‘Madam Secretary’: Elizabeth Faces an Investigation 100 Days Into Her Presidency (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 6 premiere of Madam Secretary, “Hail to the Chief.”]
Welcome to the White House, Madam President.
When the final season of Madam Secretary begins, Elizabeth (Téa Leoni) is almost 100 days into her presidency. But Mike B. (Kevin Rahm) may very well drive her crazy in the two days until that milestone. He’s taken over as her chief of staff since Jay (Sebastian Arcelus) didn’t want the job (for love, not a breakdown, as he puts it), but he really wants to be counselor to the president and work behind the scenes. Too bad, Mike B..
Blake (Erich Bergen) also has a new job, receptionist of the POTUS, and he loves it. And Henry (Tim Daly) is now First Gentleman, but his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert turns a few heads.
And while we’ve jumped ahead two years, we do flashback to Elizabeth’s campaign, as she had to choose a running mate. But as difficult as that may have been, she’s facing an even big problem in the present: an investigation that could derail the legitimacy of her presidency.
Is Elizabeth’s Presidency in Trouble?
Elizabeth initially focuses on — and tries to remain focused on — her ESI Bill, but she needs senators’ signatures and that comes at a time when she’s thrust into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
FBI Director Amelia Banks received a call from her counterpart in Mossad that during an Israeli counterintelligence investigation, agents came across court documents from Senator Miller’s (Guy Boyd) divorce about him cheating and fathering a child with an intern. Mossad thinks the Iranians are behind the hack, and the working theory is they targeted him because he was critic of Elizabeth’s role in landing their peace deal. If it gets out that Iran tried to tank her biggest rival’s campaign to help her, it could taint the legitimacy of her election.
Elizabeth holds a press conference to report the hack, and Senator Mark Hanson (Wentworth Miller), the chairman for the Senate Intelligence Committee, calls it a direct attack on democracy. He wants those responsible held accountable, even if the president is one of them. Senator Miller then tells the world that he lost the election because Elizabeth colluded with Iranians to sabotage his campaign and he supports Hanson’s investigation.
And Miller becomes the one vote Elizabeth needs to pass her bill. She powers through a disgusting chat with him and agrees to his terms: thanking him and shaking his hand first after she signs.
All that’s left is for Elizabeth to choose Mike’s replacement — as much as she doesn’t want to. He explains he’s trying to honor Gordon’s gift to him, a lesson in how to live: being true to himself. He does have one condition: he gets to keep his office since he was there first. That helps her realize who she wants to take his place: Russell (Zeljko Ivanek).
Russell practically throws off his gardening hat when she proposes he come in as her chief of staff for a transition period. And yes, he’s taking his office back.
But as the premiere ends, subpoenas are printed out from the Senate Intelligence Committee to compel testimony for Daisy (Patina Miller), Blake, Mike, Stevie (Wallis Currie Wood), and Henry.
And Elizabeth’s VP Is …
Flashbacks take us back to 112 days before the election, as Mike B. learns about Miller cheating on his wife. But three days later, the scandal hasn’t hurt Elizabeth’s opponent in the polls like he’d hoped.
Elizabeth wants Carlos Morejon (José Zúñiga) as her VP, but he’s also on Miller’s shortlist. So, two days later, Elizabeth arranges a meeting in secret and tries to convince Carlos to join her ticket. But they disagree on too many issues, he protests. She won’t make him publicly support something he doesn’t believe in, but he couldn’t publicly disagree either, she says. He doesn’t feel like he can be that courageous, though.
But five days later, Elizabeth announces him as her VP.
TV’s Best Couple Remains TV’s Best Couple
Henry goes on Colbert and does get a few laughs. His list of accomplishments is long, as the late-night host acknowledges, and now he can sit back, relax, maybe host a talk show, and … enjoy the beer helmet he’s given? Colbert asks how the couple makes time to see each other, and Henry stumbles as he says sometimes it feels like they can go weeks without “you know.”
Later, Elizabeth suggests that rather than talk about Iran, everyone can talk about their sex life after his appearance. She points out they had more sex before the election, but he argues they have plenty of post-election sex. They’re fine, he assures her. She worries about a power imbalance, that he feels he can’t take charge with the commander in chief, but he promises, “I find it sexy that you’re my commander.”
And as Elizabeth celebrates her first 100 days as president, Henry tells her, “It’s been a pleasure making history with you.” Never change, McCords. Never change.
Madam Secretary, Sundays, 10/9c, CBS