Sunday night, CBS will debut “Madam Secretary,” a series starring Téa Leoni as a newly appointed U.S. secretary of state. To get the lowdown, The Daily Signal checked out Politico Playbook’s meet-the-cast-and-crew event Friday at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill featuring stars Leoni and Tim Daly and producers Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and Barbara Hall.
Whether or not you tune in, here are nine facts to brief you on the new “political drama” about power in Washington:
1. Despite taking place largely in Washington, “Madam Secretary” was mostly shot in New York City because producers got tax incentives.
2. Although the producers say the show drew inspiration from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state (what, Madeleine Albright and Condi Rice are potted plants?), they didn’t not meet with Clinton or her team before filming.
3. The pilot episode of “Madam Secretary” centers around a hostage situation in Syria. Barbara Hall, executive producer and writer, said she chose Syria because she “thought that’s a place where we’re going to be dealing with troops for a long time.”
4. The second episode, although titled “Another Benghazi,” continues to focus on a hostage crisis in Syria. Darn.
5. Téa Leoni, who plays Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, said she drew inspiration for the character from the “strong” women who helped raise her.
6. Tim Daly, who plays the secretary of state’s husband, Henry McCord, said he met former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Albright, he said, is a big fan of his show “Private Practice.” During casting, Morgan Freeman added during the Politico event, he thought Daly looked too young for the part.
7. The president and administration Elizabeth McCord serves has yet to be named as Republican or Democrat because, the producers said, they hope to highlight “process,” not politics. “I think a lot of the time, the way we consume politics is to take a stand and take a position, and to ignore the process,” Hall said. “Especially in the State Department … You have international relations to consider, you have domestic relations to consider, and you have interoffice relations to consider.”
8. Hall was a co-executive producer of “Homeland,” the Emmy-winning Showtime drama. She grew up in Chatham, Va., and attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.
9. McCreary said she was inspired to create “Madam Secretary” after seeing Hillary Clinton make her “What difference does it make?” remarks before a Senate committee in testimony last year about the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 terror attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.