coordinator
  • Geoffrey Arend as Matt Mahoney, Elizabeth's speechwriter
  • Wallis Currie-Wood as Stephanie "Stevie" McCord, Elizabeth and Henry's older daughter. In "Another Benghazi", 20-year-old Stevie returns home after dropping out of college because of her mom's new job. After a few months working as a hostess at a restaurant, Stevie became an intern at Microloan, which, as a job only available to college students, necessitated her application to Georgetown. As of "There But for the Grace of God", she is in a relationship with Harrison Dalton (Jason Ralph), her longtime friend and the son of President Dalton, but they ended things in "The Show Must Go On".
  • Kathrine Herzer as Alison McCord, Elizabeth and Henry's younger daughter. In "Tamerlane", Alison celebrates her 16th birthday.
  • Evan Roe as Jason McCord, Elizabeth and Henry's 13-year-old son, a self-proclaimed anarchist. In "The Ninth Circle", Jason is expelled from his prep school for punching a bully and is then enrolled in public school.
  • Keith Carradine as President Conrad Dalton, (recurring season 1, main cast season 2). Before going into politics, Conrad was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency during Elizabeth's time at the CIA. In "Unity Node", he reveals that he served in the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant during the Vietnam War.


  • Julian Acosta as United States National Security Advisor Craig Sterling, a former US Department of Defense official and rival of Elizabeth's appointed to the position after Darren Kahn's resignation. In turn, Sterling is forced to resign after Secretary McCord and Chief of Staff Jackson trick him into shredding official White House documents, a federal crime, to cover up a dubious meeting with a Senator regarding the confirmation of a new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. This occurred due to Sterling's incredibly hawkish advice to President Dalton and deceitful actions on Cuba policy.
  • Usman Ally as Zahed Javani, Iran's Foreign Minister and Elizabeth's counterpart. He is killed in his home along with Agent Fred Cole (Elizabeth's Lead Bodyguard) in front of his son and Elizabeth during an attempted coup d'état in Iran, orchestrated by CIA Director Andrew Munsey, CIA Anaylst Juliet Humphrey, and Secretary Marsh.
  • Sebastian Arcelus as Jay Whitman, Elizabeth's policy advisor
  • Patrick Breen as Andrew Munsey, former Director of the CIA and former protégé of Conrad Dalton. In "The Ninth Circle", it is revealed that he and Secretary Marsh were involved in plotting an attempted coup d'état in Iran.
  • Yorgo Constantine as former Russian Foreign Minister Anton Gorev, a friend of both Secretary and Dr. McCord. He is assassinated in "The Long Shot", just as he announced his intention to run for the presidency of Russia after the death of Pavel Ostrov.
  • Johanna Day as Admiral Ellen Hill, the first female Chairwoman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She announced her retirement in "Lights Out".
  • Alex Fernandez as Vice President of the United States Mark Delgado
  • Angela Gots as President Maria Ostrova, the widow of Pavel Ostrov who seized the presidency after his death. It is revealed in "Unity Node" that she died when a rogue Ukrainian blew up her car after a meeting with President Dalton and Secretary McCord.
  • Dion Graham as Bureau of Diplomatic Security Head Agent Fred Cole, who served as Elizabeth's principal bodyguard. He is killed in action protecting Elizabeth during an attempted coup d'état in Iran along with six other agents.
  • Josh Hamilton as Arthur Gilroy, Stevie's 39-year-old Microloan employer and ex-boyfriend
  • Leslie Hendrix as United States Attorney General Louise Cronenberg, who replaces Mary Campbell in the time period between Seasons 1 and 2.
  • Jill Hennessy as Jane Fellows, Henry's DIA superior
  • Marin Hinkle as Isabelle Barnes, a CIA analyst and Elizabeth's close friend, who assists the McCords with the investigation of the death of Secretary of State Vincent Marsh
  • Francis Jiu as Chinese Foreign Minister Chen, Elizabeth's Chinese counterpart
  • Kobi Libii as Cyber Security Official Oliver Shaw, Oliver looked into the attack against Air Force One and is a love interest of Daisy Grant (Elizabeth's Press Coordinator)
  • Chris Petrovski as Captain Dmitri Petrov, a 24-year-old Russian Army officer studying at the National War College. He is recruited by Professor Henry McCord (on behalf of the DIA) to become an American spy in exchange for getting his sick sister medical care in Stockholm, Sweden. His status as a double agent is revealed during the Russian crisis as part of the ceasefire. It is revealed in "Unity Node" that he was killed.
  • Mike Pniewski as United States Secretary of Defense Gordon Becker
  • Kevin Rahm as Michael "Mike B." Barnow, a political official who is said to drift between the United States Cabinet departments. He is often seen assisting Secretary McCord.
  • Jason Ralph as Harrison Dalton, son of President Dalton and long time friend of Stevie McCord. In season 1 it is revealed that Harrison has a drug addiction and is color blind.
  • Anna Deavere Smith as former United States Attorney General Mary Campbell
  • Cotter Smith as former United States National Security Advisor Darren Hahn. Hahn reveals his reason for resigning is that his wife is having heath issues.
  • Nilaja Sun as Juliet Humphrey, a CIA analyst, another friend and former colleague of Elizabeth; she is later revealed to be involved in the attempted coup d'état in Iran along with Secretary of State Vincent Marsh and CIA Director Andrew Munsey. In "There but for the grace of god" Juliet reveals that she caused the crash that killed her, Elizabeth and Isabelle's friend George.

