Pilot Review: Madam Secretary

Tea' Leoni stars as Elizabeth McCord in new Madam Secretary.  Source: Provided
Tea’ Leoni stars as Elizabeth McCord in new Madam Secretary. Source: Provided

I for one, love being able to say the words “starring Tea’ Leoni” when writing a review for a new show.  It’s been far far too long since Leoni last graced our screens, especially with me having recently come off a massive ‘The Naked Truth‘ binge watch last month (Leoni starred in the sitcom The Naked Truth).

That said, Leoni’s return to prime time TV is in a very different project that what some may be used to seeing her star in with Madam Secretary (premiering Thursday Oct 2nd on Channel 10).

Here’s the basic run-down of Madam Secretary… “Madam Secretary follows Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst now working as a history professor who, after the Secretary of Defense’s plane goes down over the Atlantic Ocean, is tasked by the President of the United States to take his place. Two months later, while still trying to learn the job she’s accepted, McCord must deal with an international incident that sees two American teenagers taken into custody by the Syrian government, and are on the verge of possible execution by their captors.”

I’m just going to put it out there…..my experience with political themed shows goes as far as Veep so I entered Madam Secretary with some trepidation of being incredibly bored and unable to really follow what’s going on, but with Madam Secretary, instead of being bombarded with political jargon (it’s in there still), we’re given an insight into the rigors of Elizabeth McCord’s sudden and not-so-tender foray into the choppy waters of of the presidents cabinet.

Between being leashed by the president, dealing with an over eager stylist, remembering the names of all 7 wives of the King of Swaziland and maintaining a normal home and family life, Elizabeth has a lot on her political plate.

Having already mentioned Leoni above, what I can add is that while Madam Secretary is leaps and bounds away from the screwball comedienne we were first introduced to in the late 90’s, Leoni’s perfect comedic timing and natural energy allows her to bring some light to otherwise dull scenes.  Her on-screen husband played by Tim Daly is just as good as Henry McCord.  As a religion and ethics professor, Henry is sort of the show’s moral center and from what I’ve seen, there to fill the gender flip role we’re normally used to see being played by a female actress.  As per the norm with Daly, his on-screen chemistry with his leading ladies is second to none. From Laura Leighton in EYES to Kate Walsh in Private Practice and now Tea’ Leoni in Madam Secretary, Daly offers a flawless love-ability and strong companionship that plays well, especially with Leoni’s Elizabeth McCord.

The rest of the cast is filled with familiar faced actors including Bebe Neuwirth (Frasier) and Zeljko Ivanek (True Blood) who all help move the story along without too much fuss.

The pilot episode of Madam Secretary sets up what looks set to be a rather intriguing season-long arc (I won’t reveal what) with the mystery playing along-side weekly crisis that pop up for McCord to deal with.  If done right and Leoni’s given enough room to do what she does best, Madam Secretary could have the chops to be the next West Wing meets The Good Wife.

Madam Secretary premiere’s Thursday October 2nd, 9pm on Channel 10

7 star

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