Season 1 Episode 1
A shrewd, determined, newly appointed Secretary of State who drives international diplomacy, battles office politics and circumvents protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues, both at the White House and at home...[button color="red" size="small" link="http://www.cbs.com/shows/madam-secretary/" target="blank" ]Official Site[/button]
In Damascus. We hear the Muslim call to prayer. There’s a disturbance and someone saying they have rights and begging for them to call the American Embassy. It’s a couple of teenagers and one tells the other that the men who locked them up said they’ll die there. Elizabeth gets chased down by a student who doesn’t want to write about the Cold War. She approves his topic and then he asks for an extension which she turns down. She finds Henry talking to students and she tells him he’s boring them but one young girl says she thinks he’s brilliant. Elizabeth drags him out and reminds him he has to cook tonight since she’s headed to DC for a spy reunion.
Elizabeth has dinner with CIA friends. George tells her that his new job is so boring. He’s jealous the other women got stationed in Africa while he has a desk job. She says to complain to their boss and he says he called POTUS. She’s shocked and teases him. The three get calls and she says that can’t be good. George tells her the Secretary of State’s plane went down. Next morning, Elizabeth and Henry are hugging then he turns on the news while the kids complain that they can’t hear their iPhones.
The news says the Secretary was headed for Venezuela and Allison asks her mom if she thinks it’s terrorism. Then Jason chimes in with a conspiracy theory and Elizabeth asks her hubby why he had to wind up the anarchist. Later, she’s mucking out her stables when her son comes out and tells her that her phone won’t stop ringing. He says she got a call from the president and she thinks it’s the PTA but he’s says the real president. She says it’s a prank and to hang up then they hear sirens and step outside.
A motorcade with a full police escort stops in her driveway. It’s POTUS – at her house. He asks her to be Secretary of State and she laughs and asks if he’s joking. She asks why and he reminded her that he recruited and trained her at the CIA and says he trusts her. He asks to speak to her alone and then tells her that he wanted to nominate her when he was first elected but his advisers talked him out of it. He says she has no political agenda and thinks so far outside the box, there is no box.
He sits and tells her that he thinks he can make a real change in the world and she can help. He tells her that he knows she won’t let him down. President Conrad says she can have the rest of the day to talk to her family and decide but says he won’t take no for an answer. It’s two months later and Nadine is explaining to her where a visiting dignitary and his ten wives will be seated. She explains the wives are seated by seniority. Elizabeth asks why they are having this dinner for the King of Swaziland and they tell her that it was on Vincent’s schedule – the dead Secretary.
Elizabeth asks Nadine how much this will cost and wants to know about the AIDS epidemic in his country. The Czech ambassador calls and says it’s urgent. She asks Blake how much Nadine hates her and apparently it’s a lot. He reminds her of a meeting with Russell and Gordon – Sec Def and another muckety muck in half an hour. We see the kids in their cell and they watch someone dargged out to be tortured. His friend tells him to sit and not be
Ethan and Tyler Cole were arrested for activism – Ash-Ham – that wants to overthrow the Syrian government and want more rights for women. She says they’re not Jihadists just idiots. Russell asks how she heard about and it and she says from the Czech ambassador and says that’s how they communicate with them now. She says they’re going to execute the kids in a week and Russell asks if it’s hit the news yet. She says she’d like to work through back channels. She says she has contacts.
Russell says no – it has to be his way. She says she’ll get in touch with the parents and stress the importance of non-contact. Russell recommends she get a stylist and tells her that it’s coming from the top. She doubts Conrad wants her to have a stylist and he says he speaks for the President. She wants to brief POTUS on the kids but he says no. He tells her not to go around him and take advantage of her friendship with the Prez. He tells her she’s part of the system now.
Elizabeth meets with the Cole kids’ parents. They tell her that they didn’t know about the trip. She says they sent them on a graduation trip to Europe. They blame Tyler for this and says Ethan isn’t political. They also say neither would use the Syrian opposition movement. They tell her that tensions are better there and Elizabeth says it’s not that easy. She says any press leaks would jeopardize their efforts. She asks them to take down their Facebook and blogs.
The dad says there is a power to speaking out. Elizabeth says free speech isn’t a globally protected right. She tells them she has two teenagers also and says her son thinks he’s an anarchist and she could see him doing something like this and this is how she would handle it. They agree. Elizabeth and family are at dinner and she asks her son to say something nice about his new school. He says there are three hot girls. Allison says she misses her BF and then asks to leave the table. Henry says okay then tells his wife to give her space.
She doesn’t. Later she asks Henry if moving and taking the job was the right thing. He says the kids will adjust. He tells her it’s only been two months. He says he loves Georgetown and tells her they’re totally fine. She says they used to have sex more often and he says it was this weekend. She asks if she has too much masculine energy now since she’s in a position of power. He tells her he loves her in a power position. Her phone buzzes and she says it’s an encoded text from George. He’s outside the house. She goes downstairs to let him in.
He says her place is bugged but she says they sweep it every day. She asks how he got past security and he says he knows them. He tells her she’s the only one he can trust. He tells her that Vincent’s plane crash wasn’t an accident and says he thinks someone at the CIA arranged it. He says the guy was dirty and was doing some shady stuff in Venezuela. He says he was on the way to meet someone. She says it’s a lot to process. Henry comes down and asks where he came from.
He asks if George wants a drink but he says he shouldn’t have come. He says he was never there and Henry agrees. He tells Bess to be careful and leaves. Elizabeth and Henry swap a look.
[11:06:13 PM] Rachel Rowan: Matt and Juliet ask Blake who Elizabeth has in her office. He won’t say. They tell him it’s tradition to share with the outer office and he says in that case, he heard they swapped spit at the last Christmas party and it’s awkward because they’re both dating someone else. A woman, Roxanne, shows up for her appointment and Blake brushes them all off and tells them to sit quietly.
