What’s Worth Watching: Madam Secretary is Bound for Iran

Madame Secretary
Barbara Nitke/CBS
Madame Secretary

Madam Secretary, “Tamerlane” (Sunday, March 15, 8/7c, CBS)

In an unusually timely storyline involving governmental interference in the hotbed of Iran, Secretary of State Elizabeth “Bess” McCord (Téa Leoni) embarks on a perilous and clandestine assignment. She’s off to Iran in hopes of averting a coup that was orchestrated, we now know—spoiler alert if you didn’t watch last week’s episode—by devious CIA Director Andrew Munsey (Patrick Breen) in cahoots with one of Bess’s BFFs from the Agency, the MIA Juliet (Nilaja Sun), as well as her own predecessor in the State Department, whose plane crash is now being considered a murder.

Husband Henry (Tim Daly) is understandably reluctant to let Bess fly off under such dangerous circumstances, but she seems just as upset to be missing her daughter Alison’s (Kathrine Herzer) 16th-birthday celebration. (The sexy husband-wife domestic scenes are always a treat, but the family subplots leave much to be desired on this show.) Madam Secretary often feels like a low-cal version of The West Wing—or, in this case, Homeland—but Leoni is very appealing, and this conclusion of a three-episode arc builds up a fair amount of tension as the family nervously awaits Bess’s, and the world’s, fate.