Madam Secretary (TV series)

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Madam Secretary
Madam Secretary (CBS) Logo.png
Genre Political drama
Created by Barbara Hall
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 4
No. of episodes 80 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time 42–46 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 McCord. The series premiered on September 21, 2014. On October 27, 2014, CBS placed a full season order consisting of 22 episodes for the first season.[1] On March 23, 2017, CBS renewed the series for a fourth season.[2] In 2017, CBS sealed a multi-platform syndication deal worth an estimated $2 million per episode.[3]


Madam Secretary explores Secretary Elizabeth McCord's life as the determined United States Secretary of State. McCord drives international diplomacy, battles office politics, and circumvents protocol if needed as she negotiates worldwide issues. The show also focuses on the personal lives of the characters. McCord is also a college professor and a 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 know there is a box.[4][5]

Cast and characters


  • Téa Leoni as 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.
  • Tim Daly as Henry McCord, Elizabeth's husband of 25 years. A former Marine Captain aviator during Operation Desert Storm and theology professor, he provides a unique blend of skills that serve well as an operative of the National Security Agency in combating religious extremism. At the end of season 3, Henry is named the Head of the CIA Special Activities Division.
  • Bebe Neuwirth as Nadine Tolliver (seasons 1–4), 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. In season 1, Nadine slowly began to date again, romancing the Administrator of NASA, Glenn, and later falls into a relationship with the recurring political consultant Mike Barnow. Nadine leaves the state department wanting to spend more time with her family in Season 4.
  • Željko Ivanek as Russell Jackson, White House Chief of Staff.[6] His primary objective of keeping the President politically secure at home and abroad sets him up for occasional confrontation with Secretary McCord's unorthodox diplomatic manoeuvring.
  • Erich Bergen as Blake Moran, Elizabeth's personal assistant, and the only member of her staff that she hired rather than inherited. After Nadine leaves in season 4 he becomes Elizabeth's acting chief of staff.
  • Patina Miller as Daisy Grant, Elizabeth's press coordinator. Daisy dates Matt during season 1 but goes on to date other men following their breakup. In season 3 she dates "Kevin" from Budget and Planning, who turns out to be an undercover operative for the CIA investigating the State Department. He is killed in a weapons-trafficking conspiracy, but Daisy finds herself to be pregnant with his child.
  • Geoffrey Arend as Matt Mahoney, Elizabeth's speechwriter. Matt and Daisy dated during season 1, but ended things.
  • Wallis Currie-Wood as Stephanie "Stevie" McCord, Elizabeth and Henry's older daughter. Stevie attended Lovell University until dropping out. After moving back in with her parents and working for some time, she eventually returned to her education at Georgetown University and is applying to Harvard Law school. Stevie serves as an intern to Russell Jackson and was engaged to Jareth Glover. The engagement was called off.
  • Kathrine Herzer as Alison McCord, Elizabeth and Henry's younger daughter. Alison plans to attend Rafferty College to pursue her dreams of Fashion and Design.
  • Evan Roe as Jason McCord, Elizabeth and Henry's 13-year-old son, a self-proclaimed anarchist. Jason is very critical of political systems in general, however in season 1 he was expelled from his school for punching a student who insulted Elizabeth.
  • Keith Carradine as Conrad Dalton (recurring season 1, main seasons 2–), the President of the United States. 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 Marine Corps as a Second lieutenant during the Vietnam War. In the third season Dalton secures his reelection as an independent president after failing to secure his party's nomination, partly due to a controversial change in policy championed by Elizabeth McCord. He offers Elizabeth the role of Vice President during his campaign, but eventually names someone else in order to further his campaign. Elizabeth remains Secretary of State.
  • Sebastian Arcelus as Jay Whitman, Elizabeth's current chief of staff and previous senior policy advisor (recurring season 1–2, main season 3–). In season 3 it is revealed that Jay's busy schedule working for the Secretary has strained his marriage. He is currently separated from his wife Abby who maintains custody of their daughter Chloe. Jay gets promoted to chief of staff in season 4.


