Madam Secretary Recap: Need to Know

By Kitin Miranda | 2 years ago
Madam Secretary Recap: Need to Know

“Madam Secretary” Season 1 Episode 8 “Need to Know” aired last Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, at 8:00 p.m on CBS. In this episode, Dr. Henry McCord’s (Tim Daly) operation with the NSA occupied his time. On the other hand, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord’s (Tea Leoni) plan on bringing in a consultant for Moldova went south. It was because an ordinary trip back to Moldova turned into a rescue mission to recover a dear colleague. Meanwhile, Elizabeth decided to ask for some help from her CIA analyst friends in order to get to the bottom of their friend George (William Sadler) and former Secretary of State Vincent Marsh’s deaths. Read on to learn more about this episode.  

At the beginning of the episode, Dr. Henry McCord (Tim Daly) was dropped off by a black van at Georgetown University.


Meanwhile, at the White House, a very upset Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) burst into the President’s Chief of Staff’s, Russell Jackson (Zeljko Ivanek), office. She demanded to know why he allowed Henry to be reactivated by the NSA. It also posed a threat on her as the Secretary of State, since no diplomat would ever trust her again if her husband’s NSA activities were ever leaked. However, Russell told her that he had mentioned this to the President, who decided that it was worth the risk and that it would be a very short operation. Elizabeth then left his office as she had an appointment with the Prime Minister of Moldova.

At Georgetown, Henry attended a function, in which he purposefully bumped into his old friend, Klaus Von Muhlberg (Ronald Guttman), whom he hadn’t seen since he presented a paper in Damascus.  They also talked about the beautiful, and one of a kind chess sets that Klaus had bought in Jerusalem, which was still in his possession. Henry then asked if he could have his first edition copy of a certain book back. He reassured him that if he couldn’t find it, then they could just play chess instead. Klaus then expressed his surprise at seeing Henry there, as he knew that Henry focused more on pure theology. However, he claimed that he was there for some research on St. Francis for a book that he was writing. Afterward, he went to the black van in order for the technician on site to get the wire that had been planted on him.  

At the State Department, Daisy Grant (Patina Miller) showed off her engagement ring to everyone, while Matt Mahoney (Geoffrey Arend) was not happy about it. She was on her way to her office to meet with Prime Minister Diacov (Victor Slezak), the Prime Minister of Moldova. Her Chief of Staff, Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth), informed her that separatists in Moldova, led by General Kolba (Daniel Oreskes), who was fond of tweeting, had just launched an attack. Elizabeth’s personal assistant, Blake Moran (Erich Bergen), then confirmed discreetly that their other guest was there as well and waiting. Inside, Prime Minister Diacov asked for military support from the United States in order to properly go against the rebel separatists in Moldova. Elizabeth could not give him any weapons without meeting first with the foreign relations committee the following week, but she loaned him Jim Ionesco (Tom Degnan), an old CIA friend of hers who currently worked at the State Department as he was an expert in counterinsurgency tactics and was an ethnic Moldovan.  

At home, Elizabeth’s second daughter, Alison (Kathrine Herzer), tried her best to make stir fry vegetables for dinner, while Jason (Evan Roe), her youngest, watched a spoof political show which mocked General Kolba’s tweets, which had hinted that he wanted to see Secretary of State McCord’s legs. After realizing that Jason was wearing cologne, Henry and Elizabeth realized that he was trying to impress a girl named Madison, whom he claimed was a 7 1/2 and that he wanted to ask her out to the mall to go to a concert.

Later that night, Elizabeth told Henry that she missed being a professor as right now, they both could not discuss with each other what really happened to them that day. She told him that she was going to be glad when his NSA operation was finally over. She also expressed her worries that she still believed that her predecessor was killed and told Henry that she was going to mention it at her spy reunion.

The next morning, Matt and Daisy fought about how Elizabeth should react to Kolba’s tweets. Daisy wanted to release a statement going against Kolba, while Matt insisted that she shouldn’t engage. In the end, Elizabeth decided to side with Matt, as releasing a statement or tweeting back would only mean that she had stooped down to his level.  

As soon as she returned to her office, she was greeted by Nadine, who informed her that Diacov’s plane had gone missing. The working theory is that it had been shot down by Kolba and that Jim’s wife, Claire (Tammy Blanchard), was there. After Elizabeth met her, she agreed to let her stay at the State Department in the meantime, until they could find out some more information about what was happening.

