Well, the production team certainly made good use of on location shots during Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 23. I don't think there's a a single spot west of the Washington Monument that wasn't featured.
It's kind of funny the show runners finally decided to ditch NYC for DC when Elizabeth spent so much time in "Brussels." It's also kind of funny that the episode shot blocks from the White House trolled the President of the United States harder than ever.
Focusing on the dangers of Russian interference in foreign elections and the importance of NATO to world peace was far from subtle. The only things I've seen on TV that's been a more obvious message to 45 and his supporters have been John Oliver's ads on Fox News.
But it was also a helpful lesson to viewers. If recent elections and polls are any indication, a lot of us might not really grasp who NATO is or what it does or why it matters.
Elizabeth's explanation was lengthy when I typed it out, but is was really quick enough that it should be added to every World History teacher's PowerPoint.
Mrs. Stewart: You don't have to explain World War II to me. I understand that one.
Elizabeth: And you also understand that one of the greatest things to come out of all those sacrifices was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was created to prevent the circumstances that caused both world wars, an imbalance of military power among neighboring countries. People build a strong army, they want to use it. Maybe annex a weaker country, and then another. And suddenly, everyone has to jump into the fight. World war. And the last one produced the most dangerous weapon of all. So the superpowers met each other's capabilities . They signed a nonproliferation agreement to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Because of NATO, we were able to say to our allies you don't need to build up your military or nuclear arsenal to feel safe from Russia or any other enemy. Because we have your back. Our army is your army. Your conflict is our conflict. If NATO fails, the European nations will be on their own. And then everyone jumps back into an arms race. And I truly believe that is the end of our western democracy as we know it.
The back story on the Gold Star mother seemed a little convoluted when her only real purpose was to allow Bess to make that speech, but she was a good stand in for the audience. It's easy to take an isolationist stance when you don't take the time to think through all the ramifications.
As much as I loved "Article 5" for it's content, it wasn't really what I expect from a season finale. All of the major storylines for the season had already been tied up; this felt like an accidental cut and paste from an earlier part of the year.
It didn't even set anything up for Madam Secretary Season 4 beyond Stevie having problems with Jareth (Christopher O'Shea seems to be focusing on film) and a potential relationship between her and Dmitri.
Elizabeth: This was a really hard week. I'm sorry if I wasn't entirely myself.
Henry: Yeah, I was meaning to talk to you about that. When you're saving the world, could you be a little more cheerful, please?
I cant say I blame her for feeling sparks for her dad's asset. Dmitri was always good looking, but with that hair... I can't wait to see Henry's reaction to that budding romance.
Maybe he'll be too wrapped up in his new job to notice though. Seriously, it's a good thing so many of jobs are on the DL or his CV would look like a phonebook.
I'm still a little confused on what the SAD is exactly, but we'll have all of next season to figure that one out. And then I'm sure he'll move on to another agency.
What the hell, Russia? Can't take our eye off you for a second. Just like my son. One self-destructive boneheaded move after another.Mike B [watching the news]
The continued return of Mike B (and another reference to his kid) make me hopeful that Kevin Rahm will be increased presence in the future. Even if I really don't like all the digs about his "fat" kid.
I do like his relationship with Bess, and watching him and Nadine work out how to be in a relationship together. They may have hit one hell of a bump in the road, but I want to see that relationship continue to grow -- in fits and starts, of course. Anything else wouldn't seem natural for those two.
Nadine's relationship isn't good just for her. Seeing her bond with Daisy over dating in the modern era was endearing and hilarious. It's nice to see these two having a substantial friendship outside of work.
I'd like to see Nadine as a mother mentor for Daisy in addition to a work mentor. After all, it takes a village.
Daisy: Have you at least, you know, trolled him?
Daisy: Yesterday's stalky is today's getting to know you. Take it from the girl who got knocked up by a guy with a false identity.
After a pretty solid Madam Secretary Season 3 (excluding the VFF arc and my fear that the show's election would be as traumatizing as the real world version), I have high hopes for Season 4's return in the fall.
By then, Daisy will have had her baby -- or at least Patina Miller will have. I wasn't too sure about that pregnancy being written in at first since Daisy had only been with her ex and the dead CIA operative, but as I get used to the idea, I think it really opens up some interesting stories for the staff.
Hopefully the staff have a little more time in the sun going forward. I'd love to see Madam Secretary Season 3 Episode 21 as a model for more episodes.
Blake [holding tennis shoes]: Ma'am, Russell Jackson wants to meet right away and he's requested that you wear flats.
Elizabeth [pause]: Why?
Blake: I didn't ask. I thought it might be classified. Or weird.
Elizabeth [mutters]: It's probably both.
You can get your diplomacy fix all summer if you watch Madam Secretary online, and we'd love to hear from you in our comments section!
Should the show stay McCord centric, or let the staff out to play more often? How did you feel about the not so subtle references to the current administration's policies? Should Tea Leoni and the writers do a summer web series where Elizabeth McCord boils down all the international bodies?
Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.