'Madam Secretary' explores 25th Amendment episode

The fictional White House in "Madam Secretary" will provide viewers with a crash course in the implementation of the ...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 1:56 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 1:56 PM

The fictional White House in "Madam Secretary" will provide viewers with a crash course in the implementation of the 25th Amendment -- the mechanism for removing the president from office -- in the CBS drama's next episode, titled "Sound and Fury."

If it sounds like the show's writers are copying reality -- and specifically, reports about staffers frequently discussing the amendment's invocation in Michael Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" -- they maintain that reality is, in part, imitating them.

The episode, in fact, was written and shot in October and November, long before the release of Wolff's book. The title is derived from a well-known quote in Shakespeare's "Macbeth," with the "sound" referring to a believed sonic attack on an American embassy -- itself mirroring what is alleged to have happened in Cuba -- and the "fury" describing the response from President Dalton, played by Keith Carradine.

Specifically, President Dalton is convinced the attack was perpetrated by the Russians, and threatens a response of "overwhelming force and ferocity." Fears associated with the Commander in Chief's escalation of hostilities with another nuclear power prompt his Secretary of State, Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni), and other members of the cabinet to discuss the drastic step of using the 25th Amendment to avert a crisis, leading to a fairly detailed discussion of its mechanisms.

In the course of the debate, McCord's husband, played by Tim Daly, notes that despite the strength of the U.S.' constitutional system, the government is ultimately "only as good as the people in charge."

Series creator Barbara Hall noted that the specter of the 25th Amendment has been "in the discussion and atmosphere for a while, but nothing like what's come to the forefront now." She added that unlike, say, "Law & Order," "We're not doing 'ripped from the headlines.' We're doing 'ripped from the future headlines.'"

Watched by about 9 million people a week, "Madam Secretary" seeks to represent a spectrum of viewpoints, and tries to stay ahead of the curve in terms of current events.

The goal in tackling the 25th Amendment plot, Hall said, was to offer both drama and a bit of a civics lesson -- to "show people what the process was."

Despite the polarized political environment, Hall said she rarely hears that viewers have been so angered by an episode that they will cease watching the show. An exception, she said, was when "Madam Secretary" took a clear position on climate change. (The conservative Media Research Center's Newsbusters site accused the program of engaging in "climate change propaganda.")

Hall said it can be "eerie sometimes" when a plot that the writers have conjured well in advance later arises in reality. As for the risk of alienating viewers, she said, "The biggest response we get lately is 'I wish government could be like this.'"

"Madam Secretary's" "Sound and Fury" episode will air Jan. 14 at 10 p.m. on CBS.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21315

Reported Deaths: 890
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7168539
Ramsey243797
Stearns195012
Nobles14692
Anoka121056
Dakota110235
Olmsted56210
Washington52729
Kandiyohi4681
Rice3862
Clay37324
Scott3582
Wright2531
Sherburne2142
Todd2040
Mower1891
Carver1742
Benton1672
Steele1410
Martin1255
Blue Earth1151
St. Louis11113
Freeborn930
Pine850
Winona7815
Carlton730
Nicollet695
Cottonwood640
Otter Tail600
Polk592
Watonwan560
Crow Wing561
Goodhue552
Itasca537
Chisago481
Dodge440
Chippewa420
Meeker420
Le Sueur411
Jackson390
Morrison380
Becker370
Murray350
Lyon340
Douglas290
Isanti280
McLeod270
Waseca250
Unassigned229
Rock210
Mille Lacs171
Fillmore171
Swift160
Wabasha160
Brown122
Beltrami120
Faribault120
Sibley120
Wilkin113
Cass112
Kanabec111
Norman110
Pipestone100
Marshall90
Pennington90
Pope80
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Koochiching60
Yellow Medicine60
Renville50
Mahnomen51
Lincoln50
Clearwater30
Big Stone30
Traverse30
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Redwood30
Grant20
Houston20
Roseau10
Hubbard10
Lake10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17533

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3774108
Woodbury262424
Black Hawk168239
Linn93575
Marshall87011
Dallas85714
Johnson6027
Muscatine54539
Wapello5144
Crawford4862
Tama39423
Scott3379
Louisa3347
Dubuque32316
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2430
Pottawattamie2126
Sioux2070
Washington1808
Wright1220
Allamakee1184
Plymouth1160
Warren1110
Story951
Poweshiek888
Mahaska856
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Des Moines551
Boone550
Cedar461
Guthrie433
Taylor390
Benton371
Jones360
Clarke350
Iowa330
Monroe334
Osceola320
Buchanan320
Shelby310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Hamilton260
Fayette260
Monona240
Madison241
Winneshiek230
Lee220
Cerro Gordo221
Davis200
Grundy190
Lyon190
Harrison190
Jefferson180
Floyd181
Mills160
Cherokee160
Butler150
Delaware150
Keokuk140
Greene130
Sac130
Hardin130
Humboldt130
Ida130
Howard120
Jackson120
Appanoose123
Hancock120
Audubon111
Cass110
Van Buren100
Clay100
Page100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Dickinson90
Franklin80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Emmet70
Union70
Kossuth70
Unassigned60
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Mitchell40
Pocahontas40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
Rochester
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Mason City
Few Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 65°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Charles City
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Storms a brewin'
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Weather 5/25

Image

Honoring Veterans During a Pandemic

Image

Loud Mouth Brass Band spreads cheer to residents in Slattery Park

Image

Finding the silver lining during the pandemic

Image

Will Memorial Day cause a coronavirus spike?

Image

Can you catch Covid-19 from mosquitos?

Image

125 Live Restaurant partnership

Image

Taps in City Park

Image

100 Most traveled days in MN have begun

Image

Parade in the park

Community Events