Madam Secretary – The Race
By: Taylor Gates
Stevie (Wallis Currie-Wood) is attempting to perform CPR on Russell (Željko Ivanek) when Dalton (Keith Carradine) and Elizabeth (Tea Leoni) rush in accompanied by medical professionals. They take over for her, but Stevie is shaken by the ordeal and Elizabeth hesitates leaving her to go to an urgent meeting with Admiral Hill (Johanna Day). Hill tells Elizabeth and Dalton she’s getting reports that Iran launched missiles at Israel. Most of them were intercepted, but one of them got through and struck the facility. Dalton says he will talk to President Shiraz (Houshang Touzie) after speaking to Taylor Wilson (Karen Pittman) about an important campaign matter. He asks Elizabeth to stay and help him out considering all the stress and chaos happening.
Taylor says that someone is trying to convince the House to move the election up from January to next week. They’re saying they need a definite president in the midst of all the instability. Taylor and Elizabeth want to sue—if they vote next week Evans will likely win. Dalton says he’s already upset the system enough by running as an Independent, and he doesn’t think fighting this is the best thing for the country. He gets on the phone with Shiraz and rips into him for his attack.
Nadine (Bebe Neuwirth) informs Elizabeth that Russell is stable and on his way to get bypass surgery. Elizabeth tells Daisy (Patina Miller) and Matt (Geoffrey Arend) to tell the press that the United States is nervous this conflict in the Middle East will end badly for both sides. She meets with Israeli Ambassador Dori (David Wohl), telling him to convince the president to stand down. Even though Iran provoked them, going up against their army would be catastrophic. This could lead to an all-out nuclear war. Dori says Iran will now feel their existence—Munsey (Patrick Breen) and Juliet (Nilaja Sun) knew the deal would never work.
Blake (Erich Bergen) tells Elizabeth they’ve gotten word of an Israeli attack and Elizabeth needs to meet Dalton at the hospital. They greet Russell’s wife, Carol (Linda Emond), who says the surgery is going well so far. Dalton apologizes for putting Russell under stress, but Carol says it was a diet problem. Stevie and Henry (Tim Daly) join them and Carol thanks Stevie for the chest compressions she did.
Henry tells Elizabeth he’s canceling the family charity run event that weekend, but Elizabeth tells him not to—he’s been looking forward to seeing his family for ages and she already roped her staff into participating. She tells Henry about Dori’s cheap shot bringing up Juliet and Munsey, but Henry assures her nobody could have predicted this.
It’s 3:50 in the morning and Elizabeth is wide awake. She gets a phone call about Iran kidnapping Israel’s Defense Minister Weissberg (David Cantor). Elizabeth and Dalton video chat with Shiraz, yelling at him for his insane, unprecedented move. Shiraz angrily hangs up and Dalton tells Hill to have US troops look for Weissberg. If they get to him first, they will have leverage. Is Israel does, there could be horrendous consequences.
Elizabeth goes home to greet her niece, Sarah (Emelyn Daly), and brother-in-law, Shane (John Ellison Conlee). Sarah jokingly says that Henry doesn’t have to worry about Shane beating him at the run as he hasn’t been training at all. Shane drops the bomb that Sarah has dropped out of college and enlisted in the army, shocking everyone. Everyone is supportive and proud of her decision, but Elizabeth is visibly nervous. Shane confides in Henry that he’s scared about Sarah going into the army. He thinks she’s making the decision for all the wrong reasons, including a fresh breakup. He asks Henry to talk to her about this experience before she officially commits next week. Henry agrees, but says he’s not going to try and talk her out of it.
Ephraim (Clifton Davis) tells Elizabeth and Dalton that they have narrowed down Weissberg’s likely location to an area of 900 square miles. Elizabeth is nervous as this is a lot of space and Israel won’t stand down forever. Taylor tells Dalton he has one more card to play. Their office received a report awhile back with details about Evans’ health—he has a gene that makes him susceptible to developing early onset Alzheimer’s. Taylor says the public has the right to know and it might be their only option. Hill says Israel is planning on targeting Iranian nuclear power plants and Elizabeth knows Iran will retaliate with everything they have.