  • Sara Ramirez as Kat Sandoval, Elizabeth's Policy Advisor and Former Chief of Staff to the UN Ambassador (Season 4-)
  • Johanna Day as Ellen Hill, a retired admiral and the National Security Advisor. She was the first female Chairwoman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff prior to being appointed National Security Advisor.
  • Tony Plana as Ed Parker, an admiral and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • Francis Jue as Ming Chen, China's Foreign Minister and Elizabeth's Chinese counterpart.
  • Mandy Gonzalez as Lucy Knox, President Dalton's aide.
  • Mike Pniewski as Gordon Becker, the United States Secretary of Defense.
  • Kevin Rahm as Michael "Mike B." Barnow, a political official who is said to drift between the United States Cabinet departments. It is mentioned that he is a Rhodes Scholar, who turned his brilliant legal career into a promising political career that was cut short by a scandalous divorce six years prior to his first appearance before settling into his current job. 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 Harrison has a drug addiction and is color blind. In season 4 it is revealed that he is back in rehab.(seasons 1–2).
  • Cotter Smith as Darren Hahn (seasons 1–2), President Dalton's first known National Security Advisor.
  • Patrick Breen as Andrew Munsey, the Director of the CIA and a protégé of President Dalton (season 1).
  • Nilaja Sun as Juliet Humphrey, a former CIA analyst, friend and colleague of Elizabeth and Isabelle (season 1; guest season 3).
  • Usman Ally as Zahed Javani, Iran's Foreign Minister and Elizabeth's Iranian counterpart (season 1).
  • Dion Graham as Fred Cole, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Head Agent who served as Elizabeth's principal bodyguard (season 1).
  • Josh Hamilton as Arthur Gilroy, Stevie's 39-year-old microloan employer and ex-boyfriend (season 1).
  • Anna Deavere Smith as Mary Campbell (season 1), the United States Attorney General.
  • 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 (season 1).
  • Yorgo Constantine as Anton Gorev, Russia's Foreign Minister and a friend of both Secretary and Dr. McCord (seasons 1–2).
  • Clifton Davis as Ephraim Ware, Director of National Intelligence (season 2–).
  • Julian Acosta as Craig Sterling, a former US Department of Defense official, he becomes National Security Advisor in season 2 much to Elizabeth and Russell's dismay, and rival of Elizabeth's (season 2).
  • Alex Fernandez as Mark Delgado (season 2), the Vice President of the United States.
  • Angela Gots as Maria Ostrova (season 2), the President of Russia and widow of late Russian President Pavel Ostrov.
  • Leslie Hendrix as Louise Cronenberg (season 2), the United States Attorney General.
  • Jill Hennessy as Jane Fellows (season 2), Henry's DIA superior, and a member of Murphy Station; the first Ishbal Jahed task force.
  • Kobi Libii as Oliver Shaw (season 2; guest season 3), the Cybersecurity Coordinator. Shaw looked into the attack against Air Force One and is the love interest of Daisy Grant in the second season.
  • Chris Petrovski as Dmitri Petrov (seasons 2 & 4; guest season 3), a 24-year-old Russian Army captain who studied at the National War College. He was 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. Dmitri is captured by the Russians and eventually exchanged to the Americans for another traitor to the state. Following his capture Dmitri feels abandoned by Henry and is very angry and bitter toward him. He is placed into a witness protection program under the name Alexander (Alex) Mehranov. In season 4, he gets recruited by the CIA as an analyst.
  • Masha King as Talia Petrov, Dmitri's sister who was placed into witness protection with her brother and is now his roommate.
  • Carlos Gómez as Jose Campos (seasons 2–3), an Ishbal Jahed task force member.
  • J. C. MacKenzie as Sam Evans (season 3), the governor of Pennsylvania and the presidential nominee for Dalton's party. Evans is particularly vindictive during the campaign and, following Dalton's victory through a vote in the House of Representatives, threatens to have the vote overturned due to little-known law he claims Elizabeth broke. However, he is manipulated into accepting the terms of the vote after Russel Jackson threatens to expose him for having a gene that makes him likely to develop early-onset Alzheimer's.
  • René Auberjonois as Walter Novack (season 2–), a State Department analyst with the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.
  • Christopher O'Shea as Jareth Glover, Stevie's fiance from England. He gave up a fellowship at Oxford to return to America to be with Stevie after she had trouble adjusting to life in England. His family is a member of the upper class and even nobility in England. Stevie and Jareth broke up in season 4.
  • Justine Lupe as Ronnie Baker (season 3), a United States Army captain assigned to United States Cyber Command who assists Elizabeth on several occasions.
  • Eric Stoltz as Will Adams, Secretary Elizabeth McCord's younger brother and a member of Doctors Without Borders.
  • Jordan Lage as Kohl, a United States Army general.
  • Sam Breslin Wright as Dylan Larson, an ex–Army Ranger who has been working for the CIA for seven years as of the start of season 4.
  • Christine Garver as Molly Reid, a career CIA agent, starting her career as a field agent in Chechnya. She is pregnant and due in a couple months from the start of season 4.

