DVD Review: Madam Secretary (The Complete Series)

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When Téa Leoni first showed up on the TV dial, she was the ultimate party girl. When Flying Blind hit the airwaves in 1992, America wasn’t used to a famous socialite hurricane since both Paris Hilton and Kim Kardasian were still Middle Schoolers. Her Alicia trailblazed out of control behavior within the rich and famous. Sadly the show only lasted a season. But Téa Leoni performance was unforgettable for those who watched. That’s why it was a little bit strange when the promos of Madam Secretary arrived on CBS since she was playing a complete 180 in Secretary Elizabeth McCord. But that’s what acting is about. Although we now live in a time where a wild partying New Yorker could play a major role in Washington D.C. Madam Secretary: The Complete Series contains all six seasons of McCord dealing with the world, politics and family.

When Madam Secretary debuted in the Fall of 2014, the concept of a woman serving as U.S. Secretary of State wasn’t so far fetched. At this point Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton had been America’s chief diplomat. This was not so much wondering what if a female was sworn into the position so much as pondering what the women that have already served must go through when flying around the world dealing with international incidents. Although flying is what gets her in the big position. Turns out the previous Secretary of State died in a plane crash. Her old CIA boss Conrad Dalton (Dexter Keith Carradine) is now the president and brings her on board. McCord is a former operative so she knows how to handle things in a crisis. This is good since she has to deal with enough conflicts in Washington D.C. without calling any world leaders. Turns out her chief of staff Nadine Tolliver (Cheers‘ Bebe Neuwirth) was the previous Secretary’s mistress. She’s got even more clashes with the White House’s Chief of Staff Russell Jackson (Oz‘s Željko Ivanek). Things are also a bit chaotic at home with her husband Henry (Wings‘ Tim Daly as Henry McCord) is still in the CIA. Forget the United Nations, she has to constantly deal with her two daughters and son. Things gets rough when the son does something to the family in a bit of crisis management. But Secretary McCord also has to worry about the Russians.

During the six seasons, the show built up enough of a loyal following that during the fifth season former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell dropped by the set to play themselves. During the fifth and sixth season McCord wants to do more than be the messenger for the president. She runs for the big office in the White House. This creates even more chaos in her life as she juggles her family, career and a massive campaign at the same time. The series sixth season has only 10 episodes as fans get the outcome of her campaign. If you’ve been collecting the season sets, you can also get Madam Secretary: The Final Season boxset to finish up your collection.

Madam Secretary: The Complete Series gives a full view to McCord’s time in president’s cabinet. The series balances her home life with the concerns around the world. This balance is what kept the audience excited about the show. People wanted to see McCord’s life at her desk and breakfast table. Téa Leoni pulls off the role of mother and diplomat by proving both require constant negotiations.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the details of the Oval Office to make it seem like a CNN visits the White House special. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 so you can get in the middle of the diplomatic action. There’s also a Dolby Digital 2.0 in case you want to hear the sound from front of the room. The episodes are subtitled.

Audio Commentaries are featured on two episodes of the first season. “Pilot” features Barbara Hall and Lori McCreary. “There But for the Grace of God” lets Téa Leoni and Tim Daly discuss their work on the show.

Deleted Scenes are on many of the episodes.

Extraordinary Credentials: The Making of Madam Secretary Season One (29:31) goes through the various plot twists and turns. Cast and crew discuss their favorite moments.

Madam Secretary at the Politico Playbook Luncheon (42:45) has the cast and crew talk about the show on a stage. Morgan Freeman sits in the middle chairs with Téa Leoni.

Photo Gallery (3:06) are snaps from the set.

Launch Promos (5:22) has spots to promote the show.

Times Talks: Madam Secretary (45:47) is a panel discussion with Téa Leoni, Morgan Freeman and others on stage.

Madam Secretary Season 2: Guest Stars (6:42) points out famous faces that dropped by the set including Morgan Freeman.

Politics Revealed: A Look at the Second Year (13:00) summarizes the big stories for the season.

A Tour of the Oval Office (6:30) has Keith Carradine show you around the set. It’s not the real Oval Office.

A Day in the Life: An Inside Look at Madam Secretary Season 3 (6:55) gives us insight into what a production assistant does on the set.

Welcome to the State Department (13:11) is a set tour with Erich Bergen. turns out they don’t shoot at the real State Department or White House.

Foreign Relations: Authenticating the Look of Madam Secretary (9:11) shows off more tricks to be able to duplicate Washington D.C. locations and various fields of war.

1st Look (5:32) was the preview put out before the series started airing on CBS.

Talent Takes (3:26) gives an introduction to cast and crew along with the characters.

Fall Campaign (3:44) features a visit from Morgan Freeman.

Family Dynamic (3:32) addresses how Secretary McCord isn’t a single woman. She’s got to deal with a husband and kids.

Behind the Scenes of Madam Secretary (2:46) is a quick trip to show us what goes into making an episode.

Segment from “Entertainment Tonight” (1:13) is coverage of Téa Leoni meeting the former Secretaries of State.

The Esteemed Women of Sunday Nights: Téa Leoni (2:31) is about what she brings to the role. Executive producer Morgan Freeman praises her.

CBS DVD presents Madam Secretary: The Complete Series. Starring: Téa Leoni, Tim Daly, Patina Miller, Željko Ivanek, Bebe Neuwirth and Keith Carradine. Boxset Contents: 120 episodes on 33 DVDs. Released: April 7, 2020.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.