Meanwhile, Henry met his handler at an abandoned building. She gave him a duplicate of the chess pieces found in Klaus’ unique chess set, which was fitted with a bug. She told him that it was important for him to get into Klaus’ house and plant the bug on the chess set. They learned that Klaus had been laundering money for a known terrorist whose movements had currently shifted, which made them fear that he was planning on launching an attack. They believed that he had several cans of sarin gas with him. However, Henry did not have to wait for an invitation as Klaus came by his classroom that day to invite him to a small gathering at his house that evening.

While Daisy and Matt debated and speculated about what had happened to the plane, Elizabeth learned from the director of the NTSB that the plane had not been shot down. Before he left, Elizabeth, after asking a strange question, discovered that none of the ground crew of Vincent Marsh’s plane had been polygraphed as it was not a protocol. Because of this new information, Elizabeth reached out to CIA director Andrew Munsey (Patrick Breen) and asked for his help in figuring out what had happened to the plane.


At her spy reunion, Elizabeth told Isabel (Marin Hinkle) and Juliet (Nilaja Sun) about the fact that George (William Sadler) believed that Vincent Marsh had been murdered. Juliet believed her, as George’s apparent accident and suicide did not make any sense at all. Elizabeth then revealed to them that she had told them as she trusted them, as George had said that it was possible that someone within the CIA had been responsible for Marsh’s death. However, if they were not interested in helping her out, then this conversation never happened. She then left abruptly as Nadine had summoned her back on a matter that was urgent.

At Klaus’ small house party, Henry switched the chess piece to the replica with the bug inside it, on the way to the restroom. After Klaus saw Henry near the chess set, Henry told him that he could not resist in taking a look at it, and the two old friends decided to play for it after the party. However, as it ended up as a tie, Klaus insisted that Henry take it, as he had won. Henry refused to take something that he had not won fair and square.  

Back at the State Department, Munsey revealed to Elizabeth that Diacov’s plane had been hijacked by the co-pilot, who, according to Turkish intelligence, had met up with Kolba in the Crimea during his vacation two months ago. Based on some satellite images, they were able to ascertain that the plane was currently at a former Soviet air base in rebel territory. Elizabeth then instructed to Nadine to comfort and give some food to Claire, while she went to the situation room.

There, they learned that they had to get them out of a heavily guarded and fortified control tower. However, they did have an advantage as they had the element of surprise. Elizabeth proposed that they copy Operation Broken Kingdom. They fooled some guards into thinking that the person in the Jaguar was their leader, as the leader of that group was fond of Jaguars. However, as Kolba’s patterns were unpredictable, Elizabeth suggested that she occupy him by negotiating with him. The admiral then agreed to the plan and sent over some SEALS to complete the mission.

Meanwhile, Henry’s handler told him that his mission was complete as the bug was currently active. However, Henry volunteered to continue on with the mission, as he knew what sarin gas does. His handler then told him that it would be up to the president to decide whether or not he would continue acting as an NSA agent.

Back at the State Department, everyone was shocked when Elizabeth asked Blake to call up General Kolba. While she negotiated with Kolba on video chat, the SEALS entered the compound, as Kolba’s troops thought that the man in the Rolls-Royce was him. They discovered that the Prime Minister was dead and retrieved Jim, who was being tortured by Kolba’s men. Just as Kolba discovered that his helicopters were being blown up, Elizabeth terminated the conference call.

At the White House, Elizabeth informed Russell that the new Moldovan Prime Minister had been sworn in and that she was taking credit for the entire operation. Russia, who were allies with Kolba, were furious, as Kolba’s forces were no longer in play.

At the State Department, Nadine scolded Daisy and Matt for letting their personal lives interfere with their jobs and their interactions at work. She decided to allow them to accompany her in reuniting Claire with her husband, Jim.

At home, Henry told off Jason, after he said that he would be  asking out Madison’s friend, Eve, out instead because she’s an 8 &frac12. After Henry taught him a lesson on respecting women, Jason decided to take out Madison instead of Eve. Later that night, Henry told Elizabeth that he was proud of her and that the operation with the NSA was finally over. However, they were interrupted as Isabel told Elizabeth that she was coming over.

Isabel then said that Juliet was not going to help Elizabeth as she had two very small children to worry about, but that she, Isabelle, was in. George had sent her a dollar bill with the words TAMERLANE on it, which she took to mean that George wanted her to help Elizabeth figure out who had killed Vincent Marsh and him.

And that was all for the recap on “Madam Secretary” Season 1 Episode 8 “Need to Know.” For more news and updates, including spoilers and recaps, on “Madam Secretary” and other television shows, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).

Catch “Madam Secretary” every Sunday at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gustavo Fernandez