Madame Secretary Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Madame Secretary

CBS, Sundays 8/7 Central

Sep 23, 2014 Web Exclusive
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CBS’ new political drama is tailored to fill the void left on network television when The West Wing went off the air eight years ago. It’s not just the insider view of Washington backdroom dealingNetflix’s House of Cards delivers that in spadesbut the idealistic worldview that reminds viewers of the brighter days of Sorkin’s picturesque White House. There’s even a closing walk-and-talk, a filmmaking technique popularized by Sorkin, and Željko Ivanek is even channeling a crankier version of The West Wing’s Leo McGarry as Madame Secretary’s White House Chief of Staff. It’s an idealism that might be unfamiliar to viewers in 2014, especially when it comes to global issues like terrorism, epidemics, and gender inequality in today’s increasingly pessimistic setting.

As the newly appointed Secretary of State, Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) is up for the challenge. This show will get really interesting when it inevitably challenges her do-gooder mentality with a real world cynicism. That is the logical progression, but for the time being McCord’s initiative to “make real change in the world” is set to take off without a hitch. Of course that would be naive, but it’s the scenario Madame Secretary want us to believe in. Leoni plays McCord with confidence and realistic detachment. She’s a determined career woman with a functioning family, and an unmatched wit in the office.

Madame Secretary’s idealism could potentially get in the way of good storytelling, or even good television. It nearly overtakes the sincerity of a scene where two American hostages are returned to safety, and end up kissing the ground after they land. The scene is nearly laughable, in an otherwise cautious storyline. However, these moments are small compared to bigger picture Madame Secretary has to offer, which is a smart and enthralling D.C. drama that resurrects its predecessor’s outlook, but still takes on a life of its own. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 3/10


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September 24th 2014

Madam does not contain an E unless you’re french.

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