Madam Secretary s5 ep 11

“I feel”, says Elizabeth, “like the soul of our country is at stake”. As with the first episode in this two-parter, there’s no doubt that the real subject is the real-life Trump administration, rather than the fictional big-hatted redneck Governor of Arizona. And in the world of Madam Secretary, Elizabeth is determined to raise the stakes: having been arrested, she refuses to be released, pending trial, while there are still children being detained; then, having been offered a deal in which she pleads guilty to a misdemeanour, she refuses to do that as well, leaving her facing trial for a felony. Which is just the sort of thing that might get in the way of a run for the Oval. Russell Jackson is apoplectic with fury, and for one delicious moment I thought that Henry was going to start punching him for bad-mouthing his wife.

But then one of the guards leaks a video of conditions inside the detention centre, and makes a public statement deploring what’s going on. And, suddenly, Elizabeth looks vindicated. Presidential, even. Jay brokers a legislative deal with Senator Morejon which will allow him to continue to look tough on immigration while reducing the number of asylum-seekers; the charges against Elizabeth are dropped; and she and Henry are able to have their marriage renewal party, with the actual Peter Frampton providing the music. Also, I think I saw her former enemy Morejon there, and all of a sudden I’m wondering whether he might just end up as Elizabeth’s running mate. Not the best episode, but its heart was in the right place.

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