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Season 1: Episode 1 - Pilot
Posted on Sep 22, 2014 12:00am

Elizabeth McCord has first day jitters. But hers aren’t everyday jitters. They’re a matter of national security.

Madam Secretary introduces Téa Leoni as the Secretary of State, Elizabeth McCord. An Oval Office outsider, The Secretary comes from the CIA with a wealth of international experience, but far less political savvy. Forced to oversee a staff that wasn’t her choosing, Secretary McCord is stuck with a slew of reports that eagerly await validation that she was the wrong choice for the job. On top of all that – the President wants her to see a stylist.

The Secretary’s first crisis comes quickly - two young Americans are being held by the Syrian government. If their release isn’t brokered in a week, they’ll be killed. Is their capture all a big mistake, as their parents insist? Or were the young men trying to join a Jihadist group and overthrow the Syrian government? Secretary McCord has to clean it up – fast. All without leaking the story to the press.

Back at home, Madam Secretary’s two teenagers are struggling to deal with their recent move to the nation’s capital. And her husband, Henry (Tim Daly), is happy to be teaching at Georgetown but growing distant from his superstar wife.

Their evening routine is interrupted when the Secretary’s former CIA colleague, George, comes over to tell Secretary McCord that her predecessor, Vincent Marsh, didn’t die accidentally. His plane crash was a hit. George has evidence that the former Secretary of State was involved with illegal drugs in Venezuela. He makes Secretary McCord promise to keep this information quiet before he rushes off.

Back in the Oval Office, the Secretary’s first plan to get the boys out alive fails miserably. Her intelligence was wrong and she sent rescuers to a hideaway filled with goats. Her boss decides to go with her The Chief of Staff, Russell Jackson's (Zeljko Ivanek) plan instead.

Bruised but not knocked out, Madam Secretary persuades the President to let her have one more shot at rescuing the two captured young Americans. Luckily, being ex-CIA has its advantages. The Secretary convinces a cultural attaché she used to know in the CIA to help her get the boys safely out of Syria in exchange for over a million in medical supplies. In an amazing turn, the boys are safely released to their parents and the media never got wind of their capture.

Realizing that a makeover might garner more attention than any political issue, Madam Secretary agrees to see the stylist and emerges a newly crisp and tailored woman. The press has a field day with her new look, and she’s able to spin that focus onto what really matters – international events.

Finally, Madam Secretary hosts a dinner meant only to be an international photo-op with the King of Swaziland. After a few pleasantries, she brings up the AIDS crisis and charms the African King into making it the forefront of his agenda.

But before the Secretary can get too complacent, Henry gives her horrible news. Their friend George has been killed -- his car ran into a telephone poll. That’s no accident. Secretary McCord knows this is just the beginning. Her job is not just a job -- it’s her life. And it will never be the same.