It’s a political show that’s high on drama, but one of the stars of “Madam Secretary” says the series might actually offer viewers a few moments of zen away from the real-life battles raging in Washington.
“Part of the reason I think people still love the show and maybe even crave it more is because there’s such chaos right now going on,” says Bebe Neuwirth. “I think people are craving the calm, sane, compassionate brilliance of the show’s administration and secretary of state.”
When asked if she’d call it a form of escapism, Neuwirth replies, “I’d say it’s a balm. It’s a balm for our wounds.”
“Our show has full context, so we take you into the personal lives of these people and the family life of these people, so it gives you a break from the relentless march of politics,” Barbara Hall, creator and showrunner of “Madam Secretary,” says in response to a question about concern that Americans may be feeling they’re overdosing on anything political these days.
“I hope we’re a bit of an alternative to reality,” says executive producer Lori McCreary. “We’re taking, I think, an aspirational look at what politics could be — if it were a different time, a different place.”
“Obviously it’s a show and we’re giving them some drama,” says Patina Miller, who plays press coordinator Daisy Grant, “but the climate — and it’s definitely a different climate now — I hope people are watching the show and seeing how it could go.”
The series, which CBS announced last month is being renewed for a fourth season, just had a homecoming of sorts, returning to film in Washington for the first time since its pilot. It typically films in New York.
Téa Leoni, who stars as McCord, sported a turtleneck under a sweatsuit, shades and hot-pink-laced sneakers as she filmed a scene by the World War II Memorial last week. The actress was seen laughing with the crew and even waited in line with regular joes after venturing into the public restrooms by the monument during a break in filming.
“We really got to the end of the season and felt like we wanted to do something special for the season finale,” Hall told ITK as cameras rolled.
“We are doing a story about NATO, so we thought it would be nice to do it in this atmosphere, and around the landmarks, and give it a more special feel,” she added.
Hall remained tight-lipped when pressed on how else the real-life Washington might play into the finale, saying, “I’m really trying not to spoil, but it’s going to be an interesting challenge to NATO countries in this episode.”
The show, which debuted in 2014 and is set slightly in the future, quickly became known for plots that appeared to foretell world events that hadn’t yet occurred. (“ ‘Madam Secretary’ Predicted Jihadi John Droning,” a Daily Beast headline declared in 2015.)
But after the wild 2016 White House race, Hall insists no crystal ball is in play.
“Right now I feel like things are moving so quickly that it’s really hard to stay ahead, so we just really try to focus on our own international stories that we want to tell and see what happens as far as the real world is concerned.