Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 12 Review: Standoff

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Henry and Elizabeth celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary in Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 12 and it was a bit of disaster for everyone. They spent most of the time arguing until work (on both fronts) intruded. It might have actually been a welcome interruption for one of my favorite TV couples.

There are many parts of Madam Secretary that I enjoy (and a few I dislike), but the relationship between Elizabeth and Henry is one of my favorite aspects of the show. They are such a great team.

They're normal, too. They love each other and root for one another. But they also fight.

I like how discussions and problems from earlier episodes aren't dropped or forgotten. Stevie and Elizabeth are still having difficulties, which felt true to both of their characters. They are a lot alike, although Stevie definitely has some maturing to do.

What 20-year-old girl isn't judgmental about her mother?


Some of you don't like Stevie because she is immature and privileged, but I think her actions are pretty typical for a girl her age who was raised in a sheltered, upper middle-class environment. You do believe you know everything (or at least I did) when you are 20 and idealistic. It would be hard for anyone to hear truths about their Mom that they really didn't want to learn.

While Stevie wasn't physically shown, her presence was definitely felt, and it's clear Henry and Elizabeth have different point of views when it comes to her. The fun thing is they are both right. I actually hope that Stevie does not return to college because I find her to be the most interesting McCord child.

I was surprised by how quickly Henry's role with the NSA ended; or at least it appeared that way. I assumed his continued NSA involvement was something that would play out through the remainder of the season, and the secret-keeping would create some cracks in the McCord marriage. 

I was right and wrong.

While we were led to believe Henry's NSA days were over, the sudden appearance of his former target, Klaus, at their restaurant in New York indicated otherwise. Like Henry, I would have been suspicious. When Klaus starting talking about his family and protecting his son, you could see the warning bells were ringing inside Henry's head.

He is the light of my life. He is the future. He will leave a greater mark than I have. So for our children, we make the necessary sacrifices without complaint or regret.


Henry cried wolf and Elizabeth's security detail rushed her and Henry to their car. Elizabeth immediately knew Henry was still in the NSA and wasn't happy with him, although she was more upset about him lying to her than him remaining with the NSA. 

Elizabeth: This is why the intelligence community shouldn't keep secrets from me.
Henry: I agree. Not that we're doing a very good job of it.

I'm glad it's out in the open. I like that the McCord's have a strong, healthy relationship, and Henry hiding his continued engagement with the NSA would have caused even bigger problems if kept from Elizabeth. With the NSA flipping Klaus and him only wanting to speak with Henry, I doubt his spying days are over.

The main story with the cop killer needing to be extradited from Mexico was interesting, although it felt really far-fetched. Do I think a radical group would kidnap a prisoner from a Mexican jail so he would face Texas justice? Maybe. But, I also think if they did, Texas justice would have been doled out immediately. 

Did I miss anything on the way here? Like Texas seceding?


A governor with presidential ambitions would recognize he needs the approval of a nation, not just his state. Governor Lockwood's actions would certainly gain him approval, but from the people who would have likely voted for him anyway. You need to keep those people happy while courting the undecideds to your side.

I did love how Elizabeth handled him. He thought he had the upper hand, but she proved she is just as wily as he is. Even though I sometimes roll my eyes at how easily she resolves things, I also admire her confidence and shrewdness without being a bitch or unlikable. She is an easy character to root for and cheer.

All in all, Madam Secretary continues their streak of providing compelling stories. There was no update on the Victor Marsh investigation, but there was enough going on that I didn't even miss it, which is always a good sign. 

What did you think of "Standoff"? What would you like to see in the second half of the season? Let me know in the comments below. And don't forget, you can watch Madam Secretary online via TV Fanatic at your convenience.

Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 13 will be titled "Chains of Command" and air on January 11.

Standoff Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (28 Votes)
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Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 12 Quotes

He is the light of my life. He is the future. He will leave a greater mark than I have. So for our children, we make the necessary sacrifices without complaint or regret.


What 20-year-old girl isn't judgmental about her mother?