Guest stars

  • Yuval David appears as Matvey Sokolov (season 4), a Russian special agent.
  • Louis Gossett, Jr. appears as Laurent Vasseur (season 1, episode 6), a Catholic priest and an old friend of Henry's.
  • William Allen Young appears as Steven Cushing (season 1, episode 12), the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State.
  • Tom Skerritt appears as Patrick McCord (season 1, episode 13), Henry's father.
  • Bob Schieffer, former moderator of Face the Nation, appears as himself (season 1, episode 17).
  • Morgan Freeman, the show's executive producer, appears as Frawley, the Chief Justice of the United States (season 2, episode 1; season 3, episode 1; season 4, episode 1).
  • Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, appears as herself (season 2, episode 2).
  • Kate Burton appears as Maureen McCord-Ryan (season 2, episode 13), Henry's sister.
  • Jane Pauley appears as herself (season 2, episode 18; season 3, episode 1).
  • Shivam Chopra appears as Sanjay (season 1, episode 7).
  • Stephanie J. Block, real-life wife of Sebastian Arcelus, appears as Jay's wife, Abby (season 3, episode 13). Mirroring real life, Block had previously given birth to their daughter while Arcelus was filming season 1, episode 17, where Jay's wife also gives birth to a daughter.
  • Joel de la Fuente appears as Datu Andrada (season 3, episode 15), the President of the Philippines. Andrada's election is not well-received by the Dalton Administration, and Andrada's erratic behavior destabilizes a deal Elizabeth McCord has just developed in Southeast Asia when he comes to power. Elizabeth visits him to attempt to bring him back on board with the program, and he makes unwanted advances toward her. Elizabeth fears an international incident after she punches him in order to defend herself, but he does not address the incident and blames his wound on a sparring partner. Elizabeth discovers evidence of Andrada paying off several female employees after suspected assault, and uses it to regain Andrade's collaboration. She does not go forward with the story of her attack but promises Andrada that she will when the time is right.
  • Christine Ebersole appears as Lydia Dalton, the First Lady in s4e12 ("Sound and Fury")

Dalton Cabinet and principal advisors

The Dalton Cabinet
Office Name Term
President Conrad Dalton (Keith Carradine) 2013–
Vice President Mark Delgado (Alex Fernandez) 2013–2017
Teresa Hurst (Jan Maxwell/Jayne Atkinson) 2017–
Secretary of State Vincent Marsh (Brian Stokes Mitchell) 2013–2014
Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) 2014–
Secretary of Treasury Max Quinn (Michael Cumpsty) 2013–2014
Secretary of Defense Gordon Becker (Mike Pniewski) 2013–
Attorney General Mary Campbell (Anna Deavere Smith) 2013–2015
Louise Cronenberg (Leslie Hendrix) 2015–2016
Unknown (Shown in "French Revolution") 2016–2017
Nolan (John Bolton) 2017–
Chief of Staff Russell Jackson (Željko Ivanek) 2013–
National Security Advisor Darren Kahn (Cotter Smith) 2013–2015
Craig Sterling (Julian Acosta) 2015–2015
ADM (Ret.) Ellen Hill (Johanna Day) 2016–
Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff
ADM Ellen Hill, USN (Johanna Day) 2013–2015
GEN Kelsey Reeves, US Army (Ralph Byers) 2015–
Director of National Intelligence Ephraim Ware (Clifton Davis) 2013–
Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency
Andrew Munsey (Patrick Breen) 2013–2015
Sean Williams (Larry Pine) 2015–2015
Dennis Ellerman (John Doman) 2015–2016
Hugh Haymond (Michael Gaston) 2016–
Director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Neil Hendricks (Wayne Duvall) 2013–2016
Keith Doherty (Michael Boatman) 2016–

Other officials

Office Name Term
Chief Justice of the United States Frawley (Morgan Freeman) 2013–
Deputy Secretary of State Steven Cushing (William Allen Young) 2013–
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Thompson (Tonya Pinkins) 2014–
United States Ambassador to Yemen Paul Wellington (Tim Guinee) 2013–
United States Ambassador to Myanmar Arlen Maxwell (David Rasche) 2013–2014
United States Ambassador to Algeria Roy Curtis (Dakin Matthews) 2013–2016
Deputy Director of the FBI Marguerite Sanchez (Rosyln Ruff) 2013–
Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Glenn (John Pankow) 2013–
Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Humphrey Nelson (Alfredo Narciso) 2013–


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 22 September 21, 2014 (2014-09-21) May 3, 2015 (2015-05-03)
2 23 October 4, 2015 (2015-10-04) May 8, 2016 (2016-05-08)
3 23 October 2, 2016 (2016-10-02) May 21, 2017 (2017-05-21)
4 TBA October 8, 2017 (2017-10-08) TBA


In Canada, the series airs on Global at the same time as the original broadcast.[7] In Finland, it premiered 1 January, 2016 on MTV3.[8] The series has been popular in Finland: 11% of Finnish people watched the first episode.[9] In Australia, it premiered on October 2, 2014 on Network Ten.[10] 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.[11] The series launched in the United Kingdom on 23 April 2015.[12] It is broadcast on Sony Channel Asia.



