When Dr. Beth McCord became Secretary of State, she had the background as a CIA analyst and poly-sci professor from UVA to make her a solid choice by the sitting president. But McCord could never have imagined the level of personal trauma the position would cause her, and the effects that it would have on her family over time. In the third season of CBS’ hit television show, the stakes have never been higher, or more personal.
As McCord, Tea Leoni plays the role staunchly, straightforwardly, but with humor, wit, and a certain amount of realistic self-awareness. She’s the face of the nation at times in negotiating settlements with other countries, but she’s faced with a different level of diplomacy at home, with her husband Henry (Tim Daly) who has his own set of requirements put on him. [Daly’s subplots are the ones I often find the most interesting through the seasons, as he’s faced with recruiting his own students, serving as a diplomat/agent himself, and often keeping the truth from his SoS wife.] The two will again face choices as parents to their three children that show the difficulties of living a public life in the forefront of the nation’s attention, while dealing with the same things all parents do on top of that, in their own home.
Another excellent attribute of the show is the rivalry, friendly and otherwise, between McCord and White House Chief of Staff Russell Jackson (Zeljko Ivaneki), who deals and double deals, sometimes on his own and sometimes on behalf of the president (Keith Carradine). Leoni and Ivaneki play up their banter well, often arguing to the point where the audience is left to believe both sides.. proving the difficulty of power brokers when nations are at stake.
While not everyone will agree with McCord’s politics, it’s clear that she has a deep love for the nation, and a desire to make choices that are ethically sound… even when the dangers are deeply personal.
Special features include a “Day in the Life” behind-the-scenes look as well as extended and deleted scenes from a few of the episodes.