She’s with the CIA director who tells her where the boys are being held. He says he can send in a four man team and she tells him to keep her updated. She asks about George and he tells her that he’s doing good work but needs to take a breather. She tells him to pull the plug on the op for any reason. Roxanne is there and says she’s there to be her stylist. She says the Chief of Staff sent her. Elizabeth says she doesn’t need one and Roxanne says she doesn’t have a choice.
Elizabeth says she always has a choice. Blake brushes the woman out. Matt and Juliet want to talk to her about the Swaziland visit. They discuss adjectives for her statement and she says she’d like something of substance like global health issues. Juliet says it’s not a good time for substance. Elizabeth comes up with a statement and Matt says it’s really good. She asks if he needs to write it down and he says he’s the writer and can do it.
Nadine chases Elizabeth down and says they have a problem with the kids. They tell her the intel on the location was bad and special forces just found goats. They tell her no goats were harmed but no kids either. She asks why she wasn’t notified two hours out like she asked. She called for Blake. Nadine plays her a video of the Cole boys confessing to planning to commit acts of terrorism. She says it was sent directly to them. She takes it to POTUS.
He asks what they want. She says they want the peace talks canceled. She says they’ll release the video to the press. She says that will make the negotiation public. She wants to make a move now. She says this is not how she would have proceeded left to her own devices. She says there are too many moving pieces and she says she can get it done with just her and one guy. Russell says no and that they have to disavow the kids until after Shiraz’s visit. She asks what if they’re executed. She tells POTUS she can handle it and he ponders then tells her sorry.
He tells her that he has to go with Russell. She walks out very unhappy. She asks her hubby how she can advise the President when she can’t get any time with him. She says she only gets answers back from Russell. She says she doesn’t have time to figure something out. He asks what’s going on and she says she can’t tell him. He asks why she took the job and she says who wouldn’t. Then she says she left the CIA too soon and had unfinished business and she let Conrad down before. She says she should have pushed him to do the right thing.
She says she signed up to do what he said – to affect real change. He tells her she has to find a way to take real action. He tells her Thomas Aquinas said a captain can only keep his ship 100% safe if he leaves it in port. She gets up and leaves the bed. Elizabeth sits in a church alone in a back pew. Her security stands back out of earshot. A man comes to sit beside her. He’s a cultural attache but was a fellow spy. She asks for his help to get the kids out but he tells her he’s legit now.
He says he can’t risk going back to Russia since it’s a pigsty and his kids are on the fast track to the Ivy League. She reminds him she got his cousin out of Chechnya and risked American lives to do so. She tells him the kids are going to die. He asks if she’s cashing in her chips and she says she’s appealing to his humanity and if that doesn’t work, she can have him removed from American soil for any reason as Secretary of State. He says he’s feeling very humane. She smiles and leaves.
POTUS meets with her and tells her texting his wife is breaking protocol. She says she is friends with his wife and he tells her to speak freely. She tells him she made an unofficial move on the Syria situation. He asks why and she says to save the kids’ lives. He says she tried before. Bess asks why he gave her the job and she says she didn’t uproot her life to plan parties for potentates and push paper. She tells him to let her the job he brought her there to do.
She tells him he’s in a dangerous place and she says if the Syrians kill the kids, he will take a huge hit that can’t be taken back. She says it’s a risk he must take and she knows the right people to get it done the right way. He tells her if she’s not right, she could have the shortest term. She walks with her buddy and makes arrangements to pay $1.5 million to get the kids back. Half down, half upon delivery. She says medical supplies and food and they can have a photo op.
Bess tells him she will sanction them and says no one will miss Syria if they self-destruct into oblivion. He talks to his contact and says he thinks they have a deal. He hangs up and tells her she just bought two stupid American kids. Nadine briefs Bess on speaking to the wives. Jay tells her Coles gave the Times a major interview. She asks if Roxanne is still in the building. She walks out on the street later and talks with some tourists. She lets them take photos with her.
The main news story is on her new look and hair style. It’s on every channel. Her kids are stunned that her new outfit is a global event. She gets a call from Anton confirming that the kids are in the air. The plane lands and the Coles are there to greet their kids, press on hand for the photo op. They get a great show of the joyous reunion and the parents hugging their idiot kids. Both boys kiss the ground.
Blake lets Elizabeth know she has a guest – it’s Russell. She asks if they had a meeting. He asks how the kids got released and she says the Syrians must have seen the error of their ways. She says the president signed off and that she blatantly circumnavigated his authority. She tells him working with him is her preference. He says he’ll make a better ally than enemy and she tells him ditto. He tells her he won’t be forgiving if she pulls this again but he’ll chalk this one up to rookie enthusiasm.
The dinner goes off with the leader of Swaziland. He asks about her family and she says two children. He says it’s a small family and she jokes and says she has just the one husband. Everyone gasps but then he laughs and tells her he has 23 children. She says that sounds like a lot of work. Then she asks him about the AIDS crisis and says he’s not addressing it like he was when he first took power. She offers to work with him to reprioritize it. He pauses and says it would be an honor to do so. She says she thinks his wives would help. Then she recites all their names off perfectly. They are all floored.
Bess says a woman’s perspective is important and he has no shortage of that. He toasts her and smiles. Juliet tells her that her statements are trending. She says they need to work on a statement since there will likely be backlash. Nadine tells her nice work and Bess thanks her. She unpins her hair and heads into her office. Henry is there and she asks how long he’s been there. He looks serious and she asks what’s wrong. He tells her George is dead. She gasps and grabs a chair for support.
He tells her that his car hit a telephone pole and there were not witnesses. She says it wasn’t an accident and he says he knows. They hug. She cries.