Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 22 Review: There But for the Grace of God

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Elizabeth confronted Juliet on Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 22 and ended up on the hot seat at a Senate Committee Hearing on her role in the Iranian coup.

A solid resolution to a season-long arc involving the murder of former Secretary of State Vincent Marsh. Loose ends were tied up, and Elizabeth was still standing tall in the end.

We got some insight into Elizabeth and Juliet's relationship in the CIA and Henry's response to Elizabeth's promotion to Station Chief in Baghdad. Sometimes flashbacks annoy more than enhance, but the revelations were worth those sepia-toned memories.

And Henry's really ugly glasses. 

But first we witnessed the confrontation between two former friends and colleagues.

I'm here to save your life.


Juliet had so much anger and hatred in her and blasted Elizabeth with it. 

Juliet: You'd actually be sitting in this chair if you had lived through the war instead of retreating into academia. You turned on everyone you claimed to love. You put this in action. You're the traitor.
Elizabeth: What decision?
Juliet: You quit.

Those words cut Elizabeth deeply. I felt for her, but I also didn't understand them. Was Juliet playing mind games? Probably. Did she also really blame Elizabeth? Sure. But why? Elizabeth did leave the CIA (more on that in a bit), but I struggle to see how Elizabeth staying would have made that much of a difference.

I also don't see Elizabeth murdering a friend, either. 

Meanwhile things back at the office weren't all hunky dory, either. Politically speaking, the enemy smelled weakness to exploit. Senator Cruthers was out for blood and wanted to make a name for himself. Elizabeth dismissed him as a non-threat, but the subpoena he gave her made that hard to do.

She had nothing to hide, so she wasn't worried, but Mike B was.

Thank God. Because I'm sure they are actually after the truth. I'm sure they wouldn't find some nugget of discrepancy and firestrom it into grounds for impeachment - that never happens.

Mike B

I love Elizabeth because she is smart, capable and real. She is also sometimes surprisingly naive. Perhaps, they write her that way so her "goodness" comes through. You can be "good" and savvy at the same time.

Given her intimate knowledge of what happened, I'll buy her belief in President Dalton's transparency and him not withholding anything from the public. But I can't believe that she wouldn't expect his political rivals to accuse him of being less than forthcoming. To look for that thread that could unravel his presidency or at least his chance at a second term. 

Executive privilege managed to protect Elizabeth from testifying, but Henry wasn't so lucky. Cruthers found out that Elizabeth shared classified information with Henry and subpoenaed him. Uh-oh. Elizabeth was technically in violation of the Espionage Act. 

Henry: Listen, we didn't do anything wrong.
Mike B: That doesn't matter.

Cruthers found his thread. Henry was willing to perjure himself and lie to the committee, which both surprised me and didn't. Henry wanting to protect Elizabeth didn't shock me but lying wasn't something I imagined Mr. Ethical did lightly.

This caused Elizabeth to flashback to Dalton (then CIA Director) offering her the Baghdad Station Chief position. Henry wasn't happy to learn she would be gone for at least a year. I was surprised by how upset he was because Henry has always seemed wildly supportive of her. He admitted that he didn't know what things would look like when she came back.

Those same thoughts weighed heavily on her again. Henry would willingly lie and accept the consequences, but what would it do to him, to her, to their marriage and to their family? 

No doubt she hoped the President would offer another safety net. 

Russell Jackson: If it goes badly ...
Elizabeth: You and the President won't protect me?
Jackson: I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Russell Jackson actually seemed legitimately regretful. He is real boy with real emotions. Sometimes I wondered.

Elizabeth as the conquering hero was an asset, but a huge liability if she couldn't turn the situation around. We know, of course, that Elizabeth would figure out a way. She wouldn't be devious or underhanded like Cruthers, who only wanted to shore up support for his future presidential run. She would be honest.

When everything seems to be lacking in integrity, you find it in yourself.


Recalling Henry's words, she interrupted the Senate hearing and waived executive privilege. She eloquently admitted that she violated the Espionage Act and why. She also sounded like someone we would want as President some day.

I put myself in harm's way to ensure the safety of our country. I would do it again, sir.


Drop the mike, Elizabeth. Go on, girl. You deserve it. 

Juliet eventually told them everything, including her role in George's murder. She managed to compartmentalize her actions and not take responsibility for them until Elizabeth reminded her that George was her friend, then we saw the mask briefly slip.

Dalton: To the inner sanctum: Colleagues. Friends. Noble warriors.

A memory of when Munzie and Juliet were friends, not enemies, and George was still alive. Life can change on a dime.

What did you think of "There But for the Grace of God"? Was it a satisfying finale to you? What do you want to see different on Madam Secretary Season 2? Share in the comments below! Don't forget, you can watch Madam Secretary online via TV Fanatic at your convenience. 

There But for the Grace of God Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (36 Votes)
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Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 22 Quotes

Juliet: You'd actually be sitting in this chair if you had lived through the war instead of retreating into academia. You turned on everyone you claimed to love. You put this in action. You're the traitor.
Elizabeth: What decision?
Juliet: You quit.

I'm here to save your life.