104658_0732bbTonight on CBS (8:30/7:30c depending on football, and re-airing at 10:30/9:30c), the all new drama MADAM SECRETARY premieres.  Téa Leoni stars as Elizabeth McCord, a woman who, due to a history with the President from her days in the CIA (she left for ethical reasons), finds herself as the surprising new Secretary of State for the United States. As she struggles to find her footing among the more seasoned members of the cabinet and inner circle, she also has to find the time to spend with her family as they also adjust to their new lives in DC.

The first episode finds McCord navigating the murky waters of trying to rescue teenagers wrongly imprisoned (or are they?) in the Middle East.  On top of that, she’s forced to establish what her image will be as she deals with an impending state dinner, her first, and a team that doesn’t really trust her.

The show is a perfectly solid CBS drama.  That’s not to say that the show is bad or good – it’s certainly not perfect and at times it’s pretty boring as some of the moves and moments on screen are obvious from the jump.  What the show has going for it more than a lot of the other new dramas this season is a cast that is so good it’s almost a little insane.  I mentioned Leoni, who is relatable and strong at the same time.  She has a rough edge to her that makes her SoS different than what we’ve seen before.  Her chemistry is perfectly believable with her onscreen hubby, played by the getting-better-with-age Tim Daly. He’s not given a ton to do right off the bat, but he looks good doing it.

Bebe Neuwirth is Elizabeth’s Chief of Staff, and I feel like any that woman does is golden. Same can be said for always-bad-guy Zeljko Ivanek (I spelled it right without looking it up) – he’s playing the Chief of Staff to the President (Keith Carradine), and he goes toe to toe with the new SoS on more than one occasion.  Formidable adversaries, it’ll be interesting to see if he’s again been typecast as the guy who is up to no good!  Rounding out the “known” folks is Geoffrey Arend who adds humor to the show.

It’s not my favorite new drama, but it’s not the worst thing on TV either (how’s that for a recommendation?) – what it comes down to is that with a cast like this and writing that has potential, I could see MADAM SECRETARY becoming a solid hit that could take the mantel of strong female-driven show with a political spin from personal favorite THE GOOD WIFE.

Check out images from the first episode here!


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