In the control room, Ephraim says that Israel has located Weissberg. Dalton says they need to buy some time so Israel doesn’t attack and Hill suggests they knock out their satellite. It’s messy, but it could work in a pinch. It would technically be an act of war, but Israel would never retaliate against them. Dalton isn’t willing to completely jeopardize their relationship and Elizabeth wonders if they could do the same thing with cyber technology. An expert informs her they developed the technology with Israel so they would be able to clean it up quickly, but it might buy them twenty-four hours. Elizabeth thinks that’s enough time to get their hostage back and diffuse the situation. Even though it’s still an act of war, it’s something Dalton can live with.
Henry and Sarah go on a run and talk about her future. Sarah tells Henry she made the cut as an army nursing specialist. She also spills the fact that her dad lost his job earlier that year—he showed up to a sales call drunk. It’s not that he’s an alcoholic, but he’s lost interest in everything since his father died. Sarah is worried about him, but she wants to go away and have a life.
Stevie visits Russell in the hospital, reading him a book as he sleeps. He soon wakes up and Stevie tells him that Carol went to get coffee and call their son. Russell demands to know what’s happening with the Middle East and the election and Stevie fills him in. He wants to spring back into action even in his weak state and demands that Stevie call the president for him.
In the control room, they manage to turn off Israel’s satellite and it works to prevent the attack. Dalton knows Israel is going to want to know why their closest ally betrayed them and Elizabeth says they could use rescuing their hostage as leverage. US troops use a secret camera to see into the building they believe the hostage is in. They soon locate him, but Dalton says to stand by. He calls Shiraz telling him the US took risky measures against Israel to protect Iran. He demands that, in return, Weissberg be released to them. Iran reluctantly complies.
Elizabeth gets home, sad that everyone but Henry is already asleep. Henry tells Elizabeth that Shane lost his job and he’s worried he’s depressed. Henry is scared Shane will clam up if he tries to talk to him, but Elizabeth says he has to try.
Elizabeth’s phone rings at 4:07 in the morning. There’s new intel saying Israel is going to hit Iran in the next few days. Elizabeth muses that Juliet obviously knew something she didn’t, as she worked on the Israel desk for almost 20 years. Henry tells her to ask her about it.
Elizabeth visits Juliet in prison. They catch up and make small talk before Elizabeth jumps in with the real reason she’s there. Juliet said it was obvious the deal wouldn’t work. After Iraq fell, the balance shifted in Iran’s favor and allowed them to become an economic powerhouse. However, their motive—to eradicate Israel—never changed. Any deal that included lifting the sanctions would have backfired. What they needed was Iran at the negotiating table. A working peace deal between the US and Iran is impossible.
Elizabeth and Dalton visit Russell. His vitals are good, but Carol orders them not to talk shop. Russell surprisingly tells Dalton not to leak Evans’ genetic report since that’s not who he is. This experience has given him a different perspective and he realizes people aren’t going to respect him for playing dirty. He wants Dalton to be a knight not a street fighter.
Elizabeth has an epiphany, telling Dalton the only way to make a lasting deal with Iran is to bring Israel to the table. Both countries are facing total destruction and the US needs to use the brink to their advantage. Dalton and Elizabeth show up in Geneva. Elizabeth talks to Israel’s leader in one room while Dalton speaks to Iran’s in another, each proposing a compromise. Dalton makes a speech for the press outside, admitting that the deal is bold and they are far from a signing ceremony. However, the fact the leaders are standing next to each other days after a ceasefire proves anything is possible.
Henry pressures Shane to go on a training run with him, but Shane isn’t feeling up to it. He admits that he’s sad—he has no job, no wife and now his daughter is leaving him. Shane, Sarah and Henry get into a screaming match, but they stop when Alison (Kathrine Herzer) turns on the TV announcing that the House is currently voting.
Dalton calls Russell, letting him know he won the election. Russell gets emotional, congratulating him and saying he’s proud to know Dalton.
Evans (J.C. MacKenzie) meets Elizabeth at the race, admitting he shed a tear at Dalton’s speech. Evans congratulates her on Dalton’s victory and Elizabeth tells him Dalton admires him and his patriotism. Evans isn’t sure this is true and brings up her meeting with Ohio lobbyists a few months ago. Elizabeth tells him the election is over and Dalton won, but Evans ominously tells her he didn’t if it turns out he lost Ohio. He’s planning on filing a suit in Cleveland the next day. If the court sides with Evans, he’ll become the next president.