Madam Secretary’s first season has been built on the backbone of the mysterious murder of the former Secretary of State and the question of what he was involved in that would cause him to be murdered. The answers have been coming in slowly throughout the season, as Elizabeth McCord’s list of suspects are cut shorter and shorter. One of the main suspects that McCord had under investigation in the first half of the season was White House Chief of Staff Russell Jackson, whom she confronted with her suspicions in the mid season finale “Game On”, concluding that arc in away that fell in line with the tone of the series.
Madam Secretary has progressed impressively within its first handful of episodes, continuing to display a great lead character along with a supporting cast that has slowly, but increasingly, shown interesting development. The pilot set the stage with its strong writing and talented cast, yet also underwhelmed with its political drama and generic production values. But the series has continued to build on its strengths and has improved enough that it’s no longer marred by its pilot’s weaknesses. The lead character is well crafted and so are her relationships with the supporting cast, which makes for greater clarity between the character’s main narrative and the political drama, with a better integrated story and more development. The only potential faults of these early episodes is that at times, the writers sacrifice narrative complexity for optimistic and comprehensive storytelling, with plot resolutions that could have led to darker and more difficult conflicts being oversimplified in order to allow for quick resolutions. The series so far has been very light and positive, with only an underlying current of devious in-house governmental foul play. This pacing is working well for the show currently, drawing in its audience, but somewhere down the line the darker side of the political game needs to have more severe consequences.