Madam Secretary – The Seventh Floor
By: Taylor Gates
Blake (Erich Bergen) runs into Jordan (Justin Mark), a fellow assistant, at a coffee shop. He harasses him about Colin Mitchell (Ian Lyons)—a journalist who has been wrongly imprisoned in Sudan on false espionage charges. He wants the State Department to see if Sudan is for real when they said there might be a way to work out his release. Jordan’s boss, Congressman Baskin (John Procaccino), is highly invested in the case. Blake brings it up to Nadine (Bebe Neuwirth), who tells him to investigate Sudan’s motives while still treading lightly.
Blake goes to the office of Jessica Moore (Deidre Goodwin) and Peter Harriman (Skipp Sudduth), who tell him Baskin is only suddenly interested because he’s had pushback from his district. Plus, their office has been trying for years to resolve the Mitchell case while also holding things together in South Sudan. They tell Blake he doesn’t have the security clearance to know what they know and can’t give him any answers. Blake comes back with Jay (Sebastian Arcelus), and they hesitantly admit that Sudan has told them Mitchell has tuberculosis. They didn’t kick it upstairs to the State Department because they feel Sudan is just trying to get them to engage and scare them into taking them off the list of places that use child soldiers in order to get Mitchell back. Jay says they’re taking it to Elizabeth anyway.
Elizabeth (Tea Leoni) and Henry (Tim Daly) attend the same meeting where Henry briefs everyone on the Covenant of John. He says that he believes the members have made contact with Al-Qaeda in Syria in order to start an apocalyptic war in the Middle East via a biological attack on Jerusalem.
Moore and Harriman catch Elizabeth up with the Colin Mitchell case. They think Sudan is playing them, but Elizabeth’s staff doesn’t agree. They’re afraid if they don’t engage with the government, there’s a chance that an American journalist will die in a foreign prison for a crime he didn’t commit—not a good look for the State Department. Jay thinks they should take the risk, as it looks like Sudan is looking to make a deal. However, Harriman reminds them of the sanctions the U.N. imposed about child soldiers and how well they’ve been working; Sudan has drastically decreased the number of them. He thinks they need to stay firm in their proclamation of no relief until they are rid of child soldiers for two years. They still have two years to go and Harriman thinks it would be a bad idea to back down now. Elizabeth wants to make a compromise. Engagement doesn’t necessarily have to mean agreement and she tells Jay to informally talk to Sudanese representatives at an open event they’re hosting later.
Jay gets called out of his meeting by Pam (Kit Flanagan), his mother-in-law, asking him to take Chloe. She was babysitting for Abby (Stephanie Block), but a doctor’s appointment for her hip opened up and she didn’t want to expose Chloe to any germs. Jay reluctantly agrees to watch Chloe despite his busy work schedule.
Jay brings Chloe along to his meeting with Tayeb Elkashief (Leon Addison Brown) at the Sudanese Embassy. Tayeb shows Jay Colin’s medical report and photo, saying he’s going to leak it to the press soon. The only way the Sudanese will release him is if their sanctions are lifted. Jay shows the report to Daisy (Patina Miller) before her press briefing. While the two are in the hallway, journalist Sofia Perez (Flor De Liz Perez) flirts with Jay. Daisy also rushes to a trashcan to throw up and figuring it is morning sickness, Jay congratulates her on her pregnancy.
Jay takes Sofia out for a drink, which turns into a steamy make out session in his apartment. However, the two are interrupted by an alert on Sofia’s phone that says Colin’s family is going to a give a press conference protesting the State Department’s handling of his case. Sofia has second thoughts, thinking maybe this relationship will be too complicated considering their careers, but Jay says it’s really not before kissing her again.
Harriman ambushes Nadine in the parking garage on her way to work, telling her this is what happens when she lets the Secretary’s errand boys wander into something they’re not qualified to handle. Nadine informs Harriman she’s invited the family in for a meeting to talk things out, wanting them to feel heard. Jay meets Nadine at the elevator, disclosing his “unauthorized meeting” with a member of the press the previous night. Nadine smirks and congratulates him.
Mike B. (Kevin Rahm) is lying on Nadine’s office couch, much to her dismay. She gently tells him that she is too busy for him today and that what they shared on election night was surprising and a one night thing. She brushes off his romantic charms, saying he’s not her type. However, he persists, and she finally breaks down and agrees to think about having dinner with him.
Nadine meets with Colin’s wife Claire (Zoe Winters), his parents Don (Jeff McCarthy) and Nancy (Betsy Aidem) and their lawyer Bill Freundlich (Michael X. Martin), trying to talk them out of a press conference. Elizabeth joins them shortly after, asking what she can do. They explain that the Chinese government has been more cooperative and helpful than the Americans lately. Elizabeth asks for 24 hours—if they don’t have significant headway by then, they can take their story public. Elizabeth muses to Nadine that the Chinese involvement is strange.
Daisy tells Nadine she’ll need a month off in about six months. Nadine congratulates her, saying she’s there if Daisy wants to talk. Daisy might take her up on the offer later, but she still has a lot she needs to figure out first. Nadine meets with Harriman and Moore again, who have made a discovery. It looks like China is actually behind Mitchell’s arrest. They weren’t checking up on them out of the kindness of their hearts; they were digging to find out if he knew what they were up to.
Matt (Geoffrey Arend) is called into a meeting and caught up to speed on the Mitchell case. They had to do a rush investigation, but they are relatively confident that Mitchell was doing a story on how China was trying to circumvent sanctions, leading to his imprisonment. They tell Matt that they need a powerful speech that puts the pressure on Beijing to release Colin. He struggles with writers block and goes to visit Daisy to complain. Daisy says she has problems of her own, admitting that she’s pregnant. Matt tells her that her baby is lucky, as she’s going to make the best mom.
Matt interviews Congressman Baskin for his speech. Baskin says that Colin was a pain in the ass—fearless, bold and blunt—but the kind that makes the country great and changes the world. “Sometimes the stories you want to hear the least are the ones you need to hear the most,” Colin used to say. Matt begins Elizabeth’s speech with that line as well, and Elizabeth is impressed by his writing. Many news outlets ask for a one-on-one with Elizabeth about the speech.
Elizabeth video chats with Minister Chen (Francis Jue), who is furious at the speech. However, he says that as economic partner, China will advise Sudan to release Mitchell on a humanitarian effort. Elizabeth is flabbergasted at how easy it was. Soon after Daisy gives a press conference, sharing the good news about Mitchell’s release. He is in serious but stable condition and is begin flown to Germany for medical attention. After six years, he will finally be free.
Elizabeth hangs out on the roof, needing a breath of fresh air. Daisy joins her, getting emotional. Elizabeth knows she is pregnant without anyone having to tell her—experience is enough for her to have figured it out. Daisy admits that the father is Joseph Garcia. She struggles with finding out how to tell Joseph’s parents that she’s carrying their grandchild. She’s also scared to tell her own parents, as they are church people and this isn’t exactly what they envisioned for her. She’s worried about having to raise the child by herself, but Elizabeth comforts her by saying she’s one of the strongest women she’s ever met and she won’t have to do it alone.
Elizabeth’s staff goes to watch Colin reunite with his family. It’s a beautiful, touching moment—this is why they do what they do.