Guest stars[edit]

  • Louis Gossett, Jr. appears as Father Laurent Vasseur, an old friend of Henry's (season 1, episode 6).
  • Tom Skerritt appears as Patrick McCord, Henry's father (season 1, episode 13).
  • Bob Schieffer, former moderator of Face the Nation, appears as himself (season 1, episode 17).
  • Morgan Freeman, the show's executive producer, appears as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (season 2, episode 1).
  • Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, appears as herself (season 2, episode 2).
  • Kate Burton appears as Henry's sister, Maureen (season 2, episode 13).

Character list[edit]

Actor Character Seasons
1 2
Téa Leoni Elizabeth "Bess" Adams McCord Main
Tim Daly Dr. Henry McCord Main
Bebe Neuwirth Nadine Tolliver Main
Željko Ivanek Russel Jackson Main
Erich Bergen Blake Moran Main
Patina Miller Daisy Grant Main
Geoffrey Arend Matt Mahoney Main
Wallis Currie-Wood Stephanie "Stevie" McCord Main
Kathrine Herzer Alison McCord Main
Evan Roe Jason McCord Main
Keith Carradine Conrad Dalton Recurring Main
Sebastian Arcelus Jay Whitman Recurring
Jill Hennessy Jane Fellows Recurring
Julian Acosta Craig Sterling Recurring


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 22 September 21, 2014 (2014-09-21) May 3, 2015 (2015-05-03)
2 22[7] October 4, 2015 (2015-10-04) TBA


In Canada, the series airs on Global at the same time as the original broadcast.[8] In Australia, it premiered on October 2, 2014 on Network Ten.[9] On October 23, 2014, it was announced that it will air on Sky Living in the United Kingdom, along with new formats to air TV3 in Ireland, and other international channels.[10] The series launched in the United Kingdom on 23 April 2015.[11] In the Philippines, it premiered on 2nd Avenue on April 28.



Season Time slot (ET) Episodes Premiered Ended TV season Rank 18-49 demo Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
Sunday 8:00 pm
September 21, 2014
May 3, 2015
9.67[13] 2014–2015 #66[14] 1.44[15] #8[16] 11.82[17]
2 22
October 4, 2015
11.79[18] TBA 2015–2016 TBA TBA TBA TBA

Critical reception[edit]

Madam Secretary has been met with generally positive reviews from TV critics. On Metacritic, the show has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[19] On Rotten Tomatoes, the show holds a rating of 66%, based on 50 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's consensus reads, "Bolstered by Tea Leoni's strong central performance, Madam Secretary is a solid but unspectacular political drama."[20]


There have been three females to hold the office in the U.S. so far: Madeleine Albright from 1997 to 2001 under Bill Clinton, then Condoleezza Rice from 2005 to 2009 under George W. Bush, then most recently Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013 under Barack Obama. Shortly after the series' debut less than 20 months after Hillary Clinton left office, Fox News asked if perhaps the show served as a campaign ad supporting her[21] and conveyed opinions which agreed with the suspicion.[21]

The connections in the show between Elizabeth and Hillary are clear, from the blond hair to the pantsuits

— Katie Yoder, Culture and Media Institute, [21]

In 2015 during the season 2 premiere "The Show Must Go On" (which debuted October 4) Elizabeth is sworn in as the acting President of the United States. The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, 2016 was officially launched June 13, less than 4 months earlier. Clinton has in fact stated that she is a huge fan of the show.


Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2014 TV Guide Award [22] Favorite New Show Madam Secretary Nominated
2015 American Cinema Editors Awards 2015[23] Best Edited One-Hour Series for Commercial Television Elena Maganini and Michael D. Ornstein Nominated
41st People's Choice Awards[24] Favorite Actress in a New TV Series Téa Leoni Nominated
Favorite New TV Drama Madam Secretary Nominated
Publicists Guild of America[25]

The Maxwell Weinberg Publicists Showmanship Television Award

CBS Television Studio/ Madam Secretary Nominated
2016 CBS MVP Awards[26] Best Motivational Speech Téa Leoni Nominated


  1. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 17, 2014). "'Smash's' Katharine McPhee to Star in CBS Genius Drama (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (May 9, 2014). "CBS Orders 'CSI: Cyber', 'NCIS: New Orleans', 'The Odd Couple', 'Stalker', 'Madam Secretary', 'Scorpion' & 'The McCarthys'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ Swift, Andy (May 9, 2014). "Fall TV: CBS Orders NCIS and CSI Spin-Offs, Odd Couple, Kevin Williamson's Stalker and 4 More to Series (But Not How I Met Your Dad?)". TVLine. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ CBS Gives Full Season Orders to 'Scorpion', 'Madam Secretary', 'NCIS: New Orleans' & 'Stalker'
  5. ^ CBS Renews Madam Secretary, Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (21 May 2014). "Željko Ivanek Upped To Regular On New CBS Drama Series Madam Secretary". Retrieved 26 August 2014. Emmy-winning character actor Željko Ivanek (Damages) has joined the cast of CBS' new drama series Madam Secretary as a regular after guest starring in the pilot. 
  7. ^ "CBS Studios Shows - 2015/16 Season - Episodes Orders Revealed". SpoilerTV. August 17, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ Wilford, Denette (June 4, 2014). "Global TV Lineup Fall 2014-15: Shaw Media Making Bold Moves". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ Knox, David (September 28, 2014). "Madam Secretary". TV Tonight. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  10. ^ The Deadline Team (October 23, 2014). "‘Madam Secretary’ Coming To U.K. On Sky Living; NBCUniversal International Television Production Pacts With TV3 Group Ireland: Global Briefs". Deadline. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Sky Living Sets UK Premiere Date Madam Secretary". TVWise. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (September 23, 2014). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'The Good Wife' & 'American Dad' Adjusted Up; '60 Minutes' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  13. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (May 5, 2015). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Family Guy' & 'Secrets and Lies' Adjusted Up'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  14. ^ "2014-15 TV Show Season Ratings (week 52) – canceled TV shows – TV Series Finale". canceled TV shows – TV Series Finale. Retrieved 2016-01-31. 
  15. ^ "2014-15 TV Show Season Ratings (week 52) – canceled TV shows – TV Series Finale". canceled TV shows – TV Series Finale. Retrieved 2016-01-31. 
  16. ^ "2014-15 TV Show Season Ratings (week 52) – canceled TV shows – TV Series Finale". canceled TV shows – TV Series Finale. Retrieved 2016-01-31. 
  17. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (May 22, 2015). "Full 2014-15 Series Rankings". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 22, 2015. 
  18. ^ Porter, Rick (October 6, 2015). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Blood & Oil', 'The Simpsons' Adjusted Up; 'Madam Secretary' Adjusted Down". TVbytheNumbers. Retrieved October 5, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Madam Secretary : Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Madam Secretary: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c McKay, Hollie (22 September 2014). "'Madam Secretary' a campaign ad for Hillary Clinton 2016?". FoxNews.Com. Clinton hasn't made her run for President in 2016 official yet, but some think CBS may be doing some advance work for her campaign with its new drama "Madam Secretary," ~ Culture and Media Institute's Katie Yoder says the Tea Leoni-starring series, centered on a female United States Secretary of State, appears to be nothing short of "pro-Hillary propaganda." 
  22. ^ "TV Guide Awards (2014)". Retrieved 2016-01-31. 
  23. ^ Adam Chitwood (January 2, 2015). "Nightcrawler, Gone Girl, and Boyhood Land ACE Editing Awards Nominations". Collider. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  24. ^ "41st People's Choice Awards nominees". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Publicists Guild of America (2015)". Retrieved 2016-01-31. 
  26. ^ "Super Bowl 2016 –". CBS. Retrieved 2016-01-31. 

External links[edit]