Rocco’s Remote: Téa Leoni Shines In Madam Secretary


There’s always been something very likable about Téa Leoni.  She has solid acting chops. She is very attractive, yet has an approachable quality to her. So, when I heard that she was coming to Sunday nights in a new drama, I knew that I would be checking it out. Madam Secretary, on CBS, stars Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, the newly installed Secretary of State (She used to work for the President when they were in the CIA). Her husband Henry, played by the always-affable Tim Daly (Wings, Private Practice), is a professor of religion at Georgetown. The rest of the cast is rounded out by a solid group of actors, including Keith Carradine (Dexter, Damages) as the President, Bebe Neuwirth as head of the staff Elizabeth has inherited (Cheers, Every Broadway Show Ever) and one of my favorite all-time character actors, Željko Ivanek.( The Event, 24, Revolution)

McCord’s CIA background gives her character an unlimited wealth of possibilities for future storylines, as well as the reason for her to have a plethora of international contacts that she can draw from when she needs something done (as evidenced in the first episode). She is not, however, a good politician. She is bumping heads with the White House Chief of Staff, Russell Jackson (Ivanek) seemingly at every turn. He even had to get her a stylist. She is worried that she ruined her family’s lives by uprooting them to DC. She has two teenage kids, one of whom is a self-confessed anarchist and the other, a 15-year-old girl brooding over the boyfriend she moved away from. Oh, and did I mention that she is also dealing with an international incident in Syria just two months on the job? Operation: Stupid Kids is actually more serious than it sounds.

This pilot was a great start. It felt like an episode of a show I’ve been watching for years. It didn’t feel like a pilot. Structured with a good narrative arc for the episode, it was current and interesting. Possible sub-plots could involve her butting heads with BOTH Chiefs of Staff, and (I could be wrong here) her husband’s affection for his young, pretty college students. It also introduced the beginning of a story arc for the series in which there could be a spy/traitor/enemy in this very administration. The writers have an amazing cast of actors at their disposal. If they choose to use them wisely, then I believe we may have a huge hit on our hands.

Looks like my DVR just added another season PASS.

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