Madam Secretary Recap: Chains of Command
“Madam Secretary” Season 1 Episode 13 “Chain of Command” aired last Sunday, Jan 11, 2015 at 8:00 PM on CBS. In this episode, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) reconnected with her old friend, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Yousif Obaid (Aasif Mandvi), as the State Department challenged the Bahranian government after trying to seek justice against a Bahranian diplomat who wrongfully imprisoned his maid. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and her family were treated with a visit by Henry McCord’s (Tim Daly) father, Patrick, and while Henry tried to understand his own father, Stephanie “Stevie”, their eldest daughter realized some things about her own relationship with her mother. Read on to learn more about this episode.
Several police officers went inside a diplomat’s house as it had been robbed. They were then surprised after discovering a woman locked up in a boiler room, after they searched the house as they had heard her radio or television. As soon as the Hassani’s arrived home, they were informed that they had been robbed, and were questioned as to why they were “holding this woman” as a prisoner. He then announced that he was a “diplomat of the Kingdom of Bahrain” and demanded full immunity.
Meanwhile, at the McCord household, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) and Henry McCord (Tim Daly) unpacked the groceries in order to get ready for Henry’s father’s visit. Even though Henry and his father did not get along well, Elizabeth was happy that he was coming as that meant that their eldest daughter, Stephanie or “Stevie” (Wallis Currie-Wood) would be home for a while, and told her husband that she could tolerate Patrick McCord as she was a “professional peacemaker”. Their preparations were then interrupted by a telephone call which meant that Elizabeth had to go to work.
At the State Department, she was greeted by her Chief of Staff- Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth), her press coordinator- Daisy Grant (Patina Miller), her foreign affairs adviser- Jay Whitman (Sebastian Arcelus) and her personal assistant- Blake Moran (Erich Bergen). They then informed her that the police had discovered that the Hassani’s, Bahranian counselors and diplomats, had been keeping their maid, Indonesian Kemala Shihab (Yolande Bavan) locked up inside their house for three years. They then declared immunity, which “was corroborated” by an embassy worker, and they were currently in the Bahranian embassy. Because of this violation of human rights, Elizabeth told them that she wanted to “unwrite” the unwritten rule of what position got one immunity from prosecution, even if it meant undermining the hard work that the Department of Defense put into renovating their base at Manama, Bahrain, which was a key position for them in the Middle East. She then instructed Blake to “serve the Ambassador” and told him to “waive the immunity claim”. She told them that she knew the Royal Family, and knew that they “weren’t all hardliners”. She then instructed Daisy to visit Kemala, and instructed Nadine to send in some agents to be stationed discreetly outside the embassy. She also told them that she was going to try to bring the Department of Justice to allow them to have a “no holds barred criminal investigation” against the Hassani’s. While Nadine called an agent to carry out Elizabeth’s instructions, she became a little bit rattled as she noticed that her pen was missing.
Back at home, Elizabeth saw that the children were with their grandfather, who was telling them a fantastic story about the Depression. After greeting her, Stevie made a remark a retort aimed at her. Patrick then brought up the fact that Elizabeth had grown up among moneyed people who owned a horse farm, which Henry got annoyed at as he could not see what the problem with that was.
Later that night, after dinner, Patrick asked Elizabeth if she could help set up a meeting for him so that he would have a chance to talk to someone in the government, like a lobbyist, about the steelworkers he was representing in their Union. She then agreed to “see what she could do”, much to the annoyance of Henry.
The next day, she was informed by the Department of Justice that they had “enough to prosecute”, but that their warrant was useless as long as the Hassanis were inside the embassy. Afterwards, Elizabeth allowed Daisy to put out a story about the Hassanis, and instructed them to tell the police to chase after the Hassanis, who tried to fly out of the country. Bahrain then got angry as the police had “strip searched” the Hassani’s as per standard procedure, and Nadine informed Elizabeth that in order to show how displeased they were, they were sending over Crown Prince Yousif Obaid (Aasif Mandvi). To their surprise, Elizabeth told them that she could manage the prince, and told them that she knew that he was “exceptionally ticklish”. After Elizabeth had left, Nadine continued the meeting by informing them that a bunch of first graders, winners of the State Department essay writing contest, were coming the next day, and told them to return her missing pen, as she knew that it had been stolen from her desk.
Admiral Hill then walked into Elizabeth’s office and told her that the Joint Chiefs wanted her to release the Hassani’s in order to secure Bahrain’s cooperation with the United States’ naval base at Manama. However, Elizabeth refused to back donw.
Back at home, Stevie tried to help out her grandfather with his powerpoint for his meeting the following day, and learned from him, that she could probably get a job at the DC Chapter of his Union, as he was a board member.
