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Season 1: Episode 6 - The Call
Posted on Oct 27, 2014 12:00am

You never get a second chance at a first impression. As a newcomer to the White House staff, Secretary McCord is acutely aware of this old adage, as her team prepares for her first public address to the World Affairs Committee.

Yet, Madam Secretary barely has time to focus on this monumental occasion, as she’s hit with a human rights atrocity happening around the globe. Her husband Henry comes to her with one of his former Divinity professors, a priest he knew in college. The priest informs Madam Secretary of a little known genocide going on in his home country, The Republic of West Africa. Saving 50,000 innocent lives seems like a clear-cut decision, but the President decides against intervening, since the United States has no political interest in the country and the public is wary of extensive military involvement. Once again, Madam Secretary has to decide – should she go with the flow or stand up for her own beliefs, no matter what the consequences?

Throughout all this turmoil, Secretary McCord is secretly having her Chief of Staff, Nadine, investigated. Nadine was loyal to the former Secretary of State and McCord wants to insure that Nadine’s allegiance is firmly with the new administration.

On the day of the big speech, Madam Secretary’s staff watches with bated breath, eager to watch their new boss announce herself and her agenda to the international politicos. However, Secretary McCord veers off her prescribed speech and goes off book. Madam Secretary tells the international community about the West African genocide, hoping more countries will get involved in the intervention and relief efforts. It looks like despite the President’s decision, Secretary McCord is willing to stand up for her convictions.

Luckily, after listening to Madam Secretary’s arguments, the President changes his mind and decides that the U.S. should stop the West African genocide. Now the staff is committed to convincing U.S. allies to send air and ground troops, with the goal of protecting thousands of innocent lives.

Meanwhile, Henry tries to get a local newspaper invested in the West African turmoil. The problem is – newspapers have to vet their sources. When they research the priest, they come up with some unsightly information. The priest was actually involved in international drug smuggling, in exchange for saving the lives of his fellow West Africans. It appears Madam Secretary just associated her boss, the President of the United States, with a drug smuggler.

In the end, Henry realizes that the priest can negotiate with the warlords, since he has connections to illegal activity. The priest is able to pay off the enemy and Secretary McCord and the President are credited with saving 50,000 innocent women and children of West Africa. Secretary McCord tries to get her husband and the priest to make amends but some friendships aren’t salvageable. The priest goes back for discipline in his home country, ready to face the consequences of his actions.

With another international crisis solved, Secretary McCord comes clean and tells Nadine that she investigated her. After going through all her communications and finding nothing off course, Nadine is cleared and on the team. That bridge is mended. But Secretary McCord has another person to investigate, her predecessor, the former Secretary of State.