Season Episodes Timeslot (ET) Original airing Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Season premiere Season finale TV season
1 22 Sunday 8:00 pm September 21, 2014 May 3, 2015 2014–2015 No. 10 14.17[13]
2 23 October 4, 2015 May 8, 2016 2015–2016 No. 14 12.39[14]
3 23 Sunday 9:00 pm October 2, 2016 May 21, 2017 2016–2017 No. 18 10.92[15]
4 TBA Sunday 10:00 pm October 8, 2017 2017–2018

Critical reception

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".[16] 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."[17]


Three women have served as Secretary of State to date: Madeleine Albright from 1997 to 2001 under Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice from 2005 to 2009 under George W. Bush, and Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013 under Barack Obama. Shortly after the series' debut, Fox News asked if the show therefore served as a campaign ad supporting Hillary Clinton, but quoted the Los Angeles Times saying the lead character was "no Hillary knockoff" and a New York publicist calling the casting of a woman "simple business and smart on CBS' behalf". Conservative activist organization Culture and Media Institute, however, said the connection was clear, citing the women's blond hair and pantsuits.[18]

When the trailer of the fifteenth episode of Season 3 (Break in Diplomacy) was released showing McCord punching fictional Philippine president Datu Andrada to the face as a response to the latter making sexual advancements to the protagonist, it became controversial in the Philippines due to what was seen as Andrada having parallelism with real-life President Rodrigo Duterte who was known for making inappropriate and sexist remarks. [19] The Philippine Embassy in Washington even published a statement protesting the negative depiction on its Facebook page.[20]

The first episode of the fourth season News Cycle led to a hard protest from East Timor's Minister of State and Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta. "It's a slander against a country that only shows ignorance and racism," he explained. The TV show used the border dispute between Australia and East Timor in the Timor Sea (The dispute is transferred in the TV show to the South China Sea, although neither Australia nor East Timor is bordering to it) as background story. East Timor is shown as a country controlled by a Mexican drug cartel and used for drug transfer. US Secretary of State McCord is asking China to take measures to prevent the leader of the drug cartel from making a narco-state out of East Timor.[21]


Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2014 TV Guide Award Favorite New Show Madam Secretary Nominated
2015 American Cinema Editors Awards 2015[22] Best Edited One-Hour Series for Commercial Television Elena Maganini and Michael D. Ornstein Nominated
41st People's Choice Awards[23] Favorite Actress in a New TV Series Téa Leoni Nominated
Favorite New TV Drama Madam Secretary Nominated
Publicists Guild of America The Maxwell Weinberg Publicists Showmanship Television Award CBS Television Studio/Madam Secretary Nominated
2015 Humanitas Prize 60 Minute Network or Syndicated Television Madam Secretary Nominated
2016 CBS MVP Awards[24] Best Motivational Speech Téa Leoni Nominated
2016 Humanitas Prize 60 Minute Network of Syndicated Television Madam Secretary Nominated


  1. ^ "Page not found – TV By The Numbers by". Archived from the original on 2015-07-23. 
  2. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 23, 2017). "CBS Renews 5 Freshman & 11 Returning Series, Including 'MacGyver', 'Superior Donuts', 'Life In Pieces' & 'Hawaii Five-O'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 23, 2017. 
  3. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (28 September 2017). "'Madam Secretary' Heads to Netflix, WeTV in Rich Syndication Pacts". Variety Media. Retrieved 15 December 2017. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  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. ^ Wilford, Denette (June 4, 2014). "Global TV Lineup Fall 2014-15: Shaw Media Making Bold Moves". The HuffingtonPost. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ "MTV3 - Rouva Ministeri" [Mrs. Minister]. (in Finnish). Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  9. ^ "Finnpanel - TV-mittaritutkimus" [Results From The TV Audience Measurement]. (in Finnish). Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  10. ^ Knox, David (September 28, 2014). "Madam Secretary". TV Tonight. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "Sky Living Sets UK Premiere Date Madam Secretary". TVWise. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  13. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (May 22, 2015). "Full 2014-15 Series Rankings". Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Full 2015–16 TV Season Series Rankings". May 26, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Madam Secretary : Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Madam Secretary: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ "'Madam Secretary' a campaign ad for Hillary Clinton 2016?". FoxNews.Com. 22 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "People are furious that 'Madam Secretary' will feature a lecherous Filipino president". Mashable. 7 March 2017. 
  20. ^ "Embassy of the Philippines, Washington Facebook page". 7 March 2017. 
  21. ^ Diário de Notícias: Ramos-Horta vai protestar por retrato de Timor-Leste em série norte-americana
  22. ^ Adam Chitwood (January 2, 2015). "Nightcrawler, Gone Girl, and Boyhood Land ACE Editing Awards Nominations". Collider. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  23. ^ "41st People's Choice Awards nominees". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Super Bowl 2016 –". CBS. Retrieved 2016-01-31. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Madam Secretary on IMDb
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