Back at the State Department, Yousif came into her office, looking stately, and told her that Bahrain “cannot abide” in what she wanted. However, she just laughed and hugged her old friend, much to the surprise of Blake. She then explained to him that they had been schoolmates at boarding school, and had been “co-captains of the debate team”, and that the last time that they had seen each other was when Stevie was a baby. He then confessed that he was in a “tight spot”, but needed her to “reinstate immunity” to the Hassani’s and argued that American officials were also guilty of violating human rights when it came to “imprisoned Arabs”. He then told her that he would try his best to talk to his father, the king, who was old and sick. She then invited him over for dinner, especially as he had not met Alisson and Jason yet, and promised “not to talk shop”.
Afterwards, she and Daisy met Kemala, who was only worried about getting deported and asked her when she could work again.
Back at the State Department, Elizabeth was outraged after learning that they could press charges, and would have to let the Hassani’s go as he had been promoted to First Secretary, which guaranteed him full immunity. She shared her outrage with Yousif before dinner, inside her study, and he told her that his father had convinced him to do so, even after he had tried to argue for a “trial in America”. He then tried to make her understand that he was in a very difficult position as his father’s enemies were just waiting for the king to die and for the Prince to make a mistake so that they could “call for a new rule”. Things were even more delicate as the Bahrainians already resented the fact that he was more liberal and that he had had a Western education. He then reassured her that he was going to change things in Bahrain when he became King, and asked “Lizzie” to let him become a king first.
Later, over dinner, Patrick commented about the fact that Yousif owned slaves. This allowed for Stevie to start criticizing Elizabeth, which led to an argument between the three children. They were then interrupted by Henry, who told them and Patrick not talk about the matter again. Stevie then told her parents that she was going to apply for a new job, to be a “union organizer” with her grandfather.
After dinner, Elizabeth apologized for her children’s behavior, but told him that she wasn’t sorry about what she had told him earlier. Yousif then told her that it was “good for the young to push the boundaries”. She then replied by telling him that it might good for them to “push the boundaries” as well, and reminded him of what he had said before they graduated from boarding school- that “a little dissent is good, especially if you’re standing up for the right thing”.
The next day, Stevie went to the Union office, only to find out that the position she had mentioned to her grandfather was not open, and that Patrick was not on the board of his union.
Meanwhile, at the State Department, while Elizabeth handed out certificates and pens, she gave away a NASA pen that was on her desk. Nadine then recognized it as the pen that had gone missing, and realized that she had misplaced it.
Back at home, Patrick became upset that his meeting had been a “waste” as Elizabeth had “stuck him with a nobody”, and criticized her for being friends with a “slave owning prince”. After Henry told him calm down, Stevie, who had been crying, came in, and called Patrick a fake as she had just learned that he had not been on the board of his union for around five years already. She felt bad that he had lied to her, and had given her false hope. She then told them that at least Elizabeth had owned up to what she had done, and was not “a fake”.
At the State Department, Elizabeth apologized to Kemala that justice would not be seen to, and gave her the option to seek asylum in the United States. However, all Kemala wanted was to leave for Bahrain so that she could work for Hassani’s brother.
After she left, Jay informed Elizabeth that Yousif was currently holding a televised press conference in which he quoted his own quote to the people, and announced that the Hassani’s would be prosecuted for their crimes. However, their joy turned into sorrow as the prince was shot and killed by a radical gunman, as the prince’s speech had been leaked out “hours before the press conference”. This left Elizabeth in a tight position as she could not join the funeral, and could only be with the other women at the back of the mosque, which would be seen as an insult to her gender and her office, as a representative of the United States. She had until 12 midnight to decide on what to do, so that everything, including the Manama Base would not be compromised, as the funeral was scheduled for the following afternoon.
Back at home, Henry could not believe that his father had lied about being on the board for five years as he had been unceremoniously kicked off because of his age. Henry then told him that both he and Stevie looked up to him, and that he had taught Henry to work hard for things, which he did. He then insisted that he would go home on a bus as he refused to accept “charity” from his son, who tried to get him a plane ticket instead.
Later that night, Alisson and Jason comforted their mother about the loss of Yousif. She then admitted to Henry that she felt bad for “pushing” Yousif, as it had ended up in his death. She then told him that as his friend, that she did want to go to the funeral.
Just before midnight, Elizabeth’s team was shocked to learn that they weren’t going with her to Bahrain.
At Bahrain, she managed to meet up with King Naheed Obaid before Yousif’s funeral, and there, she told him that she had come as Yousif’s friend, Lizzie, and told the king that she “cared very deeply” for Yousif and would “give anything to argue with him again”. At this, the King agreed that he shared the same sentiment.
The next day, Glenn (John Pankow), from NASA, whom Nadine was dating, paid her a surprise visit at the office, as he was at the State Department for a meeting. She then apologized for losing the pen, but he told her that