TV Review: CBS’ ‘Madam Secretary’

Téa Leoni returns to TV to play Elizabeth McCord, the newly-installed apolitical secretary of state in Madam Secretary. The CBS drama, created by Barbara Hall (Joan of Arcadia) and co-starring Tim Daly, Bebe Neuwirth and Zeljko Ivanek, premieres on Sunday, Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web compiled by B&C.

“There are so many talented people involved with Madam Secretary that I can imagine it eventually turning into something more complicated and interesting. But all the show has now is that potential, the raw talent, and a setting it doesn't know what to do with.”
Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

Madam Secretary is not perfect, but it could be. There are seeds of something excellent in this pilot, one that’s able to tell a character-driven story in a world that’s constantly changing.”
Sonia Saraiya, A.V. Club

“If anything, it seems torn between emulating two different breeds of hit dramas. One one hand, we have the likes of The Good Wife and The West Wing (which Madam Secretary evokes every time Elizabeth does a walk-and-talk through winding corridors); on the other, you’ve got the likes of Scandal, 24, and Homeland, with their dark and twisty conspiracies and seemingly unending attempts at coups d’etat.”
Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture

“Created by Barbara Hall (Joan of Arcadia), Madam Secretary has enough interesting pieces, as well as a great big world of trouble to mine, to have significant potential. The premiere, however, doesn’t bode particularly well for being able to maximize those assets, and as they say in diplomatic circles, the devil is in the details.”
Brian Lowry, Variety

“If you do come to the series with any assumption of similarities between McCord and Hillary Clinton, you’re likely to forget about them sooner rather than later, if for no other reason than the McCord marriage is nothing like what we think we know about the Clinton marriage.”
David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

“Worse, unlike Good Wife, Secretary seems to fear that anything but the most straightforward plotting will lose us. Twists are too few, solutions too simple, and knowing moments too often canceled out by silly ones.”
Robert Bianco, USA Today (opens in new tab)