On Monday, April 27 the Paley Center hosted an evening with the cast and creators of CBS’ hit series, “Madam Secretary.” Cast members Téa Leoni and Tim Daly joined creator and executive Producer, Barbara Hall and executive producer, Lori McCreary for an exclusive screening and panel discussion. In a twisted turn of events, guests saw the Secretary of State order a command to go and find her former best friend, who is one of the most sought after people by the United States government. The twenty-first episode aptly titled, “The Kill List,” debuted at The Paley Center yesterday, with the cast and crew available for questions, and hosted by journalist Bob Schieffer. With Téa Leoni playing Elizabeth McCord, the Secretary of State, and Tim Daly, playing her husband Henry, the duo provided an entertaining and informative look into how the show is made and the politics behind it. “The Kill List” showed Secretary McCord trying to get a nuclear peace deal signed between Iran and the United States. In the episode gay rights activists were protesting outside the White House lawn over the stoning of an openly gay Iranian man, and a former CIA friend of the Secretary of State was found in Iran. It developed into this suspending roller coaster ride of thrill and anticipation.
In the Q&A that followed McCreary confessed that Henry McCord’s job has changed (when asked about filming around the Fordham campus) after Hall contently admitted the show was picked up for a second season. Perhaps most interesting were the two actors’ encounters with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Apparently the duo knows Albright personally, or as Leoni states, “She’s Tim’s girlfriend. There, it’s out,” prompting Daly to respond, “Look at the photos, we’re holding hands.” When Leoni met Madeleine Albright she asked her if she had ever been in a situation where her life was in danger. When she was in Prague, she was driven to a bridge where she was going to have a discussion with a very important person. And they picked her up in a white van, which she thought it was odd. But she got in and they drove her to the base of this bridge and they opened this big wide door. She got out and they handed her her raincoat, which weighed 45 pounds, which was completely lined with Kevlar. Leoni continued, “And she had her meeting and she came back and asked, ‘Was I in danger?’ And they said, ‘No.’ And she asked, ‘So what’s the van about?’ And they said, ‘Well this is a medic van, for if you were shot.’”
Schieffer also had nothing but praise for the show. It is not just a drama. Everything in the show have happened or already has happened. “We put up a sentence that said, ‘North Korea starts war over Hollywood movie.’ And it stayed up there all year and I would come into the writer’s room and say, ‘Why don’t we do this North Korea story? I think it’s great.’ And they go, ‘It’s so unrealistic.’ That was the situation we were glad we didn’t do because if we had, and aired on around that time, we wouldn’t have been able to air it. I think it would have been difficult.” Overall, it was an informative night both about the show and about the politics behind the show. You can catch weekly episodes on Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS.