Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4 Review: Valor

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It's been a long time since a TV show got me so angry.

Major Jenkins' death on Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4 was a tragic complication of his untreated PTSD.

At least the VA bill got passed in the end, but this didn't have to happen.

Henry Applauds - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4

Jenkins hid his PTSD well. 

When we first met him, he was getting the Medal of Honor and seemed stable and together.

Related: 19 Most Moving Mental Health Storylines on TV

Sure, he got upset when he wasn't able to speak in front of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, but who wouldn't? Anyone would have been frustrated and humiliated to discover that the opposition canceled the meeting just to stop him from speaking.

Henry Salutes a Vet - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4

The thing about PTSD, though, is that it's often an invisible illness.

Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event experiences PTSD. That's part of the problem. It's entirely unpredictable.


No one had any clue that Jenkins was suffering until sitting at that red light triggered him, and then the accident turned into a tragedy.

But it didn't come out of nowhere.  When Jenkins began having a PTSD flashback, it made sense, and not just because he was a veteran.

His outbursts and single-minded obsession with reforming the VA were clues that he was suffering, clues that neither Henry nor the viewing audience picked up on.

Veterans' Reception - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4

Jenkins' death demonstrated the human cost of dragging our feet on important bills like the bill to improve VA services.

Morejon blamed himself for letting his policy disagreements get in the way of letting Jenkins speak, as well he should (though Elizabeth was also right that it might not have made a difference.)

But nobody talked about the role the cops played in Jenkins' unnecessary death.

Related: Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 3 Review

The news called Jenkins' death "suicide by cop" because he only pretended to have a gun so that the cops shot him.

Morejon and Russell - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4

Was it a suicide? Maybe.

But part of the problem was that the cops weren't trained to deal with a mentally ill person shouting at them from the rooftop of a car.

They made an effort to get Jenkins to come down, but as soon as he made a move that looked like he was drawing a weapon, they shot him at point-blank range.

This is how veterans are treated in this country every day. All this 'thank you for your service.' I'd trade all those platitudes for someone who cares.

Brad Jenkins

It's understandable that the cops didn't want him to open fire, but there has to be another way to handle these situations besides shooting people.

Honoring Our Vets - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4

It's not these cops' fault that they weren't trained to deal with mentally ill civilians appropriately, but this is a part of the problem that was not addressed within the episode.

The story was focused on veterans needing better access to mental health treatment, but it wouldn't have taken away from that point for someone to suggest that the police also needed new training to prevent further tragedies of this nature.

Related: Get CBS All Access via Prime Video Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

The saddest thing was that Jenkins was on his way to a meeting with Evan Moore when this happened. We will never know what might have happened at that meeting, but it could have helped him get what he needed.

Elizabeth's Announcement - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4

Morejon's opposition to the bill was infuriating.

I'm sorry, Henry. I think what we need is a real debate, not grandstanding with a recipient of the Medal of Honor.


He echoed the real-life talking point against Medicare for All that it would supposedly limit the recipients' freedom if there was only one entity paying for health care.

In Morejon's case, he was ignoring the wishes of his constituents. Veterans WANTED the overhaul of the VA system. They weren't interested in having more options for health care -- they were interested in improving the service that they were supposed to get.

Plus, disagreement and shutting down debate are two different things. 

Morejon dismissed Jenkins' desire to speak as "grandstanding" and refused to allow it to happen.

But Jenkins was one of the people the bill would affect, so he was the best person to speak on veteran issues.

Morejon's refusal to let him speak came off as fear that the bill would be passed if Morejon allowed Jenkins to have his say, and that wasn't a good look for him.

Mike and Daisy Talk - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4

Unfortunately, the solid drama surrounding veterans and mental health treatment was interrupted by more Senate Intelligence Committee nonsense.

It looks like Daisy did something questionable that she's trying to cover up. It would have been nice if she told the lawyer about this French ambassador before the meeting.

The hearing scenes have more or less been an excuse for flashbacks, and the incident Daisy was questioned about was ridiculous.

The promo for Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 5 suggests Daisy provided Claudia with a "secret flash drive". This could be interesting, but meh. 

I'd rather have more of the political issues Elizabeth is dealing with than more of this stupid Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

Nina Plays Horseshoes - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4

Stevie's interactions with Dmitri and Griffin were a far more entertaining sideline than that.

Stevie: Talia didn't tell me that -
Dmitri: That she's setting us up? Me either. She told me that she needed my approval for a new guy she is dating.
Stevie: She knew how to get you here.
Dmitri: My sister watches too many rom-coms.

Stevie and Dmitri FINALLY crossed paths, and afterward, Stevie seemed bored with Griffin.

Will she and Dmitri reconcile by the time Madam Secretary wraps up?

Also, who was that girl who asked Stevie for a selfie? She claimed to be a fan of Elizabeth's, but I didn't trust it. It seemed too random.

What did you think, Madam Secretary fanatics?

Was Jenkins' PTSD story moving, and who was to blame for his death?

What do you think the deal is with Daisy, and do you care?

And how thrilled are you that Stevie and Dmitri met up?

Share your thoughts in the comments, and don't forget you can watch Madam Secretary online if you missed anything.

Madam Secretary airs on CBS on Sundays at 10 PM EST/PST.


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Valor Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (5 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 4 Quotes

It's not the VA's fault. They're understaffed and underfunded. Congress needs to do its job.


Major Jenkins has brought great credit on himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marines. Because of you, 10 Marines were saved and two more came home. God bless you Major Jenkins, and God bless the Marines. Sempre fi.