Madam Secretary’s Tim Daly Is Ready to Kick Some Keister

Madam Secretary
Lorenzo Agius
Madam Secretary

She’s not married to Mr. Mom. Madam Secretary‘s Elizabeth McCord, the secretary of state played by Téa Leoni, is always snuffing out fires, whether she’s in Turkey doing damage control for the CIA or (this week) trapped in Iran during a political coup. When the latter happens, it’s up to Elizabeth’s hubby, Henry, played by Tim Daly, to go to the White House and kick some keister. Daly gives us the top-secret intel.

What’s with your character, a professor of religious studies, suddenly going gangsta? He really gives it to President Dalton (Keith Carradine)!

Elizabeth was sent into harm’s way on a clandestine assignment without her normal security, so, yeah, Henry is freaked. But you have to remember that the McCords have been close friends with the president for years–long before he took office–so when Henry goes to him and says, “Listen, dude, do something!” it’s not quite what it seems.

Patrick Harbron/CBS

For a globe-hopping firebrand, Elizabeth sure gets home for dinner a lot. Is it tricky to keep the family aspect of this show believable?

Whether it’s a stretch or not, I don’t care. It’s the best thing about Madam Secretary. We’re inundated these days with shows that are chock-full of political intrigue and conspiracy, plots so complicated that I can’t keep track of all the ins and outs. It’s refreshing to see two people juggling marriage, kids, and a healthy sex life, and we still get a world crisis solved every week in 42 minutes. That’s a relief to our viewers, because I don’t think there’s anyone out there right now who thinks Washington, D.C., is functioning well.

Why are there so few happy couples on screen?

People would rather make Gone Girl. We’ve become so accustomed to lying and cheating and other kinds of horrible behavior. I’m so happy our show won’t go in that direction. Even when Elizabeth and Henry fight–and they do fight hard–they stay on point. They don’t play dirty and throw in other issues that have been festering. Their battles are actually aspirational.

It’s been reported that you and Téa Leoni have a real-life romance going. What can you say about that?

It’s really sweet that people are interested, but I’ve found that my best bet, when it comes to anything working out in my personal life, is to just not talk about it. [Laughs] But hey, thanks for asking!

Madam Secretary, Sunday, 8/7c, CBS