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Madam Secretary - (S03E02)


The trusted U.S. Ambassador to Algeria, dies unexpectedly. Also, Henry fights to save religious antiquities in Algeria when he discovers they are being destroyed by Hizb al-Shahid, and the McCord children get their own security detail after Jason's computer is hacked.

Episode Title: The Linchpin
Airs: 2016-10-16 at 8:00 PM
  • Hank Stuever

    A particularly taut and well-structured pilot episode lays out McCord’s essential struggles, while Leoni delivers a calm, cool and wry performance.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Vicki Hyman

    Solid but a bit staid.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Sonia Saraiya

    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.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    Costars like Daly, Ivanek and Neuwirth promise great things, but Madam Secretary belongs, obviously, to Leoni, who conjures a gratifying mix of brains and heart, humor and flintiness without, and this is important, any sign of mental illness.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Michael Landweber

    As fascinating as Madam Secretary can be regarding its global focuses, it’s so far less detailed when it comes to McCord, her family, and her colleagues.

    PopMatters Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    Madam Secretary starts off solidly, with an engaging performance by Téa Leoni as the secretary of state.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Cody Ray Shafer

    A smart and enthralling D.C. drama that resurrects its predecessor's outlook, but still takes on a life of its own.

    Under The Radar Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    It can all be a bit much: Elizabeth needs to be wrong now and then. Still, against considerable odds, Leoni sells it, conveying the brains and toughness Elizabeth needs to be successful in her job and the warmth, vulnerability and sometimes prickly humor she needs to be successful at home.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Diplomacy by its nature doesn’t lend itself well to visual storytelling. Perhaps that’s why the show adds a conspiracy element.... Give props to Madam Secretary for the casting.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    No one wants this show to channel "24," but C-SPAN won't do either. For the most part, however, Madam Secretary charts a steady--and intelligent--middle course.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Jason Clark

    Leoni has great potential here, but the character development and "I'm already hooked" magic (a la The Good Wife) aren't quite there yet. [19/26 Sep 2014, p.126]

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    Madam Secretary has some good moments, but it would be better if its heroine were just a little bit worse.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    There's a great cast here--including Zeljko Ivanek as the president's Chief Of Staff and budding nemesis to Elizabeth; and Bebe Neuwirth as head of the staff Elizabeth has inherited. Yet the secondary players have yet to pop.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • David Hiltbrand

    The scripts are witty if a little pompous.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Kristi Turnquist

    The cast is stocked with solid actors--Leoni, Tim Daly as McCord's husband, Zeljko Ivanek as the President's chief of staff, Bebe Neuwirth as McCord's chief of staff--and the writing is fairly sharp, if a bit pretentious.

    The Oregonian Full Review
  • Dorothy Rabinowitz

    Likable work.... though it's very soon clear that this high-minded enterprise could use a good jolt of acid, and at least a modicum of granite authority in the character of the new secretary of state.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Even with the mystery in the White House, there's a lot to like about Madam Secretary beyond Leoni's trademark husky voice and dry delivery.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    A forgettable but not unpleasant distraction.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Tom Gliatto

    The premiere episode of Madam Secretary, for the time being, suggests that the show is very much the little sister [to The Good Wife].... But Madam Secretary, in which Téa Leoni plays the newly appointed secretary of state, deserves to hang around long enough to formulate and declare itself.

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Matt Brennan

    It's ardently conventional, even corny--and yet, against all odds, it's sort of winning too.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Lori Rackl

    Leoni’s uber-competent character--she’s brilliant, plugged-in, fluent in every language!--could easily be annoying in the hands of another actress. But Leoni gives Elizabeth McCord a savvy, down-to-earth quality that makes her easy to root for.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    In the not great but likable and intelligent Madam Secretary, Téa Leoni’s talent gets a deserving showcase.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Joanne Ostrow

    By trying to make her politically neutral, they threaten to defang the drama.

    Denver Post Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Created by Barbara Hall, 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.

    Variety Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    Leoni is fine in the title role and Daly is thoroughly dutiful as her heaven-sent husband. But the accomplished Neuwirth is little seen in the first hour while Ivanek is getting stuck in a rut of playing basically the same character over and over. What’s missing from Madame Secretary is an overriding reason to keep watching. Nothing really crackles so far.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    All the show has now is that potential, the raw talent, and a setting it doesn't know what to do with.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    Leoni brings an unaffected and alluring authority to this classy but contrived political procedural.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Mekeisha Madden Toby

    Madam Secretary has the pedigree and potential to be a great show. It just has to be more original.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    Her ability to outwit a power-mongering bulldog like Jackson notwithstanding, she is, so far, a paragon of political virtue. That may make her a welcome presence at first, but a TV version of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” aired 50 years ago and lasted just a year. As for Madam Secretary, a few warts may be needed to hold our attention in the long run.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    So far, it's contrived, predictable and seemingly allergic to ambiguity and subtext.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    Madam Secretary is just really, really dull, as if someone tried to make a counterweight to Scandal with only the boring parts--plus one shamelessly ripped-off conspiracy theory.

    Slate Full Review

  • politics

  • female protagonist

  • secretary of state

  • american politics

  • diplomacy

  • female lead