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"Madam Secretary: A Riveting Blend of Politics, Family, and Hope"


Ever since the first cords of one the most influential TV shows in my young life, Aaron Sorkin's “West Wing,'' a captivation for political drama, especially shows about the federal government, was ignited. In times of great political despair or unsettling climates, there's a natural tendency to escape into the void of current situations, seeking solace in a world where the impossible always seems worth fighting for.


Just like Aaron Sorkin's “West Wing,'' Barbara Hall’s “Madam Secretary” grips the audience from the very beginning with a powerful instrumental opening that leaves you with a sense of Americana. Running for six seasons from 2014 to 2019, this show is a shining example of what could have been if America embraced a more ideological centrist approach. It immerses viewers in a world where past secretaries of state and American history coexist, providing an entertaining and educational experience.


But before I delve into the remarkable highlights of the show, let's talk about its structure. While officially consisting of six seasons, I must point out that it's more accurately described as 5 and ½ seasons. These include five meticulously crafted 20-episode seasons, each well thought out, and one season of 10 episodes that bravely tries to forge its own path.


Like all my reviews, we'll analyze the show based on three major areas: STORY, ENJOYABILITY, and DIVERSITY.


STORY


To give you an in-depth analysis, I'll primarily focus on Seasons 1-5, and then touch upon the final 10 episodes.


The story structure of Madam Secretary evolves and improves with each passing season, which is a rarity in itself. While Season 1, much like Secretary McCord's rapid ascension to the position of Secretary of State, had its shaky moments, the show quickly found its footing. With captivating plotlines involving "governmental treason," "rogue CIA agents," and a sinister plot to overthrow the United States Government, one might expect an action-packed roller coaster ride. However, Season 1 takes a different approach, emphasizing human connections amidst the political turmoil. It expertly weaves elements of love, controversial relationships, and complex family dynamics that make you wish McCord's children would play a lesser role.



Although the show's title implies a focus on Madam Secretary, it effectively straddles the line between a political drama and a heartfelt family saga. While political intrigue is present throughout, the true heart of the show lies in watching the McCord family grow and witnessing how a chosen "work family" can bring about both positive and negative changes. Elizabeth McCord's family and the impact of her choices provide a rich and emotionally satisfying narrative, with her eldest daughter, Stevie, emerging as a standout character.


Throughout its five seasons, the show tackles thought-provoking issues and hints at a potential presidential run for Elizabeth, spanning an ambitious eight seasons in the making. However, the last 10 episodes fall disappointingly short of expectations. Despite the loss of a campaign run and the initial 100 days of the presidency, the storylines feel rushed and fail to deliver justice to the show's overall arc.



Overall, without revealing any spoilers, the story of Madam Secretary scores a solid 3.5 out of 5. However, half a point must be deducted for the underwhelming writing in the final season.



ENJOYABILITY


Madam Secretary offers a highly enjoyable viewing experience for political enthusiasts, but it's surprisingly engaging for families as well, leading to thought-provoking discussions. By providing equal screen time to different sides of major issues, the show becomes an educational journey, fostering dialogue and understanding.



While binge-watching may make the dialogue-driven episodes seem lengthy or drawn out, consuming the show in moderation enhances the viewing pleasure. Madam Secretary deserves a prominent spot in your watchlist.


DIVERSITY


Diversity in Madam Secretary warrants attention. Though challenging to incorporate diverse perspectives into a narrative primarily centered around a white female and her cisgender family, the show makes commendable efforts to address relevant issues. However, it sometimes falls short of establishing deeper connections, primarily due to a noticeable Eurocentric lens.



That being said, Madam Secretary introduces a few outstanding characters and moments that break through the barriers. Notably, it features an in-depth exploration of a bisexual character whose identity is openly expressed, providing an opportunity to challenge stigmas. Furthermore, the inclusion of a non-binary pansexual character in later seasons adds much-needed representation.



While the show explores racial extremism on various occasions, one episode, in particular, stands out as an exemplary portrayal of the American ideology of equality: "Separation of Migrants from Their Children." With masterful storytelling and tasteful execution, this episode captures the essence of America's belief in the equality of all individuals.



Overall, Madam Secretary embraces a safe approach throughout its seasons, but it shines brightly when it boldly addresses and supports diverse communities.


CONCLUSION



While I could easily write a hundred pages delving into the nuances of every episode, I encourage you to experience Madam Secretary for yourself. With exceptional acting moments and an immersive exploration of political drama, it is sure to captivate and entertain.






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